Marriage and Divorce

Character, communication and choosing love will sustain, revive and renew a relationship for the long-haul.

 

“Personality” is easy to understand. Your “personality” is how people experience you. It’s your public persona. Character is who you are when no one is watching.

Character is defined by the dictionary as, “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” Here at Moral Revolution we talk about ‘core values’. The definition of core is ‘at the heart of’ and the definition of value is, “A person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.” So therefore, our core values are the standards we have chosen to put at the center of our lives, that govern our choices and behaviors.

Character shows itself when we choose to live by our core values despite feeling misunderstood, maligned, accused or overlooked. If I have a core value that says I will work to not wound others when in discussion with people, then in the heat of the moment I will avoid words or phrases like: “you never…..” or “you always….”

 


“The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with
a personality,
but we must live with a character.”
– Peter Devries –


 

Marriage is a covenant that we make for life, with one person, before God. It lasts too long, at too close quarters for it to be sustained simply by personalities relating together. Personalities eventually give way to an inner self that gets revealed; a meeting of characters. Most other people in your life hold up mirrors that reflect your personality and you (probably) love it because they show your best side. Whilst in marriage the same is true, it also feels like the other person is holding up a mirror to your character and you may possibly be seeing a side of yourself that is not as delightful as you thought!

One reason people fail at marriage is not that they don’t like their spouse, it’s that they don’t like themselves. Many people would rather choose to be with someone else than remain with their spouse and have to continue to be with themselves.

God is a covenant-maker and a covenant-keeper. It’s who He is and an intrinsic part of His nature and character. When He makes covenant, He is never going to go back on His word. “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind” (1 Samuel 15:29).

Covenant and character development go hand-in-hand. In our relationship with God it is so and in our marriages it is so. God covenants with us so deeply so that when He holds that mirror up and we squirm at the ugliness within us, we can still stand before Him knowing that we are loved and seen and He does not hide from us. As we walk that path with Him it trains us for marriage and other covenants. We can begin to dare to believe that we can be transparent in our closest relationships because we are fully loved by the One who sees it all and loves us, laughs with us and transforms us.

Sadly, there are some circumstances where separation and divorce become necessary, due to violence and mistreatment. But we must be careful not to then start saying divorce under any circumstances is okay. God’s words created this world. When He spoke, things were created and things changed. We are made in His image. Our words matter. The vows and promises we speak with our mouths He takes very seriously.

Divorce is not an option if we have grown bored or because we feel we have grown out of love. Character, communication and choosing love will sustain, revive and renew for the long-haul. God does it with us. He is passionate about covenant! He promises us power, love, self-control and humility. HE gives us the power to be with one another in a covenant relationship that so beautifully reflects His character and nature!

 

– Soo Prince (Intern)


Talking to Your Kids About Sex FAQ

The Sex Talk

Talking about sex with your kids can be intimidating. It’s an important topic, and it’s difficult to know how they’re going to respond. We believe it can be a great experience for you and your kids, and the beginning of an ongoing conversation about sexuality and purity that equips them for the rest of their lives. Here are three questions with answers from our team to help you talk about sex with your kids.


 

 1. AT WHAT AGE SHOULD WE START TO TALK TO OUR KIDS ABOUT SEX?

 

Whoever talks to you about a subject for the first time is who you view as the expert. So when it comes to sex, whoever talks to your kids first about it is who they will see as the expert, even if it’s a movie or a kid on the playground. A lot of times in our culture we wait and end up being the second or third message they hear. If you weren’t the first voice to talk to your kids, don’t worry, it’s okay. It’s still important that you talk to them and make yourself available to them as a safe place to ask questions and talk about anything they’ve seen or heard, and what they’re curious about.

A study done by Simon Lajeunesse found that most boys first start to seek out pornography around the age of 10  because that is the point they are most sexually curious¹. That being said, it’s a good idea to be talking to them by then. We actually recommend that you start to introduce the subject much earlier than that. It also helps to make it an ongoing subject of conversation, not just something you have a big talk about one time.

So if you have young kids or if your kids are older and you haven’t talked to them yet, we want to help you approach the question of how to talk about sex in your home.

 

2. HOW DO WE TALK ABOUT SEX IN OUR HOME?

 

One of the ways to do that is to celebrate the family unit and God’s original design for children to be born into a family in the safety of covenant between two people. We realize there are single parents out there who are doing a great job raising their kids. Among all the mixed signals about family that we’re getting from culture today, our desire is simply that God’s design for family would be clearly defined for our kids.

Another thing to help them with is understanding the body and the differences between boys and girls. This is a good way to start things off and can help introduce the topic without going into details that are unnecessary for the younger ages. Kids are naturally curious, and it makes sense they would have questions about boy and girl bodies. The differences between the two should be celebrated because being created “male and female” is all part of God’s grand design for us.

What’s really important is that you’re the one answering questions for your kids. They don’t need to know everything right away. They’re just looking for a few core pieces about their sexuality so when a message comes to them, it has somewhere to land. A tool that’s helpful when answering questions is to ask your kids, “What do you mean by that?” Many times we might jump to something as parents when our child’s real question is actually much simpler than what we’re thinking. Talk to them appropriately. Don’t stir their curiosity by talking above their level. Keep things age-appropriate.

The Story of Me and the other books in the God’s Design for Sex series by Stan and Brenna Jones are great resources. This series has four books that are all age-specific. It explains the basics of life, how sex happens, and it also glorifies masculinity and femininity.

 

3. WHAT IF A PARENT KNOWS THEIR CHILD IS ALREADY STRUGGLING?

 

It’s difficult finding out you have a child struggling in this area. It can be scary and overwhelming, but when you respond, you have to decide if you’re going to be a voice of hope or a voice of shame for your kids. They’re going to talk to someone about this stuff, if they don’t feel safe talking to you, then they’re going to find someone else.

If you find out your kid is struggling, make sure you build relationship and rapport with them first, and then slowly introduce questions to find out what’s going on in their world. You don’t have to ask specifics, just ask them how they’re doing and create a safe place for them to share. You’ve probably heard it said that people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. It’s the same for our kids. Let them know you care first. Let them know there’s a way out and that they’re not horrible for wanting to look at porn or find out more about sex. It’s normal to be curious about these things. Don’t demand a ton of information from them right off the bat. Come alongside them and ask, “How can I help you with this?”

Depending on how involved the child is, it may be wise to bring in a counselor. If you decide this is the route to go, make sure you find a counselor who knows how to connect with kids. You can offer to go with them, or ask if they want to bring a friend. Give them options and give them hope that there’s a way out.

