"We're gonna put our money into a computer rather than marriage counseling." This was a statement from a man with a rather troubled marriage. "I don't think counseling is going to help us any. We can spend time together in front of the computer and find good resources there." I looked at his wife and she, in a rather pie-eyed fashion, gave her tacit permission towards her husband's solution to their many marriage troubles. He proceeded with a rather lengthy story about how a new, more powerful computer, would be the solution not only to their family woes but also the difficulties in his marriage. "We will gather around the computer as a family and make our computer a place of bonding, we'll become stronger if we invest in that rather than counseling." I attempted to protest but he had won his wife over to his point of view. They cancelled their remaining sessions and I never saw them again.
Do you think the computer helped this marriage? A computer is amoral. It is neither evil nor good. It is what is done with the computer that brings in the morality.
I have been able to watch this man's behavior from a distance and unfortunately, his life has fallen apart. His wife divorced him. Several things transpired that she could not live with: 1) he used the computer for watching porn, 2) he used the computer to develop relationships with numerous women with whom he had affairs, 3) he was arrested for having sex with a patient, 4) he was also arrested for domestic violence and 5) he lost his medical license.
The computer also affected his children. One of his children became addicted to pornography (from the same computer), another was charged with sexual molestation and must now register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, the rest of his children have completely cut him off, wanting nothing to do with him.
I'm not saying that if they had continued in counseling that everything would have been perfect and these problems would not have occurred but I think it is ironic that the very thing he convinced his wife would solve all of their problems seriously contributed to his moral failure and the subsequent behavior of his family. I'm also not saying that the computer was his main problem. His main problem (in spite of claiming the name of Christian) was old-fashioned selfishness. He was not allowing God to transform him.
I'm writing this to you to ask you a few questions:
Into what are you pouring your time, energy and money?
Have you convinced yourself that possessions will bring your happiness?
Or have you invested your life into accountability, honest relationships and seeking God's will for your life?
God is very clear about His will: It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
I have heard that this man is now trying to repair the damage he has done and is trying again to live a life that is pleasing to God. I find that encouraging.
Please pray for him.
BE A MAN.
When living in Europe, I was on a business trip kilometers away from Karyn, my wife. Several of us went to a restaurant to have a meal. Over time, the group dwindled down to me, a female colleague and two other men. One of the men was dropping hints on the female saying that he wanted to see if her hotel room was bigger than his, to see her dog that she had back in her room, and other "seemingly" innocuous things.
I excused myself for a moment and as I stepped out of the bathroom to head back to the table, the woman was standing there at the door. She told me, "I don't know if you've noticed but "George" is hitting on me. I am really uncomfortable with him doing that. Could you make sure that I am not alone with him?"
She and I had become fairly good friends, we both had similar supervisory positions in the same company and I was kind of mentoring her since she was new to the position. I said to her, "what would you like me to do?" She responded, "when we back to the hotel (we were all staying at the same hotel), could you walk me to my room? That will discourage George and he will get the message I don't want him in my room."
I had no reason to believe that she had designs for me, but being a male with a big ego, I was taken aback for a moment. I had to make a decision. Which is more important at this moment? To respect and honor my female friend's request and risk people thinking I went to her room or choose to not be alone with her and avoid even the appearance of evil?
Do I choose to walk her to her hotel room and risk rumor or do I not so as to avoid any gossip? Do I choose to honor her or protect my reputation? It should be noted that she apparently did not have designs for me, she was wanting me to help send a message to a man who was engaging in sexual innuendo.
So, why the tire? Let me use this tire to illustrate the decision-making model.* Imagine at the center is my desire to please God in all that I do. That is the axle of this model. Now, imagine this tire divided into three parts. Each part representing the three goals of Ironstrikes. All of these goals are admirable and God-honoring. However, I was now faced with my personal integrity or honoring a woman , a choice between two good, yet seemingly conflicting goals.
This tire, separated into three parts, the three goals, is constantly on the move. For the tire to sit still and lay flat on one goal results in an out of balance tire. It will become flat if it doesn't rotate. At times, one goal is hitting the ground, at other times, another goal is in play. So, in following this illustration, no goal has precedence over the other. In making this decision, I had to keep those three goals in mind with full consideration of the axle, pleasing God, as the central basis. Pleasing God is what these goals revolve around.
