Why Married Sex is the Best

why married sex is the best

[Guest Post by Aurora Vilchis – I love my friend’s heart. Not only has she has experienced both kinds of sex, but she knows which one is best and shares why. *This post was originally featured on Girls Using Their Strengths blog here).]

I like sex. There, I said it.

We live in a culture that leads us, as women, to believe that men are visual creatures who want to unclothe us by any means, and we just have to accept that even if we don’t want to. We have heard that women are forced to have sex and would rather be doing anything else but the act itself.

I’m here to say that isn’t true. 

I can’t speak for all women, but I can say that my decision to have sex, unmarried, was all my decision.

Let’s back up a few chapters.

I went to a tiny private school and followed the “Christian rules”. I prayed when told, listened when asked, and rebelled rarely. When I graduated high school and was living outside of my parents house, it was finally time to make decisions on my own. Not because someone was telling me to. I had long term relationships, some not-so-serious ones, and one that would end up taking me out of the dating scene forever, my husband. God love him.

When we met, neither of us were really into going to church, or spending time with God for that matter.

I had no set of priorities, no one to hold me accountable, and my flesh was sure to win this battle. So when the time came for the talk and decision that comes up with any and every adult relationship, I did it. You know, sex. I didn’t care if I wasn’t married and I definitely had no teacher reading me Bible verses to point me in a different direction.

And it was done.

All of those women before me who I had judged before with prideful eyes, I was one of them.

I knew what I was doing and I continued to do so completely unaware of the consequences I would face later on. At the time I made a decision to not protect my heart and body as a temple, I did it for someone I didn’t even love. Yes, I love my husband now, of course. As we faced trials together and our relationship got deeper, so did our relationships with Christ.

We started going to church and counseling after we felt like there was something missing in our lives. I once heard someone call it a Jesus-shaped hole, and those words have never been more true. We went to counseling as a couple, decided to do pre-maritial counseling, were together another year, and got married. A lot more happened along the way, but a few sentences will suffice.

Although we were married, I shamed myself for having sex when we weren’t married and it took more counseling, books, consistent prayer and lots of love and practice to view sex as a beautiful act between a husband and a wife. It was a battle and something that took a long time to put together in my mind.

I was gifted a book entitled Reclaiming Intimacy in which it reads,

“Christians don’t talk about pre-maritial sex because we are ashamed to admit that many of us have engaged in it. Admitting that we have had pre-maritial sex means admitting to being undisciplined, disobedient, and pleasure seeking.”

It’s true.

I felt alone and discouraged.

After going through all of these things with my incredible husband, we got to the place where sex was enjoyable and I finally saw what being a “Christian” really meant. I truly saw what following Christ felt like and what the grace and truth of Jesus looked like. I felt wrapped up in God’s goodness and promises and wanted to portray that same grace on others experiencing the same mistakes.

Because it’s true; God loves you, God forgives you.

Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to like sex.

Heck, it’s okay to have sex.

But what I learned about the difference between married sex and dating sex is that now I know my husband loves and views my body as something sacred and something that will only happen between him and I.

I had to forgive myself before I could truly enjoy one of the most awesome gifts God gave us, sex.

You know what they say, all good things come from Christ.

Aurora VilchisAurora Vilchis is a wife, mama and photographer, loves messy hair and messed up people. She blogs over at www.auroravilchis.com.

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New eBook Loves Me Not

Fisher COVER - Loves Me Not

I wrote a new eBook entitled Loves Me Not: Heartbreak & Healing God’s Way that released on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords on May 6th for only 2.99!

If you’ve read Not Another Dating Book, you’ll notice I don’t talk about my story. That’s because it wasn’t until after I submitted my manuscript to Harvest House that I met my husband Marc.

