RR Safe Place

The last few years I have realized how bad a job I have done at creating a safe place for my husband to share. I was reminded the other day when I slipped back into my old pattern of reading way to much into my husband’s comments.

I have this amazing husband that loves to teach Sunday School to young kids. After class on Saturday night, as we were walking out to the car, he said, ” You know, I could teach Sunday school every week.” My immediate reaction was, “Don’t you ever want to sit with me during church?”

My poor husband found himself back pedaling trying to explain that of course he liked sitting with me in church. All he was really trying to say was that he loves teaching kids. But through my filter of insecurity, I immediately questioned whether he loved me.

I am embarrassed to say that just a few years ago, because I was often overly sensitive to my husband’s comments, he essentially stopped talking to me. (more…)

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Heart to Heart

heart2heartHaving a great sex life requires intention. It doesn’t just happen. We should take great care to get to bed early sometimes so that we have time and energy remaining for an intimate encounter. We would also do well to hold loosely to our expectations for that encounter so that we are open to the blessing of unexpected detours that take us on a different journey of connecting.

Lying in bed, skin to skin and eye to eye, talking to our spouse can be an incredibly intimate experience. Yes, talking! Diving into the depths of being known spiritually and emotionally prepares the waters for us to dive deeper physically. Consider giving your spouse the gift of you by taking a detour and initiating a conversation that stretches you.  Sharing our inner thoughts doesn’t come naturally for most of us, but it connects us in undeniable ways.

We can share where we really are – with respect to our work, parenting, or with God. We can vulnerably share our growth points, our doubts, and our fears. We can courageously share those things that our heart longs to speak and yet shies away in fear, how we see struggles drawing us closer to God and each other, and our hurts that sting every time they cross our mind. When we share how God speaks to us and the things that He has recently shown us – giving our spouse not only the opportunity to know us more deeply, but the opportunity to encourage our growth and affirm the new fruit in our life.  We can share stories of divine encounters – with people, Scripture, creation or a song – that have touched us so deeply that we can’t retell them without tears of joy. We can share stories that lead to whole body laughs.  As we lay there physically naked, eyes locked, we are undressing our innermost being.

An intimate conversation with our spouse refreshes us. It builds security and trust. It leaves us feeling sturdy as we are reminded that we are always loved and accepted. Time seemingly stops as we dive into thoughts and connections that were prepared for that very moment. Heart to heart conversations produce a stillness in us as we feel grounded and glued to our spouse. Once we push past the fear of revealing our self, and choose to ignore the warning sirens of being too vulnerable, there is undeniable peace.  Being fully known by our spouse is the safest place we can be because we are living out God’s design within marriage.  This security then allows us to share our body with new confidence.

Capstone the heart to heart experience with becoming physically one and then drifting to sleep satisfied that you connected to your spouse with all of your being. I think this is the depth of knowing that God intended for marriage even before the fall.  Let’s reclaim His perfect delights. Ultimately, sex is more about the alignment of our hearts than our bodies.

How has knowing your spouse more emotionally and spiritually drawn you to knowing them more physically?

melanie-sq-web

Amazing Stories

baggageThis year, the biggest change in the Awaken-Love class has been asking women to share their baggage and it has been AMAZING! Our stories are a testimony of how God works. We need to share our stories – even stories of how God has healed or forgiven us in our sex lives.

In class I used to be afraid to ask women to share their baggage, but I have decided the Awaken-Love study is not just about the women in the class. It is about every friend, relative or co-worker that their lives intersect with. Awaken-Love is one step in changing the whole culture of Christians and how they interact with others about sex. Christians ought to speak truth about sex everywhere they go – with their husband, with their kids, with their friends – even with non-believers. Sharing their stories of brokenness, how  God healed and redeemed them and the freedom that they now enjoy gives others hope that God is indeed a good, good God.

So during Week 3 of class, when we talk about Lies, Baggage and Body Image Issues, I ask everyone to bring at least one piece of baggage that they can share with the class. It can be a small carry on or a giant suitcase. We don’t share specific details, but in respectful general ways, we communicate our experiences, how they affected our marriage bed, and the steps to gain freedom.

I have been astounded by the response and humbled by the trust and support that these women show each other. Every class has responded by fully entering into the process of reflecting on what their past baggage is and sharing openly. I have heard everything from…

  • innocent child play or body discovery that lead to years of shame
  • not knowing how to say no
  • non-consensual acts that led to promiscuity spinning out of control
  • not holding the lines of purity before marriage
  • struggles with porn or erotica
  • strong church messages of purity that led to inhibition
  • messages of sex being about fulfilling a husband’s needs

Every woman seems to have something and what might seem like nothing to one women can be a huge deal to another. Sometimes it is not even what happened, but it is the over reaction of a loved one that leaves a huge impact.

