Today's Christian Marriage
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Mark Gungor

Mark Gungor is one of the most sought-after speakers on marriage and family in the country.

Posted 4/7/10 at 10:28 AM | Mark Gungor

Sometimes Sex is Just Sex

Many married people are not having an active sex life for no other reason than they "don't feel like it"-meaning they think they have to feel this great desire and/or a huge emotional connection at the front end or sex isn't going to happen. In my last post I addressed the desire aspect of this flawed thinking. Now, I'll dispel the myth regarding the requirement of a huge emotional connection.

Women, more often than men, get hung up on this one and think they have to have all these warm and fuzzy emotions to feel like they can get physical with their husbands. I'm not saying that you always have sex with no emotion or connection-that would not be a healthy relationship. But what I am saying is that sometimes sex can just be sex. The joining together of a husband and wife to get close to each other, relieve stress, enjoy the release and just have a good time enjoying one another-no romance novel level of desire or surge of emotions required! Again, much of this comes from the media-with chick flicks being a huge culprit.

There are a couple of things that you must understand about Hollywood sex... first, it is not real; they are actors and they are being paid to act! Second, and probably most important, a very high percentage of the time (probably like 98%) movie and TV sex is not in the context of marriage-it is either extramarital because it is an affair, or it is premarital sex. In both cases the emotions and desire typically run very high and strong. I hate to break the bad news to you, but what Hollywood shows us is not real, everyday married sex. After you've been together for a bunch of years, not every time is going to be the "ground shaking, heaven bending down to kiss the earth, lights exploding from the sky and angels singing the hallelujah chorus" encounter! Yet that is exactly what so many people foolishly expect and require. FULL POST

Posted 3/24/10 at 12:10 PM | Mark Gungor

The Desire Myth

In a previous post I gave one possible explanation for why some married couples don’t have much of a sex life. Sexless marriage is a very common problem in millions of marriages today. As I’ve stated before, a sexless marriage is one where a couple engages in little to no sexual activity–anything less than ten times per year is considered to be sexless. There can be many reasons that contribute to this phenomenon—anything from health issues, kids and busy schedules, to pornography use, masturbation, issues due to past sexual abuse and serious problems or difficulties in the relationship. But there is one very simple misunderstanding in regard to sex I would like to address, and I truly think it can make a big difference for a lot of couples. Many, many people mistakenly think that you can only have sex if it is preceded by great desire and/or a huge emotional connection. But I say that neither is required every time to have a great sex life with your spouse.

Let’s deal with the desire issue first. The typical model says we first feel desire, then arousal, followed by the actual event of sex (intercourse)—but as I say in my Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage book and seminar, this is not true for millions of people! Many people don’t feel that great desire first and often don’t want to do it until they are actually doing it—then they are glad they did! Unfortunately, the misinformation that we have been given by so-called experts and the media in our culture has led most people to believe that both the man and woman always feel all this hot and heavy desire before they can have sex.

After all, that’s what TV, movies and novels portray—especially for women who are typically shown as provocative, chase-the-man-down vixens and then men (especially those into porn) wrongly expect their wives to be like that. On the other hand, many women who don’t have this overt, “clamoring-to-jump-in-the-sack” drive worry and think that there is something wrong with them, when it’s just not true. Most women have no problem having sex and are great lovers once they get started, even if they don’t act like the sex kitten, porn queen or “desperate housewife” that the media around us depicts. FULL POST

Posted 3/17/10 at 1:21 PM | Mark Gungor

Want More Sex? Resist the Devil!

Pastors everywhere deal with many of the same issues when it comes to dating, marriage and sex. One of the things that you will hear most of them say in regard to this area is: Before marriage you can't keep them out of bed. Then after they're married, you can't get them back into bed! And it's true even of Christian couples. Despite the fact that they may have taken a purity pledge, or committed themselves to waiting, lots of people end up having sex before they are married anyway. Then after they tie the knot, far too many find themselves in sexless marriages. For those of you who aren't aware of what that means, a marriage is considered "sexless" if you engage in sexual activity less than ten times a year. And if statistics are correct 15-20% of couples fall into that category. Judging by all the people I hear from, I believe that the problem affects an even greater number of marriages than that.

While there are many possible reasons for couples having little to no sex-from pornography and health issues to overbooked schedules and kids-there is one area I would like to address that can have a huge impact, especially in the early months and years of marriage. I hear frequently from people who knew it was wrong to become sexually involved while dating, yet they tripped up and committed the sin. Afterward they feel badly and let the guilt and remorse interfere with their sex lives years into the marriage. They see it as bad and sinful, even though they are now married and should be sexually active with their spouse. In some extreme cases, they never consummate the marriage or perhaps only have sex to try to get pregnant.