That’s why I’m excited to release my follow up with features including:

+ Why Guarding Your Heart Isn’t Enough
+ Can Men and Women Be “Just Friends”?
+ Desperate Singles
+ Breaking Up With “The One”
+ Why Changing Your Significant Other Won’t Work
+ The Right Way To Breakup
+ How To Handle A Breakup
+ How To Be Your Own (Single) Person
+ Why Breakups Are Hard
+ He (Jesus) Loves You!
+ How I Met My Husband Marc

Thanks to those who let me guest post or wrote a review of their own. Please feel free to read my articles and others reviews on Loves Me Not below:

+ Where’s the ‘up’ in breaking up? ~ Laura Anderson Kirk
+ Guarding Your Heart Isn’t Enough ~ Ronel Sidney
+ How To Be Your Own (Single) Person ~ Church 4 Chicks
+ Loves Me Not: Heartbreak and Healing God’s Way {A Book Review} ~ Brenda Rogers
+ Love Me Not ~ Pam Farrel
+ Healing From Heartbreak ~ iBelieve
+ He (Jesus) Loves You ~ Jenny LaBahn
+ Loves Me Not (Review) ~ Sarah Francis Martin
A Letter to My Former Self ~ Rebekah Snyder
Can boys and girls be just friends? ~ Laura L. Smith
+ Five reasons to read Loves Me Not ~ Arleen Spenceley
+ How To Be Your Own (Single) Person ~ Emily McFarlan Miller
+ He (Jesus) Loves You ~ Krista Back
Why Breakups Really Hurt ~ Angela McNeil
+ Doing Relationships God’s Way ~ Rachel L. Berry

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Living By Myself

living by myself

[Guest Post by Jessica Baumgardner. Jessica and I connected on Facebook and I asked her to write a piece on living together by herself. She thought I was crazy, but I’m so glad she did! She has a big heart and has been through a lot. I think we could all learn a lot from her, actually!]

I have always believed in God my entire life, but I never had a relationship with Him or even knew what that meant.

I was forced to go to church when I was younger and I did not understand anything about it. My parents finally stopped making us go once I got to high school and I never went back to church until I was 21 years old.

When I was in college, I was very far away from God and my lifestyle reflected that.

I actually started dating someone who was in the military when I was 18 years old and we were engaged within 6 months of dating.

I got married at 19 years old and divorced by the time I was 20 years old.

Once we got married and moved in together, it completely tore us apart.

We did not know each other well enough and we rushed in to something that should be taken very seriously. I was in to partying back then, and my ex husband had a drinking problem. We tried to go to marriage counseling to mend our relationship because we continuously argued.

The counseling did not help us and I could not handle the emotional abuse anymore.

I consulted with my mom because I knew that God was against divorce. But, there were times when my ex husband and I got in to arguments and it almost turned in to physical abuse. With the help of my parents, I decided that it would be best to go through with the divorce.

After my divorce was finalized, I started dating someone quickly after.

We met in college. Dating this person helped me become more confident in myself because he treated me completely different than my ex husband. That confidence helped me to quit smoking cigarettes (I smoked a pack a day) and made me want to take care of my body. I lost 60 lbs by starting to eat healthier and exercising.

This was the first stage of becoming a Proverbs 31 woman.

Things started to become very serious with my boyfriend. I moved to another state after graduating college, but we decided to stay together. We only saw each other on the weekends, but we grew closer and closer.

We talked about getting engaged and married some day.

However, our relationship didn’t really seem to be moving forward. We were living in two different cities and that caused us to argue because we were so unhappy with not being able to see each other often.

My unhealthy relationship affected every other area of my life.

I couldn’t see my life without him, so I decided to keep trying for a while. One day I decided that after three and a half years together, I could not go on being so unhappy. I loved him a lot and didn’t think I could survive by myself being single because I had never really done that before. We had many differences and I had recently started going to church again and wanted to get more involved, but we didn’t see eye to eye on that.

I decided to end things with him, which was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done emotionally, even harder than my divorce.

