Category Archives: Marriage Help

Marriage Intimacy – Every Couple’s Desire

Marriage IntimacyResearch in the field of psychology has supported the Biblical truth that human beings were made, our brains literally wired for relationship. The wealth of this research is called Attachment Theory. Tim Clinton, President of the American Association of Christian Counselors and co-author of the book, Attachments, Why You Love, Feel and Act the Way You Do, had this to say about marriage intimacy and attachment theory at the 2006 AACC National Conference:

“Attachment theory is a theory on relationships. It is about how we do or do not do intimacy. It is a theory of emotion because we believe when we are threatened, face stress or duress, look towards our safe haven for security and find either I will be calmed and soothed or not.”

Understanding our attachment style, what it looks like cognitively, emotionally and behaviorally, as well as what triggers it and what to do about it will greatly aid a couple’s journey towards healing, intimacy and health in the marriage relationship. Tools and techniques may be very helpful, but it is a healthy connection between 2 people that we call attachment that makes all the difference in marriage.

The original state of Adam and Eve was complete marital intimacy and oneness. They lived and worked in the Garden of Eden, enjoying each other and sharing in the work. Eve had no difficulty submitting to Adam and respecting him and Adam loved Eve. It came naturally. They were naked and unashamed. Their being naked and unashamed says so much about the intimacy that Adam and Eve enjoyed. They loved and enjoyed each other. There was nothing that came between them: no conflict, blame or shame. They knew each other deeply and accepted each other completely.

This is the longing of every heart. This is the definition of intimacy in marriage – to be deeply known and loved by your spouse.

Read more about intimacy in marriage

 

Intimacy in Marriage

intimacyThe key to intimacy in marriage is understanding that….

One of your greatest accomplishments in marriage will be to understand that both your spouse and you are wounded and choose to consciously cooperate with the Holy Spirit to appropriate God’s grace, love, faithfulness, and mercy for mutual healing.

The scriptures make it clear that human beings were made for relationship. From the beginning of human history we read in Genesis that God declared that it is not good for the man to be alone. Therefore, He created Eve as a helpmate and companion for Adam. The relationship that Adam had with Eve, his wife, was not like any other relationship that Adam could have with God’s creatures. Even Adam’s relationship with God fell short compared to His relationship with Eve. One of the reasons people get married is that they do not want to be alone. Couples long to have deep connection and intimacy in marriage.

Was Adam really alone?

It’s interesting to consider that though God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” Adam was not literally alone in the Garden: besides the animals, Adam had God. God walked in Adam’s domain (Gen. 3:8), God cared for Adam and instructed him in the way of abundant life (Gen. 2:16), God provided fulfilling activity for Adam by which to serve God as a vassal over the Garden. In other words God had a multifaceted relationship with Adam (Gen. 3:19).

So what did God mean that Adam was alone? Initially Adam did not have a means of satisfying his social and procreative nature. To fully satisfy his nature he needed another of his own kind as a faithful and monogamous companion. He did not have one who was like him and thus there was no one in Adam’s world whom he could know and enjoy procreative intimacy with as a kindred spirit. Adam was alone in his work and in his own kind. There was not another like him.

Adam was alone in that…

  • He was alone in his work of taking dominion over the earth and subduing it. Work, even the most pleasant kind that Adam was employed in, is all the more pleasurable when shared with others. Solomon said, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
  • Adam was alone in that he was unable to fulfill the work God gave him by himself. That was the work of being fruitful and multiplying. Therefore God created the Woman to be a helpmate and partner with Adam to accomplish the work God had prepared in advance for them. (Eph 2:10).
  • Adam was alone in that he had no one of like kind to exchange knowledge and affection with. Just as the Godhead is full of love, joy, unity, and faithfulness, as a creature made in the image of God, God would have Adam enjoy the blessing of intimate relationship such as He enjoys in the Godhead. Therefore He made the Woman, she was like Adam in nature but different in sex. Matthew Henry says, “If man is the head, she is the crown…the man was dust refined, but the women was dust double refined, one removed further from the earth.”