It’s great to give your children good resources that empower them to get information on this topic themselves. We have great resources from our team as well as others we recommend. We have the 40 Day Journey to Purity for guys and girls, as well as books, curriculum, podcasts, blogposts, and all sorts of other information. It’s okay and perfectly normal for your kids to want to know more about this subject. It’s in God’s design for all of us, so of course your kids are wondering about it when they start to reach a certain age. Keep the lines of communication open and continue to be a safe place for them, free of shame, so that when they have questions or concerns, you’re the first person they want to come to.

1. University of Montreal. “Are the effects of pornography negligible?.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201111202.htm (accessed March 31, 2016).

Want to Get More Resources On Parenting Sexuality?



Seeking the Best For Others

Growing up, when my parents would ask me a question like, “Why did you put that there?” I’d hear an attack. I also learned as a little child that when the chocolate got put out, I should shove as much as I could into my mouth or else I’d miss out. These lessons seem funny to me now, but I carried them with me into my marriage.

When I married Louise, I resolved that it would be for life, and even more, that it would be better day by day. It didn’t take me long to realize that the lessons I had learned as a child weren’t serving me well in marriage. If Louise asked me a basic question, my self-preservation instincts flared up and I would be very defensive. Later, we would talk it through and I would realize that she had just asked a perfectly normal question. Over time, I came to really know that Louise is totally for me. That’s not something she just says—she means it. As I began to discover the truth that I was safe with Louise, I stopped using “self-preservation” and started to be intentional about hearing her questions as questions rather than attacks. This has been really significant for our relationship and taken us to new levels of health in our marriage (and to be honest, with other relationships as well). I am free to concentrate on being the best husband I can be and meet all of her life needs that I can. It is a thrill to look to heaven to see how we can strengthen our marriage. In just a few months we will have been married 12 years, and I can honestly say that I loved Louise with all my heart on the day I said “I do”, and that I love her more today than ever before. And this isn’t the end. God says there is even more to come.

 

– Shane, 33, Australia


8 Things I Would Tell Someone Who is Struggling With Porn

Pornography can feel like a python squeezing the life out of you. I know first hand, I was caught in the trap for years. The struggle can feel like a vicious cycle that pulls you deeper into hurt and isolation. We need lifelines, rescue ropes, and voices of strength that push us to endure and fight for our freedom. Advice while struggling with sin can be well intentioned but poorly executed. We can leave with condemnation, more rules, and less hope. This isn’t one of those times, this is a lifeline, a piece of advice that will help you. Let’s dive in!

 

Don’t believe the lie that you will struggle with this forever

 

The intensity of a struggle should never determine your hope. You could be struggling with sin for 2 years or 10, it doesn’t matter, our hope rests in Jesus came to set us free. Freedom is God’s standard and we should line up our perspective with His. God has paved a way for freedom and the first thing we do is believe it’s possible despite our experiences. As a man walking in freedom for over 7 years, I want you to know it’s very possible to live free.

 

Don’t hide it, talk to someone who isn’t struggling

 

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. It can be a terrifying to talk about your struggle but it’s a necessary step on the road to living completely free. Jesus breaks all our shame so that telling our struggle can be liberating. God has designed our lives to be healthiest when we’re in community. When we open ourselves up to healthy community we begin to receive their strength. Isolation is never the pathway to healing rather, community is essential to freedom.

 

Don’t live by rules but by your identity 

 

Rules and plans can appear wise but they fail because they’re built around the assumption that our behavior is the problem. This is a revolutionary idea for many but your struggle with pornography isn’t the problem. It’s the fruit of the problem and the real issue is how you see yourself. Do you see yourself as loved by God? Do you see yourself as forgiven by God? Do you view your past as your past? When we give our life to Jesus, the Bible says we become a new creation. Our identity is no longer defined by what we do but what Jesus has done. We are not pure because we stick to a purity plan. We’re pure because Jesus has made us pure. This is the origin of healthy behavior. Proverbs says that “as a man thinks in his heart so he is.”  How we view ourselves is crucial and Jesus gives us a new identity that will change our behavior. We’re not recovering, horrible sinners anymore. Jesus has transformed us into new people and we need to start living like it’s true.

 

Don’t be foolish, get some boundaries

 

Boundaries are tools that when used well promote health. Boundaries are not just a list of things you can do. Boundaries protect what you have said yes to in life. You can make boundaries that say “no computer after 10pm because I don’t want to look a porn” or you can make boundaries that say “I don’t look at my computer after 10pm because I value the purity God gave me.” Boundaries work best when they protect what you value not what your afraid of doing.

 

Get your needs met in healthy ways

 

We all have needs in life, for example we all need to feel loved. Now, if we don’t know how to meet that need in a healthy way we can fall into sin. Most men who fall into pornography have had a hard time finding love. Not love like a girlfriend but unconditional love that gives them worth and value outside of what they do. The need to feel loved is the need to know our worth. If you can find healthy ways to find your worth you will start beating pornography to the ground. An example would be to get worth from God and know how much He loves you.

 

God is good and he is for you 

 

How we view God determines so much about our life. Once I discovered that God is good and wasn’t out to punish me then I leaned into Him. I stopped being afraid of Him and started to trust Him. This led me into living in His strength. I now could approach Him because I knew He loved me and was for me. He not only had the power to help me but he wanted to help me. This was crucial in my journey to living free from pornography. I no longer felt God was angry but that He loved me and was there for me.

 

Temptation doesn’t mean you’re broken inside

 

Temptation is real, Jesus dealt with it. Most of us however deal with it very different than Jesus. The moment we’re tempted we think it’s because we have a problem inside of us. The bible says Jesus was tempted in all ways but without sin. This is huge; temptation isn’t a sin. Temptation can lead to sin but it doesn’t start as sin. We have to remember that the enemy tempts us and we always have a way out of it. Does that mean all temptation doesn’t come from within? No, some temptation comes because we perpetuate it through sin and poor thinking. But not all temptation comes from within us as Jesus revealed with being tempted by satan.

 

Don’t believe the lie that because you’ve looked at pornography now you wont have good sex when your married

 

I have had so many questions and sometimes statements about sex in marriage after being addicted to pornography. The concern is that now you won’t be able to get the images out of your head or you’ll be triggered by it. I am here to tell you that it’s possible to have a great sex life in marriage and not let any of your past affect you. Does it mean the enemy doesn’t try? No, he does try but his success is determined by me and I don’t let him win. God loves sex and He designed it for marriage, so you have more support than you think.

 

Chris Cruz is currently a full time Pastor at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) in Redding, CA. It’s a school of over 1800 students that’s dedicated to equipping revivalists to pursue worldwide transformation in their God given sphere of influence. Along with BSSM, He speaks at Bethel Redding on Friday nights and helps lead Tribe Young Adults.
 