We continued talking back and forth for a few months after the break up, which wasn’t helping me move on. But, I had started going to church more often after our break up. Then I ended up recommitting my life to Christ again and got baptized.  Once I made this decision, God literally helped me change everything about my life.

This is when the other stages of becoming a Proverbs 31 came to fruition.

I did have more confidence from losing weight and leading a healthier lifestyle.

But, I was not mentally or spiritually healthy. God gave me the strength and courage to join a Bible study with a group of women I didn’t know. He also gave me the courage to start volunteering at church and in the community. This is where God truly transformed me mentally and spiritually.

I began to read the Bible, pray, and learned what having a relationship with God really meant.

I stopped being so afraid to go outside of my comfort zone and meet new people. I started coming out of the depression from my break up. I met so many amazing people who impacted my life and helped me grow to where I am now healthy mentally and spiritually.

A divorce and break up from a long-term boyfriend were extremely hard situations to go through.

But, I would not be who I am now if it weren’t for these situations. I never thought I would be able to say that I ran a half marathon, got my Master’s degree, went on a mission trip to Poland, and become a health and fitness coach to help others achieve their goals.

I am now living by myself with my two kitties, and enjoy being single.

I am healthy spiritually, mentally, and physically, and I am working on becoming the best woman I can for God and His kingdom.

Jessica BaumgardnerI’m a 25-year-old girlie girl from the South who is truly destined for the big city. I love my family more than life itself and have a knack for fashion. God transformed my entire life by taking me from an overweight, depressed, disrespectful, and dark place in my life to a positive, uplifting, faith-driven fitness coach. I have an absolute passion for helping others achieve their goals and God has given me a vision to start a faith, fitness, and fashion ministry to help women struggling for change and desiring happiness.

[Photo: Mrs Suzie Cue, Creative Commons

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Quarter Life Conference LIVE today

qlc-logo

Quarter Life Conference

+Watch Party

Click here to watch Quarter Life Conference starting at 8 PM EST. If you’re busy on March 21st (which is totally understandable), you can still bookmark the link to watch later.

+Event Guide

I have created a FREE .PDF to follow along with Annie Downs, Bill & Pam Farrell, Justin & Trisha Davis, Gary Thomas, Joy Eggerichs, and Dr. Gary Chapman.

Download that here.

+Free Books

We will be giving away a free copy of Not Another Dating Book by Renee Fisher, She’s Got Issues by Nicole Unice, and Beyond Ordinary by Justin & Trisha Davis.

Enter to win here.

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Should We Live Together Before Marriage?

should we live together before marriage

[Guest Blog by Pam and Bill Farrel. Pam is my mentor and has gone above and beyond to help me publish my first three books. They are also one of my upcoming speakers at Quarter Life Conference. Don’t forget to register here.]

Should we live together before marriage?

The whole area of how to know you are in love, how to know if this is Mr. Right or Ms. Right, then how far to progress sexually at what commitment level seems to be a grand mystery in today’s world. Often couples today are opting for a live-in, cohabiting arrangement.

According to the U. S. Census Bureau, cohabitation increased 533 % from 1970-1992.

Many states are even seeking to legitimize these domestic partnerships with laws giving them the same status and privileges as married couples. But is living together really the same as marriage? Before packing your bags and moving in together, consider these startling facts:

Children ARE affected.

40% of all cohabiting couples also have children living in the household with them. 27% of all births are to couples co-habitating rather than marrying.

These kids are at risk. 84% of non-parental abuse upon children are committed by the mother’s boyfriend. According to the Journal of Marriage and Family, girls living in a home with a boyfriend (not a step father or father) are at a much higher risk for sexual abuse.

It’s not a safe place for a woman. 

During a one-year period, 35 out of 100 cohabitating couples experienced physical aggression.

