Posts tagged Christian Marriage
How Have You and Your Spouse Achieved Win-Win in Your Sexual Intimacy? (Part 1)

In the near future, I will be going deeper on the topic of sex in marriage for all of our Love and Respect friends. The title? Love and Respect (and Sex): Coming Together as Husband and Wife.
Interested in learning more? Would you like to add your stories to the content? Read on, and I’ll show you how.

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Love and Respect in the Face of Male and Female Differences

Based on scripture’s command in Ephesians 5:33 for the husband to love his wife and for the wife to respect her husband, Sarah and I have found two challenges. One, to follow this command unconditionally means we are to love and respect each other even during our male and female differences.

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Does Unconditional Respect Equal Becoming a Doormat?

One of the questions I hear the most is some variation of, “Are you telling me I have to unconditionally respect my husband’s bad behavior and become a door mat?   Everyone knows respect must be earned!
Interestingly, in our culture we don’t have a problem understanding unconditional love… in fact, we see unconditional love as the right of every human being. Imagine expecting our children to “earn” our love!  We would disapprove of such parenting.  Most of us have no problem separating the person from their behavior when it comes to love.  Love the person, hate the sin.  Right?

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Love and Respect in the Face of Male and Female Differences

Based on scripture’s command in Ephesians 5:33 for the husband to love his wife and for the wife to respect her husband, Sarah and I have found two challenges. One, to follow this command unconditionally means we are to love and respect each other even during our male and female differences.

Two, not only are we to love each other when these male and female differences between us are highlighted, but we are to also love and respect these male and female differences themselves as part of God's beautiful design.

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His Need for Sexual Intimacy—Not Wrong, Just Different

If there were ever an issue that isn’t really the issue, it is sex. But boy can it become an issue, can’t it? And yet, it’s rarely, if ever, the issue. Allow me to explain. Sex is a shared act, between husband and wife, as an expression of love to each other. God created sex not only as the means for multiplication but as a gift of pleasure to enjoy within the boundaries of marriage. Sex was meant to be a wonderful experience for both husband and wife.

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His Responsibility Scale and Her Relationship Scale

A wife emails, "We began to have our usual discussion about his mom when the subject of priorities came up. This time it was linked to how each of us prioritized life. In short, he prioritizes on a scale of several things: task at hand, commitments, immediacy or emergency, etc. I prioritize based on relationships: a pecking order or hierarchy. This seemed odd to him, as his way seemed odd to me. But the more we talked, the more I thought this might be an instance of "pink" versus "blue"—neither one is wrong, just different.”

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Stereotypical Gender Differences, or a Ring of Truth?

Let’s say you and your spouse were faced with an unexpected expenditure that needed to be paid, like a $5,000 car expense due to a major problem with the engine. This expense overwhelmed and shocked both of you, becoming a problem you had to deal with together, as the two of you decided long ago that decisions on major expenses would best be handled together.

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Does Galatians 3:28 Do Away with Male and Female Distinctions?

In Galatians 3:28, Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Does this word from the apostle do away with male and female differences, such as those that for years I have distinguished as “pink and blue” and “not wrong, just different”? After all, Paul said there is neither male nor female. What else could he have meant, some have asked, if not that there are no distinctions between male and female?

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A Wife Finally Understands Why Her Husband Kept Misinterpreting Her

I was once talking with another man about his marriage, and he shared with me that whenever he and his wife would get into a fight, she would get “historical.” Curious at his choice of words, I asked him if he meant “hysterical.” He replied, “No, historical. She keeps dredging everything up from the past.”

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Love and Respect Is a Daily Practice, Not a One-Time Fix

One day I received the following message from a husband that encouraged me greatly, as do so many letters I receive from people who have discovered the Love and respect message: The reason we came to the conference was because my pastor found out that I had filed for divorce. And he asked if I would go see you. I was so bitter at this point, I told my pastor that I would apply it in my next marriage. He said, “Okay, I'll pay for the weekend. Just go!” And I really thought nothing you would say could change my mind. It was the most eye-opening weekend of my life. [My wife] and I both wanted the divorce but we really had no good reason, just unhappy. Your conference turned on all kinds of light bulbs for both of us. And it saved our marriage. Emerson, God is using you in a big way. I just wanted to say thank you.