There was a close personal relationship which Adam was privileged to have with his Creator and still, Yahweh, the all sufficient One, declared that Adam was “alone”. Clearly Adam was not alone in the sense that he did not have anybody else, because he had the animals and he had God. But God Himself declares that it’s not enough for Adam to only have a relationship with Himself and the animals. God wanted Adam to enjoy intimacy in marriage.

Adam needed more to be satisfied. The apostle Paul takes the concept of knowing God to a deeply personal level: “My determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him…” Philippians 3:10 (Amplified Version). To enjoy intimacy in marriage, we like Paul, must make it our determined purpose to know our spouse and become progressively more deeply and intimately acquainted with them.

Read more about marriage intimacy.

 

Marriage Counseling Resources

Marriage Counseling

Click the picture to find a marriage counselor

There are many helpful marriage counseling resources available, but remember there are no tools or techniques that have the power to heal hearts that are unwilling to yield to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Research shows over 50% of marriages end in divorce and over 70% of second marriages end in divorce. With statistics like that there’s a real need for quality Christian marriage counseling.

If you count couples that separate and never get divorced, the numbers are even more abysmal…66%!

Couples tend to wait far too long before getting help. Unfortunately many couples never enter into couples counseling until they have already crossed the point of no return.

The reality is more marriages are failing than are succeeding. If we look at the positives…that is who’s succeeding in marriage, according to Neil Clark Warren’s data, only 25% of couples endure and state that they are truly happy!

For some practical information about couples counseling keep reading…


What can you expect from Marriage Counseling?

First of all, you can expect that your counselor has a method or approach for helping couples to positively resolve their marriage issues.

In fact, you should ask what the counselor’s approach is so you can be confident that there is an approach. What you don’t need is mediation every week while you and your spouse duke it out (so to speak) in your counselor’s office.

I have talked to many people who report that their counselor just let them talk (or argue) for an hour, while they nod their head, reflect what was said and reschedule.

If you are having marriage difficulties you need a counselor who is proactive. A proactive marriage counselor will give you practical tools. She will also have the skill to lead you to insight and understanding about the nature of your struggles. Being proactive means your counselor can help create an atmosphere which will optimize your chances of improving and saving your marriage.

Generally speaking, marriage problems are equally balanced between husband and wife, even though one spouse tends to feel it is more their spouse’s fault than theirs. This is normal and has to do with our general lack of objectivity…

This is the log and the splinter syndrome Jesus was talking about. It really does often take a third party to help diagnose the real problem. Now about diagnosing the problem…

In counseling you will want to begin to diagnose the problem. Why? Because you need to learn what you need to do differently (notice I didn’t say you need to learn what your spouse needs to do differently). You need more than just marriage advice, you also need to develop some goals and a plan for success. So how do we diagnose marriage problems…

It is done through an in-depth interview with the couple, sometimes over a series of sessions, both together and individually with your counselor. Another method your counselor may use is a series of inventories. These can provide a lot of helpful data for you and your counselor. They can also help you get a good grasp of the marriage problems relatively quickly.

The quicker the problems are identified the sooner you can get working on what’s really important, IMPROVING YOUR MARRIAGE! Good Christian marriage counseling will help you to identify and eliminate problems, and develop new skills. But most importantly, Christ centered marriage counseling will help you to live out the gospel of grace in your marriage every day.

Marriage counseling issues tend to run the gamut, but at the core there are some pretty general marriage problems that tend to be common to many couples.

Let me introduce you to some of these marriage problems...

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God’s Blueprint for Saving Marriages

Saving MarriagesChristian Counseling Online was designed with saving marriages in mind. Developing a plan for success is a requirement for saving marriages.

Having a successful marriage first requires you to understand what God had in mind for marriage. If you want to understand the purpose behind an invention you consult the One who designed it, right!

Marriage is God’s Creation, therefore He’s in the saving marriages business

On the other hand, if you are trying to use someone’s creation/invention for something other than what it was designed for, it is likely that thing will not operate as efficiently.

It is also likely to result in much frustration and conflict, like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. It just isn’t happening. So if you want to have a great marriage you first need to understand what God had in mind.