Domestic violence is twice as likely among live in couples as compared to married couples. In one study by the Journal of Family Violence, 48% of couples living together experienced domestic violence, compared to19% of married couples and 27% of those divorced or separated. There seems to be a correlation that the less societal and relationship commitment is expressed, the more violent the relationship becomes. The marriage license does seem to be a shield of protection for many married women—most likely because the man in her life valued her enough to take the steps to express his commitment to her in a marriage ceremony.

Cohabitation sets you up for divorce.

Those who live together prior to marriage are twice as likely to divorce if they do get married.

And the longer the cohabitation—the more likely divorce is, according to sociologists at the University of Wisconsin. Those who live together separate more often if they do marry and they also regard the relationship as a less important part of their life. It seems cohabitation trains couples to disregard the love relationship—just the opposite of what most couples would cite as their reason for living together.

Studies show that other problems usually accompany a live-in relationship.

According to a UCLA study, cohabiting relationships are also more likely to be plagued with the problems of adultery, alcohol, and drugs.

Those who live together prior to marriage are more likely to commit adultery both while living with their partner and if they marry. In addition, one study found that cohabitating women were more jealous than married women, and they had a higher emotional dependency on the male live-in partner. Many developed a pattern of few friendships, no job advancement aspirations and few outside interests.

Cohabitating couples, when asked to rate the quality of their relationship, give them much lower marks than married couples. Women in these relationships feel less secure economically and emotionally, and have a much higher rate of depression.

Three out of every four cohabitating couples cited that they thought their relationship was in serious trouble.

Why does cohabitation or living together set a relationship up for failure?

Several studies suggest that those who refuse to make a step of commitment as expressed in marriage do so because they are very individualistic. This is a nice way of saying they are selfish. Those who co-habitate are less likely to express personal character traits that foster a good relationship: sacrifice, humility, flexibility, empathy, and the ability to delay gratification.

In the nearly 20 years Bill and I have worked with couples, we have seen that those who cohabitate usually also have unhealthy priorities, like living together so they can have a huge fancy wedding several years later.

However, if the relationship even makes it that far, later it is plagued by the pattern of money being more important than the relationship. It becomes, the job winning over the spouse, or earning money winning over being there for the children. There also is a lack of decision-making skills which was set in motion because the couple refused to make a decision on the most important areas of life, living to please God, and choosing if they were committed to a relationship enough to marry. Finally, the drawback few people talk about, but Bill and I have seen over and over again, is those who cohabitate prior to marriage are more likely to be discontent or have problems in their sex life. Trust is the most important factor a woman needs to experience total sexual fulfillment and trust is broken rather than built in a live-in relationship.

Cohabitation is the pathway to a broken heart that has become very popular in our modern world.

In a study reported in Adolescence, 24% of males and 18% of females actually cohabitated. But astoundingly, 71% of the males in that study and 68% of the females were totally open to cohabitation despite the evidence of its ineffectiveness. If you are intent on being in a relationship, marriage is much more than a piece of paper—it is a ticket to a happier, more fulfilling life together.

Farrel_394 b p hugBill and Pam Farrel are the Co Founders and Directors of Love-Wise an organization that encourages today’s couples and families by bringing “practical insights to personal relationships” in an upbeat, humorous, and real life manner. They are international speakers, and authors of over 30 books including best-selling Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti. Bill has experience as a Senior Pastor, Youth Pastor and most recently, as Pastor to Small Groups under Dr. David Jeremiah. Pam has experience as a Director of Women, Pastor’s wife, and mentor. She is also the founder and President of Seasoned sisters, a ministry to women 40-65. (www.seasonedsisters.com) Their books have been translated into over 16 languages. They have been happily married for 32 years and are parents to three children, a daughter in law , two small granddaughters and a new grandson. The Farrels live in San Diego, Ca.

