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Real Marriage: Grace or disgrace?

Moving on into chapter 7 in the Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” book, I thought Grace was describing my 2nd boyfriend…. seriously.  Each of these things she mentioned about her first boyfriend…. I mentally put a check mark next to in my head.

*Lost my virginity to him…check

*He became controlling … check

* He controlled my friendships…. check.  (basically I had none.)

* He controlled my free time … pretty much… check

* He followed me around checking on me and what I was doing… check

The only real difference was that he was never physically abusive to me, which could have happened if I stuck around longer than I did.  He tried to alienate me from my family and nearly did it.  I was almost so isolated from everything but him…it’s scary to think back on this now. I even thought like Grace did, that if I married him, it would cover my sin and shame with him….thankful that I never did.  Thankful that somehow I got the strength to leave this relationship and never come back.   Thankful that my family intervened and got me out of that situation by allowing me to move back home.

Like Grace, I lived with that shame of unforgiveness for a long time.  I didn’t know that I needed to run to God for love and grace, instead I tried to hide it from him, like Adam and Eve hid in the garden after eating the forbidden fruit.  Funny how the human nature thinks we can hide things from God.   It wasn’t until I finally gave it over to God and forgave myself, that healing came.

I don’t remember if I wore any of the “masks” she talked about.  I probably did, just didn’t realize it.  But the pain of what I experienced was hidden very well.   That experience had changed my outlook on sex…. when I was single, it was an idol.  When I got married, it became a necessity to do for a period of time….. All I can tell you is that I am thankful for God’s healing.   I have never really discussed it much before except with my husband.   It’s a part of my past that I am glad that God has taken from my mind.   I think the only reason he has brought this back is to possibly help someone who may be going through what I went through.  It’s okay to talk it through with someone who has been there before.  There is no shame in it, only forgiveness.

So that is my story.  What did you think about this chapter?

Real Marriage: Sex – God, Gross or Gift?

Now, we’re entering chapter 6 in the Driscolls book.   We all know that the bible defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman wed in holy matrimony.   He intended it to be for good, and He called man and woman both VERY GOOD.    So how in the world did we get to the point where sex is misused and misinterpreted like it is today?

It’s spelled S-I-N.

Okay, let’s talk about the three topics of this chapter…. first Sex as god.  Mark gives an example of a man he counseled.   It is so important as we raise our children that we help them to realize there is NOTHING that they should treasure more than God.  The first commandment tells us that there is to worship God alone.  Wealth, prestige and even sex can be put on such a high pedestal, that we forget all about God.   Idolatry.  It’s when a good thing becomes a god thing.  In today’s world, pornography is a $90 billion idol per year worldwide, and $13 billion is in the US.  Porn is addictive.   Prostitution…. it’s hard for me to fathom selling my body for sex, but it happens to a lot of women daily.  If you view sex as a god, then you and your marriage are in grave danger.  There is no freedom, comfort , joy or pleasure on this path, it only leads to destruction.

Sex as gross…. really?  This is kind of the antitheses of sex as a god….it’s like a necessary evil.   Procreation…that’s the sin I fell into in the early years of my marriage.   Unfortunately, a lot of this train of thought comes through misteaching by the church.  Speaking of how evil sex is, but never fully explaining that once in a marriage covenant, sex is a beautiful gift from God.   Also, unfortunately, people who have been sexually abused or molested have the wrong view of sex since they were violated.    I think part of my problem in early marriage revolved around that.  I had a relative that took great pleasure in finding “alone times” with me to fondle my breasts when I was a teenager.   While I was never raped or molested by him, I found what he did repulsive, and I carried that into my marriage.     Thanks be to God for the healing he gave me on this issue.

Sex is a gift.  The bible tells us that married sex is approved by God.  I think of it like God’s wedding gift to you.   One of the most precious gifts that will last a lifetime…unlike that banana holder you got!   Sex is a powerful gift and has 6 benefits…. pleasure, creating children, oneness with your spouse, knowledge of your spouse, protection against sexual sin, and comfort.    I can attest to all 6 of those, and those are gifts I cherish and treasure.

So what are your thoughts?  When you went into your marriage, was sex a god?  was it gross?  or was it a gift?

