Somewhere, I once read that all marital problems can be traced back to money, sex or communications. Whether this is true or not, these three are indeed major problem instigators. I have noticed that there is a lot of information on sex and finances out there. That is why today I want to focus more on communication. But first let me say a little about money and sex.
But think for a moment about this biblical rule: Be content with what you have or can afford. Don’t try to have more.
The Bible put it like this in Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have.” And as if that is not enough, Jesus explains the reason He says that. Jesus says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” What a great promise.
But if you still doubt, Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25). And if you don’t know how to do that, Jesus says: “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:32-33).
Learn the secret of being content. With that one simple rule, your financial life will be much easier. Although there is a seemingly unending amount of advertising bombarding you every single second of the day, you will bask in your contentment. “I have just what I need and I don’t need nor want more.”
Doing that, you will automatically not spend more than you make!
The best advice I might have for couples on the topic of sex would be to dedicate this intimate time to the Lord and to learn to enjoy the time together. Learn to share the warmth and to enjoy each other. God created our bodies and our physical needs and He intended that we would “see” each other. His blessing is on this sexual relationship too.
I suggest you to pray before intimacy. (No it doesn’t break the mood.) It is talking to our Father and asking for guidance and help to learn to fulfill the needs of the other. It is totally O.K. to rejoice in each other! Proverbs 5:18-19 states, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.”
I see our coming together also as a way to worship God. To honor God with clean and healthy relationships. If impurity is an abomination to God, then purity in our sexual behavior is a joy to God. Pray about it and do it joyfully.
Finally, I would like to talk about communication.
A big marriage-killer in the Christian relationship is not always sin in the sense of extramarital sex. Sometimes marriages die one word at the time. This can be caused by hateful words thrown around in anger, sharp as a dagger, meant to hurt and destroy. It does kill our hope and dignity and eventually silence our love. Ephesians 4:29 warns us “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths.”
Just as too many wrong words can kill a marriage, so can a wordless marriage drain a relationship. Lack of words or total silence also works as a dagger in our souls. If you want your marriage to succeed you will need to communicate. (And probably, in this case, text messaging will not do it.) Ephesians 4:29 tells us to use words, and it even tells us what kind of words we should use. It says “only such (words) as (are) good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” We are looking at communication for words that give grace, that will help the other grow, become a better person, to help a person express himself to the other and also to the Lord!
If you are married you need to learn to talk to each other.
Where do we talk?
Now where do we talk? Do we really need to go on date nights? Is the date night a thing to look forward to? Or do you sit there looking each other in the eye and wishing you could pull your phone out and check your Facebook status? Do you find yourself sitting at the table looking around with nothing to say? I truly believe date nights are far overrated. As soon as something is a must, it can feel like “another thing I have to do.”
I suggest that every couple find their sharing-moment and sharing-station. One couple might need to have a steak dinner in a white-linen-table-cloth restaurant while another wants to go to a park to sit on a bench and look at the birds. You need to find the place that works best for you. For me, it turned out that I talk the best at home, in my comfortable pajamas and on a couch or in bed. And since we both wind down after the children are in bed and all is done for the day, we talk until the middle of the night.
What do we talk about?
I guess it is no surprise here if I say that talking starts with listening. I have monitored my husband closely and I know what he likes to talk about. He loves theological problems. Why does the Bible say this here and that there…kind of stuff. Yes! That was my cue! I will bring up complex questions for him and we spend many hours talking and debating various points.
I noticed that he likes some other topics too. I see that he is alert when we talk about certain things. He answer questions, remembers and sometimes comes back to what we talked about. So I learned to know which topics are important to him and I make an effort to ask about those. Let me share one of them with you. He is totally taken with sports. He likes all kinds of balls—small and round, big and round, medium and round, or oval shaped balls. If the balls are being hit by a racket, bat, stick, hands or foot, he loves them all. So every season again I will ask him to explain the rules of certain games and the people in the sports tournaments to me. (Which I totally and immediately try to forget!) But I love to hear him talk and to see his enthusiasm for the games.
That is what I recommend to you—to LISTEN. Listen to what is important to him and follow up with more questions about the topic. And as soon as the two of you learn to really talk to each other, you can bring up things that concern you. Since he will already be in the habit of talking to you, now you can communicate about more important things in your lives.
I have compiled some questions for you to ask if you decide to start listening. Go on a totally “free-wheeling” date night. Pray about these questions and find some that work for you to ask. (Please don’t ask him all of them on one date!)