This is wrong. In my mind, denying your spouse and not meeting the sexual needs of your husband or wife is being sexually unfaithful and it's a sin. Ultimately, they are committing the same sin as before. They are buying into lies that tell them to do the wrong thing. Only the devil himself could be that crafty and convince us that having sex is the right thing when it's wrong, then turn the tables and equally convince us that not having sex is the right thing-when it's really wrong! FULL POST

Posted 12/9/09 at 4:38 PM | Mark Gungor

Sex Makes You Stupid

It never ceases to amaze me how many times I get asked by people (usually, but not always, women) what they should do when the person they are dating is treating them poorly. And by poorly I do not mean that he was 10 minutes late coming to pick the girl up or he forgot what her favorite flower was. By poorly I mean guys who call these women names and talk to them in degrading ways, guys who look at porn, stay out all night with other women doing exactly what you think they're doing, and on and on. Unbelievably, this is while they are dating! You know, the time when the dude is actually trying to win the woman; when he is supposed to be putting his best foot forward!

Honestly, I just don't understand it. For the life of me I can't imagine why a person would continue to date someone who treats them like dirt and with little to no respect. Is this really how they want to spend the rest of their lives? The fantasy world these women live in tells them that "he'll change," but the reality is, it only goes downhill from here! Generally, when I'm presented with this kind of scenario, I immediately ask one question: Are you having sex with him? And the answer is almost always: yes. FULL POST

Posted 11/17/09 at 11:35 AM | Mark Gungor

Wonder Drug

What if I were to tell you there was a pill you could take three times a week that would give you the following health benefits:

* Lower your risk of heart attack and stroke
* Reduce symptoms of depression
* Reduce risk of certain types of cancers
* Boost self-esteem and improve your mental health
* Reduce and relieve stress
* Help you sleep better
* Control your weight
* Increase your physical fitness
* Relieve pain
* Reduce the number of colds and flu
* Boost your immune system
* Improve bladder function
* Make you look younger
* Improve your reproductive health
* Prolong your life

And on top of these incredible benefits, this pill has no side effects, is completely safe, and it's free! What would most people say? "Man, give me some of that!" Everyone would be in line trying to get the Wonder Drug. Point of fact, there is such a thing: it's called sex. Studies have shown that sex has amazing health benefits. But let me point out that it's not just any old sex-these studies show that the benefits do not come with the hot and heavy rush of new romance or illicit sex, but rather the sex that is a by product of a calm, stable, committed marriage. It's not just sex. It's long-term, married sex that is the Wonder Drug. FULL POST

Posted 10/21/09 at 11:37 AM | Mark Gungor

Cutting America’s Divorce Rate

No-fault divorce has had a devastating effect on our culture. For decades now, one spouse has been able to unilaterally destroy their marriage, family and children. The marriage contract is the only contract in America that doesn't mean anything. In no other contractual agreement, can one person walk away without repercussions. You can't even break a contract with a plumber or a cell phone company without paying a penalty! Not so with marriage - one spouse can just walk away and the other one has no legal grounds to stop it, even if he or she doesn't want the divorce. Sadly, this is the case in far too many divorces.

There are some possible solutions to this troubling problem. People and groups such as Mike McManus and his organization Marriage Savers are advocating changes in laws to eliminate no-fault divorce. Additionally, some states now have what is called covenant marriage. This is an option where when you marry you sign a covenant that requires pre-marital counseling and it also makes a divorce more difficult to obtain. Essentially, you choose to say "no" to the option of no-fault divorce. This way it takes more than just one spouse deciding that he or she isn't happy and walking away to end the marriage. I highly recommend that all states lobby for such an option, because it would give the Church a lot more power to wield against no-fault divorce than we realize! FULL POST

Posted 10/7/09 at 2:02 PM | Mark Gungor

I Said I Was Sorry

In my Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage seminar I explain in detail how a man's brain tends to compartmentalize things. It's like men have separate boxes in their heads for everything: money, sex, kids, wife, in-laws, etc. And for a guy these boxes don't touch. He thinks about one thing at a time and then moves on to the next thing since one box isn't connected to another.