~Spicy

 

Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together

The next topic I want to cover is what the Driscolls called “The Four Horsemen” of conflict in marriage.   (From Dr. John Gottman’s observations)

Horsemen #1 = criticism – meaning not just having a complaint about something your spouse did that you find annoying or frustrating.  It goes deeper – attacking his character or personality.    Complaints attack the problem.  Criticism attacks the person.

Horseman #2 = contempt – this is showing disgust for your spouse.  Name calling, condescending humor, belittling, body language…. it grows over time with unresolved conflicts.  We just stack it all in one big heap of disgust.

Horseman #3 = defensiveness – refusal to apologize or back down when you are guilty in a conflict.  I remember some of these when DH and I were going through my refusing years.  I deflected (or tried to) the blame on him… it was all his fault, when in all actuality, I didn’t want to admit I was wrong.

Horseman #4 = stonewalling – we stop working toward reconciliation, and start living separate lives.  This includes ignoring your husband, turning your back on him when  he tries to converse with you, and disengage emotionally and verbally with him…. essentially, you check out.

In this chapter, it states that when these 4 horsemen take up residence in your home “statistically it will end in divorce”.   I am so grateful that DH and I are not one of those statistics.  Thankfully for me, my husband was stubborn and not going to give up on me.  But I tell you what, we sure did live for a while like friends with benefits during my refusing years…that’s something that I know DH cringes hearing about…. but that was my fault.   My sin got in the way.

What is needed if we are seeing these Horsemen in our household?  First recognize your sin.  You can do nothing about his… sins by omission (where you do not do what you should do) and commission (where we do what we ought not do)   Repent of those sins.  Remember, that repentance means that you are sorry and you will not do it ever again.  Repentance includes three parts to it… confession, contrition, and change.   You need to be prepared to do all three…. Second, forgive if your spouse does confess his own sin.   Forgive quickly.  Remember that no one has been sinned against more than God.  Yet, he still forgives us daily.   The chapter goes through what forgiveness IS NOT, but remember forgiveness IS loving despite sin.   Third, let go of all bitterness.  Bitterness has roots, and usually we don’t feel bitter toward strangers, but people who we have deeper ties with and bigger expectations.  Fourth, if you have a fight, make it a good fight, meaning on that reconciles instead of creates enemies and bitterness.

What are your thoughts?

~Spicy

Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together

Today’s topic, I know, is your favorite…. Submission!
We just covered this topic in my Bible study class, and it’s the next chapter for women only in the Driscoll’s book.   Grace leads us through this sometimes controversial and more than likely misunderstood topic of the bible.

So, first let me ask….how do you define submission?  Do you feel that submission enslaves you to your husband?  Do you feel that submission means that you have no say in your marriage?   Are you to obey your husband no matter what?
These are things I hear that people believe the word submission means.   In the bible, the key verses that are used to generate those questions in Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”  What happens is this is what is read…. “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands…” and red flags go flying.  Why do I have to submit to him?    What is he supposed to do?  ooooo, I’m skipping to verse 25, since I see the word HUSBAND there…. “Love your wife…”, that’s it?  I have to do whatever he says???

Okay, so let’s take a chill pill for a minute.   Finish verse 22… “as you do to the Lord.”  Do you submit to the Lord?  Or do you do your own thing?  I’d like to suggest this to you… go back one verse.  “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  So according to this verse, he has to submit to you as much as you have to submit to him.

Let’s put a definition on this…. submission.   It doesn’t mean slavery.  It doesn’t mean you become a doormat to everything he does.   Submission doesn’t mean you have to obey his every command.  Submission is respect.   Wives, respect your husband as you respect the Lord.    I know I respect and revere the Lord very much, so as much as I love the Lord and show Him respect in all I do for him, I should do the same for my husband.  Submission is also a choice.  You can choose to respect him… you can choose not to respect him.  It is a voluntary cooperation to support and complement him.  For us wives, it means that we should devote ourselves to complementing our husbands.  We are to help our husbands.   Isn’t that why we came from the man’s rib?  Not his head, not his foot, not his back, but his side.  Submission is not only directed to women…. we are all called to submit ourselves to God and one another.

