True Intimacy

S. Christian & Tamar Knochel’s first book

Day 24: Weapon



Psalms 9:1-16:11

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.


For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.  So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things, see how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!  And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. James 3:4-6

 

You know the old adage; “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all”?  I think that applies here in marriage most of all.  Our words hold such power and we don’t even realize it.  Our words have the power to cut our husbands to the quick, or pull them up from a pit of despair.  Our words are power-filled, and must therefore be carefully guarded.  When I looked up “words”, “mouth” & “tongue” in a bible search engine I was amazed at how many scriptures deal with what comes out of our mouths.  God is a man of few words, so when He says something once in the bible, you listen.  If he says it twice, then it must be very important.  If he says it 856 times, well, you listen, obey, and then listen some more!

Our tongues are the greatest weapon of mass destruction; they are like a nuclear bomb in a marriage.  And just like a bomb, if not guarded carefully they can be dropped and decimate our precious husband.  Our words can go two ways, they can build up, or they can tear down.  And just because your husband (or friend, or brother or neighbor or stranger) acts in a way deserving of harsh words, it does not give you permission to cut them down with the sword of your tongue!

There’s a public service announcement where a mom is buckling her baby into its car seat, all nice and secure.  Then the mom gets into the car, and locks the doors, and lights a cigarette.  That baby is locked into that position of being forced to breathe that cigarette smoke and damage its lungs.  Our negative words do the same thing to the people around us.  They are like a thick black smoke.  As the negative words pour out of our mouths the black smoke billows and fills the room.  And the people around us are forced to breathe it in simply because they are near enough to hear.  This smoke poisons your entire being with negative attitudes and thoughts.  So the next time you’re driving with your kids in the car and you’re tempted to swear, or even speak harshly at the driver that just cut you off, remember, HE can’t hear you, but your kids can.  He will not be affected by the black negative attitude smoke coming out of your mouth, but you and your children will be.  The things that we think about are “stored up” in our hearts.  (Remember Luke 6:45? The good man [or woman] out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.)  Therefore the things that we think about are also coming out of our mouths as well.  Before the fast I was constantly complaining to my friends about how horrible my husband was, I was constantly thinking about how horrible he was.  Then when he came home, I’d start talking to him and treating him like a horrible husband.  On the other hand, once I decided that I needed to change my attitude I started telling my friends how wonderful my husband is, and then I was thinking about all the great things that he does for me and how much he loves me.  Now, when he gets home, I of course start talking to him and treating him like he is a wonderful husband.  In the beginning, I was fighting momentum and it WAS NOT EASY.  But I didn’t give up!  Turning your weapon of mass destruction into a tool for building is possible.

The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3)
Speaking rashly to your husband could just manage to push him down farther and you with him.  With [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing.  My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. (James 3:9-11)14
Praise can flow from our lips like fresh water from a mountain spring.  Your husband was made in God’s image, just as you were, praise him too.  A man’s character is what matters most; both to his wife and to the man himself.  Women marry men for their character.  Men see themselves by their character.  If you really want to praise your man, praise his character.  NEVER insult his character.

Christian’s comments:

 

It’s dangerous to walk around with a loaded weapon, especially if it’s in your mouth! Make sure that your tongue doesn’t have a hair-trigger. Be quick to think, but slow to speak.

Throughout our relationship, I’ve often told Tamar to think before she speaks. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t mean to say hurtful things to other people; it just comes across that way sometimes. We are ALL guilty of doing this. We start speaking before the entire thought is formed in our mind.

Accidentally saying harsh words occasionally can be hurtful to others for a short time. Purposefully saying harsh words often can be hurtful to others for a lifetime. The words don’t even have to be directed at someone to be harmful to them. If my son hears me constantly berating Tamar, how is he going to speak to his own wife? If the child’s father (or mother) is constantly complaining and swearing, that is all the child is going to know.

So, in essence, I guess what I’m suggesting is, speak only good, helpful things to build each other up, or keep your big mouth shut.

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, True Intimacy, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Day 23: Mirror


Psalms 1:1-8:9

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.

For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

Moreover, he made the laver [or basin] of bronze, from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.  Exodus 38:8

The basin of washing, or laver of bronze depending on your translation, was made from the mirrors of the women.  This means that every time the priests washed themselves so that they could enter the presence of the LORD in the temple they saw their reflection in the mirrored bottom of the basin.  God still uses this technique on us today.  He calls us to look at ourselves and our actions and face the fact that we are not perfect but sinful beings in need of His help.  Then we get to move on into a closer and more intimate relationship with Him.  Today, He is holding the mirror before your face.  What do you see?