Website: chrisjosephcruz.com
Facebook: facebook.com/chriscruzpage
Twitter: @chrisjosephcruz
Instagram: @chriscruz

 


Looking For Love FAQ

Question


How do I start to value myself and stop having sex with people to feel loved?

 

The Team’s Answer

 

This is a very real, valuable question. We’re going to cover a couple different things to answer it. The first one is recognizing what’s in your God spot. Where are you getting your identity? The way God designed family is for all of us to first learn we are worthy of love from our parents. He wanted all of us to first experience unconditional love from them. He wanted them to be the first ones to pass identity on to us. We realize that not everyone was given the gift of being born into a loving family, and we want to you to know that you can still learn these things, and God desires to come through and redeem everything that may have been missing or stolen from you in your childhood.

When you grow up, God eventually becomes your source instead of your parents. He wants to become your source for identity, direction, protection, comfort, unconditional love, healing, etc. When you put something else in this spot that belongs to God, you start getting yourself into trouble. You might start feeling anxious or insecure. Girls are often asking, “Am I beautiful? Am I desirable?” Guys are usually asking, “Do I have what it takes?” You have to go to God and ask Him these questions. If you don’t, you’ll look for men or women to validate you instead of God.

If God is your source of security, even when you start feeling insecure, you’re safe. God comes in and says, “Hey, do you remember who you are?” He reminds you of what He says about you. Other people can affirm you or compliment you, but that shouldn’t give you your identity. What people say to you should only be a reflection of what God’s already said to you. 

Having healthy relationships with people starts with having a healthy relationship with God and letting Him meet your needs for identity, direction, protection, unconditional love, comfort, and security. When there is a missing piece in your relationship with God, you will always seek man to fill it. Any time you violate your conscience, you have a need wanting to be met. If you’re sleeping around with guys, it might not be that you just have a really high sex drive. If you keep looking at porn, it might not be just because you’re bored. You might be using these things to medicate your pain or exhaustion. Figure out what your need is, and go get it met in a healthy way.


When all your needs are met, purity becomes a fair fight.


The second thing we’re going to talk about is self-awareness. Self awareness is the ability to know what’s going on inside of you at all times. Seventy percent of what’s going on in your brain, you’re not actually aware of. Self-awareness is taking what’s going on in your subconscious realm and bringing it to your conscious realm.

Here are a couple things you can do to learn to be self-aware:

1. Write questions on your mirror like, “How are you today? How do you feel?”

2. Put reminders in your phone that say: “How’s your heart? What do you need today? How did you do today?”

If you wake up in the morning and realize you’re judging yourself in the mirror, you can recognize those feelings and think, “Oh man, I’m feeling insecure. I better not leave the house feeling insecure or ugly.” Then, instead of violating your conscience, you can fix what’s going on inside of you early on. You can even get help from someone else if you need to.

These are a just couple basic steps to help you become self-aware and understand your feelings. Feelings don’t actually have any moral value. Following them is not always going to lead you down the path God is asking you to walk. What you feel is just a sign of how you’re really doing. When a feeling comes up, evaluate: “Is this a good feeling? Am I feeling overwhelmed? Why?” Feelings are critical on our journey of self awareness. Catching them early and working things out helps keep us free.

Keeping God in your God spot and practicing self-awareness are two major tools to help you value yourself and keep from violating your conscience. Remember, in Christ, you are a new creation. Old habits and patterns do not dictate your life anymore. Learn to be aware of what’s going inside of you and get the questions of your heart answered by the Father who loves you and created you. His answer is always loving and it’s the one that really matters.


Top Health Questions & The Body: FOR WOMEN ONLY

Female Anatomy

1. What is a hymen?

While some women are born with absent or incomplete hymens, in general, a hymen is a thin membrane that surrounds the opening to the vagina. The most common hymen in women is shaped like a half moon which allows menstrual blood to flow out. Some women have hymens that cover the majority of the vaginal opening whereas others’ are smaller. Every woman will be different.

 

2. How do I know if my hymen has been broken? If it is, am I still pure?

The hymen — a thin membrane fold at the entrance to the vagina — can be torn by things other than sex or masturbation. Examples would include sports and tampon insertion. The tearing is not always painful, but often does result in a bit of bleeding. As an aside, virginity means not having had sexual intercourse; it does not mean having an intact hymen.

A torn hymen isn’t likely to heal. Having a torn hymen does not make you impure, sexually or otherwise, in itself. Typically, you would be able to tell visually if your hymen was broken if you observed yourself in a mirror. The best way to find out is to visit a gynecologist or your family doctor and ask them if it seems intact.

 

3. Why do some women have small breasts, while others, even their own mothers, have large breasts?

The Doctor says:

Breast growth in girls begins about two years prior to menarche (the start of menstrual periods) and may continue up to four more years, which is to say women’s breast generally grow for about six years. A 2010 Australian twin study found that bra size was fifty-six percent a matter of heredity (genetic). However, not everything in life is genetic, and genes are about predisposition and not destiny. So, a woman’s mother’s breast size says something about her own, but not everything.

Other things during her life may change a woman’s breast size. Since adipose (fat) makes up a good part of the breasts, significant weight loss or gain will also affect breast size in the same direction. Pregnancy, for obvious reasons related to hormonal changes and milk production, will usually enlarge a woman’s breasts. About twenty percent of women will have breast growth after menopause, and the main reason for this is weight gain.

Genes, weight, age, pregnancies, menopause and other factors all play roles in breast size. So the answer to your question about why some women have smaller breasts than their mothers is that they are not their mothers.

 

How it All Works

1. What is puberty?
Puberty is the period of life when a person’s sexual organs mature and he or she becomes able to have children.


2. When does it start?

The time when puberty begins varies greatly among individuals; however, puberty usually occurs in females from 10 to 14 yrs old.

 

3. What happens during puberty?

For females, the growth of pubic hair is first followed by the growth of hair in the armpits. A minority of girls, however, begin to develop pubic hair prior to breast development. The onset of menstruation usually happens later than the other physical changes and usually occurs around two and a half years after the onset of puberty.

 

4. Can you explain my period to me?

Simply, menstruation, or your period, is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman’s monthly cycle. It is a sign that she is able to have children.

Every month, your body prepares for pregnancy. If no pregnancy occurs, the uterus, or womb, shed it’s lining. The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissue from inside the uterus. It passes out of the body through the vagina. This usually lasts 3-5 days. *www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/menstruation.html.

The length of the cycle differs for each woman, the average being 28 days — starting from the day you first start your period, to the last day before you start your next.