I told my female friend that I would be glad to walk her back to her hotel room. As we went back to the table to conclude the conversation, I was praying about my decision and asking God for His wisdom. "Lord, did I make the right decision? Is honoring my friend's request more important at this moment than protecting my reputation?" The answer came pretty clearly.
Now, lest you think I'm crazy, no, I didn't hear God's audible voice. I felt a calm, a real peace at this decision and then in my head, God spoke thru my thoughts, in my own voice I heard, "You do what is right and I will protect your reputation."
We dismissed ourselves and I walked her back to her room. It was about a 15-minute walk. We got to the hallway that led to her room and she thanked me and went to her room. I then went to my room and called Karyn letting her know what happened so if she heard any rumors, she would know the truth.
So what do you think? Did I make the right decision? You may be thinking, "Dale sure made a big deal out of nothing." Maybe I did, maybe not. However, I learned how little things can become big things. I'm hoping that my example encourages you to be sensitive to God's leading in your life.
* I am indebted to my parents who devised this decision-making model. I have altered it here to fit this illustration.
BE A MAN.
We were visiting Amsterdam, exploring shops and the canals. At one shop on the canal there were the most beautiful flowers you have ever seen. It was a wonderful day. Everything was perfect. We were walking hand-in-hand enjoying Amsterdam. Kinda like two kids at a zoo. Excitement. Fun. Happiness.
The next thing I know, Karyn says, "don't look right." So, I put my right hand up to block my view. Then she said, "don't look left." So, I put up my left hand to block my view. So, now, I am walking down this street on this beautiful day looking like a horse with blinders. I said, "what's going on?" Karyn said, "we've stumbled into the Red Light District." I dropped my hands and looked around and yep, she was right. There were some windows with scantily clad women beckoning us to come in. We promptly turned around and left that street.
You ask, "how in the world didn't you know that you were entering the most famous Red Light District in the world?" Well, it was still bright out, even though we didn't realize the sun was starting to descend. If it had been dark, we would have seen the red lights warning us that we had wandered into "adult" territory.
So, what does this story tell us about temptation?
Well, I was certainly glad that I had my wife with me. She saw things up ahead that I hadn't noticed. She loves me and wants to protect our marriage. So, if you are doing something new, something you have never done before, it would be good to not be alone. Because you never know what is on that street.
The person you take with you needs to be committed to holiness and purity. S/he needs to be able to stop you when you start to go somewhere you shouldn't be going. Because you never know what is on that street.
Temptation sneaks up on you when you least suspect. We were having a great time. Exploring Amsterdam, enjoying the sunshine and building memories. Then, boom! There it is. Right in front of you. Sometimes, we are lulled into complacency or feeling really good and then we are blindsided. Temptation can come from anywhere. You know why?
Because you never know what is on that street.
BE A MAN.
It is high time you realized that your wives are under attack today! Everything they have been taught from earliest childhood is being subjected to ridicule and scorn. Hardly a day passes when the traditional values of the Judeo-Christian heritage are not blatantly mocked and undermined.
--The notion that motherhood is a worthwhile investment of a woman's time suffers unrelenting bombardment.
--And the idea that wives should yield to the leadership of their husbands, as commanded in Ephesians 5:21–33 is considered almost medieval in its stupidity.
--And the concept that a man and woman should become one flesh, finding their identity in each other rather than as separate and competing individuals, is said to be intolerably insulting to women.
--And the belief that divorce is an unacceptable alternative has been abandoned by practically everybody. (Have you heard about Sue and Bob?)
--And the description of the ideal wife and mother, as offered in Proverbs 31:10–31 is now unthinkable for the modern woman. (She's come along way, baby.)
--And the role of the female as help-meet, bread-baker, wound-patcher, love giver, home builder, and child-bearer is nothing short of disgusting.
All of these deeply ingrained values, which many of your wives are trying desperately to sustain, are continually exposed to the wrath of hell itself. The Western media—radio, television and the press—are working relentlessly to shred the last vestiges of Christian tradition. And your wives who believe in the spiritual heritage are virtually hanging by their thumbs! They are made to feel stupid and old-fashioned and unfulfilled, and in many cases, their self-esteem is suffering irreparable damage. They are fighting a sweeping social movement with very little support from anyone.