The mirror: Fold a piece of paper in half so that it looks like a hot dog bun (the preschool teacher in me just came out).  Now keeping the paper folded, on the first side write down everything that your husband does that just drives you mad.  Once you’ve finished your list, open up the paper and on the second column write your reactions to each of those things.  For example:

The Mirror:

What he does that drives me crazy:

My reaction to that:

1) He leaves his dirty dishes in the living room.

I yell at him for being lazy and making me do all the work around the house.

Next, fold the paper back up and look only at column two.  Read down the list of your reactions.  This is what you look like to your husband.  This is what he sees.

I had a couple of nights in a row where Christian came home very very late on school nights, I was sitting at my desk writing and just fuming because he wasn’t home yet, and God said to me, “Tamar, why would he want to come home to this?  Why would he WANT to rush home to you being cold and mad at him?”  The first night God said this to me, I didn’t care, I was mad and I was going to let Christian know it.  On the second night, it made me think, “why WOULD he want to come home to that?  I wouldn’t.”  In Proverbs 20:11 it says “It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself if his conduct is pure and right.” We are known by our actions, what are your reactions saying about you?

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, True Intimacy, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Day 22: Pot and Kettle


Proverbs 30:1-31:31

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.

For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” and behold, the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

 

To translate this passage into modern lingo, Jesus was basically saying “it’s like the pot calling the kettle black”.  I believe that it is simply human nature to be able to see the flaws in other people before we see the flaws in ourselves, especially if it’s the exact same flaw.  It’s so much easier to see the speck in someone else’s eye isn’t it?  But for shame if they point out the log in ours!  In marriage we have to be especially careful of this, I mean you are living with the person after all.  You get to see ALL their flaws that way!  In his letter to the Philippians, Paul says to Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Have the attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:3-5  In this verse Paul is telling us we are to do nothing out of selfish ambition and to put the interests of others before our own.  It’s too easy to get so focused on what we’re doing that we forget all about our husband’s needs and interests.  And that is what was happening in my marriage.  I was so focused on me and how mad I was at Christian that it was all I could see.  I was so focused on the speck in his eye and trying to “help” him take it out that I never noticed the log in my own eye!  Then one night God held up a mirror for me to see myself.  “Hey look!  There’s a log in my eye!  When did that get there?”

I have an activity that I’d like for you to do.  This was a complete turning point for me and I’m praying that it will do the same thing for you as well.  You’ll need a couple of pieces of lined paper and a pen.

Dream husband (from Dannah Gresh’s book And the Bride Wore White: 7 Secrets to Sexual Purity): Now, this one is really fun.  Make a list of everything your dream husband would be.  What would he look like?  How would he dress?  What personality traits would he have?  Is he funny?  Is he witty?  What would his goals be?  Does he want to run a marathon?  Or maybe write a book?  Be detailed in your descriptions.  Don’t just say, he’s funny, say why he’s funny.

Now look at your list, how many of those qualities does your husband already possess?  If you’re like me, he has the majority of them.  By the time I got down to the end of my list I realized I already HAD my perfect husband.  No he wasn’t actively doing all the things on my list but he had, at least in the past, done all of them!  And, no, he wasn’t perfect, but he was the perfect husband for me, and I found that I still loved him.  And after this activity, I decided to start liking him again too.

That’s also when I realized that it’s not my job to change my husband.  That’s a job only God can do.  However, God could (and did) use me to change my husband.  He used me, by changing me.  In Luke 6:27-31 it says:

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.  Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.  Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.”

You see, it’s in those moments when we’re being un-loveable, that we need our husband’s love the most.  Don’t return harsh words with harsh words, return them with love.  No, it’s not easy, but it’s worth it because when you act out in love instead of anger, or hurt, the negative cycle is broken and a new cycle of love is started.

God loved US first.  God’s love is perfect, never-ending, never goes away and never dies.  If we don’t know that kind of love how can we give that kind of love to our husbands?  When we mess us, and I mean really mess up big, God never, not for a second, stops loving us.  Never.  So when our husbands mess up, we can’t stop loving them, not for a second.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails; (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

To love your husband means you are patient when he is late.  You are kind when all you want to do is be mean (which, for me at least, is extremely hard to do).  You don’t envy or boast.  Don’t be conceited or act rudely.  Don’t be a selfish pig (another of my faults), life is not all about you.  Don’t be provoked into a fight, don’t keep a record (written or in your head) of all the things he’s done wrong.  To love your husband means to take no joy in ungodly things, but rejoice in the truth!  If your husband has done something against you (adultery for instance, as in my case) and he tells you about it, REJOICE IN THE TRUTH!  Bear all things, he’s human, not God, bear with him.  Believe in your husband, hope in him, endure him, but most of all NEVER GIVE UP ON HIM.

