• Perception trumps intention
    photo credit: Neil Coulter via photopin (license)

    photo credit: Neil Coulter via photopin (license)

    I have advised countless couples that come into my office for counseling that their INTENTION in word or deed toward their spouse is far less important than their spouse’s PERCEPTION of what was said or done. I say this not to minimize a possibly positive intention, but to assist the couple in realizing that their actions have to be considered through the lens of the other couple member.

    This notion is especially true when we’ve spoken or acted in ways toward our spouse for years without an ill intent, but then realize that they don’t see it as such a benign word or deed. Once this is realized (sometimes through the help of a marital counselor), we then MUST attempt to step into their shoes to feel what they might feel.

    Here’s a practical example and application. If my husband perceives that I’m parenting him, even if I had zero intention of doing so, his perception remains. If he can then articulate that perception, then it’s now my responsibility to understand his perception in order to apologize and attempt to improve our future interactions. If this doesn’t happen and negative perceptions continue and become entrenched, the problematic interactions are much more difficult to repair.

    We DO need to have the best of intentions toward others, most of all our spouses; however, we also need to understand that his or her perception of any interaction will be the thing we’ll need to examine, discuss and attempt to heal, if necessary.

    How well and how often do you attempt to see things through your spouse’s lens?


  • I’m a lady with sex in mind

    Wives can be a lady AND an exciting sexual partner. It’s true! What goes on in your bedroom can be wild, fun and downright HOT, but the minute you step into the world, you can be classy, courteous, agreeable and all the things that make you, YOU! (…and you can even think SEXY thoughts about your marriage bed while out in the world!)

    Women tend to wear MANY hats. We are wives, mothers, sisters, friends AND lovers. We can play all of these roles and still have sexy thoughts and wild bedroom behavior. We’re sexual beings that were created to enjoy sex. It’s not dirty or obligatory and thinking of your spouse in a sexual way in and outside the bedroom is one way to keep your sex life vibrant.

    So be all that you are in this world. Be the lady you strive to be AND go ahead and wear those undergarments that make you feel desirable! Go ahead and think about the next sexual encounter with your spouse! Your marriage bed will be all the better for it!

    Have you had a sexy thought about your spouse today? 

  • Mutual Marriage: Final thoughts
    Photo by Roger Price from Flickr

    Photo by Roger Price from Flickr

    I’ve spent the last few months briefly outlining a biblical case for mutual marriage. The series has primarily addressed marriage from a theological rather than a practical perspective, but there is one practical topic that needs to be addressed briefly as I conclude the series. That is the topic of decision-making in a mutual marriage.

    A common argument against a mutual marriage model is that every organization or relationship needs a leader. The “buck” must stop somewhere or decisions cannot be made. Many hierarchalists make this argument because they assume the alternative to hierarchy is democracy. Obviously, a democracy with only two votes is a recipe for disaster. But a mutual marriage is not a democracy, it is a theocracy. Decision-making in a mutual marriage is a matter of prayerful consensus. There is no need for a leader to have the “last word” because that belongs to God. This is the kind of decision-making we see modeled in the New Testament in places like Acts 6, Acts 13 and Acts 15*.

    So what happens when a husband and wife pray, yet do not reach consensus? They keep praying until they reach consensus. The idea that a leader is needed to “break ties” betrays either a lack of patience or a lack of faith that God will bring the spouses to a consensus. I believe that God is faithful and able to bring a husband and wife to consensus on any decision if they are patiently seeking God’s direction and willing to yield to it. The key is for each spouse to submit to each other’s best interest and to God rather than seeking their own way as Paul teaches in Philippians 2.

    * Acts 15 is a debatable case, to be sure. While some English translations of verse 19 imply James had the final say, there is some debate over the proper translation of the verb. In light of verse 6 and verse 22, I believe James is expressing his opinion, to which the group agreed and decided.

    Mutual Marriage: A brief bibliography

    A Model for Marriage by Jack and Judith Balswick
    The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight
    Just How Married Do You Want To Be? by Sarah and Jim Sumner
    Partners in Marriage and Ministry by Ronald W. Pierce
    Together: Reclaiming Co-Leadership in Marriage by Tim and Anne Evans

    As Christ Submits to the Church by Alan Padgett
    Beyond Sex Roles by Gilbert Bilezikian
    Discovering Biblical Equality edited by Ronald W. Pierce and Rebecca Merrill Groothuis
    Men and Women in the Church by Sarah Sumner
    Not Only A Father by Tim Bulkeley
    Paul, Women and Wives by Craig Keener
    Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals by William Webb
    Women and the Genesis of Christianity by Ben Witherington III

    Note: These aren’t affiliate links. We don’t get any kickbacks from Amazon. They’re provided simply for your benefit.

    Other resources
    Christians for Biblical Equality
    The Junia Project

  • Love in the afternoon

    I know. Right-before-bed sex may be the only romp you ever seem to squeeze into the end of a very long day or week, but sex doesn’t have to always occur at night, after you’ve cleaned up from dinner, helped with homework, made lunches, given baths, read stories, when you’re exhausted and right before your head finally collides with your pillow. Love in the afternoon sounds a lot more appealing to me.

    With such a busy life, it’s easy to see how sex could be pushed to the bottom of your to-do list, wherein it becomes a quick, not-all-in task. Since sex is important to grow a couple’s intimacy, it needs to be a priority. On Saturday afternoon, take the kids to grandma and grandpa’s house and then go home and have long, enjoyable, wide-awake sex that perhaps takes place OUTSIDE the bedroom (some research and people themselves say orgasms are better under these circumstances)! If taking the kids to someone else is too much work, take advantage of nap time or gasp!…the television (it won’t kill [too many] brain cells if it’s kept to a minimum).

    If sex in the evening is all you CAN fit in, even if it’s between all the evening rituals and a much-needed night’s rest, then get to it. Be sure, however, to place love-making closer to the top of your priority list than to the bottom of it. Make sure your schedules can at least fit in an occasional round of afternoon (or morning) delight.

    When do you typically have sex with your spouse? Have you looked at ways to make your sexual life more interesting? If not, why not?