Let me say it more directly. For the man who appreciates the willingness of his wife to stand against the tide of public opinion--staying at home in her empty neighborhood in the exclusive company of jelly-faced toddlers and strong willed adolescents--it is about time you gave her some help. I'm not merely suggesting that you wash the dishes or sweep the floor. I'm referring to the provision of emotional support...of conversation...of making her feel like a lady...of building her ego...of giving her one day of recreation each week...of taking her out to dinner...of telling her that you love her. Without these armaments, she is left defenseless against the foes of the family--the foes of your family!
But to be honest, many of you husbands and fathers have been thinking about something else. Your wives have been busy attending seminars and reading family literature and studying the Bible, but they can't even get you to enter a discussion about what they've learned. You've been intoxicated with your work and the ego support it provides.
What better illustration can I give than the letter quoted on page 94. It came from a desperate woman whose husband is rarely at home, and even when he's there he has nothing to say. He prefers the company of Paul Harvey, who asks no questions and expects no answers. Furthermore, he's a first-class punkin eater." You know the story.
Peter, Peter, Punkin Eater
Had a wife and couldn't keep her
Put her in a punkin shell
And there he kept her very well....
Yeah, Old Pete has got his little woman right where he wants her. She's cooped up in a house with two children under three years of age, changing diapers and wiping noses and cooking meals for him and Mr. Harvey. That's some existence for living, breathing, female with deep needs to be loved and respected. Not only does Peter not intend to met those needs, but he forbids her to take them elsewhere. He doesn't even want her to go to a Bible study class because, would you believe, he fears his kids will catch a disease. Never mind the disease that is choking the life out of his wife—the disease called loneliness. To the wives of all the world's punkin eaters, I say, "Go to the Bible study class anyway!" Submission to masculine leadership does not extend, in my opinion, to behaviors that will be unhealthy for the husband, the wife, and the marriage. Nor should a woman tolerate child abuse, child molestation, or wife beating.
The message could not be more simple or direct to a Christian man: the Lord has commanded you to "love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, giving His life for it." She needs you now. Will you fit her into your plans?
This post was written by Dr James Dobson. For the original post go to: http://www.drjamesdobson.org/articles/pray-for-america/message-to-husbands-of-homemakers
BE A MAN.
Pornography is instant gratification while relationships take time, effort, and investment. Of course, we do live in an "on demand" culture so what's wrong with instant? Instant requires no long-term commitments, no patience, and no sustained effort. It's just there when you want it. Instant works with iced tea, right? Why not sex? The truth is that while "instant gratification" has its appeal, it will never replace or hold up to the satisfaction of a healthy sex life in the context of a loving and committed marriage. Here are a few reasons why:
First, porn is a hamburger (not even a quarter pounder) while healthy marital sex is a fillet. Porn is quick, fast, and offers no lasting satisfaction. When you get done your "quality time" with your tissue box do you ever say, "That was amazing ... I'm totally satisfied!" The answer is probably not. I'd guess it's more like, "That did the job but I wish I would have found a better scene or held out just a little bit longer before I fired off the ol' rocket." I'm not going to tell you that every time you have sex with your wife it will be "the best ever" but if your sex life is healthy it should be satisfying. Why? Because it's more about intimacy versus a quick hit. Sex with my wife gives me a sense of appreciation from her that a computer screen can't ever offer. It is an incredible bonding experience physically, mentally and spiritually. Porn may be instant but the satisfaction it offers pales in comparison to the enjoyment I get from sex with my wife.
Second, porn offers no companionship. A healthy marital sex life not only gives spouses pleasure but it gives them a sense of companionship. When you get done with your porn what do you have? I mean besides some guilt, shame & a small mess to clean up. Porn doesn't ask you how your day was. It doesn't want or care to hear about what you think or feel. Porn will never come along side of you when facing hardship and say, "It's OK … we'll do this together." Porn quite frankly doesn't give a crap about you or your life; it's there whether you want it or not and the only thing it cares about is the money it generates. It may sound strange, but I'm very thankful that when I get older and less "viral" that I will still have an amazing companion who's also my lover. When you are 70 walking down the beach porn won't be there to hold your hand and see the sunset, your spouse will be. Porn may be easy but it doesn't offer anything lasting like loving companionship.