[Excerpt from Single Men are like Waffles, Single Women are like Spaghetti (Harvest House)]

[Photo: Patty Maher, Flickr]

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Infatuation Makes Us Very Vulnerable

infatuation is vulnerable and stupid

[Guest Post by Gary Thomas. I’m very excited for him to share on the blog today as he is one of my heroes (he doesn’t know that yet). My husband Marc and I went through Sacred Marriage in our pre engagement counseling and believe in his message. He is also one of my upcoming speakers at Quarter Life Conference, a free online conference for the 20/30-somethings on Thursday. Register here for free.]

Not only are you stupid when you’re infatuated, but you also become extremely vulnerable.

I’m speaking as a pastor who has witnessed the tremendous pain that romanticism has led so many people into. Psychologically, “hearts broken from lost love rate among the most stressful life events a person can experience, exceeded in psychological pain only by horrific events such as a child dying.”

If you dive in and let yourself go emotionally, without even knowing whether the person you are falling for is worthy of your trust, and that person then cheats on you or rejects you, the fact that they are of low character won’t remove your pain. You’ll feel tremendous loss.

Can I be honest with you?

There isn’t a person alive who can keep you enthralled for the next five or six decades. If they’re really funny, really attractive, and you’re really infatuated, you can be enthralled for a few years, but selfish people–even wealthy selfish people, or beautiful selfish people, or famous selfish people–eventually get bored with each other, and the very relationship that once gave them security and life feels like prison and death. No matter how intensely you feel in love now, the same thing will happen to you if you get married without a shared mission.

Just because you’re ‘in love’ with someone doesn’t mean you should seriously consider marrying them.

An insecure person with low self-esteem…from a broken home who has a high fear or abandonment often wants to rush things to ‘lock in” the relationship, pushing for an early engagement. [They’re] more concerned about avoiding another relational loss than [they] are about finding the best possible match. Two relatively secure individuals can respect and love each other without obsessive thinking, euphoric mood swings, or desperate clinginess.

Here’s the danger of letting these powerful feelings dictate whether you begin, stay in, or end a relationship: when the relationship hits a tough spot (as it inevitably will), most people who have overwhelming feelings will ignore the issues raised by the conflict and try to make the relationship work because they have strong feelings. Wisdom says we should try to make a relationship work not because we have strong feelings but because it’s a good match.

All of this, I hope is an argument for not getting married too hastily.

Wisdom waits.

Wisdom is patient.

Blurting out or acting on your feelings in the bloom of their creation is tempting but foolish thing to do: “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Prov. 29:20 ESV).

SmallfileGary Thomas’ writing and speaking focuses on bringing people closer to Christ and closer to others. Gary is the author of 15 books that have been translated into a dozen languages. These books include Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?, The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not About Who We Marry, but Why?, Sacred Pathways, and the Gold Medallion award winner Authentic Faith. Gary holds a Master of Christian studies degree from Regent College, and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Western Seminary. He serves on the teaching team at Second Baptist Church, Houston, and is an adjunct faculty member at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

[Excerpts taken from The Sacred Search, (c) David C Cook Publishers]

 

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On Moving In Together

[Guest Post by Arleen Spenceley] – If, or when is it appropriate for a committed dating couple to try moving in together?

A young woman stood behind my seat, combed my damp curls and lifted her shears to cut my hair.

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

“No,” I said, over the buzz of the blow dryers and the pop music piped into the salon.

“That’s ok,” she said. “You’re young.”

Then the stylist, only a few years my senior, shared a relationship story with me. It ended with a word of advice:

“Don’t marry a guy if you haven’t lived with him for awhile.”

Moving in together first is a good idea, she said, for a few reasons.

Reason #1: You can’t truly know a person until you’ve lived under the same roof.

Reason #2: It’s easier to move out before you’re married than to get a divorce afterward.

Reason #3: If you don’t like living with him before marriage, you won’t like living with him afterward.

For my then-stylist, cohabitation is a litmus test.

If it works, you get married.

If it doesn’t, you don’t.

Because it’s better to say “I’ll love you if…” instead of “I’ll love you despite what’s yet to come…”

For others, cohabitation is like a practice run.

