Category Archives: Marriage & Sexuality

Of Resets, Resolutions And Reality: part 2

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In my last post, I spoke of Reset and Resolution sex as being possible outcomes of having The Talk™, neither of which help a marriage bed to get back on track. In the case of Reset Sex, any uptick in sexual activity is illusory, as it is merely a ploy to tamp down any threatened mutinies to the sacred status quo.

In the case of Resolution Sex, there is intention to improve, to change things for the better, but there is a serious problem with Resolution Sex. While there is intent, there is no intentionality.

Intentionality

Intentionality is the purposeful determination and planning to work through a problem toward a solution. As I said in my last post, this isn’t solely a marriage function; instead, it is a determination that helps us to achieve our goals, no matter what sphere of our lives we are working on.

In my previous post, I contrasted intentionality with the common practice of making New Year’s resolutions. We all know the drill: make a resolution to improve some aspect of your life on Jan 1, and by Jan. 3, it’s history. One of the most common resolutions in America is dieting, to lose weight.

And here is where I have to drop another fig leaf. As you might guess from a picture or two that has surfaced of me on other blogs, I cannot be described as anything close to svelte. I have always had a problem with weight (in fact, I joined the Navy in ‘68 weighing 276 lb. – hey, during that part of the Viet Nam war the Navy took anything breathing.)

Like half of America, I have been on and off different diets and weight-loss plans over the years; you name it, I’ve probably done it: Metrical, Slim Fast, Richard Simmons’ Sweating to the Oldies, Overeaters Victorious, Adkins Diet, etc. I would go with a plan, lose weight, get tired of the diet and go back up. And up. And up.

“Gonna Change My Way of Livin’”

I’m pulling up my Bob Dylan paraphrase from my last post, but this is just what happened. This past year, I have changed many things about my food and nutrition, with the result that I have lost 80 lbs. in a year’s time. Mind you, as I said above, I have been on diets before and have lost weight with varying degrees of success. But this past year, there have also been changes in mindset and intentions that were not present before.

The fact that I saw myself on diets is one major mindset. After all, a diet is a regimen of restricted eating for a period of time in order to achieve a goal. The unspoken thought behind that is that once the goal is achieved, the diet is over, and regular eating can be restored. Instead of reset sex, I replaced it with reset eating.

The change this year? After being “pre-diabetic” for several years, finally being diagnosed with full-blown type 2 diabetes and the doctor putting me on insulin last year prompted many changes.

Wife and I had to confront an ugly truth, one that we could no longer ignore, and so we began to look for help and assistance with this situation. There is a great number of resources for people with diabetes, quite bewildering and overwhelming at times, even. But one thing that helped to turn us around was that Wife and I began attending workshops conducted by a nutritionist that provided us with knowledge and resources we had no idea existed (Well, if I’m going to be honest, resources and stuff I couldn’t have cared less about before the diagnosis.)

Attending the nutritionist’s workshops, I was initially skeptical that anything she would have to say was something I would like, and I did exhibit some of my customary curmudgeonly grumpiness (albeit in a constrained form) during early sessions. But I did learn about just how much certain foods were damaging to me, and over the course of time, I learned of replacements that, surprise!, I actually came to enjoy!

As a result, my eating habits have undergone a complete makeover. Potatoes, rice, and corn are a very rare occurrence in my nutritional lineup, along with the rich gravies and sauces that Wife is so adept at creating. As well, pies, cakes and ice cream aren’t making appearances, at least in forms that previous gave me a blood sugar average of 178, back in March 2017.

Gonna Change My Way of Eatin’

Other foods made their appearances, much to my initial consternation and skepticism. Things like riced cauliflower and veggie tots, protein drinks and greek yogurt became regular staples. All beef is gone, but I have found that turkey is a protein-packed, lo-cal alternative, and so am enjoying many different turkey meals.