No matter how you’re feeling about your husband right now, deep down you still love him don’t you.  In fact, usually, if you’re mad at him it’s because you still love him.  If you didn’t have love for him anymore you wouldn’t care anymore and would have no reason to be mad.  One night we had a fire in the backyard with the kids.  When it was time for us to go inside for the night there were no flames left in the fire, only a few embers.  We wanted to make sure that it was completely out before we went in, so I got a gallon and a half of water and poured it on the embers.  While the flames were long gone from the fire, there was still enough heat in those few little embers that it boiled the water, created steam and a lot of cool popping noises.  Plus, it took the whole gallon and a half to put them out!  Don’t give up, while there may not be any flames right now, there are most likely at least a few embers and so, there’s still hope!

You see change has got to start somewhere; the cycle’s got to break.  If you want your marriage and sex life to change, then YOU’VE got to be the one to change, not him.  You’ll be amazed at the difference a little attitude adjustment will do for your sex life!  One last Proverb and then I’ll go for the day.  “The crucible is for silver and the furnace for gold, and each is tested by the praise accorded him.” (27:21)  The true test of how good of a wife we are comes from the praise we receive from our husbands.  Is your husband praising you?  I know mine wasn’t praising me, because I wasn’t earning it.

Christian’s comments:

 

OK, husbands, I want you to stand up. Go ahead. Now, clear your throat and say “I am a selfish pig”. Did you do it? I just did.  OK, go ahead and sit down before people start to stare at you.

I believe it is human nature to put ourselves first. The reason I was coming home late wasn’t (entirely) because I didn’t want to be around my wife, I was out late doing what I wanted to do. After I realized what I was doing and how it was affecting my marriage, I changed. I try to put my wife first (especially in the bedroom, if you know what I mean). If you start putting her first, she will start putting you first and your marriage (and sex) will be amazing!

In Tamar’s second to last paragraph above, she stated that change needed to start with the wives. This isn’t just up to them, though, guys. YOU have to be willing to change too. YOU can be the one to start the change. You can’t expect your marriage to get better if you keep doing the same stupid things after your wife has changed.

I’d like to put a little twist on Tamar’s activity: the shopping list. I would like you to make a shopping list for your perfect wife. I’m not going to suggest any questions, but I would like you to come up with at least five, but no more than ten. Go ahead and take a minute right now to make your list.

Done? Good. This may shock you, but I’m not interested in your answers. I’m interested in your questions. More precisely, what you were thinking about while you were writing them. I’m willing to bet, that when you were writing most, if not all, of your questions, you were thinking about your wife, i.e., if you asked about what color her hair would be, you thought about your wife’s hair. That’s what happened when I made my list. Interesting, isn’t it?

Categories: 365 Life, Proverbs, Season 3, True Intimacy, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Day 21: Threesome


Proverbs 26:1-29:27

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.


For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

O Magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:3

 

Contrary to what Hollywood is telling us, the Best most intimate sex is not only about the physical connection between two people; it’s a spiritual and emotional connection as well.  Sex connects your souls creating a bond that grows deeper and stronger and better the older that it gets.  Once you have protected yourselves, by taking away the option of divorce, you are free to bare your souls more fully with one another.  By sharing yourselves completely you are only then able to truly make the soul connection that we as human beings were created to have with our spouses.

Two heads are better than one.  As a couple you can do more, be more, love more, and help more; you literally complete each other.  You can lean on each other when you get tired, cheer each other up when you get sad, tend to each other when you get sick, warm each other when you get cold, defend each other when you get attacked, and love each other in spite of your differences.  Alone you are left, tired with no one to lean on, sad with no one to cheer you up, sick with no one to nurse you, cold with no one to warm you, attacked with no one to defend you. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says:

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?  And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him.  A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”

I think the principles from this scripture are perfectly illustrated by the following story.  There once was a father with two bickering sons.  One day, tired of their constant fighting the father gave each of his sons 2 sticks and first instructed them to attempt to break one of them in half; which they each accomplished with ease.  The father replied, “When you bicker and fight you stand alone and are easily broken.”  He then told them to hand him their 2nd sticks and he bundled them together along with his own stick and tied them with a cord.  He handed his oldest son the bundle and told him to try to break it.  He couldn’t do it.  Looking to his sons he said, “When you set aside your differences and work together you are like this bundle of sticks.  When we are tied together as one united group it’s next to impossible to break.”

In these verses from Ecclesiastes it talks about all the ways that two are better than one, and then at the end the number changes from two, to a cord of three strands.  This is a poetic device to draw attention to something.  It makes the reader ask, what’s the third thing?  A man and woman are better together than being alone.  However, we are not yet made complete until the third element is added.  God completes the cord of three strands.