 

5. When am I ovulating? How do I know?

Once a month, in the middle of your cycle (ie: Day 14 of a 28 day cycle), your body releases an egg from your ovaries. It flows down your fallopian tubes into your uterus. The egg will either be fertilized by sperm, or dissolve if fertilization does not take place. [1] The release of the egg is called ovulation. Some women say they can feel the egg “pop,” a slight twinge of pain in the lower abdomen. Most are unaware of it happening. It is at this point, when the egg is available, that you are fertile (you are able to get pregnant). There must be at least one healthy sperm waiting, available to fertilize the egg within 12-24 hours of the egg being released from the ovary if the woman is to conceive. [2]

Many women experienced a heightened libido at this time of the month. (This means they desire sex when they are ovulating.) If you experience a “time of the month” where you are extra affectionate, cuddly, and desire sex, there is nothing wrong with you. You are probably just ovulating.

[1] www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/anatomyvideos/000094.htm
[2] www.americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant-window/

 

3 Things Everyone Should Know About STD’s
No fear-mongering here. Just a few things everyone should know to stay safe and stay healthy. Care for your body; it’s the only one you have.

1.  Can I have an STD and not know it?

Yes. Unfortunately, some of the most common STDs have no symptoms in many women, or the symptoms may appear to be from another common cause such as a bladder infection. According to the CDC, there are 19 million new cases of STDs in this country every year, and at least 50% of those are in teens or young adults. For two of them, HIV and herpes, there is no cure. Another, HPV, can lead to genital warts or cervical cancer. So it is important to know if you have an STD. The best way to do that is to be tested by a medical professional.

 

2. What are the 7 Most Severe STDs?

Something can be life-altering and heartbreaking without being lethal. Bacterial infections are very treatable when caught early, but can cause greater problems the longer they are left untreated. This is particularly true for syphilis — which can infect and damage the brain with time — but is also true for Gonorrhea and chlamydia (pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, urethral blockage, etc.). Viral infections are often incurable, but may have successful treatments to keep controlled. I think the top 3 here are in order, the rest vary.

– HIV/AIDS
– Hepatitis B/C, though C is harder to acquire sexually than B
– Syphilis
– Gonorrhea (also includes pelvic inflammatory disease)
– Chlamydia (also includes LGV and pelvic inflammatory disease)
– Human papillomavirus (can lead to cervical cancer)
– Herpes Simplex.

 

3. Is it ok to perform oral sex when I have a cold sore or fever blister?

No, it is not a good idea to have oral sex when you have a cold sore. Historically, viral sores on the lips (cold sores or herpes labialis) were HSV type 1, and sores on the genitals were HSV type 2. Both are types of herpes viruses. However, things are less clear now, and either can be found in either location, though it is still more common for the distinctions mentioned above to hold true.[1]

In either case, cold sore viruses can be transmitted to genitals by oral sex. Not the best of gifts.

[1] http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000606.htm

 

Medical Mysteries

Think you’re the only one? The Doctor addresses some common questions women have about their bodies.

1. Sometimes there is pressure in my crotch and it makes it uncomfortable to sit. It usually occurs the day after I have a wet dream. Is this similar to male ejaculation but with women?

Thanks for your courage in asking up. The answer is yes. A wet dream (nocturnal emission, as discussed here regarding men) does involve ejaculation, which simply refers to the discharge of fluid, and that’s what the “wet” part is about. In guys it is semen, and in women it is other normal fluids. Not every woman has wet dreams; and for those that do, the orgasm that comes with it can be dry. The uncomfortable crotch can come from engorgement of the pelvic blood vessels as well as the after effects of the event on the tissues involved – things can get a little swollen and sore for a short time. It’s not anything to be concerned about, unless you have pain that does not go away, and then a visit to your doctor might be a good idea.

 

2. Does sex hurt the first time?
For men, often not. For women, it usually does, for a short while. This is because a woman’s labia and vagina has some stretching to do, which has generally not occurred to that degree before having sexual intercourse. The same can be true for men and their foreskins, but usually not to the same extent, again, usually.

As husband and wife tenderly grow together in their sexual oneness, these pains often resolve quickly. However, there are also problems of a medical or psychological nature that can be present that would cause pain that is not so mild and doesn’t fade away with further intercourse. Should that occur, it’s time to see your gynecologist or family doctor.

 

3. Will his penis fit in me? Will I be too small? Should I do anything to stretch myself?

The vaginal opening is made from muscles that contract or relax. When a woman gets aroused, the vagina actually increases in size, both in length and in width, to be able to accept an erect penis. Remember, you are made to be able to have a baby — the baby’s head, which is bigger than a penis, comes through that opening. However, there are women who are smaller and will experience pain the first few times.

When you first have sex, it can feel tight, so use lots of lubrication. But if you can relax and enjoy your arousal, it will not feel as tight. Over time, it won’t bother you at all. There is no need to stretch yourself beforehand.

It is always a good idea to have a gynecological checkup before you get married and have sex for the first time. If you still have questions about whether you are too small, your doctor can physically examine you and set your mind at ease.

 

4. Is there anything a doctor can do if sex is difficult and/or painful for a couple?

Yes, there are things a doctor can do. Painful intercourse, or dyspareunia, can have many causes other than just vaginal tightness, and the physician can perform a detailed history and careful physical exam to sort things out. Her gynecologist can get her set up with a dilation program to comfortably stretch out the vagina, if that turns out to be the main issue. In the mean time, using ample water-based lubricants (e.g., K-Y Jelly), pre-dosing with anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., Ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.), gentle but plentiful foreplay, great communication, and lots of patience will help.

If you’re constantly trying new approaches and still have pain, consult your doctor to find out if there’s something happening that you’re not aware of. If you have issues such as sexual guilt, shame or trauma, it could be helpful for you to find healing in order to solve the problem of painful intercourse.

 

5. What is a pap smear for? When do I need one?

The Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. Cells scraped from the opening of the cervix are examined under a microscope. You can read more about Pap smears here, at the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The Doctor shares: Cervical cancer usually does not show up as nodules or hard spots or things one can feel, thus the need for regular pap smears once a woman becomes sexually active – precisely to identify pre-cancerous or cancerous changes early on that cannot be felt.

 

6. My gynecologist recommended that I should get vaccination against the Human Papilloma Virus. I am not sure about the nature of HPV, only that it is mainly transmitted through sexual intercourse. Does the vaccination make sense when two virgins marry and remain faithful to each other?

Excellent question. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is for girls 11-12 years old (but effective for ages 9 through 26) to help prevent cervical cancer and genital warts. It is given to boys and men ages 9 through 26 as well. Why give this vaccine to children we raise – or adults who have committed – to abstain from intercourse until marriage? Three main reasons: (1) our children/we cannot account for the past of their/our spouses, (2) the chance of sexual violence against our children/us, and (3) despite the best upbringing, our children/we might make bad choices (though we neither predict nor wish that).