Here’s the main thing I brought out of my bible study this past week about submission.  This is from Tom Constable, ThD from Dallas Theological Seminary:

1.  It begins with an attitude of entrusting oneself to God .  Our life focus MUST be on Jesus Christ.

2.  It requires respectful behavior (1 Peter 3:1-2 -Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. )

3. It involves the development of Godly character (1Peter 3:3-5 -Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, )

4.  It includes doing what is right (1Peter 3:6 – like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.) It does not include violating other Scriptural principles.

There is so much more I can add, but this post would be a mile long…later on in my comment section, I will reveal some more things I learned about it in my bible study class.

Ladies, what does submission mean to you?   What were you taught about submission by family or the church?  Does it line up with what God calls us to do?

Previous article I’ve done on this topic….

One more

~Spicynutmeg~

Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together

How many of you have read this book by Mark and Grace Driscoll?  I have read about 75% of it on my Kindle Fire…. I’ve just not had as much time to read in the past month as I would like.   I would like to each week bring out a topic from their book and have a discussion on it.   If you want the true reference from the book, you’ll have to purchase it or borrow it from the library, but I am more than happy to discuss these topics even if you haven’t read it.

So over the next week, let’s start with the first topic from the book…. friendship in marriage.

Over on CN, I did a poll because I found out something interesting amongst not only my CN sisters, but other friends as well…. Is your husband your best friend?    In that poll, that you can see here, over 70% of women who took the poll said their husband was their best friend.  Some of my friends thought that was the weirdest thing in the world that I thought my hubby was my best friend.   The way I look at it, for the rest of my life, he’ll always be there.  I’ve had other friends come and go in different seasons of my life, but when the kids are grown and married and on their own, it will be him and me.   If we’re not close friends, then what happens to our marriage then?    I respect my husband and enjoy his company.   I want it to always be this way.   Why would it be so weird that he would be my best friend?

Now I do realize that your husband may not be you BEST friend, but it is important that you are friends with him.  Even in Song of Songs 5:16, the wife says, “This is my beloved, and this is my friend.”   Merriam-Webster defines friend as “one attached to another by affection or esteem” – I think we should all have the affection part down with our husbands, and I hope that the esteem part down as well.   You tell your friends everything.  There is nothing that I keep from my husband.  Sometimes I may not like what he tells me back, but…. shhh…he’s usually right!

When DH and I were traveling through the dark valley together that was my refusal years, I used to wonder … when my kids are older and gone, what is going to happen to us?  Will we even know each other?  That was the darkness I was in, but he proved to me beyond the shadow of a doubt that he would never leave me or forsake me.  He loved me.  He loved being married to me.  Now, I look to the future, and I really look forward to the time that he and I will have to spend together by ourselves.   I look forward to not having to worry about finding a babysitter…we can just get up and go whenever we want, wherever we want.   We can buy a two seater car!   He and I will be friends forever and ever as well as soul mates.

I work in an atmosphere with almost all women.  There are 17 of us that work most closely together.  I watch some of them as they talk about their husbands, and it isn’t always good.  Not all are married, so I worry about the impact that it places in their minds.   Some of them are in the empty nester phase, and it sounds like they barely tolerate their husbands…. that is so sad!  This should be the best years of your life in your marriage!  I truly hope to never go there and to find ways to help them enjoy their marriages.

What are your thoughts on this?  Is your husband your best friend?  What will your marriage look like when your kids fly from the nest?  If you are already an empty nester, what is your marriage like?  If you could do something differently, what advice would you give to us that still have children at home?

My biggest word of advice is to never stop dating your husband.   If money is tight, you can plan a picnic at home after the kids go to bed.   Try to at least once a month go out on a date with your husband…dinner, coffee, or a movie.   If you are plugged into a church, try to see if you can set up with another couple to share sitting…you watch their kids while they go out on a date and vice versa.   We didn’t date at all during my lowest period on our marriage.   Things are SO much better now that we go out by ourselves without the kids.   We have a teenager about to go off to college and a 4th grader…. so our date nights revolve around dinner on AWANAS night for the youngest or whenever the oldest can stay at home with the youngest.   It is so nice to at least get an hour to go out to dinner together on those nights.   Try to plan something, just you and your hubby.   I know we have a few military wives on here.   God bless you and your hubby.  I know it’s hard. I have a friends that doesn’t know from one day to the next when she will have time to skype or IM with her husband.   Send him care packages…. some of his favorite things from you.   Reminders of your love waiting for him at home.   Maybe take a picture of some places and have a “virtual date” with him…. send a picture of your favorite restaurant, and talk about what you would order there…what you would talk about over dinner…. what you would do after dinner.   Anything to keep the spark going until he comes home….or are you the on deployed?   Ask your DH to do the same for you.