Marriage was originally created to be threefold; God, a husband and a wife, 3 crucial parts to one cord.  If you take any one of those elements out of the marriage you weaken the entire unit.  Just like the sticks in the story, by themselves they are brittle and easily broken, but tied together with the bonds of love they become strong; an unstoppable force.  When we as a society try to re-define God’s original definition of the threefold picture of marriage we not only weaken those marriages themselves but also the society in which they exist.  Every society is built on the strength of the family unit.  When those units begin to break apart the society breaks apart right along with them.

Now, I’m going to say something that may be slightly shocking to some people, so prepare yourselves.  I am going to propose that you invite God, not just into your marriage, but into your bedroom as well.  I know, the thought of it is a little strange, but when you stop to think about it, He invented sex, He’s seen you naked, so what’s so different about acknowledging the fact that He’s there with you and that He *gasp!* approves of what you’re doing. I could go more into detail on this, but I don’t want to get anyone too excited, we’ve still got 12 more days of fasting after all.  So we’ll talk about this more later, at the end of the book.

Christian’s comments:

 

A triangle is the strongest shape. Husbands, if you are a gear-head like me, you probably watch auto racing. More specifically, stock car racing. If you have watched as much as I have, there’s no doubt that you have noticed the roll cages inside the racecars. They are made up of a whole bunch of triangles. They are built with the strength of triangles to withstand damage from huge crashes.

I’ve also watched a lot of off-road truck racing. The chassis of the trucks are basically a big triangle; strengthened with smaller triangles built into them. They are built this way to withstand the constant beatings the trucks take during races.

When I build a demolition derby car, I build as many triangles into the safety cage as possible. That way, my car can withstand the constant “attacks” from my “enemies” on the track. (For anyone that doesn’t know what a demolition derby is, imagine bumper cars with real vehicles.)

 
 

You build a triangle when you have God in your marriage. With the three (God, husband, and wife) working together, your marriage can stand up to any big crashes, beatings, and attacks that come along.

Categories: 365 Life, Proverbs, Season 3, True Intimacy | Leave a comment

Day 20: Divorce


Proverbs 22:17-25:28

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.


For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

To the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (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.  1 Corinthians 7:10-11

 

There are two kinds of marriages, Covenant marriages and Contract marriages.  To dig a little deeper I’d like to compare the two kinds of marriages so that you can see what they both are and possibly determine which kind of marriage you have.

*  A Covenant Marriage is based on love and the law.  It assumes that the relationship is “till death do us part”.  The husband and wife each have a “What’s mine is yours” and “Your interests are my interests” attitude.  A Covenant marriage prepares for a life together because they are no longer two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. Matthew 19:6

*  A Contract Marriage is motivated by commitment and compulsion.  It prepares for the marriage to fail and each spouse protects what is “theirs”.  In a contract marriage the interests of the other spouse are not taken into account as often as “my interests” are.  Contract marriages prepare for life apart because couples seeking contractual agreements seem to expect that someone or something will separate what God has joined.8

Believe me, Christian and I are living proof of this!  We have always been believers and we got married “till death do us part”, but still… in the back of my head there was always that option of divorce.  And when things started getting difficult after our daughter was born, I blamed the strife on her.  Well, not her really but having a new baby in the house and the stress of all that.  But then after her 1st birthday she couldn’t be the excuse anymore and that’s when I really started questioning what was going on.  Christian started staying away from home more and more, and I started being…well… a word that starts with a “B” that I can’t really say because it’s not polite.  The idea of divorce was becoming more and more appealing to me.  While I didn’t want to leave him, I didn’t want to continue living the way that we were; distant, cold, unloving.  There came a night where I went to him and told him that I was extremely unhappy and if I wasn’t such a Godly woman I would have divorced him already.  Deep down I didn’t REALLY mean it, but I said it all the same and then it was out there, the D-word.  If I remember correctly, this conversation occurred around day 17 in our own fast.  I was high as a kite flying with God, but down on earth with Christian I was angry, and hurt, and cold, distant, mean and just plain old fed up with him!  The next morning, after our conversation, God took me by the shoulders and shook some sense into me.  He gave me scripture after scripture after scripture about how HE felt about divorce… He doesn’t like it.9

I think that Andrew Trees in his book “Decoding Love” summed up our societies view on marriage so aptly when he talks of how people “engage in slow-motion polygamy by engaging in serial monogamy”.10 While hearing it called “slow-motion polygamy” is somewhat shocking, I heartily agree with him!  It is exactly what we’re doing.  God created humans to mate with ONE person for LIFE, not one person at a time for life.