If you are already married and both you and your husband came to the bridal chamber as virgins, the only reasons for the HPV vaccine would be protection from the virus in case of sexual  violence (rape) or infidelity. Having put all the cards on the table, the final choice of whether or not to get the vaccine is your own.

Check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s page on HPV.

 

7. I’ve heard it said that all men have a high sex drive. Is the sex drive of a woman more or less the same?

Your question is a good one, on many levels. Men do standardly have stronger sexual drives than women. Men have the higher testosterone levels propelling stronger impulses for sex and aggression, the latter of which is properly directed toward the protection of wife and family. However, the degree of sex drive varies among men – it occurs across a spectrum from stronger to weaker. It also varies with advancing age. Dudes are not equally “in the mood.”

Women, likewise, have varying strengths of sexual drives across a spectrum – some more robust and others not. Though women as a whole average lower sex drives than men as a whole, that is not the full story. A man with a relatively weak sex drive can be the spouse of a wife with a relatively strong sex drive, thus leaving the man feeling behind the power curve.

Libido is not all about hormones, either. Something as simple as being sleep deprived or not feeling well (like the proverbial headache) can quench the flames of desire with little trouble. Medications can interfere. Past traumas, painful intercourse, and/or negative views of sex can hinder as well. The more satisfied a woman (or man, for that matter) is with her (or his) life, marriage, family, communication, and so forth, the less inhibited the desire for sex. Conversely, when relationships and financial matters are severely challenged, it is hard to feel very animated about sex.

Much goes into the makeup of a sex drive at any given time, but the short answer to your question is that not all women are alike.

 

8. Can you become pregnant if you hymen hasn’t broken?


Yes. Pregnancy is not really related to having an intact hymen, so a broken hymen will not hinder your ability to become pregnant.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003157.htm

 

9. I have never had an orgasm during intercourse. Is this normal?


Anorgasmia (inability to achieve orgasm) can have several causes: medications (certain antidepressants, antihistamines, or blood pressure meds), medical problems, hormonal issues, emotional/relational factors, past trauma, psychological components, and more. The treatment options vary with the underlying causes, but treatments do exist.

Our team would add that there is also the common problem of husbands rushing intercourse and not adequately engaging their wife in enough communication and foreplay (hugging, cuddling, talking, touching, and so forth) for a woman to be ready for sex. This alone, can make it difficult for a woman to achieve orgasm; she’s simply not primed for it. This can generally be corrected by communicating with your husband, guiding him in what you want and need in the bedroom, focusing on foreplay. You may want to consult a sex therapist for insight if the problem persists.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001953.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anorgasmia/DS01051

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003157.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/painful-intercourse/DS01044

 

 10. What are your thoughts on Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery?

Labia come in various sizes and proportions that are still normal even if not just the way you want them to appear. Part of the problem is the false standards of body image promoted in the media. Even medical publications and web sites can unintentionally give girls and women a false impression, especially if what is being displayed is not quite the same as what you perceive on yourself.

Another concern is young women rushing to cosmetic surgery to “fix” what is likely just fine in the first place. Anatomy changes with the years, often for the better. The risks – what can go wrong and how it might affect sexual function – with what is formally known as Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery (FGCS) is just not that well worked out yet. [1] FGCS is rarely required and should not be approached lightly.

So if your labia minora do stand out more than most, you are still normal, there is probably nothing wrong with you, and it is not likely to cause problems. It is a natural variation. On the other hand, if your labia often hurt, are easily infected, interfere with urination or menstrual function, are too frequently injured, or pose other recurring problems for you, a visit to a gynecologist is in order.

A final encouragement for you– The man who will marry and love you will also accept you as his own standard of womanly beauty: his wife. The proportions of your labia will not likely be much of a concern to him, despite what you may fear. Likewise, your future husband is probably sweating it out about some genital imperfection of his own that you just won’t care about. Be kind to yourself.

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21696338

 


Do You Deserve to Be Forgiven?

 

FORGIVENESS RESTORES THE STANDARD

I learned this lesson years ago when my kids were teen­agers. I became angry with Kathy in front of them and treated her disrespectfully. An hour later, I apologized, and she forgave me. But when I went to bed that night, I suddenly realized that I had disrespected Kathy in front of my teenage kids. So I needed to apologize to them for being a bad example of a husband, or they would grow up believing that my behavior was okay. The next day, I gathered the kids together in the front room and asked Kathy and each of the kids to forgive me.

“Okay, Dad,” they each said, a little annoyed that I was making such a big deal out of this. “We forgive you. Can we go now?” they pressed.

“You can go,” I responded. I was as glad to get that over with as they were.

About a week later, one of our boys came in the kitchen and started being sarcastic with Kathy. I walked into the kitchen and said, “You don’t have permission to talk to my wife like that.”

“You were rude to Mom the other day yourself!” he responded.

“Yes,” I continued, “but you forgave me. Forgiveness restores the standard. When you forgave me you gave up your right to act the same way that I did because your forgiveness restored me back to the place of honor. I repented. Repentance means to be restored to the pinnacle, the high place.”

“I’m sorry, Mom. I should not have spoken to you that way,” he said humbly.

“I forgive you, son,” she said, embracing him.

 

LIVE AS IF YOU HAD NEVER FAILED

If we don’t understand this principle, then the lowest point, the worst mistake or stupidest thing that we have ever done in life becomes our high watermark. For instance, if we were immoral as a teenager and later on in life we have teenagers, we won’t have confidence to correct them for their poor sexual choices because we failed ourselves. Failures that we have repented of are no longer the standard that we must bow to. When we asked God and those we had hurt to forgive us, we were set back up on the high place that God assigned to us. The truth is that forgiveness restores the standard of holiness in us and through us.

When you repent, you have permission to live happily ever after! That’s God’s gift to you. It’s called mercy and grace. Mercy means that you don’t receive the punishment you deserve, but grace means that you do receive the blessing you didn’t earn. This was all paid for when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus didn’t just die for you, He died as you. You get to live as if you had never failed!

 

THE RIGHT TO BE HEALED

I was teaching this principle at a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) base some years ago when suddenly a young, beautiful woman stood up and shouted, “You are wrong!” Then she just stood there weeping out loud.

“What do you mean, ‘I’m ‘wrong?’” I asked.

“I have VD because I slept with many men before I started following Jesus,” she said through her tears. “How can I live happily after that? Who is going to want me now?”

“When you asked for forgiveness, you received the right to be healed of all of your diseases,” I said confidently.

“I don’t deserve to be healed because I knew my lifestyle was wrong when I was living immorally, but I did it anyway,” she said in a harsh tone of voice.