Questions Related to his Youth and Early Expectations:
- Tell me about the time you were a good student, a football player, a diver, a choir leader?
- Tell me about your brothers and sisters; how was it growing up?
- Tell me about your mother and father; how was it growing up?
- What in particular did you like to eat when your mom/dad cooked? (Try to get that recipe or better yet, get your mother-in-law to cook it and serve it as a surprise.)
- Who was your best friend when growing up? And where is that person now?
- What were your dreams when you were growing up?
- Did your dreams change over time? Why?
- What would you like to reproduce in our marriage that was part of your growing up years?
- What are some mistakes your parents made that you will want to prevent in our marriage?
Questions Concerning Hopes and Dreams:
- What do you see yourself doing in 5-10 or 15 years?
- How can I help you reach those goals?
- When should we pray together? In the morning or in the evening?
- How should we do our devotions? Either alone or together?
- What are the struggles you have at work?
- What time is the best time to talk with you if I have a problem?
- How much do you think we should spent on our hobbies?
- Is there anything that you feel you had to give up to be with me? And how does that make you feel now?
- Is there anything you want to do but are afraid to bring it up?
- What is your wildest dream?
Questions Related to Sexual Fulfillment:
- Do you need to fantasize to be able to have an intimate relationship with me?
- Is it ok with you if we pray before our sexual relationship?
- Can we talk about sex? Is that ok with you?
- Do you want the lights on or off when we are intimate? Why?
- What do I do that particularly makes you more eager for me?
- What do I do that turns you off when we are having an intimate moment?
Questions Related to Family and Traditions:
- What kind of traditions do you think our family should have?
- Do you want us to take lots of pictures and make photo albums or do you want us to make videos?
- How many kids do you think we should have?
- How do you think you will teach our children discipline?
- How shall we as a family grow together in the Lord? What do you think of a family night once a week? And devotion time 5 times a week? Shall we do this in the morning or evening? You asked this above.
- How do you think we should celebrate holidays? Why is it important to you?
- If you had to step into my shoes for 24 hours and do what I do for a whole day, what would you do differently?
- If you were part of a circus what would you be?
- If you were a ballerina what would you dance?
- If you were an actor which movie would you like to be in?
- If you were an actor what role would you play?
- If you were a singer which band would you like to be in?
- If you had to choose a new body, draw here for me how you would look. Be specific, color of eyes, skin, hair, etc.
- If you get lost in Timbuktu who would be the first person that you called?
- If you were able to pick your parents who would you have chosen?
- If you didn’t have to work for an income how would you spend your time?
- On which planet would you prefer to live if you could leave earth? Why?
- If you could choose a pet what would you choose?
- What shall we tell our child’s future husband or wife on their wedding day?
- Let’s keep a list with “pay-back” time for our kids when they grow up. We will tell their kids how their parents behaved.
Questions Related to Attractions:
- What do you like about me?
- Which of my dresses or shoes do you particularly like? Why?
- What would you like me to wear at night?
- Is there a particular smell that you like about me?
- Is there a particular way you like my hair?
- What are the things you wish I would not do?
- Have you been attracted to anyone else since we are married? What do you do with those feelings?
- Do you need to fantasize when we are intimate? Luisette, you asked this above.
- What do you wish I would do to be more attractive to you?
Questions Related to Death and After-Death:
- What would you do if you had only one more day to live?
- What would you do if you knew you had only 6 more healthy months to live?
- Do you know where you are going when you die?
- Is there anything in our relationship that you feel you should confess to me before dying?
- Have you (or a girlfriend) had an abortion before our marriage? How do you deal with that?
- Have you made a will?
- Who will take care of the children if we both die?
- Do we have enough life insurance for the children?
- What would you like to have accomplished in your life before you die?
- How would you want us to take care of business if you die? (Burial, cremation etc.)
Questions Related to Contentment:
- How happy are you in our marriage?
- What would make you happier?
- Are you content with where we are?
- What do you think of our day-to-day mundane home life?
- Did you think our married life would be like this? Or did you expect something else?
Questions Related to Vacations:
- What kind of vacations should we take? A tent or a 5-star hotel?
- How many vacations should we take a year?
- If we are in an exotic country shall we eat what they eat or shall we search for a hamburger joint?
- How do you like the way we are spending our weekends? Do you want to change something?
- How do you like the way we spend our holidays? Do you want to change something?
- Do we need to bring the children with us when we go away? Or is it ok to go away alone on some occasions?
Be creative! Make your own questions and send them to me!
…And they lived happily ever after….
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