Please tell me what your thoughts are on this topic.  I would love to hear them.

Lord, Lift Me Out of My Past

This chapter explains how I started with Christian Nymphos and why I felt it important to continue this ministry.  My testimony of the immense feeling of relief when I was lifted out of my past is why I need to continue this blog and tell EVERYONE who will listen and who has been where I have been, that there is healing and it is HUGE!

This chapter also reminds me of one of my favorite Igniter Media videos The Gospel According to Blaine.   Our sin is like Blaine’s watch in the video.  It is always a burden and before we became believers, it always weighed us down.   Christ came to save us, and when we admit we are sinners with no hope, believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down to earth and gave up his life so that we could have eternal life, we are saved.  If we confess Christ’s death and resurrection, we are saved.   Nothing else to it.  Blaine’s watch was removed…. our sin was removed as well.

Just as in the Garden of Eden, though, Satan always tries to make us doubt our salvation….doubt that we really are forgiven… so after my marriage and my first child was born, like Eve, I allowed Satan to deceive me.    I bought into a pack of lies that he told me was the truth.   Mom’s didn’t have sex.   Sex was for procreation only.   Something must be wrong with my DH because he wanted sex ALL THE TIME.   I wore my past (that I already asked forgiveness for … both to God and to my husband) around my neck and it anchored me in misery.  For 11 years, my DH loved me, patiently and sometimes not so patiently.   He had every right to leave me and to start a new life.  I was a refuser, plain and simple.   I started reading The Power of a Praying Wife with the wrong motivation.  I thought that it would be a great way to pray that God would change him… then the first chapter floored me.  It said before anything else, I needed to pray for his wife.   That God would give him the wife that He intended for my DH, and that she would be ME.  What?  Me?  Pray that I would change?  I don’t need to change?  HE does!  I did say the prayer at the end of the chapter though…. halfheartedly.  I still wasn’t convinced that I was the problem.

Then one day, he told me he had been praying that God would take away his sex drive completely.   Our marriage was very good, except for the sex issue.  He said he loved me and if that was what it took to make me happy, he would give it up.    That hit me like a softball right between the eyebrows.   I realized he was willing to give up what was created in him by God to save our marriage.

God knew that was the time I was ready for the truth.

Up until then, I wasn’t ready and I wouldn’t believe it.  I looked in the mirror, and God showed me what I looked like through my DH’s eyes.   I could see why he desired me.   God then revealed to me all the lies that Satan had been telling me.   God told me that he gave us this gift…. sex was approved by God because it was created by God.  It wasn’t created to be fruitful and multiply only…. it was created to be enjoyed, too!  I experienced my sexual awakening at that point.   God also revealed to me that while I had been forgiven by Him of my sin, and I also had been forgiven by my husband (past promiscuity), that I had forgotten to forgive myself…and that is where Satan had gotten a foothold in my life.

It was about then, maybe a year or so afterwards, that my sisters in Christ and I had the vision from God about Christian Nymphos.  We had all been through our own times, we had shared them with each other, and we decided that it was high time that Satan was a fraud.   That things we had learned and not learned from our parents and from the church needed to be put in biblical perspective, and Christian Nymphos was born.    Over the years, one by one, the six of us became 5….then 4….then 3…. three of us stayed strong for awhile, but we finally became one and I just didn’t hear from God that my work was finished, so here I am.  Monogabliss was born this past December.   It is my prayer, sisters, that if you are holding on to any past hurt, any past sin, and past pain, please don’t give Satan a foothold in your life and your marriage.   God will wait patiently for you to be ready, but he is so ready to help you let go of it all.   What Satan intended for evil, God used for good.  Amen?

Does Satan still throw my past at me?  Sure.  But I don’t look back.  You know what….God has helped me to forget a lot of it.   I know I sinned against God and against my husband by not remaining a virgin for him, but I also know I am forgiven, and God remembers that sin no more.   If God doesn’t remember  it, then I need to forget it as well.