Two great electronic finds also made a huge difference in this year’s changes. The first was an app for recording my blood sugar readings, and I was able to see quantifiable information about my diabetes, not just guesstimates. When I started recording my readings, I was shocked at what I was seeing. As I said above, my sugar readings for March 2017 was 178. That doesn’t report the day in which my daily average of three reading was 250+. That’s downright unhealthy, and it was a true wakeup call.

The second app that was recommended to my by the nutritionist was MyFitnessPal, an app for tracking eating and exercise. Given my arthritis, my age, and my sedentary lifestyle, I was skeptical (what else is new?) of this app’s ability to help me.

However, using this app helped me to get a handle on what I was eating, and just how bad my food choices were. Using MyFitnessPal, I track/log everything I eat, and get an instant report on the calories, carbs, fat and protein I am consuming at each meal. As a result, I can make decisions on the foods that I will eat and what I will avoid.

But here’s the thing–having the app would be useless to me if I didn’t have the intention to use it and abide by the strictures of the good choices that would help me.

Making the Right Choice

I realize that, in this post, I am taking a big detour away from the purpose of the CSL blog, which is dealing with marriage and marital problems. But the whole process of what Wife and I did this year, for me to lose weight, can be applied to addressing marriage problems. We were forced to comprehend the actual magnitude of my problem, and then to be intentional in finding and implementing real knowledge and practices that tuned everything around for me. I believe that the same intentionality brought to a sexless marriage can help to heal that marriage.

In my next post, I want to share about three possible root causes for sexlessness in a marriage, and suggest solutions for these root causes. Stay tuned…

CSL

ps – For those of you concerned over the health info I shared, here’s the good news: The result is that I have lost 80 lbs., my A1C score has dropped from 9.0 in March ’17 to 5.2 in March ’18. And I no longer have to use insulin.
Intentional change works.

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Of Resets, Resolutions and Reality: part 1

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Well, I thought I was done with aphorisms, but while reading old posts for a project that I am working on, I realized that one of the aphorisms that I mentioned needed another going-over. Rather than the Gamble Rogers’ line about works speaking for themselves, I am going to flesh out some thoughts I have on the Bob Jones line, I don’t care how high a man jumps when he gets saved; I’m more concerned with how straight he walks when he comes down.

Two years ago, I wrote a couple of posts about what “Better” looks like; you know what I mean–“I’m sorry, I’ll try to do better.” In the first post I talked about the need to get down to specifics when having The Talk™, to not speak in broad, amorphous generalities, and in the second post I wrote about ways to start defining “better”.

But in re-reading those old posts, and going over the comments that followed them, something occurred to me that connected with the Bob Jones line about how straight someone walks, as it might relate to sexless marriages. After all, we are all capable of making multitudes of promises. The question is whether we keep those promises.

Reset Sex?

When I wrote those two Better posts, I hadn’t yet run up against the concept of “Reset Sex.” However, after I learned of the term and its meaning, I realized that I had read about the phenomenon many times over in the testimonies of refused husbands and wives.

What is Reset Sex? Reset Sex is sexual activity that occurs after a spouse has had The Talk™ with his/her spouse, telling the gatekeeping/refusing spouse of the pain that they are feeling due to lack of intimacy. And voila, sex begins to happen. The question, however, is this: does this represent a true sea change in the marriage, a well-intentioned resolution, or merely Reset Sex?

A regimen of sexual activity might be undertaken in sincerity by a husband/wife, who hears what their spouse tells them and truly wants to do right by the marriage–this isn’t Reset Sex. Conversely, this same course of sex might be engaged in by a less-than-caring spouse in order to placate the complaining partner. This latter activity is Reset Sex.

The defining factor of Reset Sex is that it is only temporary, by design; the temporary revival of the marriage bed is a staged placation, in which the well-known “intermittent reinforcement theory” is observed. As has oft been noted before, refusers/gatekeepers know how to give just enough intermittent reinforcement in order to boost hope. And after enough intimacy has been introduced in order to create hope in the heart of the refused, the old ways are re-instituted. In essence, the marital clock has been reset to zero and the counting starts all over again–until the next time another booster shot of hope is needed. In essence, nothing has changed; instead, you’ve just been reset and your sentence has been extended.