Joe Beam, a pastor who does marriage seminars, shares his story of his separation and reunion with his wife:

“We got married a second time.  It was just the right thing to do.  We did not love each other, but we learned how to be in love with each other and now she’s my best friend.  I pray every day, Lord, let me die first.  I wanna get old with her and sit on the front porch.  No matter how bad a marriage is you do not want to die alone.  So if there’s something in the way, the Xbox, a job, pornography, get rid of it.  Make each other your focus.  Please, please.  You can do that.”11

I am going to join Mr. Beam in his plea, PLEASE PLEASE, DON’T GIVE UP!  Your marriage may not be perfect, no marriage is, but it’s better than divorce and it’s much better than being alone.  Nothing is impossible with God12, even an impossible marriage.

Christian’s comments:

 

We all know someone who has gone through “The big D”. With the divorce rate as high as 35.25% in first marriages and 40.5% in second marriages13 how could you not?

I want to give you a little family history. Tamar and I were married for two years before we had our son. All four of his grandparents are still alive, AND still married to their original spouses. When he was born, all eight of his great-grandparents were still alive AND still married to THEIR original spouses as well. Pretty cool, huh.

As you can see, our families are serious about marriage. Are they all perfect marriages? Of course not. But we all work on them to fix whatever problems we encounter. Can all marriages be fixed? I don’t know. I would like to think that they can. The key, I believe, is that both sides have to be willing to work on it. One half can’t just sit back and expect the other to fix it. It took both of you to get married. It will take both of you to stay married.

Categories: 365 Life, Proverbs, Season 3, True Intimacy | Leave a comment

Day 19: Oxytocin


Proverbs 18:1-22:16

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.


For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

The woman of folly is boisterous, She is naïve and knows nothing.  She sits at the doorway of her house, on a seat by the high places of the city.  Calling to those who pass by, who are making their paths straight; “Whoever is naïve, let him turn in here,” And to him who lacks understanding she says “Stolen water is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”  But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol. Proverbs 9:13-18

 

Our God, creator of the universe, has made such an amazing masterpiece in the human body.  The more I learn about the science of sex and the human body, the more profoundly amazed I become with its creator!  Something that really amazes me is our hormones.  (Yes ladies, those things we blame for our monthly grumpies – our hormones.)  The way that He created them to ever so carefully balance with one another and run just about everything in our bodies, it’s truly the work of a genius!  Particularly fascinating to me is the way God created us for sexual intimacy.  He created this cute little molecule called “oxytocin”.  Pronounced “oxy -toe-sin”, and is commonly referred to as the bonding hormone.  Every time we touch, even non-sexually, oxytocin floods into our bloodstream, the more we touch, the more oxytocin is released.  Just imagine how much oxytocin is involved when you spend 30+ minutes touching someone with the most intimate parts of your naked body!  Am I blushing?  Woo!  Anyway!  The more oxytocin that is produced the tighter, stronger, and more intimate the bond becomes between those two people.  Now imagine, if you will, that each time a couple has sex they are literally pouring oxytocin super glue (remember proskollao from Day 11?) between themselves; connecting physically, spiritually, and emotionally to one another … permanently.  The more “oxy-glue” there is between them, the tighter, stronger, and more intimate their bond.

In his book “Sex on the Brain“, Dr. Amen explains some fascinating sex research.  In a study of married couples, the husbands were treated medically for impotence problems.  As the husbands’ sexual health improved, the wives also experienced marked health benefits, although they themselves were not being medicated.7 God created us to work in a way that as husband and wife we are so completely connected with one another that when one of us experiences improvement in our sexual health the other spouse improves as well!  “and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Mark 10:8 – proskollao) It’s just AMAZING!

However, on the flip-side of healing and health there can also be damage and destruction.  If we have committed, or are committing, sexual immorality we are not only damaging ourselves but also our spouses (whether they know about it or not).  Sexual immorality may be sweet at the time but ALWAYS leads to disaster – eventually.  Things done in secret can be “delicious” at the time, but usually end up bitter.  Proverbs 20:17 says “Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.” Adultery, pre-marital sex, pornography and self-pleasuring may be sweet in the moment, but in the end it turns to gravel, injuring your mouth and lying in your stomach like lead.  You can say “I’ve done nothing wrong” but in your heart, you know the truth.  (Proverbs 30:20)

OK, confession time for me, I was the woman folly; naïve and without knowledge.  From the time I was in upper elementary school I would self-pleasure.  It started out as simple exploration of my body, but very quickly became more.  My curiosity became my personal shame.  I didn’t know that it could harm me in ANY way, and to my knowledge, no one ever told me otherwise.  Some people say there should be no shame, and originally I agreed with them… because I was doing it and didn’t want to feel guilty anymore.  But now, because of my life experiences, I heartily disagree.  There’s a reason we feel dirty and ashamed afterward, because God planned and created something so
much better for us, SEX with our HUSBANDS!  Now, self-pleasuring is a heavily debated subject, so, agree with me or not it’s completely up to you, but here’s my take on it.