“Jesus didn’t die for your mistakes, He died for your sins,” I argued. “Sin means you did it on purpose. You can’t sin by accident because sin is always a heart issue. Accidents are not heart issues because an accident isn’t something you tried to do on purpose. So accidents don’t need to be forgiven by God, only things you did on purpose need God’s forgiveness. Furthermore, the prophet Isaiah said that Jesus was crucified for our sins but that He was beaten for our healing (see Isaiah 53:5). So Jesus paid the price for us to be forgiven and healed. Why not get all that He paid for?” I contended. “And oh, by the way, none of us deserve anything from God. But we don’t get what we deserve. We get what He deserves.”

After debating for a while, she finally let God heal her! He is so amazing!

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
WEBSITE: KRISVALLOTTON.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

Top Health Questions & The Body: FOR GUYS ONLY

Urban legends, unexplained phenomena, and locker-room bravado debunked

 

Men, we know you have questions when it comes to health and your body. We’re here to help you to fill in the gaps.

Doubting your physical prowess or your ability to please your wife? Wondering why your body does what it does? It’s our responsibility to steward our bodies. Even if you don’t want to talk about this…you need to.



THE MALE BODY

1. WHAT IS PUBERTY?

Puberty is the period of life when a person’s sexual organs mature and he or she becomes able to have children. Along with the physical changes described below, boys may experience emotional changes and begin to “notice” the opposite sex. Simply put, when you go through puberty, you are physically beginning the change from boyhood into manhood.

 

2. WHEN DOES IT START?  

The time when puberty begins varies greatly among individuals; however, puberty usually occurs from 12 to 16 yrs old in males.

 

3. WHAT HAPPENS?

In males, an increase in the size of the testicles is the first change observed at the onset of puberty. Enlargement of the testicles begins at an approximate average age of 11 and a half years in boys and lasts for about six months. After enlargement of the testicles, the penis also increases in size. Enlargement of the testicles and penis almost always occurs before the development of pubic hair. The next stage is the growth of pubic hair and hair in the armpits. Next, the voice becomes deeper and muscles increase in size. The last step is usually the development of facial hair.

 

4. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE “AROUSAL” FOR MEN?

Very simply, arousal for men will typically start visually, and their brains and bodies almost always agree. This means that as soon as an appealing image registers in the brain, the body is turned on immediately. Exposure to the erotic stimuli activates the parts of their brain related to getting an erection.

When a man is stimulated in this way, his body reacts; blood flow to the genitals increases. The penis, which is full of spongy tissue, fills with blood and becomes hard. This is called an erection.

 

5. WHAT IS A WET DREAM?

A wet dream is a nocturnal emission, more commonly called a wet dream. It is involuntary, a spontaneous orgasm that can result in ejaculation. It’s very common in teen years, and can continue to some extent later in life. It is not wrong/sinful. This occurs with males and females and is common for both. You can read more about this in our article: Top Dreams & Fantasy FAQ.

 

6. WHAT IS “BLUE BALLS”?

Blue balls is a slang term referring to the unsatisfied and prolonged sexual arousal in males. It’s nothing to be concerned about; it’s nothing more than an uncomfortable sensation and no damage will occur if the male does not ejaculate. If ejaculation does not occur, discomfort resolves within an hour. Some ways to relieve this are: lying down, a hot bath, cold compression on the area, gently massaging the area, or lifting a heavy object.


 


PENIS ENVY & UNDERSTANDING

The world is full of ideas and ideals regarding the figurehead (no pun intended) of manhood. Here, the Doc gives it to us straight about the penis.

1. WHAT IS THE AVERAGE PENIS SIZE? 

Young men are often concerned about penis length or girth, but should not be. The average length of a penis is 3.5 inches or 9 cm. Some are longer and some are shorter, and that is generally fine. The average length of an erect penis is around 5 to 6 inches or 12.5 to 15 cm.[1][2][3] Erections have been called the great equalizer, since their average length is about 5 inches in most men.

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2528816/

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8709382

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11223678

 

2. WHAT IS NORMAL WHEN IT COMES TO SHAPE?

Just like people, penises come in many shapes and sizes. If you’re concerned if your member will measure up, think of it this way: if it works, you’re okay! However, there can be a real, medical condition, that some men face: curvature of the penis.

Our Doctor says:

When it comes to this curvature question, two main issues come into play. One is congenital or acquired anatomic problems in young men, and the other is Peyronie’s disease, usually in men over forty years of age. In congenital or acquired bending of the penis — the latter often from trauma causing penile fracture, aka broken penis (no, I am not kidding . . . cringe) — there is a defect in one of the two tube-like membranes (tunica albuginea) covering spongy tissues in the penis (corpora cavernosa) that engorge with blood during erections. Since one side’s tube is smaller than, less elastic than, or otherwise tethered compared with the other side, erections curve/bend. Peyronie’s disease causes curving/bending of the penis through development of scar plaques on the tunica albuginea.

When is it time to seek medical advice? The Mayo Clinic says to consult a physician if erections hurt or if the bend is enough to interfere with sex. One might add significant psychological concern to this list, especially for those who do not have painful erections but don’t plan to have sex until marriage, and therefore won’t know yet if the curve would interfere with intercourse.

For congenital or acquired penile curving that is severe enough in younger men, surgical correction can be quite effective. For Peyronie’s disease Medline plus lists possible medical treatments (steroid injections, the medicine Potaba, radiation therapy, shock wave lithotripsy as with kidney stones, Verapamil injections, and Vitamin E) though none of these work very well. But surgery can be done, including penile implants, with better results.

Overall, however, men who have it tend to carry an exaggerated sense of the degree of their penis curving. For most young men who perceive abnormal bending, most won’t need to do anything.

 

3. DOES HAVING A LOT OF SEX INCREASE YOUR PENIS SIZE AT ALL?

Two answers: no and not worth talking about. Think about it. How many old married guys out there brag about how much larger their unit is now than when they first got married? Right, not many at all. And you know they would be telling us all, since guys brag about anything. Overall, the answer is no, sex does not increase your size.

4. WILL MY SIZE AND/OR SHAPE MATTER WHEN IT COMES TO PLEASING MY WIFE SEXUALLY?

Regardless of erection size (length or girth), a man can generally still sexually satisfy his wife, assuming he actually listens to her about what satisfies her rather than running on his assumptions. Our sex therapist Heath Wise put it this way:“The size of your penis is not what makes for great sex. I have clients who cannot get an erection who say they have the best sex they have ever had because they are focused on connection and intimacy with their partner, rather than mechanics and body parts.[6] The average non-erect penis is approximately 3-3.5 inches long and an average erect penis is 5-5.7 inches long. A woman’s vagina only has nerve endings in the bottom third. An average erect penis is long enough!”

The point is that the odds are overwhelming that you’ve already got what it takes physically for good intercourse, but what makes sex in your married life great depends on a lot more than anatomy.