Resolution Sex?

A good-willed spouse promises to do better, and fully intends to do so but after a bit, routine and ingrained habits come back, and the newly-undertaken sexual revival begins to peter out. This isn’t Reset Sex, as it lacks Machiavellian intent; however, it is the equivalent of a well-intended New Year’s Resolution–“I’m going to start going to the gym”, “I’m going to lose weight”, etc. This is a well-intentioned attempt to revive the marriage bed and is not begun with a nefarious intention to merely reset the hurting spouse. Unfortunately, it is merely a promise without a plan.

Failure to plan is planning to fail.

This is a well-known business adage, and I like it. I realize that it comes from the business world, but there is real wisdom behind it that is applicable to all areas of our lives, and is an explanation of why Resolution Sex fails.

The Bridge Between Resolution Sex and Reality

When Wife and I began attending the Methodist church that we are now members of, the pastor applied a word to the Christian faith that I had never heard before:

Intentionality.

The concept that he presented was that we don’t achieve the things that we want in our lives by being slipshod in how we approach our desires. We intentionally work for them. And if we want to be good disciples of Jesus, we need to be intentional in our walk with Him. We will do the things that bring about the growth of Christian graces in our lives.

And this is absolutely applicable to marriage, as well. While a resolution is an attempt to find ways to break out of old habits and complacencies that had led to marital stagnation in the first place, failure to define real, achievable goals, to visualize just what will be involved in turning a couple’s intimacy around, just means that they, through misplaced deference and sensibilities, are going to try to blindly grope toward a goal that they can’t even describe. They, in essence, plan to fail because they fail to plan.

In my next post, I will talk about how being intentional can help you to transforming your marriage bed.

CSL

Disclaimer: I am not a counselor, doctor, or pastor. For that matter, Wife says I don’t play well with others. My advice and comments come from my concern for hurting Christian husbands and wives. Someone once said to me, “Church shouldn’t hurt”, and I believe the same thing goes for marriage. I’m going to call ‘em as I see ‘em, but please, don’t take my word as gospel. Yes, read what I say, pray about what I say, but do your own “due diligence.”

 

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Aphorisms For Marriage, part 2

aphorism 2

In my last post, jumping off of a Gamble Rogers aphorism, I spoke about letting your works do your talking, about living out your repentance. After all, one of my pet topics that I will occasionally get exercised about on this blog is the need for integrity, for being a man of your word.

In today’s post, I want to do a slight modification of Rogers’ aphorism, “When your works speak for themselves, shut up!”, and take it in a different direction. As I wrote before, what we do speaks louder than our words, so we need to make sure that the way we live our lives with our spouses lines up with how we talk. Continue reading

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Aphorisms For Marriage, part 1

aphorism 1

I am working on a project that has me re-reading many of my posts and the comments that followed them, and in doing so, I came across something that I said in response to remarks about making apologies for past hurts.

Over the years, I have read marriage blogs and listened to sermons and podcasts on relationships in which the writers/speakers admonish people to accept the fact that they have something for which they need to apologize. I, myself, have written about sincere apologies, saying that the “If you’re upset, I apologize” isn’t an apology, but a back-handed insult, so I accept the need for truly repenting of something that you’ve done wrong. Continue reading

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Of Marriages and Splinters

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Back in the 70’s, a self-help book entitled I’m Okay, You’re Okay was all the rage, spending a couple of years on best-seller lists. I remember it being used in educational circles in the schools I worked in. After several years of observing how our culture seemed to embrace every new fad that came down the pike but thumped Christians to a fare-thee-well, I articulated the I’m Okay, You’re Okay Social Contract.