When I was in high school I was on the dance team.  We would do the same routine over and over and over until we could perform that dance without ever really thinking about what we were doing.  We were training our bodies, our muscles, to perform a series of precise movements without any or little conscious thought.  (That’s called “muscle memory”.)  I will never forget one particular dance routine we did.  We all were supposed to jump and do a split in the air where we touch our toes (AKA a “toe touch”).  Every time I practiced that routine I was lazy and did a fake toe touch.  I would leave one leg on the ground and kick the other leg into the air, no jumping.  And every time I told myself, “this is just practice it doesn’t really matter if I don’t do the routine full-out.  I’ll do the REAL toe touch when we perform.”  After dancing that routine the wrong way at least 3 times a day for over 2 weeks, guess what happened the night of the performance?  Yup.  I TOTALLY screwed it up.  And not just by doing the fake toe touch either, that might not have been that bad.  Oh no!  Halfway through the fake toe touch my brain kicked back in and I suddenly remembered “THIS IS THE TOE TOUCH!  DO IT THIS TIME!”, but it was too late and I nearly fell on my face in front of the whole school!  I had so completely trained my body to do the wrong thing in practice, that when it came time to perform it, even though my brain told my body what to do, my body still did what it had done over and over in practice.

Self-pleasuring trains your body to respond to a specific stimulus.  When I would self-pleasure, I could achieve sexual release within probably a minute flat.  But when Christian would do it for me it took FOREVER… if I ever “got there” at all.  I can stand here and say from a lot of personal experience that when I “practiced” one way over and over again by myself, and then went out to “perform” with my husband, my body just couldn’t respond to him as quickly or sometimes at all because it was confused!  My brain was in there yelling “THIS IS IT!  DO IT!” but my body just couldn’t because through years of “practicing” by myself, I had trained it not to.

This was a big problem for Christian and me.  While I had suspicions about his porn and masturbation issues, and they bothered me a little, I had no idea how dramatically it all was affecting us and just how much it really bothered me!  I cannot begin to tell you how HUGE of a break-through this was for BOTH of us!  We had both wondered why we weren’t having very much sex… duh… we had BOTH been having sex with ourselves!  God created in all of us a sexual appetite.  By feeding that sexual appetite with the “junk food” of sexual immorality we ruined our appetite (and ability) for the real thing!  Once we stopped self-pleasuring, WOW!!! It’s all I can say!  I strongly believe that God created sex, partially, to “oxy-glue” a husband and a wife together for life.  And let me tell you from experience the oxytocin “buzz” and bond that you get from pleasuring only each other and not yourselves is amazing!  So.  Agree with me or not I highly recommend that you, at least during the rest of this fast, fight the temptation to “practice” by yourself.  By abstaining from ALL sexual contact from each other and yourselves, you should be able to, at least somewhat, reset your muscle memory so that your new “first time” together can be even MORE amazing than you EVER thought possible!

In 1 Corinthians Paul gives us some hope and confidence to withstand the temptation.  He says in chapter 10 verse 13, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” We will be tempted.  Paul doesn’t say if he says “When you are tempted“.  But God promises us that He will provide a way out of those temptations.  He gives us an emergency exit, every time.  All we have to do is make the choice to take it.

Christian’s comments:

 

Super glue is great, isn’t it? There is nothing better to bond and hold two things together. The problem is what if those two things are taken apart from each other? It usually isn’t a pretty picture. It may be possible to take the two pieces apart, but usually there are small bits of one piece still stuck to the other piece, and vice versa. It is impossible to remove them all.

The oxytocin that is produced when you have sex with multiple partners creates a bond like super glue. You take a little bit of every person you have had sex with along with you, and they take a little bit of you along with them. Those little bits taint future relationships for everyone involved.

By touching ourselves instead of each other, we deprive ourselves and our spouses of that extra oxytocin. We also deprive ourselves and our spouses of the more intimate bond that it creates between a husband and wife. Oxytocin can create euphoria between a husband and wife before, during, and after love-making. When we “take matters into our own hands”, we screw that up! Our bodies get confused and don’t know what to do. I believe that eventually, our bodies don’t produce as much of the hormone during lovemaking, so we lose some of the euphoria. I also feel that self pleasuring produces so little oxytocin, that we feel dirty and gross afterwards.

Towards the end of our second thirty-day fast (which actually came out to around 47 days), I wrote a letter to Tamar. Here is a section of that letter.

To start, I owe you a HUGE apology. I never realized how much my masturbating was affecting me. I didn’t realize how much it was affecting how I felt (both physically AND mentally), and how much it was hurting our relationship. If the last few weeks are any indication of how I feel without masturbation, I’m looking forward to Valentine’s Day even more! I didn’t think it was affecting me that much! Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed sex with you, and I still desired you, but I didn’t feel any urgency. If we didn’t have sex, it was not that big of a deal. I could either wait until the next night, or take care of things myself. I am REALLY starting to feel the urgency now!

