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Lots of love….
Excellent quote from Psychology Today magazine;
Regarding what people do talk about and do not talk about in therapy…but I think it really applies outside of the therapist’s office too.
“It’s not quite true that patients don’t talk about sex. What is true is that patients don’t talk about sex as much as they acknowledge that it’s important to talk about it.”
Got us thinking today…just because we have sex every day (last night was 1200 nights in a row) doesn’t mean even we talk about it all that often. We joke, we flirt, we make innuendos, but how often are we really talking about what matters regarding sex?
And what does matter?
How you/your spouse feels about sex…
How often you/your spouse would like it…
What adventures you/your spouse would like to try… (most of us are very unafraid to voice what we definitely do not want to do, but how many of us really and with confidence say what we do want?)
Food for thought… What matters to you about sex and are you talking about it with your spouse in a loving, healthy non-judgmental way?~~
Have you seen these notepads at a gift store?
When we were on vacation in Monterey last September we came across this little gem in a kitschy-fun candy shop.
We check off multiple boxes every so often and then leave the paper folded for each other to find (out of sight from the kiddos for sure!). The checked off reasons make us giggle, bring us closer and add a bit of silly spice (that should so be my Spice Girl name! Silly Spice) to our evening.
Give them a try yourself…why not?
Happy Giggly Thursday—- The Rhoads
The sludge in our “house” that was already there—the hurts from our past, the hang-ups we often dangle from and the habits we often don’t even realize exist—combines at a caustic level with the new sludge we tend to slather around; finger pointing, projection, expectations and resentments.
It’s inevitable in our lives, mine and Nathaniel’s…yours too…, in our marriage, in our child rearing to mix toxic levels of grime because we are grimy people, sinful people and hurt people who hurt people. Though we strive to be like God, we are still imperfect, fallible creatures screwing up and spewing our slime onto the closest person. Often times that super slimed person is my husband or my sons, not to leave out myself either. Because when I junk up someone else’s day I get a good dose of my own junk too.
So, how do Nathaniel and I clean our “house”?
We have a three layer approach to cleaning before, during and after the sludge has hit the fan.
Before we ever have an argument about anything, past or present, before we ever get the inclination to point a finger, be resentful, or project our hurts onto each other, we pray.
Not exactly right before, that would be amazingly telepathic of us and heck if we were telepathic more of our arguments would never start in the first place. Rather, we have prayer built in to our daily lives as well as daily Bible reading, conversations about scripture and regular, weekly church attendance and involvement.
We make God a priority in our lives not just as a church box to check off or as a spiritual slogan wall hanging, but in real, daily application. We use prayer daily and often throughout our day to guide us through the good, bad and the indifferent parts of our day. Before Nathaniel leaves for work we read our Bibles and pray together (Thank you Dad for instilling this in me!). More often than not we pray for other people and their needs. But, quite often we will pray for our day to come so that God may lead it and reside in us. We take this morning ritual with us though the day…I pray for school with my kids, Nathaniel prays for people at work he chats with, we pray at dinner and the children’s bedtimes, as well as ending our night with a final prayer as we close our eyes. Without prayer our foundation would not be steady.
During an argument we have sex.
Okay…so maybe not RiiiiGHT in the moment….but before midnight, which really puts a damper on the whole arguing thing. When we stop an argument to make sex a priority before midnight what we are really doing is making each other a priority over the argument, over who was right and who was wrong, over pointing the finger and unmet expectations, and over anxious projections spewed all over each other. We make a point to come together for the sake of our relationship on a deeper level….sex is just the conduit to get there sometimes.
After an argument we talk. But, more importantly we listen.
Any relationship, whether deep or superficial, is a two –way street. Going one way we talk, going the other way we listen. The relationship will be deeper, more evenly weighted and healthier when there is more listening than talking. And to take it one further, the more we listen in our relationship and then act appropriately in accordance to what we heard, the stronger the relationship will be as well. A listening relationship starts with listening to God and that obedience then trickles down to relationships and marriages.
There ya have it… my simple (HA!), no fuss (Sure…) Three Step Guide to Cleaning House.
Pray….Have sex…Talk (I mean Listen)
I am my house.
My body is a temple for God.
My body is a house.
I am shined and polished on the outside. Hair coiffed, bangles adorning, lips shined, and clothes neat.
I am my house.
My body is a temple for God.
My body is my house.
If I am my house, then why is it unclean?
Three years ago when we decided to go on a sex streak we were not doing it as a means to “clean house” in our relationship. But, that is exactly what came of it.
The marriage was steady for nine years. Steady minus the times when our roller coaster cart jumped track and we found ourselves slammed up against a brick wall wet with tears, blood and shame. Sex in itself did not fix our “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”, but it did open up an avenue in which learning to do better for each other, and for God was possible.