The Creator created marriage for 3 purposes

Marriage is the creation of God and He created it for very specific reasons…just like He created you…for very specific reasons. Therefore, God is in the business of saving marriages. Our lives are more satisfying when we cooperate with God in fulfilling our purposes. Marriage is no exception…

1. Your marriage relationship bears the image of God

First, you already know that men and women were made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27). But, did you know that together husbands and wives also bear the image of God? They do this by demonstrating love and faithfulness to each other…like God does with us. You see, God covenants with His people, Husbands and wives covenant to each other and God.

2. You were designed to experience and share God’s love and faithfulness

Second, one reason God created marriage was to meet human needs. Needs for food, shelter and clothing as well as needs for love, acceptance, intimacy, and faithfulness. In that way marriage is a picture to the world of how God provides for His people. Therefore, God is for saving marriages…afterall, they have His image stamped on them.

Marriage is God’s conduit for LOVE. It was designed to be a safe harbor where a man and a woman can be totally naked and unashamed. A place where they could experience the unconditional love and acceptance of God through each other.

3. You were designed for Kingdom work

Third, marriage is one of the ways God expands His Kingdom and accomplishes His work in the earth…He commanded men and women to go forth and multiply, be fruitful and take dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28).

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to do as God commanded when you are at odds with your spouse. Conflict drains our emotional and creative energies. Sadly, many husbands and wives feel like they are sleeping with the enemy instead of with their comrade in arms…

Marriage was designed with unity in mind. When a husband and wife are on the same page, so to speak, they are reflecting the unity of the Godhead. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Unity is so important that Jesus told us it would be a great sign testifying about God…

So in summary, God designed the marriage relationship to:

  • Bear His image in the earth
  • Be an expression of His love and faithfulness.
  • To advance His kingdom in the earth.

Okay, you’ve got the general idea about what God had in mind when He designed your marriage…But saving marriage requires a plan. You need a plan for saving or improving your marriage…

You Need to Commit to God’s Way

First, you need to decide, once and for all, are you going to commit to honoring God through your marriage. Are you going to close all exits and do it God’s way? Are you going to trust His word, His plan and His design? Okay, if you answered yes, let’s move on to…

Confess Your Sins One to Another…

If you’re making a plan to improve or save your marriage you need to start out on the right foot…Get right with God and your spouse first! Do this by confessing your sin…

Confession of sin can be a turning point in our lives. It means we are in agreement with God about our sin and we are choosing to turn away from it (by His grace.) When we do this, God’s word promises to give us the power to accomplish that.

Some of the things you may want to consider confessing are…

  • The ways in which you have not trusted and honored Him
  • The ways you have not obeyed His word.
  • The consequences to you, your spouse and your marriage of your rebellion

Exercising humility is a crucial part of any saving marriages plan. Making confession of sin a regular part of your marriage will keep you humble and help to maintain emotional intimacy. Apologies go a long way in keeping our hearts pliable and loving towards our spouse and God.

Meet the Needs of Your Spouse…Intentionally!

The next step in the saving marriages blueprint is making a plan for knowing your spouse’s most important needs. You also must become intentional about meeting those needs.

Check out our marriage problems page for tools on meeting your spouse’s needs. Your spouse will (most likely) feel connected and in love with you when you are meeting his/her most important emotional needs.

Pray for Your Spouse

Pray that God would show His love and faithfulness to your spouse through you. Prayer is one way we experience the personal relationship with God through Christ. It is also where we avail ourselves to the grace of God. Therefore, your plan for saving marriage must include fervent prayer for your spouse and your ability to love them.

Be a Safe Spouse

A marriage that reflects God’s image is a safe marriage. God is our refuge, therefore your marriage should be a refuge for both you and your spouse. A safe relationship is one where both husband and wife feel accepted even if there are disagreements. A plan for saving marriages needs to include a plan for safety. Neither spouse should ever have to worry about the proverbial nuclear bomb being dropped on them!

That’s why a plan for saving marriages must address conflict. Your marriage can be free from condemnation, contempt, critical attitudes and defensiveness…it’s your choice! It can be a place where you are quick to take responsibility for your own actions and slow to point your finger of blame…it’s your choice!