As you can see, I didn’t know how badly I was hurting our marriage by masturbating. I thought I was helping it! I had trained my body to one type of stimulation, just as Tamar had. I got myself so accustomed to masturbation, that when it came down to the real thing, I wasn’t able to perform very long. My solution? Masturbate more!

If I knew we were going to have sex that night, I would masturbate in the afternoon. I would do it so I would last longer during sex. Sometimes it would work, sometimes, not so much. Now don’t get me wrong here. I didn’t only do it just so I could enjoy sex longer, I wanted to satisfy Tamar too. I would feel like a failure as a lover if I didn’t last very long. The problem was; I was stuck in a vicious cycle. I would masturbate to last longer during sex, but my muscle memory was working against me.

In doing research for this book, I have learned that there are experts that recommend masturbation to improve your sex life. Some also recommend having an affair. And these people are considered experts. EXPERTS! I can tell you from personal experience; IT DOESN’T WORK!!! It’s counterproductive. When you do have sex with your spouse and makes it more difficult to reach that euphoria state that makes you want to stand up and shout “HALLELUJAH!”

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Day 18: Gold


Proverbs 14:1-17:28

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.

For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 1:6-7

 

Take a break from reading today.  Go outside, if you are able, and spend some time in prayer.  To God your faith and your time with Him are more precious than gold.  Today, be still and know that HE is God.  Get alone and silent and spend time with Him in prayer.  Talk about the things that you trust Him for… and especially the things you don’t and why!  Most of all breathe!  You’re over halfway through!  You can do this my friend!  We’re praying for you!

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Day 17: Pearl



Proverbs 9:13-13:25

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.


For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from the joy over it he goes and sells all he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls.  And upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.  Matthew 13:44-46

 

In these verses Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven (His kingdom) as a hidden treasure and a fine pearl, both so precious that they are worth selling everything that the men owned in order to acquire them.  When Jesus called His disciples He said, “Come, follow me.” And at once, in an instant, they all dropped the tools of their trade and walked away from their families, their jobs, their possessions, everything – just to walk with Jesus, learn from Him, and spend time with Him.  Matthew was even a tax collector, he was most likely quite wealthy, let’s see how he reacts to his calling.  As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!”  And he got up and followed Him. (Matthew 9:9)  He didn’t hesitate; he didn’t think “well I’m not so sure about this whole God thing…”  Just like all the others he just got up and went with Him leaving everything behind.

Things are still the same today for us.  Jesus is calling us to Come, follow Him and become His disciples.  (Being a disciple is what He’s calling every believer to be.)  And we need to be willing to drop what we’re doing and IMMEDIATELY follow him (AKA. obey him).  We need to be willing to leave everything; family, money, friends, possessions everything behind to follow him.  If we are willing to “sell it all” to buy the pearl of Jesus and a relationship with Him, then we will get to be right there with front row seats to see Him feed 5,000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread (Matthew 14:13-21), and we’ll be right there to watch Him heal the sick (Matthew 4:23-25 & 8:1-4), make the blind see (Mark 10:46-52) and the lame walk (Matthew 9:1-8).  If we’re willing to sell everything we have to buy the field of a relationship with Jesus, then He will stand on the water amid the stormy sea, hold His hand out to you, and invite you to walk on top of the water with Him (Matthew 14:22-33).

I have lived such amazing miracles in my life through Jesus.  When our finances are especially tight, our food “somehow” manages to last longer than it should.  Like the fish and bread it stretches when it doesn’t look like there should be enough, there always is.  Unexpected checks come in the mail for the exact amount needed for a bill that has to be paid immediately.  Just this week, my son had a fever of 101*F and I laid my hands on his head and said “In the name of Jesus Christ I declare this boy healed.  Within the next 10 minutes his cough will be gone and he will be well.”  As I was saying it, a beam of beautiful sunlight shone over us and a slight spring breeze came through the window, and I knew God had done it.  My son immediately looked at me and said “Mommy, I feel better!”  Within 5 minutes his fever was gone and never came back.  No medicine necessary.  THAT’S what God does in the life of an active believer!  When we follow and obey Him, at ANY cost (including giving up your secrets, your pride and your anonymity to write a book about your sex life), we are allowed the front row seats to miracles in our lives.  No, better yet, He invites us to come on the stage and BE the miracle!

Take it from me; THIS pearl IS worth the cost!

Christian’s comments:

 

Could you walk away from everything to follow Jesus?  That’s a tough one isn’t it. However, think of it this way, if you “drop everything” (worldly possessions, as well as your former life) and follow Him, you will gain more than you ever could imagine, especially in the kingdom of heaven.

