Category Archives: Marriage & Sexuality

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

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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

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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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Smack Dab In The Muddle, pt. 2

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This is the second of a two-part series; here is the link to part 1.

In my last post, I wrote about the state that many marriages find themselves in, that of the Indifferent Muddle. In this condition, husband and wife plod through their married life with a growing indifference in how they live in their marriages, since the marriage is carried on by rote. Oh, if asked, each will say, “I love my husband/wife!”, but maybe, if pressed about desire and attraction for their spouse, they will agree with the old Amish saying, “Cooking lasts.” Passion, however? E-e-eh, not so much. Continue reading

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