As teachers, we try to discern if there are next steps that need to happen. Sometimes we ask if we can lay hands on a woman and pray for her. Sometimes we sense that she needs to claim this for herself by asking God right there and then for exactly what she wants as we gather around her in agreement. Sometimes we discern that a wife needs to share with a husband and pray with him or ask a husband to pray over her.

I have seen women return to class the next week with smiles on their face and burdens lifted. Women have shared that they went home that night to have amazing conversations with loving husbands.  Women have released things that they were not supposed to carry and they have found a taste of the freedom that God desires for them.

You know, I used to say that God can heal in an instant or it can be a process. But recently I have realized that God may not always heal. Sometimes we are left with a thorn in our side like Paul and we may struggle our entire life. That thorn does not have to define us, or control us, but it can lead to a greater dependence on Christ as we live out surrender on a daily basis. We don’t have to hide our thorn from our loved ones, but we bear it with the one that fully knows us. And so, there are some intentional choices that we make as we step into living the life that God wants us to live – even when it is not easy.

My hope and desire is that the freedom these women experience as they throw away the code of silence, doesn’t just exist for them, but that it becomes a part of their testimony of God’s goodness. There are so many women that have experienced pain in their sexuality and it is time to start talking. Healing happens when you speak it out loud with another and you take it to the foot of the cross and you surrender it. God wants women to be whole.

Have you broken the code of silence about sexual baggage and what difference has it made for you?

Ruth Buezis

Greeting Your Spouse

melanie-sq-webA visual representation of God’s love for me is a mental picture of His reaction whenever I come to Him.  He smiles and reaches to embrace me.  His greeting is the essence of warmth. No matter the circumstances or where I am emotionally, His unconditional acceptance and delight in my presence is evident. When I think about His loving response, I want to run to Him. I want to share my hopes, celebrate the joys of life, be shielded from my fears, be comforted in my sorrows and just be with Him.  What a welcome place of love My Savior is for me! For anyone who desires Him.

When I take that thought and mesh it with the truth that my marriage relationship is a reflection of my relationship with Christ, then I see a whole new application.  I think husbands and wives are supposed to be an unconditional place of love and acceptance for one another as well.  We are supposed to be each other’s safe place to escape the world and be reminded that we are always loved and delighted in regardless of the events of the day. I think we can convey and reaffirm that truth in a matter of seconds in the way that we greet one another. How would marriages change if husbands and wives intentionally greeted one another in a manner that conveys that they are each other’s great treasure?  Each of us would be built up regularly. Our positive perspective toward one another would be reinforced regardless of life’s circumstances. We would become interruptable, stopping to meaningfully greet one another whether we were in the midst of changing a diaper, carrying in the groceries or running off to work. I think our tanks would be overflowing.  Our kids would notice and feel secured (and possibly embarrassed, but that’s ok).  People would wonder what was going on.

I told my husband that I feel adored when he smiles and embraces me.  I thought it was important for him to know what small effort makes a huge impact on me. Ya know what? Whenever he leave our home, comes home from work, comes in from mowing the yard, or whoever, he makes an effort to find me, smile and embrace me. We momentarily disconnect from the world and reaffirm our love toward one another. It’s a moment of peace, safety and knowing that we are exactly where we belong – together.  Before I can even tell him what happened with the kids or ask him how his day went, we spend a few seconds melting into one and reminding ourselves what a blessing our marriage is. It doesn’t take long, but it speaks volumes. Our perspectives are recalibrated.  Warm feelings are allowed to grow. When we are apart, I remember our greetings and think about how much I love my husband. It’s so simple, yet it impacts everything.

Greeting our spouse is so important that we include a daily 15 second kiss or embrace as one of the homework assignments for the women in our Awaken-Love study. They often comment that they continue to do it even after the class ends because of the wonderful impact it has on their relationship with their husband.

How can you greet your spouse to show them that they are adored and delighted in?  Find out and incorporate it into your day. Let’s bring divine love into our mundane and experience flourishing marriages.

Keep me as the apple of your eye – Psalm 17:8

RUDE AWAKENING

The other day a woman shared what a rude awakening sex had been for her. She had waited to have sex until her wedding night. Even though she knew there might be some pain or there might be a transition from being a virgin to enjoying sex, she fully expected that becoming one with her husband would eventually be a wonderful experience full of pleasure and delight. Instead she said, “When we had intercourse, my husband might as well have been rubbing his knee against my elbow.” For her, there was no pleasure, no tingling, no fireworks and she thought, “So I get to do this for the rest of my life?”