As for the shape, there are many different curvatures and shapes that are completely normal and don’t affect stimulation during sex in any negative way. There are diseases or acquired bending (broken penis) that are defects that can cause curving or bending but don’t affect your health. Recognize that everyone is different and your future spouse will let you know what they need when the time comes.

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8709382

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11223678

[6] http://www.moralrevolution.com/dating-and-sex/the-sex-therapist/2011/08/penis-size

 

5. I HAVE HEARD THAT SEX UNCIRCUMCISED IS MORE PLEASURABLE FOR THE MAN AND THE WOMAN, THAN IF A MAN IS CIRCUMCISED. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS AND IS IT TRUE?

Our Sex Therapist Answers:

This has been a topic that has been debated for years. Unfortunately there has not been much well designed research on the topic and the results were confusing. But in the last years there have been studies that were done to see if circumcision had an effect on HIV transmission in adult males in several African countries where the HIV rates are high. So they circumcised adult men and asked them about sexual satisfaction along with studying transmission rates of HIV as well as other infections. What they found was that there was some loss of sensitivity to the glans of the penis when the man was circumcised. The circumcised men took longer to have an ejaculation which was thought to be from decreased sensitivity. However, the men and the women who were their partners said that they either liked it when it took longer or it did not matter.

But the longer ejaculation time was not the only positive effect. Both the men and the women said that they either liked sex more due to the circumcision or it did not affect them one way or the other. Whether it was due to better hygiene after a circumcision or it was due to other unknown variables, there did seem to be an increase in frequency after the circumcision.

So there was not a negative effect on sexual satisfaction – it either had no effect or it was a positive effect both in the men and in their women partners. And just as an aside, circumcision made an astounding difference in HIV transmission rates – about 40% lower with circumcision. Circumcision has been found to protect against not just HIV transmission but also other infections and cancers. The American Academy of Pediatrics in 1999 came out against routine circumcision of infant males and many insurance companies stopped paying for it after that. However, the Academy has convened a panel to revisit that stance due to the new information about the protective effect of circumcision.


 

MEDICAL MYSTERIES

You may feel like you’re the only one, but you’re not. Here are quick answers to some of your unanswered questions.

1. IS IT NORMAL FOR GUYS TO HAVE FREQUENT ERECTIONS, EVEN WHEN NOTHING SEXUAL IS HAPPENING?

Our Sex Therapist answers:

You are very normal, especially if you are a young male. Your body is just doing what it was made to do. It can be embarrassing at times for sure. As you get older, your body will settle down and you will have more control over them. But the good news is that your body is doing what it was wired to do!

 2. WHAT CAN’T I GET AN ERECTION WITHOUT ANY STIMULATION OR AROUSAL? (IE. MORNING ERECTION)

Often due to changing levels of testosterone in the body, fluctuating hormones can cause this to occur. According to some scientists, a morning erection can simply be a leftover from a series of nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) episodes that occur like clockwork during the night for all healthy human males—most frequently in REM periods of sleep. Scientists have determined that the average 13- to 79-year-old penis is erect for about 90 minutes each night, or 20 percent of overall sleep time. With your brain cycling between the four sleep stages, your “sleep-related erections” appear at 85-minute intervals lasting, on average, 25 minutes. Needless to say, this is normal and common.

 

3. WHY DO I EJACULATE (OCCASIONALLY) WHEN I EXCERCISE?

Exercise ejaculation occurs during intense physical exercise. It is more commonly associated with weight lifting, but other strenuous exercises – particularly those that engage the core muscles – can also cause the release of semen. A very intense abdominal and core workout puts a lot of pressure and squeezing on the prostate gland, which, in some cases, expels some semen. Mostly it is related to a general release of testosterone.

 

 4. WHY DO I GET AN ERECTION SIMPLY WHEN I FEEL LOVED AND CLOSE WITH SOMEONE?

This is a natural response since the body will respond to a chemical stimulant and release in the brain. As you feel loved and are close to someone, the chemicals in your brain respond which releases testosterone in the body. There’s nothing abnormal about this, especially while you’re younger and the body is learning how to respond to things. If you are trying to refrain from this, try thinking about different things when you’re feeling this way. If this is an issue among people you are not attracted to, think about how much you respect them, cherish them and honor them the same way you would a sibling or parent. Learn to train your brain and see what works for you.

 

 5. I SEEM TO BE HAVING ERECTILE ISSUES? WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND? 

The Doctor answers:

Erectile dysfunction (ED), can be embarrassing, frustrating, and discouraging. It is also quite treatable. The first thing to do is go to your doctor for an exam and some lab work. This will likely include looking at levels for testosterone, thyroid, chemistries, and so forth. The causes of ED can be as simple as newlywed anxiety or more physiological. Certain medications, alcohol, and tobacco can get in the way. If the issue is more psychological and persistent, a good sex therapist can be of help. If physiological, proper diagnosis leads to the right treatment.

One last thought from our Sex Therapist: We are seeing an increase in erectile dysfunction in young men who have looked at a lot of porn. If this is true for you, then getting free from porn would be an important first step. After that, learning to be truly sexually intimate can begin to happen.

 

6. WHEN I GET AN ERECTION MY FORESKIN DOESNT RETRACT OVER THE HEAD OF MY PENIS BECAUSE THE BAND WITHIN MY FORESKIN IS TOO TIGHT. IS CIRCUMCISION NORMALLY THE ANSWER, OR IS THERE ANY OTHER PROCEDURE TO CURE IT?

This condition is called phimosis (Greek for “muzzled”), and you are not alone. Circumcision has commonly been used as the most reliable and effective treatment, but there are several alternatives that can be tried first. These include application of topical steroids over 4 to 6 weeks, simple dilation (either by repeated manual stretching or using tools designed for that purpose), or a minor surgical procedure for cutting the constricting band itself but leaving the foreskin (preputioplasty). A urologist can get you started with your treatment options.

 

7. IS IT HARMFUL TO NOT EJACULATE? CAN IT MAKE YOU STERILE?

No, this is not harmful nor can it make you sterile. Seminal fluid and sperm are from two different places. Semen back up does not destroy sperm.

8. IS IT OK TO PERFORM ORAL SEX WHEN I HAVE A COLD SORE OR FEVER BLISTER?

No, it is not a good idea to have oral sex when you have a cold sore. Historically, viral sores on the lips (cold sores or herpes labialis) were HSV type 1, and sores on the genitals were HSV type 2. Both are types of herpes viruses. However, things are less clear now, and either can be found in either location, though it is still more common for the distinctions mentioned above to hold true.[1]

In either case, cold sore viruses can be transmitted to genitals by oral sex. Not the best of gifts.