The gist of this modern social contract was that all segments of our culture made silent agreement to give okays and attaboys to each other, as long as the others gave okays and attaboys back, and to join together to kick the stuffings out of anyone who had the temerity to not go along with the arrangement. A cultural NATO, if you will.

Okay, that’s past history, but I have to confess that recently, in my thinking, I’ve revisited the I’m Okay construct again. As I was thinking about how spouses blame each other for problems in the marriage, I’ve come to realize that, consciously or unconsciously, both are engaging in another I’m okay behavior. Continue reading

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“Stop pressuring me!”

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(Let me preface this post, and stress as strongly as I can, this one caveat. If the cause of sexual gatekeeping/refusal in your marriage is due to legitimate issues of the past, such as seriously bad teaching or the result of past abuse, then sexual reluctance is understandable. Understandable, yes, but not necessarily permanent. If it comes to light that there has been past physical or spiritual abuse, then it is incumbent upon both, and I stress, BOTH, spouses to be understanding of each other and to work on healing, so that the marriage can be put on right footing.)

I realize that I haven’t written a post for this blog in a while, and I guess I apologize for that,… er, sort of. Unlike many of the other marriage and sexuality bloggers (whom I truly enjoy and honor), I don’t see myself as a writer. Instead, I’m more like that old guy that you know of who gets himself in a state and then proceeds to grace the world with his wisdom, whether wanted or not.

One of my aids for writing is my idea folder on my laptop, which contains word processing files with snippets of ideas or quotes that I’ve culled over time that I thought, somewhere in the past, might be a good topic to think on and to write about. This is a post that is triggered by one of those older snippets. Continue reading

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A Plea For Two-Handed Thinking

 

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This year, I have been engaged in a fascinating exploration of different writers and teachers who say that Christians need to understand the first-century context of Jesus and the Gospels. To get a handle on what the gospels contain, we have to give up our Western mindset and think how Christ’s words sounded to His fellow first-century Jews; after all, He wasn’t speaking to 20th- and 21st-century Lutherans, Baptists and Methodists. To do so, one of the teachers said, “you have to think Hebraically.” He went on to say that “thinking Hebraically requires two hands: ‘on the one hand,… and on the other hand….’” Continue reading

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“… and the Ugly.”: part 3

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(Note: in this post, I am addressing husbands who find themselves in Hades-marriages. However, Paul B.’s suggestions and my comments and suggestions apply to any wife who finds herself in the same situation.)
This is the third in a three-part series; here are the links to part 1 and part 2.

With my last two posts, I have been addressing a dirty secret about marriage that we Christians don’t like to talk about, that of truly Ugly! marriages, which rather than “made in Heaven” seem to have been spawned in Hades. These marriages are an embarrassment to us because they mar the image that the church wants to promote, that of marriage as a union “blessed by God”. Continue reading

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“… and the Ugly”: part 2

ugly2
(Note: in this post, I write as addressing husbands who find themselves in Hades-marriages. However, Paul Byerly’s suggestions and my comments and suggestions apply to any wife who finds herself in the same situation.)
This is the second of a three-part series; here are the links to part 1 and part 3.

In my first post about truly Ugly marriages, those spawned in Hades, I wrote about how Paul Byerly, of Generous Husband, had recently experienced an unsettling nightmare, in which he dreamt of being trapped in a Hades-marriage. His next post told of his thoughts on how he would attempt to deal with the situation if he were in one. Continue reading

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“… and the Ugly”: part 1

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This is the first of a three-part series; here are the links to part 2 and part 3.

In my first Indifferent Muddle post, I referenced Emerson Eggerichs’ Love & Respect, a book I recommend highly. I mentioned how he and the Byerlys, of Generous Husband and Generous Wife, speak of good-willed spouses, husbands and wives who do have goodwill in their hearts toward each other. It was in that first post that I discussed that not all marriages have spouses who are still good-willed, hence the Indifferent Muddle. Continue reading

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