Have you been freed from your past?  If not, I would suggest you spend a lot of time in your bible.   God’s word and Satan do not mix.   He hates God’s word.  Ask God to show you how you can use past hurt for good.  God is GOOD.   He can fix anything.

Lord, Change Me Into the Likeness of Christ

Change is a hard thing.  We always think “I don’t need changing.  Change him!”  I was taking notes in a journal on the way to dinner this past weekend, and I noted that the journal I grabbed was an old prayer journal I started 2 years ago.   It only had 5 prayer entries in it.  Prayer for my mom (who had Non Hodgkins Lymphoma at the time), prayer for my FIL’s health, prayer for my MIL’s health, prayer for my Dad that God would protect his heart from Satan while helping Mom undergo her chemo, and finally prayer for my husband…. and that prayer entry went like this…. “Help me to accept DH the way he is and not try to change him.  I realize in some ways he may never change, but at the same time, I release him to change in ways I never thought he could.  I leave any changing that needs to be done in Your hands, fully accepting that neither of us is perfect, and never will be.   Only you, Lord, are perfect and I look to you to perfect us. “  Looks like I was reading Power of a Praying Wife at the time!

Changing ourselves is hard.  Really hard.   But if we look at it as changing us to be more like Christ, it can be easier.  I mean, as Christians, we should all strive to be more like Christ every day of our lives.  Living out the greatest commandment, to love one another.  Stormie listed seven ways to be more like Christ.   We can all learn something from these as well.

1.  Jesus was loving.  Jesus wants us to lay down out lives for others.  His love worked miracles and it can work miracles in our lives and those who we show love to.   My biggest problem?  showing love to my family when I come home from work.  I word so hard to show love for others at work that I don’t have a full “love tank” when I get home.  I need to work on that.

2.  Jesus was humble.  Humility is a rare commodity in our world today.  Look at Tim Tebow.   What a humble man, who gives all the glory to God in public for everything he does.  And he gets made fun of.  People are so into themselves in the world, that seeing someone who does act humbly makes them feel awkward, so they have to ridicule him.    Jesus was Lord of the Universe, yet he chose to come to earth as a mere mortal.  It takes someone really humble to give up everything Christ had in heaven.   Pray for a humble heart like our Lord’s.

3.  Jesus was faithful.  He was faithful all the way to the cross.   He never stumbled.   He knew why he was here.  We need to know all about his faithfulness, so that we can learn ourselves how to be faithful.

4.  Jesus was giving.   He gave his power to heal people.  He gave his time to anyone who would listen.  He gave his life to save the people he loved…all of us.   When we don’t feel that we have anything to give, God shows us what we have that we can give to others.    Pray for God to bestow upon you gifts in which you can share with others.

5.  Jesus was separate.   I like the way she put it… He was in the world, but not part of the world.   He came to touch the world, but never became like the world.  He was separate from the world, but he changed the world.   While we are in the world, we cannot lose sight of our goal.  This world is temporary.  We cannot become like the world because it won’t last.   Don’t lose sight of where you are going.  Keep eternity in your perspective.

6.  Jesus was obedient.  Jesus never did anything on his own.  He always prayed to the Father and waited on His Word.   We must be like that too.  We can be so impatient.  The world has made us that way.  If we wait on the Lord, we can be truly blessed.   We must be obedient to the Lord when he does give us instruction.   Jonas learned the hard way what happens when you aren’t obedient to the Lord.  He spent some time in the belly of a whale!   We need God’s help to learn to die to ourselves, so we can live for him.

7.  Jesus was light.  As a moth is attracted to the light, so must we be attracted to God’s light.   We should be the light to this dark world.   We need to be the light, so we can attract those out of the darkness to the light, to learn more about Jesus.   Let you light shine.

Pray that God would start a work in you, right now, as you read this.  Ask him to help you learn to be more like his Son.   Ask him to help you separate yourself from the world and be a light to all who would see it.   Pray to learn how to be humble and be a servant to all as Jesus was.  Pray for faithfulness, obedience, and a giving spirit.   Pray that you will be a person that people see and want to learn more about Jesus because of the way you live your life.  Keep your eyes on Jesus and eternity.  We are only here for a short while.