One of the very few rules we had going into the sex streak was that we had to do it by midnight, or else it did not count toward the day. I am OCD enough that I was not; I’m still not, going to let anything break the streak. (You know you really do have to look at all the positives of “cRAzy”. An OCD wife in this case equals one seriously happy husband) (and me too, definitely me too) So, if I was hell bent on not letting anything break the streak, how then were we supposed to make sex a streak when life throws dirt clods, splashes coffee dregs of white tee shirts and squirts blood red ketchup on pants?
When life would hurl mud bombs at us (in the beginning of the marriage and during the first ¾ the streak) the tendency was to throw in the towel and call it quits. But, I couldn’t ever do that. I am sure it has a lot to do with my childhood, but let’s not get Freudian right now. My Obsessive Compulsive nature, though I am not at all competitive in most other circumstances, would not let me just give up in a streak. It was something that must be conquered. Ended on my time, or God’s time, but surely never broken because of a little mudslinging.
Instead of letting a fight stop the sex of any given night, we would come to a place where we would give in to the fight and let it go, freezing it in time to go back and rehash later; all in the name of sex. And it worked, praise God, every time! You know what else happened in those frozen moments? We came together as a couple for something bigger, or at least more pleasurable (at least most of the time after a fight) than arguing. Adrenaline and oxytocin took over, filling our bodies with something better than rage, defeat and depression. After, we were markedly calmer, more attune to our own needs and often times more attune to each other’s needs; which was usually the thing that needed fixing in the first place.
How do we clean house before, during and after a fight?
We moved into a house pre-filled with sludge, sludge from past residents- no telling how far back. But, we’ve also added our own layer of sludge. It builds up in the crevices of the shower tile, toilet seat edges, and window sills. It hides under the fridge and creeps out from beneath the dishwasher and oven, trying to one day merge together to take over the kitchen.
I sweep and mop and dust and I clean the counters. But, the sludge still remains despite the fact I cleaned the house. Because, in reality all I was doing was giving the house a superficial spit shine, making it look pretty on the outside, never touching the deeper sludge hiding in the tile grout and under appliances.
Why miss the gunk lying in the shadows?
Because, it is simply easier to ignore what most others, and quite often me, rarely ever notice.
Until the one day the sludge forces itself to be seen!
As it creeps out calling my name,
“Christina notice me.
Pick at me.
Yell at me
Curse me to the wind!”
Calling me until I get down on hands and knees to scrub and dig, flaking old layer after layer out of its hiding spot. But, to no avail, the sludge remains. Always. So, I give in and up and walk away tired of the dig, tired of the deep clean. I’d rather spit shine, I’d rather fall back to the ease of the sweep-mop-clean routine.
NEXT, SLUDGE: PART TWO…..
Often times we are asked, “What can you do with your spiritual gifts and talents?” But what if we asked ourselves the opposite….
What can I do with my downfalls? How can I use the struggles in my life to benefit someone else?
We all have a cross to carry, it is inevitable. We all have our junk…but why not use the junk for good instead of burying it, crying about it, cursing it or medicating it?
How might life be different, if instead of crying, “Why me”, I cried, “Use my hurts Lord!”
My sons and I go to a Bible study every week. Each week all participants learn about the same topics and scripture. Though the learned concepts are the same, the children’s classes are working at an appropriate level for their grades, while the adult classes are diving in a bit deeper.
This has been great all year, a coming together for the three of us to learn the same topics and enter into a weekly discussion. Pretty cool, right? Learning biblical truths with my kiddos, loving that.
Until this week…these are the verses we were working on.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 New International Version (NIV)
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
I do not have an issue talking or writing about sex, um…sex blogger here. But, I do have an issue with my 9 year old discussing sex. His question to me, when studying this week was, “Mom, what is sexual immorality?” which made me stop and really have to think about how to answer him.
It would have been really easy to tell him WHY sexual immorality is wrong, or a sin, or why it is destructive… but that was not his question. He first needed to know what it meant to be sexually immoral.
How do I go about explaining sex to a 9 year old who has yet to even experience puberty? For all he knows Mommy and Daddy have a streak of kisses we keep track of on our bathroom mirror.
He has known the names of the body parts since he was a toddler; we were never ones to call genitals by nicknames. Naming the body parts is not the problem. So, I am perplexed…me the sex blogger…perplexed on how to define the act of sex to a 9 year old boy so he can then understand how sexual immorality differs from other kinds of sin.
I think before I overwhelm my child with the ins and outs (oh, just got that, HA!) of sex, I should start with the ups and downs of puberty. I definitely do not want to hide sex from my children, but I also am sure that there is a time and place to discuss sex. And I am pretty sure 9 is too early.
This question of understanding how sexual immorality differs from other sins should have been a question for the junior high and high school group in our Bible study…am I being too restrictive here? Am I out of line with my thinking? I think not…
To put it into more context, my younger son (age 7) had the same area of scripture to discuss in his class. The actual scripture was not addressed and instead of the concept of sex being brought up, the questions in their book revolved around God knowing you before you were born and how to treat your body. So, at least there is that…no 7 year olds discussing sex… phew.