If only this couple had taken to heart Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians 10:12, which says, “let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”

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How Do You Define “Healthy” When It Comes to Relationships?

Have you ever noticed how people seem to have different interpretations of or responses to the word “healthy” as they apply it to different things? Every parent loves to hear the news of their “healthy” baby just born and laid in their arms. But they are certainly under no illusion that their child will never be sick. Yes, their “healthy” child will more than likely even end back up in a hospital again one day from being so sick. Or a “healthy” savings account or 401(k) always lights up the eyes of a hard worker longing for the days of vacation, home renovation, or retirement. But as most people have learned in today’s roller coaster market, there is no guarantee that tomorrow’s balance will be quite as “healthy.” But does that mean we pull all our money out and stash it under our mattress? No, we leave it alone, with faith that the days ahead will once again be “healthy.” And of course they usually are.

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He’s a Problem-Solver, She’s an Empathy-Giver—Neither Wrong, Just Different

Have you noticed that everyday problems and burdens cannot typically be shared, discussed, and dealt with between you and your spouse in the same way that you have handled similar situations all your life with your same-sex friends or siblings? For example, a wife comes to her husband with a problem she faces. His first instinct is to try and solve her problem, just as he would with another man who comes to him with a problem. He kicks into solution mode. Most men operate analytically. This is the way he helps his guy friends, who probably say something to him in response like, “I should have come to you weeks ago. Thanks.” They truly appreciate his recommended solution.

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Why does the Crazy Cycle Happen? Speculation versus Facts

Why does the Crazy Cycle happen? Oftentimes, it is because either one or both marriage partners are letting speculation drive their responses instead of facts. I recall a commercial wherein a wife is informed that her husband is flirting with a woman at the jewelry store. The scene moves forward with the wife coming down the street toward the jewelry store with a rolling pin in hand and a growing crowd marching behind to watch her catch him red-handed. As she enters the store, she observes her smiling husband purchasing a diamond for her. The other female is the clerk behind the counter. This husband was innocent, but the warring wife did not have the facts. Sketchy or misconstrued information is dangerous.

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Are You Not In Love with Your Husband or Have You Stopped Loving God?

There’s a stand-out moment in the Old Testament story of Job that almost definitely has caught the eye of every married person who has read it. In Job 2:9, Job’s wife tells him to “Curse God and die.” Curse God and die? What awful thing had Job done to her? Infidelity? Physical abuse? Verbal assault?

No. None of these or anything else like it. Her condemning anger toward her husband was in response to all the horrific things that God had allowed Satan to do to their family—including loss of children, destruction of property, and excruciating boils covering her husband from head to toe.

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Whatever Happened, You Can Still Move Forward as a Love and Respect Team

Have you ever meditated on 1 Corinthians 7:11, which says, ". . . (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife"? What's the backstory to this verse? Paul does not mention adultery or abandonment in this text—the two traditional justifications for biblical divorce—so it is safe to infer that biblical grounds for divorce are not in play here. He simply says that the husband is not to divorce and the wife should not marry someone else in the event that she leaves her husband.

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Are You Mistaking a Crazy Cycle for a Crazy Train?

The Crazy Cycle, as explained in my book Love & Respect, says, “Without love she reacts without respect. Without respect he reacts without love.” If neither husband nor wife is mature and calm enough to recognize this cycle and to step off in order to slow it down, it will only strengthen and keep on spinning. Unfortunately, many couples when in conflict do not recognize that they have stepped onto the Crazy Cycle and nothing begins to simmer down until one of them, typically the husband, storms off and withdraws from the fight, with the attitude to simply “live to fight another day.”

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