[1] http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000606.htm

 

9. CAN I HAVE AN STD AND NOT KNOW IT? 

Yes. Unfortunately. According to the CDC, there are 19 million new cases of STDs in this country every year, and at least 50% of those are in teens or young adults. For two of them, HIV and herpes, there is no cure. Another, HPV, can lead to genital warts or cervical cancer (in women). So it is important to know if you have an STD. The best way to do that is to be tested by a medical professional.


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How to Not Treat Your Boyfriend Like a Husband

(Or Your Girlfriend Like a Wife)

 

There I sat in the middle of class letting my mind drift away into thoughts about him. Mr. Dreamy. We’d had such great conversations in the hallway. He was so funny, and he loved Jesus. The questions bounced through my thoughts one after another: What if he asks me on a date? Where would we go and what would we do? What if we have a great time? What will be the first song we dance to at our wedding?

Wait, what? Our wedding?!

How do thoughts escalate so quickly when an attractive man or woman enters the picture? I have no idea, but I’ve seen it happen many times and witnessed it firsthand in my own mind more than I would like to say. I believe part of it lies in the fact that many single people know they want to one day be married. When we see the first glimpse of this possibility becoming a reality, we get excited. We might even skip a season or five.

Sometimes this shows itself in a girl treating her boyfriend like a husband or a boy treating his girlfriend like a wife. She justifies it in her mind thinking, “Well, eventually I do want to be his wife.” He justifies it in his mind thinking, “I want to show her what a great husband I would be.” Pretty soon, she’s doing the guy’s laundry on the regular and cooking all of his meals. He’s picking up her mom’s dry cleaning, and they’ve only been dating a couple months! The problem with this is that the level of their involvement in each other’s lives is exceeding their level of commitment. They may think they’re going to get married, but there’s no ring. Until there’s a promise of a lifelong commitment, you have to treat your boyfriend like a boyfriend or your girlfriend like a girlfriend. This is how you keep yourself and the other person safe.

So how do you do that?

1. Don’t be his mom. I know it can be fun to take care of him, and caregiving is often in our nature. The problem comes when you give him all the benefits of having a wife with none of the commitment. A man can get a lot of his needs met outside of marriage by his girlfriend who takes care of him. This is especially true if she starts sleeping with him. This is why some men can be dating or engaged for years without any desire or plans to get married. Many women enter these relationships with a desire for security and stability, but this is only truly found in a committed relationship where both people are staying together… forever.

2. Set physical boundaries. Here are some thoughts people use to justify crossing the line physically: “We’re going to get married anyway. He said he loves me. She said we’re going to be together forever.” Until there’s a pastor, vows, and a couple of rings, it doesn’t matter what they said. He is not your husband, and she is not your wife. Commitment is a big deal, and until you’ve actually made one, the other person’s body is not yours. Make a plan for how you’re going to respect them until then. Don’t just look for where the line is. Look for how you can best honor the person you’re in a relationship with and their future spouse that may or may not be you.

3. Don’t spill all your emotions. Emotional boundaries are also important and not always talked about. Sometimes it’s tough as a girl when he’s asking you questions, looking at you with those dreamy eyes, and suddenly a shooting star crosses the heavens. You want to tell him your whole life story, every feeling you’ve ever felt, and what kind of cake you want to have at your wedding. (Okay this is obviously an exaggeration, and I understand not all ladies are like this. I’ve been here before, so there might be a few who can relate). This is where self-control comes in. Leave a little mystery. The dating season is for finding out about each other and building trust little by little. Don’t uncover everything at once. Whoever you’re dating doesn’t get all of you, physically or emotionally, until they’ve made a forever commitment.

4. Have your own full life. Hang out with your friends. Join a bowling team. Go after your dreams. Pursue other interests, and don’t stop when a cute man or woman walks in. Eventually, if you get married, you will put him or her before a lot of things in your life. In the dating season, don’t let go of the other things that make you happy. It may sound romantic, but he’s actually not your everything. Don’t forget the rest of your life because you’re so wrapped up in him.

5. Keep people around you. Have leaders in your life who can speak into your relationship and give you an outsider’s perspective. When you’re in the middle of it, things can get a little fuzzy: “Flaws? What flaws? They’re perfect!” It’s wise to invite people who have great marriages and have been through this dating thing before to help guide you.

The dating season is fun. Everything’s new, and you’re finding things out about each other. How does he like his coffee? What’s her favorite kind of music? You’re never going to get this initial time of discovery and excitement back, so don’t rush it. It’s okay to take things slow and let them develop naturally.

We don’t want to set solid rules on how involved you can be at each stage of a relationship. That’s why you use wisdom and bring other trustworthy people in to help you out. The thing to remember is your involvement in your boyfriend or girlfriend’s life should match the level of commitment you are at. Know what season you’re in, and enjoy it. Don’t try to jump to the next one before it’s time.

-Andrea Alley

For more information on what healthy sexuality looks like, check out our latest book:

original The Naked Truth About Sexuality
The Naked Truth About Sexuality is a practical, Biblical guide
to understanding God’s original design for sexuality.

 

ANDREA IS A GRADUATE OF THE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY AT BETHEL AND CURRENTLY SERVES ON THE WRITING TEAM FOR MORAL REVOLUTION. SHE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH CARRY JOYFUL HOPE AND EXPECTATION IN EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIVES. SHE LONGS TO SEE THE UPCOMING GENERATION EQUIPPED AS STRONG LEADERS WHO STEWARD THEIR LIVES WELL AND INFLUENCE SOCIETY AS A RESULT. 
 WEBSITE: ANDREADALLEY.COM 

 


Restoration of Love

About three and a half years ago, a sequence of events began that would ultimately change my life forever. About that time, I was living with my girlfriend who, in all honesty, I hooked up with in a one night stand. We both grew up in church and knew that how we were living was wrong, but we wanted it to work so we made up every excuse we could to make it seem ok.

Fast-forward to right now. We are still together, we are madly in love with each other, and even greater, we are insanely in love with God. We have huge hearts to help others transform their relationships to allow God to be at the center. How did all of this happen? God. Only God could pour out enough grace in our relationship to completely transform it to one of purity, honor, and covenant.

We allowed God to basically put our relationship in reverse and then slowly rebuild it, all the while changing our beliefs and mindsets. This isn’t an easy process, especially when couples stay together like Libby and I did. We moved out and became physically pure with each other, which meant no sex, no foreplay, and during certain time periods, no kissing and no hand-holding. During this time God taught me I needed to know myself before I could attempt to understand someone else. I had Libby in my “God spot.” I looked to her for everything—joy, happiness, value, confirmation, and even guidance. I had to come to the understanding that only God can be in the God spot. I had to learn what it meant to have an identity as a son to God.

 

– John, 23, Florida, US