Third, porn is isolating while marital sex is a joint venture. Most people are social creatures by nature. We rather enjoy life’s moments with others instead of by ourselves. Would you rather go to a football game by yourself or with some friends that you can high five when your team scores (btw, why do we do that? It’s not like we had anything to do with it)? Hardly anyone says, “Hey I’m going to grab a beer after work … please don’t join me!” When we go out to eat it’s always better with someone even if it is our crazy uncle because at least we don’t have to sit at a table alone while the wait staff stares at us with puppy dog eyes because we look lonely and pathetic. Likewise, sex with your spouse is a shared experience. You are enjoying it with each other … not just by yourself. Porn however is not like this. You don’t hear guys saying, “Hey after work let’s all go back to my house, watch some porn and masturbate!” Porn is a very lonely and isolating experience. It’s just you, your computer, a bottle of lotion and some paper products. There is no shared enjoyment whatsoever; no conversation about how good the sex was and what you liked the best (unless you talk to your computer – that’s a whole different issue). Why settle for the isolation of a porn fueled masturbation session when you can experience sex with a spouse who’s mutually enjoying the experience? Again, porn may be quick and easy but it’s a solo venture.
These are just three reasons why healthy sex in the context of a committed and loving relationship trumps the instant gratification that comes with porn and masturbation. Maybe you don’t care about these things. Maybe you like it just being you in front of a computer screen with your pants around your ankles. That is your choice. However, I assure you that in the long run porn will never completely satisfy nor will it offer any long term benefits. It’s fast food sex that comes with no happy meal. You can do better!
This post was written by Carl Thomas. For the original post with comments, go to: http://www.xxxchurch.com/men/quote-quentin-crisp.html
BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
When it comes to Christians and newlywed sex, there are usually two extremes.
For some couples, they head toward the altar with the expectation that they will find themselves soon lost in ecstasy and passion—a reward from God for staying pure until marriage. For others, the idea of sex carries a lot of anxiety and fear—as he or she tries to figure out what messages of sex are “real” between the portrayal we see in culture, the Church’s teaching, and one’s future spouse’s expectations. To add to this, the reality is that 80 percent of unmarried Christians ages 18 to 29 have already had—or are having—sex, as reports indicate.
As with most extremes, there is some truth to these for some couples. However, the majority tend to find themselves somewhere in the middle.
This was the case for us personally as our first few times were a little awkward. Three days into our honeymoon we found ourselves in Barnes and Noble trying to find a book to help us figure things out in the bedroom. We’d read a number of Christian books about sex prior to getting married, and they were very helpful in terms of the theological and relational aspect of sex, but not so helpful on the supremely practical “how to” aspect—and more specifically, how to do it well and mutually enjoy it.
Our honeymoon was eight years ago now, and you might say we’ve learned a lot since then. But looking back to the very beginning, here are four things we think every couple should known before their wedding night:
1. Expect to be sexually incompatible at first. One of the common arguments used in favor of sleeping together outside of marriage is the importance of sexually compatibility. But in reality, compatibility isn’t something that can be tested out in a trial run. Rather it’s something that you build together through shared sexual experience.
Just like anything you want to get good at, sex takes practice. You don’t expect to just pick up a guitar for the first time and play Mumford & Sons covers, so why would you expect electrifying compatibility right off the bat?
Sexual incompatibility is a simple fact of every marriage when it first starts out (especially if you are both virgins), but all that really means is that you can now enjoy the process of learning with each other. That is the beauty a life-long commitment to marriage brings: lots of time to practice, practice, practice. And in this context, practice can actually be quite fun. The more you both learn about how your bodies’ work and what you both like, the better sex will be for both of you.
2. Take your time. Amidst the hormones and the excitement of your first time together, it is far better to go slow and take your time. For most women, it is normal for sex to be a little painful and uncomfortable at first. And this, for some, can change the pace of honeymoon intimacy. As great as some marriage books and pre-marital counseling can be, this is one of the reasons it’s good to also consult a gynecologist before the wedding. And a word for men—go slow and be understanding.