I don’t think this woman’s experience is all that unusual. I have heard from others about the excitement of finally having intercourse and ending up wondering, “What’s the big deal?” You can feel like you have been tricked. You work so hard to stay pure and you just assume the prize will be worth the wait – and then nothing – absolutely nothing but disappointment. How can something so enjoyable for our husband feel like nothing to us?

I don’t know why God did not create intercourse to produce fireworks for all women. I do know that he created women to have mind blowing pleasure with their husband – whether that happens before intercourse, during intercourse, or after intercourse. Women are supposed to experience orgasms and that is why God gave us a clitoris.  The sole function of the clitoris is to create pleasure.

The real questions are-

  • How come so many men and women do not understand how the female body works?
  • Why doesn’t sex education include conversations about the clitoris and how to make sex enjoyable for the wife?
  • How can we prepare newlyweds to enter into a great sex life that will be enjoyed by both husband and wife?
  • What is so scary about talking about the clitoris?

I have to be honest; I am as guilty as anyone else. I am not sure I have ever talked to my daughters about the clitoris and the pleasure that it holds and yet boys are intimately aware of the pleasure that their penis is capable of. Does educating our daughters about what a wonderful body God gave them somehow give them permission to become sexually active before marriage? Shouldn’t our daughters know and understand their own body?

So, I am going to watch for opportunities to talk to my daughters about their clitoris – because they ought to know.

Ruth Buezis

Tips for conversations with your kids about sex

Every kid is different, every family is different, every experience is different and I do not don’t have all the answers,  but below are 10 tips for conversations with your kids about SEX.

If you did not read Mondays post – Conversations with your kids – please read it now. 

Affirm –Start the conversation by affirming them. A young child might be affirmed for his natural curiosity. An older child might be affirmed for his honesty in sharing his struggles. Kids even need to be affirmed that God made them sexual beings and that it is a good thing – even when it seems challenging to live in God’s boundaries.

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Conversations with your kids about sex

One of the questions I ask when I teach Awaken-Love is “How did you first learn about sex – not just how babies are made – but sex?”

Some of the more common answers I hear are:

  • On the bus
  • From friends
  • From romance movies, books or magazines
  • My mom handed me a book
  • My parents sat me down for an awkward talk

conversations-with-kidsBut every once in a while – a woman shares that even though she doesn’t remember a specific talk, she knew that her parents thoroughly enjoyed sex and it was a great part of their marriage. Conversation about bodies and sex was open and there was nothing embarrassing, dirty, or secretive. There was no talk, just conversation.

The amazing thing is that these same women were confident enough to remain pure, even though many of them dated their future husband for years. And these same women, easily transitioned to figuring out sex and thoroughly enjoying it within marriage.

Talking to our kids about sex is important – but more important – is figuring it out ourselves. We cannot talk to our kids about how awesome sex is within marriage, if it is not awesome for us.

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LIVE THE SONG – YOUR VOICE IS SWEET

Song of Songs 2:14

Him

1My dove in the clefts of the rock,
    in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
    let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
    and your face is lovely.
Let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet. 

Sometimes the tone of our voice can express more than the words that we say.

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Talk about WHAT?

CFC-talking-about-online-part3I don’t think great sex just happens. Real life is not like the movies where the guy confidently takes you in his arms, you melt at his touch as desire inflames your body, and intercourse simultaneously takes both of you to the moon and back.

Great sex happens because you are brave enough to talk about your needs and desires, and courageous enough to hear and honor your spouse’s needs and desires.

In order to work towards having an orgasm during intercourse, you must talk about sex. You must talk about where you are at, what you would like to try, let him know how he can help, and come up with a plan B.

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Touch Me

hugIn February I speak to a couple of Moms groups about sex in preparation for Valentine’s Day. It has been years since my 4 girls were babies, and much of it seems like a fog. Sex definitely was not at the top of my priority list and I have been thinking about what I wish I had done differently to navigate through baby land.

I remember spending long days at home chasing little kids, wiping noses, reading with a full lap of girls, and rocking babies to sleep. When my husband arrived home, the last thing I wanted was for him to touch me – especially if it might lead to sex.  And so I kept my distance from him. I didn’t linger with my kisses, I didn’t cuddle too long before I rolled away from him in bed, and I pushed him away.

I suppose part of my reasoning was to protect my husband. I didn’t want to lead him on and later disappoint him. But what it really did was train my husband to expect sex on the days that I allowed him to touch me. So the pattern began.

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