It is not, however, a marriage that is free from conflict. But, yours can be a marriage where both parties fight fair…

Develop Goals for Your Marriage

Finally, your saving marriages plan needs to include specific goals. Goals that are written down. After all, God wrote down His plan…we call it the Bible! Isn’t that a good enough reason for you to write down your plan for your marriage. Written goals are powerful…they help move a plan into motion…

Keep in mind, your goals need to be consistent with God’s purpose for your marriage. Your goals will help you stay on track and give more purpose, meaning and direction to your marriage and family life….

You may want to have goals in the following areas…

  • Spiritual (we will study and pray together regularly…)
  • Parenting (we will always be unified when disciplining the children…)
  • Finances (we will decide on a budget and stick to it…)
  • Health (we will exercise regularly and eat right…)
  • Communication (we will speak lovingly and respectfully to one another…)

Well, that should be enough to get you started developing your own personal saving marriages plan. If you feel you would benefit from some additional help in developing your plan for a successful marriage click here to find a therapist

Remember, the creator of marriage is in the business of saving marriages. May God richly bless you and direct your path by the light of His word!

 

 

Godly Marriage Advice for Marriage Success

Marriage Advice5 Principles Every Couple Needs to Know

Are you looking for solid marriage advice from a Biblical perspective? This article explains the 5 most common problems that plague marriages.

There is lot’s of marriage advice out there – advice that will never touch on some very important core issues. Without understanding these 5 core issues to all marriage problems you will be at a grave disadvantage. Couples  of faith understand that they need Biblically sound marriage principles, not just run of the mill marriage advice if they are to fight marriage enemy #1.

Sadly, 50% of couples are divorcing. Add to that number those who are separating and not reconciling and the number soars to 66%. Additionally, research shows only 25% of couples are truly happy. With numbers like these, We can’t deny that couples are in a serious battle for their marriages.

Some research shows that people of faith are also experiencing severe marital problems. This tells us some thing is terribly wrong. Would you agree? I mean, it just doesn’t make sense that people who have faith in God would be experiencing the same patterns of divorce and other marriage problems as those with no faith in the Almighty.

Though this article is not intended to explore the various reasons that might explain this pattern, we can’t ignore this condundrum. Therefore, the first piece of marriage advice I can give you is this: If you and your spouse are on a destructive marriage path then the most important thing to do is to take inventory of your relationship with God. The Shema in Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.”

Beyond, testing yourself to see if you are in the faith, making sure that loving and serving God are your highest priorities there are 5 core Biblically based marriage advice principles that are important to grasp.

Understanding and applying these principles can help you have a great marriage that satisfies you and glorifies God.

1. Your struggle is primarily against your own flesh.

Okay, you’ve read it. Now I want you to say it, out loud. Yes, right now, say it. Come on, this is important!

“My struggle in my marriage is really with myself.”

Now, I’ll explain this in more detail, but it is critical that you remember this principle. And remind yourself often (say it out loud!) This principle is so important because…

It is so easy to start seeing your spouse as the enemy. We start fighting against each other instead of keeping our eyes fixed on our Redeemer God.

Like little lost sheep we tend to lose our focus very quickly. Again, this isn’t just marriage advice, this is truth that we must learn to live by.

“Okay” you say, “so if our battle is not against flesh and blood, what or who is it against?

2. You must recognize your own evil inclinations.

The second marriage advice principle comes from Genesis 3:6 which states “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…” Despite the fact the God was very clear about the matter of not eating the fruit, Eve wanted her own way…she wanted to satisfy the lusts of her own flesh. She was not thinking about how to please and honor God or her husband.

What kind of conflict do you think erupted after Eve and Adam ate the fruit and were banned by God from the garden? Can you imagine some of the choice words they might have had with each other?

Sound familiar? The point is this — caving to the lusts of the flesh destroys marriages by causing conflict. That combined with our own selfish natures (we prefer to blame rather than take responsibility) results in many marriage battles.

Just remember, marriage problems are a consequence of the fall. So my marriage advice to you is remember that you are in a battle and that your own evil inclinations are often the the thing that arouses conflict in your marriage. There are 3 more Biblical Marriage Advice principles that couples should understand.