If you like it, you commit.

If you don’t like it, you call it quits.

Pre-marital living together isn’t just a good idea, the stylist said.

It’s how a man or a woman discovers whether he or she is compatible with his or her partner. And, she said, it’s essential. I – then in my early 20s – wholeheartedly disagreed. And I didn’t tell her that, because she had scissors in my hair.

But if I could go back, I’d speak up.

Our culture has concluded that how easy it is to live with people predicts how easy it will be to be married to them.

Which is sensible, if marriage is supposed to be easy.

But it isn’t.

Marriage is supposed to result in the destruction of self absorption. This is why a wedding involves vows. We need vows because marriage is hard. Because stuff’s going to happen that will test your commitment. Because it is never easy to live with other people.

“I’ll commit to you if I’ve lived with you first and I like it” undermines the purpose of vows.

The logic that underlies it is this: If living together doesn’t work, nor will your marriage.

But how well can living together really work when there isn’t commitment?

My stylist’s quest implies that there are relationships that work independent of effort. That commitment is for relationships that work.

But that’s a lie.

Commitment is not for relationships that work. Relationships work when the people in them are committed to each other.

Reason #1: Because we accept that attraction is conditional, but love isn’t.

Reason #2: Because when we die to self like Jesus did, we are in favor of what’s best for the beloved.

Reason #3: Because commitment is “I’ll love you despite what’s yet to come…” and not “I’ll love you if…” (which isn’t love).

 

Arleen Spenceley is a Roman Catholic Christian, a freelance writer, a counselor and a grad student studying rehabilitation and mental health counseling at the University of South Florida. Click here to read her blog and click here to like her on Facebook or connect with her on Twitter.

[Photo: MyLifeThroughPhotography, Creative Commons]

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Living Together Before Marriage

living together before marriage

[Guest Post by Ruth Rutherford] – Picture this, ladies: You’ve been dating an amazing guy for a while now and things are going perfectly.

He is sweet, funny, smart and driven. When he looks at you, his eyes sparkle. When he smiles at you, your heart melts. And, most importantly, he really, truly loves God. You pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming because (deep breath) you think you’ve found the one.

You spend nearly every waking moment together, often falling asleep in one another’s arms while watching the latest Redbox release. Rustled awake by a nearby car alarm, you look at the clock near his couch and it says 2 a.m. You both groan as you slip on your shoes and coat, and crawl toward the door, secretly wishing you could both just crawl into his bed instead.

The subject of your future together starts to come up more often.

You talk about marriage.

You talk about where you might live.

You talk about finances, which turns into quite the Debbie Downer dinner topic.

Between his car payment and your student loans and both your apartment rent payments, money is tight. The math tells you to move in together. You’d only pay rent once, could share a car, and would see each other more often. And, hey, you could even read the Bible together every morning over coffee!

Although you feel a bit uneasy about it, the logic is there.

And you do love him with all your heart, and plan to marry him. So, why not? Why should you abide by some archaic, Christian dating guideline from days of yore? It’s 2013.

Times have simply changed.

And you’d be right to think that–times sure have changed. But that doesn’t mean that many of the guidelines around faith and relationships aren’t still incredibly relevant.

It’s like your mom used to tell you when you got too close to the stove: “Hot! Don’t touch!”

You were curious, drawn to the gas flame like a moth to a front porch light. But you, with your inquisitive streak, just wanted to touch. What your mom knew that you didn’t is this: If you’d just wait a few more minutes, you could taste what was cooking and actually enjoy it…without getting hurt.

So here you are–older, more mature, but with that same inquisitive streak.

The man you love–who you want to spend forever with–is inviting you to live together with him.

In his apartment.

In his space.

In his arms every single morning.

Sigh. It’s hard to resist. The upsides are clear. Yes, you would save money. Yes, you’d spend more time together. Yes, you would learn more intimate details about each other and grow closer. But don’t be blinded by the heat of the moment, by the lure of the flame.