3. Your sex life will have ups and downs just like anything else. For every couple, it is normal to have ups and downs in your sex life. You will have some stretches when sex couldn't be better. You’ll have mutually satisfying, pure-fun sex—and you’ll have it multiple times a day. Then you’ll have some stretches where the rest of life has left you fried, and keeping things going in the bedroom will take some work.
Stress, work deadlines, housework, busy schedules, pregnancy, kids, financial issues, health issues and any other thing you can think of that is normal in life all affect our sex drives. When you hit a down period, rather than taking this as a sign of a waning relationship, take it as a sign you need to be more intentional. You might even “schedule” sex for a season. Very romantic. It might mean intentionally talking about what you both want or what you could try that is different or new. Or, in some cases it might mean seeing a counselor to work through some things that may be hindering things in the bedroom.
Expect to have both high spells and dry spells. When you do hit a rough patch, please know that you are not broken or weird because of it. And know that if you commit to working through it together, good things will likely be right around the corner.
4. Sex depicted in the movies leave some things out—including one very important thing we tend to overlook. When it comes to sex in the movies, there are lots of things that the writers leave out when putting together their scripts. Like when your sweater gets stuck over your head, or shoe laces become an impossible puzzle. Or the ever-romantic moment when you have to stop to think about birth control. Or how about when one of you is ready to go while the other just isn’t quite feeling in the mood.
With all of these off-script possibilities—some comical, some quite frustrating—learning how to laugh and not take things too personally is important for your sex life. And again, the more you practice, the less these fumbles will tend to happen.
But there’s another thing sex on the big screen will never show you. James Bond can get with another girl every night, and sure, it might seem like it’s amazing every time. But it will never be able to depict one thing—and that’s the indescribable depth of intimacy between a husband and wife. You may be able to capture the physical connection on the screen, but portraying the emotional and spiritual connection—the real, genuine thing—can't be conveyed in a movie.
Within a marriage though, there is nothing that compares with the level of intimacy, depth and power that sex has within a life-long committed relationship. In marriage, good sex is even more than just sex. It’s about cultivating the exclusive, deep connection you have together and enjoying the passion and fun that comes with figuring it all out along the way.This post is reprinted from Relevant Magazine. For the original post, go to: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/what-we-wish-we-knew-about-sex-we-were-marriedBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
This diagram is taken from the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project. It is often called The Duluth Model. Even though it is not blatantly from a Christian or other faith tradition, it offers much for how men, in particular Christian men, should view marriage. I encourage you to download the pdf for this diagram. Just click on the wheel and you will receive that file.
A messed up marriage is based on power and control. However, if you notice, a marvelous marriage is one of equality and respect. A Christian man will have a marriage that involves these eight factors:
1. Non-threatening behavior - your wife is comfortable in expressing herself
2. Respect - valuing your wife's opinion and being emotionally affirming
3. Trust & support - supporting your wife's goals
4. Honesty & accountability - communicating openly and truthfully to your wife
5. Responsible parenting - sharing parental responsibility
6. Shared responsibility - making family decisions together
7. Economic partnership - making financial decisions together
8. Negotiation & fairness - seeking mutually satisfactory compromises
What does the Bible say about marriage?
- Marriage should be honored
- God instituted and blessed marriage
- A man who loves his wife loves himself
- There is no fear in love
- If we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us
- Love is patient and kind
So, how does your marriage stack up to what the Bible says?
Do you honor your marriage?
Do you present a marital atmosphere of love and respect?
Are you patient and kind?
BE A MAN.
This diagram is taken from the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project. It is often called The Duluth Model. Even though it is not blatantly from a Christian or other faith tradition, it offers much for how men, in particular Christian men, should not view marriage. I encourage you to download the pdf for this diagram. Just click on the wheel and you will receive that file.