There is a joke that goes as follows.  A wealthy man died and went to Heaven. When he met St. Peter, the man asked if he could bring something into heaven with him. St. Peter reluctantly agreed and gave the man one day on Earth to decide what it would be. The man thought and thought and finally decided on bringing a bag full of gold. When he got back to Heaven, St. Peter asked to see what the man brought with him. When the man showed St. Peter what he had in the bag, St. Peter asked, “Why did you bring a bag of pavement?”

The streets of Heaven are paved with GOLD! If the streets that we are going to be walking on are made of one of the most valuable substance on Earth, what are the TREASURES of Heaven going to be?  So as you can see, “dropping everything” is going to be a good decision.

Categories: 365 Life, Proverbs, Season 3, True Intimacy | 1 Comment

Day 15: Play


Proverbs 1:1-4:27

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.

For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12

 

Take a break from reading today.  Go do something FUN!  Take the family to the park for a picnic or go to the movies.  Whatever you do, make sure it’s something you love.  Something that makes you laugh.  Something that makes you happy.  Something you haven’t done together since you were dating perhaps.  We understand that you may not have the time this very day to do this fun “something”. So, if you don’t do it today, at least make the plans to do “something” and then write it on the calendar… IN PEN!  Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, He will.  Now, GO HAVE FUN TOGETHER!

Categories: 365 Life, Proverbs, Season 3, True Intimacy | Leave a comment

Day 14: Love


Philemon 1:1-25 & Philippians 1:1-4:23

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.

For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails; (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

 

In the beginning, when God was creating the universe, He declared “it is good” over each creation until He got to man.  At which point God says “it is not good for man to be alone”.  And while I could come up with plenty of jokes about why men should not be alone, the point is that it’s not good for women to be alone either.  As women, we were created for companionship; and therefore, we are constantly craving intimate interactions.  Often we attempt to fill the gap with friends, co-workers and digital media like texting and Facebook only to deny ourselves the one thing we are actually craving.  Truly intimate companionship with our HUSBANDS!

Gen 3:16 tells us, among other things, that as women we will “desire” our husbands.  That word “desire” in the Hebrew is packed with significance.  It’s not just a physical desire; it’s an all encompassing, the-two-shall-become-one, kind of desire.  You know the way you feel naked without your purse or your phone?  THAT’S the kind of desire it talks about, one where your whole being desires true intimacy from your husband and you just feel like you’re missing something when it’s not there.  It’s a desire for a true love from him; where he loves you simply because you are who you are.  Not because you’ve done great things, or because you’ll be rich and famous someday, but just because you’re you.  We desire a love that goes beyond anything that anyone could ever really describe; one where, you complete each other so perfectly that it can get annoying at times.

As a husband and wife we are symbols of Christ and His Church; which means that within marriage we are to love each other as Christ loves us.  In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul explains to us not just why we should love others, but how God loves us as well.  He tells us that

“If [we] speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, [we] have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If [we] have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if [we] have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, [we are] nothing.  And if [we] give all [our] possessions to feed the poor, and if [we] surrender [our bodies] to be burned, but do not have love, it profits [us] nothing. (1-3)

Basically what Paul is telling us is that we can do as many great and wonderful things as we want, but if we’re not doing them because we love someone enough to do them, then we might as well save our breath and time because they’re meaningless.  I can type as many kind and beautiful words as I want, but if there’s no love behind them – what’s the point?  If I know all sorts of things that can change people’s lives forever, it’s not going to amount to a hill of beans if I don’t have a heart for those people first.  I can give away every single material possession and if I’m not giving them away with love in my heart then I might as well keep them.  Paul is making us ask, “What is my motive?”.

Paul ends 1 Corinthians 13 with a profound statement that I think is being greatly overlooked in our culture today, especially in marriages.  “But now faith, hope, love abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (v. 13)  LOVE.  Why love?  What makes love so special?  Why is it more important than faith or hope?  Because while faith and hope are crucial, important and good; GOD is love.  So when everything else in this entire world fades away, love is all that’s left.  Because love – when it’s a truly patient, kind, non-envious, humble, courteous, selfless, calm, forgiving, truth rejoicing, protective, trusting, hopeful, persevering, never failing love – it’s God.

Christian’s comments:

 

Don’t confuse love with lust.  Our world today has these two terms completely distorted.  The type of love God wants is outward love.  It is to be directed towards others, not inwards towards ourselves.  You must set aside your own wants and desires.  Love others, and don’t expect anything in return.

All that sounds great, but how do we do it?  Easy, love with no holds barred.  Love with all you have.  Don’t have selfish reasons for loving.  Do things out of love for someone, not for the things it could get you.  Plain and simple, love for the sake of love.

Categories: 365 Life, Philemon, Philippians, Season 3, True Intimacy | Leave a comment

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