I can tell you with complete certainty–and with many friends’ experiences to back me up–that there are, indeed, downsides. And they are dangerous.

Living together will open the door to experiences reserved for husbands and wives.

The intimacy you’ll share will be beautiful, but will come with a level of commitment that can be scary. And without marriage vows to hold you together, it will be way too easy to simply walk away when the going gets tough, leaving your heart in the balance. And if you’re trying to save yourselves for marriage sexually, you’re acting as your own worst enemy by tearing down all practical boundaries against temptation.

If he’s the one for you, and if you’re the one for him–you both deserve the commitment.

Notice the operative word here is “the”– the commitment, as in marriage. You both deserve to hear that mutual promise from the other, and to act on it.

When it comes to living together before marriage, hear me when I say, in my best mom voice: “Hot! Don’t touch!” Just wait a little while longer.

What you’ll taste in a loving, committed marriage relationship will satisfy any curiosity you have over what kind of toothpaste he uses or whether he wears boxers or briefs in bed. It’ll satisfy your curiosity as to what true, patient, sacrificial commitment is all about.

And most importantly, it’ll protect your heart for the long haul.

ruth rutherfordA freelance writer based in Washington, D.C., Ruth Rutherford (@ruth_rutherford) enjoys blogging about faith and life as a Christian single. She hopes her words will inspire others (and herself) to embrace their place today, instead of obsessing over tomorrow (ikissedmydategoodnight.com).

[Photo: .nate, Creative Commons]

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On Anxiety: Why I'm Not Ready For Kids

im not ready for kids

I’m not ready for kids because I have anxiety.

I never thought I’d share this information publicly, but I never thought I’d be married and dealing with this problem privately.

As some of you already may know, I was single for 12 years, 10 months, and 24 days. That’s a long time to forget about having children. Also long enough to realize I probably won’t have more than one or two kids when I do get married. I’m 30, so it’s not like I don’t time to figure out this kid business.

I never realized my doctor would tell me I shouldn’t have kids.

It’s not enough to know that my husband and I aren’t ready to make that decision yet (we’re newlyweds), but the medication I take specifically says do not take while pregnant or nursing.

My doctor says I have to be off anxiety medication for at least 4 months before I even think about getting pregnant.

This makes me feel broken.

Unsettled.

Ashamed and embarrassed.

I feel like a prisoner in my own body.

I never thought I’d be taking anxiety medication for this long.

I also never thought I’d have to deal with the fact that getting pregnant would be a bad thing. I waited for marriage and so did my husband–shouldn’t this also mean our pursuit towards having kids and raising a family be a good thing?

I recently read a comforting yet challenging article called The False Promise of Abstinence by Alece Ronzino. She said just because you save sex for marriage doesn’t equal perfect sex. I’d like to take that one step further and say it also doesn’t equal the perfect kid.

I’m not ready for kids for a number of reasons.

It just feels like my fault when it’s me that can’t (yet). Sure Obama Health Care doesn’t help (our out of pocket premiums will double with kids). Sure the sucky economy doesn’t help either.

One thing that’s brought me comfort during the first year and four months of marriage is the hope of adoption. Before we got married, Marc and I knew adoption held a special place in our hearts. I honestly thought it would be the easy way out–that is, until one of the adoption agencies said that I couldn’t adopt because I take anxiety medication.

Once again I felt ashamed and embarrassed.

I love this quote by my author friend Ava Pennington. In talking about the pain children can cause she says,

“Zealousness indicates an eager or fervent desire for something. Even if we are eager to restore a broken relationship, however, it is doubtful any of us would be willing to sacrifice one of our children. God, in all His omniscience, knew exactly what it would cost to redeem His people. Still, He was Zealous–eager, fervent–to make it happen, not because He wished pain on His Son, but because it was the only way to restore us to Him. That is how much He loves us” (One Year Alone With God).

