Friday, 1 November 2013

Are You Kidding Me?

There was a recent article in the Wall Street Journal written by Elizabeth Bernstein entitled “Why We Have Sex (Beyond the Obvious Reasons).  Give me a break.  Up until now the obvious reasons have suited me just fine.

A 2007 study from the University of Texas identified 237 expressed motives for sex.  Do you think we might be over-thinking this subject?  Now don’t get me wrong I recognize that my superficial understanding of the complexities of intimacy have much to do with the fact that I am a male.  Did I mention that I’m a man?  If I had to guess males contributed 7 motives and the other 230 came from the distaff side of the aisle.
In fairness to the article it did point out four broad categories which may be worth considering.  The four are:

1)     Self-Focused Approach which basically is the self-centered desire for intimacy, focusing on what it will do for you.

2)     Self-Focused Avoidance would be defined as being a begrudgingly willing partner in an effort to avoid an unpleasant feelings or situation for yourself, i.e. feeling guilty for not responding, etc.

3)     Partner-Focused Approach is driven by the desire to serve your partner to achieve greater closeness or to make them feel good.

4)     Partner-Focused Avoidance results when the reason for intimacy is to avoid conflict or to prevent them from getting angry or feeling disappointed.

Basic rule – intimacy motivated by avoidance will most likely have a negative payoff.  Research showed that on a given day when intimacy was motivated by avoidance the couple felt less satisfied relationally and sexually.  The converse is also true, i.e. intimacy motivated by approach tended to provide more relational and sexual satisfaction.

I have no idea what it cost to do that study.  What I do know is three truths.

The first is 1 Corinthians 7: 3-5 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

The second is Ephesians 5:33 Husbands love your wives as you love yourselves and wives respect your husbands.

Finally Christ was other centered.  He was and is all about giving, not about getting.

May these verses coupled with the incredible love of Christ displayed, provide the motivation for fulfilling your need for intimacy.


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Turning Over a New Leaf

Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.” John 3:3

Have you ever tried to turn over a new leaf, i.e. change a behavior pattern that was not particularly endearing and / or healthy?

Perhaps you have a short fuse and are quick to get angry. At times you are impatient, or get frustrated easily.  Maybe you are someone who is generally discontent or unthankful. You find that certain people frustrate you or make you anxious.  A lack of self-control may plague you or perhaps your pride gets in the way.  For others of us we are just selfish.

Most likely your willingness to face such behaviors is painful at best and any attempt at overcoming these unwanted behaviors is short lived.   We are however in good company.  One of the things that I most appreciate about Scripture is that there is no attempt to white wash anything.  The main characters are every bit as human as you and me.

Take Solomon for example.  With the exception of Jesus, Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived.  He came to the conclusion that hoping to change his own life was sheer folly.  Though he was powerful, wise, and rich He discovered that life was much like chasing after the wind.

I’m still trying to process how Solomon was the wisest man who has ever lived yet he had 700 official wives and 300 concubines.  I would guess he wasn’t big on remembering anniversary dates or having deep meaningful conversations with his wives.  But I digress.

This doesn’t mean that change is impossible.  What I believe is that change is difficult if not impossible if we attempt it in our own strength.  From the time we truly accept Christ as Lord and Savior until we go home to be with him we are to be constantly growing in those qualities that reflect who Christ is.  The incredible news is that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and that with Him and by Him we are capable of making lasting heart changes.  Patience for example is a Fruit of the Spirit as is self-control, etc.

With the help of the Holy Spirit we can turn over a new leaf provided, as Jesus informed Nicodemus, we are “born again”. (John 3:3)



Monday, 28 October 2013

Communication – A Man’s Perspective

The more you talk, the more likely you will cross the line and say the wrong thing;
but if you are wise, you’ll speak less and with restraint
.  Proverbs 10:19 The Voice

As a guy you gotta love Proverbs 10:19, particularly as it appears in The Voice translation of the Bible.  There used to be a phrase that I have not heard recently, i.e. “He is a man of few words”.  The reality is that most men are of few words.  I realize this statement opens the door for some very sarcastic quips such as “he is of few words because he has nothing of value to say” or “he is of few words because that is all that comes to his mind.”  My guess is that you have already come up with something more droll.  I’d love to have you share your thoughts in the comments section.
It is true that when asked how his day was the typical husband answers, “fine”.   That is a complete sentence.

As a general rule men do not relate emotionally, particularly through words.  Men started texting before it was fashionable.  That is their e-mails consisted of very few, poorly spelled words that conveyed enough to the recipient to know exactly what he was trying to express.
I do find it ironic that this same man who tends to communicate in single syllable grunts once married was once able to spend hours on the phone with the woman he was pursuing or to engage in scintillating conversation (well that may be a stretch) when out on a date.

I have come to the conclusion that we men are of few words because we are of few interests.  I know of a number of guys who could wax eloquently about last Sunday’s football game (that’s soccer or rugby to the rest of the world) including a character assassination of the coach; many men could go on a diatribe about Obamacare, (the soon to be introduced answer to healthcare problems in the America) even though they do not have a clue as to the ultimate impact; and most could voice an uneducated assessment of the political party that would be in opposition to their own self-interest.
So call us shallow, but not of few words.

It is my understanding that many women relate on an emotional level through the use of words.  Now ladies you know the secret to getting your man to talk, i.e. find out the one or two topics your man is passionate about and just ask him a question.  Now if you are hoping that in return he will ask you a question, i.e. “how was your day”, you may have set your expectations too high.