At the center of abusive relationships are POWER and CONTROL. Abusive people, especially abusive men, have a need, often without their conscious awareness, to be in control. When men try to control women, they resort to using power. They use power in these eight categories:
1. Intimidation - making your wife afraid of you
2. Emotional abuse - making your wife feel bad about herself
3. Isolation - limiting your wife's involvement with others
4. Minimizing, denying, blaming - not taking your wife's concerns seriously
5. Children - using your children to relay messages
6. Male privilege - acting like "master of the castle"
7. Economic abuse - making all the financial decisions
8. Coercion and threats - making threats
You may not be physically violent to your wife, but I invite you to consider the subtle ways in which you use power to control her. If you ask, God's Holy Spirit will reveal to you where your are doing so. Remember God doesn't use force.
What does the Bible say about power and control?
- God has always had power & authority
- All power and authority is given to Jesus
- God's power is best displayed when we are weak
- As Christians, we have authority to overcome all the power of the enemy
- God's divine power has given us everything we need for holiness
- Salvation, glory and power belong to God
- Self-control, not the control of others, is a sign of a fruitful Christian
How do you compare to what the Bible says about power and control?
Do you have a marriage that displays God's power or your own power?
Do you try to control others or do you exhibit self-control?
Tomorrow, we will be discussing what a TERRIFIC MARRIAGE looks like.
BE A MAN.
Men have within them this desire to always be looking for more. That could be one of the definitions of a TOURNAMENT MALE. Men have unusual abilities. For example, a room can be full of men, yet some will attempt to monopolize the only woman in the room.
Men will be talking, many of them with their backs to the door. A woman will enter the room and the men with their backs to the door will know, I don’t know how we know, but we know when a woman has entered the room. Maybe we pick up on the observations of the other men that saw her first. I don’t know how, but we men have this ability.
A few moments after the woman enters, men will do one and/or two things:
1) they will check her out, comparing her to their own wife or girlfriend, or if single, compare her with old girlfriends, and/or 2) they will approach her and start talking to her.
There will ALWAYS be more than one man who chooses option #2. Hence, the tournament is on…
Let me share with you my experience with being a TOURNAMENT MALE.
Before having been married for 10 years, we moved to Ecuador to counsel missionaries. I was excited being on the mission field with a young wife and two sons.
My office was in an English-speaking church in Quito. On one occasion, we had a group of about six high school girls visit us from America and the Pastor and I took them to the hospital in Shell Mera. We stopped at one very picturesque part of the Amazon Jungle where there was this waterfall that fed into the Amazon River. The Pastor and the most attractive girl took off down the trail (she had been sitting in the front with him and they had been carrying on quite a conversation) and I waited back at the van and walked the remaining girls down the trail. All the way down the trail, I was brooding. I was thinking to myself, “why does he get to take off all alone with the prettiest girl and I’m stuck with these five?” I was jealous and I was not very cordial on this trip after jealousy set in.
Sometime on the trip, I don’t know if it was at the hospital or on the trip back, I realized how stupid and selfish I was. A thought hit me, “You are such a lucky man. You have a wonderful, beautiful wife and two marvelous sons. Why in the world do you care about being alone with a high school girl?” Part of the answer was I was in a competition with the Pastor. Because he was with the prettiest girl, he was more of a man than I was (or so my ego wanted me to believe).
The TOURNAMENT MALE syndrome works that way. My ego was more important to me than anything. I got jealous.
When I got back to our apartment in Quito, after the boys were in bed, I told Karyn about this experience. I told her how I felt and what I discovered about myself. Karyn said, “yes, I’ve seen that about you and have been praying that God would talk to you about that.”
That just blew me away. My wonderful, patient, loving wife chose to let God speak to me about my TOURNAMENT MALE syndrome in His timing rather than confront me directly in her timing.
I tell you this story, passing on what I learned, hoping it will help you:
- It’s important to have someone in your life who is willing to pray for you
- It’s important to be honest with yourself, God and someone who loves you
- It’s important to listen to God’s Holy Spirit. He will lovingly confront you about things that need to change in your life.
Let God empower you to keep your ego in check.
Are you a TOURNAMENT MALE? Every man is. So, ask God to take you out of the tourney and put you into His hands where you can do what He wants and not be ruled by your jealousy and ego.
BE A MAN.
My thanks to Dr Don Joy for this concept of the Tournament Male