Through the process I’ve come into a deeper understanding of God’s heart for children.

His love endured the most incredible pain any parent could endure–sacrificing His own child for the sake of all children.

If I ever have a child of my own someday or not–I know the kind of religion that is acceptable to God is the kind that looks after orphans and widows (James 1:27).

And this is not something to be anxious about.

[Photo: osiatynska, Creative Commons]

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On Dating: Should We Talk About Sex?

love

[Guest Post by Lisa Velthouse] – Should we talk about sex?

If so, when?

And how?

And what is OK to say, and what isn’t?

And what, oh what, would our youth pastors think if they heard us now?

Christians in a dating and marrying world are typically aware that the Bible’s teaching on sex reserves it for a married husband and wife.

They are often also aware that the Bible celebrates married sex unabashedly.

Song of Songs, anyone?

As to the practical implications of all that, however, the clarity quickly fades into big questions and big confusion.

But let’s get our grounding here, and begin by remembering that the Bible is not about sex. The Bible teaches about sex and talks about sex, and we all would be wise to listen and obey its teaching. But what the Bible is aboutis not a what.

It is about who.

About Jesus, the perfect one who died under the complete weight of our sinfulness. About God, whose love was and is the engine for total forgiveness and joy. About anybody and everybody else, whom God loves and whom Jesus died for and whom didn’t and can’t and won’t deserve it.

Sex is a secondary issue at best. But that doesn’t mean sex isn’t worth talking about.

In fact, talking about sex is one way to dig out from the confusion, questions, frustration, and guilt that often surround this issue. Here are four ways to talk about sex before getting engaged.

1. Talk with God.

It has to start here. Ask for his strength to help you be obedient and to find joy in obedience, and for his grace to forgive you in your disobedience. Get to know the good news of his love, and understand that it means no obedience can bring you any more deserving of him, and no disobedience can make you out of his reach.

2. Talk with a trusted friend within the Church.

Have someone in your life who knows the gritty details of your life, including what role sex has played in it. It’s probably ideal that this person be of the same gender.

Admit your failures and be honest about temptation.

Ask the friend to encourage you in the gospel, reminding you that obedience is beautiful and that God is not surprised by the presence of sin in any person.

3. Talk with the person/people you’re dating or considering dating.

Yes, talk from the very beginning. Agree together that God’s plan for sex is best, and work toward obedience in that direction. From experience, in this phase of a relationship it helps to talk minimally about sex. Treat it as something that is genuinely off the table for the time being.

Focus on other ways to connect: communication, affection, conflict resolution, time together. If your relationship moves to marriage, those connecting points will be part of what promotes a great sex life for life.

Note: If you can’t agree together upon the importance of honoring God’s plan for sex, then, biblically speaking, you have bigger issues to deal with, and they’re about things far more foundational than sex.

God’s authority and goodness, for starters.

4. Talk with the person you’re engaged to.

Now you know that sex is going to be a part of the picture, so begin looking in that direction as you prepare more and more for an actual marriage.

Practice celebrating the idea that sex is for marriage: looking ahead together and gearing up for the lifetime of experiences that will be uniquely yours. Encourage each other in obedience; this discipline will be useful and beneficial for the entire life of your relationship. Begin talking about specifics, not to experiment prematurely but to hone your expectations together and to anticipate serving each other selflessly.

Look forward to what the two of you don’t yet have—the waiting is a bliss worth relishing.

Lisa Velthouse is the author of Saving My First Kiss and the 2010 memoir Craving Grace. Formerly Brio magazine’s “Brio Girl” and columnist, she has also been a contributor at RELEVANTmagazine.com, Christianity Today, and other venues. Lisa is a Marine Corps wife and a new mom living in Southern California. Find her at lisavelthouse.com, at her Facebook fan page, and on Twitter: @LisaVelthouse.

[Photo: Grace E. Jones, Flickr]

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