Then I go on to explain how a woman's brain is like a big ball of wire where everything is connected to everything and there is no compartmentalizing at all. Money can be connected to the in-laws and sex can be connected to the kids. Things can run together very easily in a woman's brain.

These two very opposite ways of thinking and processing cause men and women to communicate in very different ways. There is one area this is particularly evident and often problematic-the apology. Because men have this unique ability to compartmentalize, a guy can go to his "apology box", say he's sorry for something he did, close that box and then move on to the next task or thing to think about. In his mind he took care of it, he said he was sorry, it's done and life goes on.

Not so for a woman. When she has been crossed or hurt for some reason, the connections in her brain make it impossible to compartmentalize. She may attach all sorts of reasons, feelings, and ideas to that one incident. While her husband has moved on to other territory, she hasn't because it may take her some time to process her emotions and thoughts. So when a woman is still upset, sad or hurt for a couple of days (sometimes weeks depending on the infraction) it is often a puzzle to the man. Guys will then perceive their wives as holding onto a grudge, being unforgiving and unwilling to move on, and they can become very frustrated. After all, he said he was sorry, why can't she just get past it? FULL POST

Posted 9/30/09 at 3:39 PM | Mark Gungor

Nothing is Impossible

It's a good thing that we Christians of today aren't the Christians of the first century church; otherwise the whole Christian movement would never have lasted and spread throughout the world.. People today don't have what it takes to navigate the slightest of hardships or difficulties. Anything that isn't easy or flat out gets "too hard" sends us packing. Persistent trials or even mild conflict in relationships-whether it be in marriage, family, on the job or in the church they attend-cause many people to just quit and give up. Never mind that we aren't talking about getting thrown in prison, being beaten, having your children murdered or even giving up your very life.

We live in a day and age when everything is about easy. Our culture says if anything is difficult, you don't have to do it-- or even worse, that you can't do it. Difficult has become synonymous with impossible. Husbands and wives can't keep their marriage vows because it's impossible to stay faithful. They divorce because their particular marital situation is impossible. They give up fighting for their marriage because they have issues and disagreements and it's impossible to keep going.

Just because something is hard, doesn't mean it is impossible-especially if you are a believer and have the power of the Holy Spirit living and working in you. While we have the most incredible help available to us through Christ, it doesn't mean that everything about life or marriage is easy. The bible never promises easy. In fact, many times scripture tells us quite the opposite. Jesus himself said that we would have trouble in this life. Paul wrote that married people would experience trouble. And it doesn't say we might have trouble or if we have trouble, rather when we have it. The bible is very clear that we will not have a life of ease. One, because we live in a fallen world full of sin, and two, because life on easy street does nothing to create character or build faith. FULL POST

Posted 6/4/09 at 12:28 PM | Mark Gungor

Love Is Like a Greased Pig!

"I just don't feel what I used to feel for you."
"I love you, but I'm not in love with you anymore."
"I believe I've found my soul mate...and it isn't you."
Or as the Righteous Brothers sang, "You've lost that loving feeling".

However people want to word it, the bottom line is this: the fabulous and intense experience of our early love isn't there anymore. I guess it wasn't true love after all.

In the wonderful, movie classic The Princess Bride, the cotton-mouthed, speech-challenged priest talks about "true love" (or "twuuuu wuv" as he says it!) at the wedding ceremony of Princess Buttercup and Prince Humperdink. He states that true love will follow you forever. While it makes for a great movie line, in reality it is a bunch of nonsense. True love doesn't follow you like a little puppy that is constantly there. It's actually more like a greased pig! You have to chase after it and pursue it. You have to run it down and tackle it and when it gets away, you go after it one more time. You may finally get a hold of it for a while, but then the little rascal can slip away and you have to chase it down again.

I know, I know-a greased pig isn't all that romantic of an analogy to use, but it surely is more realistic and more accurate! Men and women who ascribe to all this romantic fantasy stuff will be sorely disappointed. So many people actually think that love and marriage will always be easy; that it will always be a skip through the meadow with birds chirping and butterflies flitting and the orchestra playing in the background. They think that the emotional high and buzz they experience at the beginning of dating or marriage will always be there. "Our love is true love and it will never fade!" That's why so many people become disillusioned once they get into marriage-and sometimes it doesn't take very long at all. They think that they have "fallen out of love" with their spouse once the flames of passion begin to die down to a smoldering ember. FULL POST

Posted 4/23/09 at 12:33 PM | Mark Gungor

The Damage of Sexual Promiscuity--part 3

This is the final part of a three part series on The Damage of Sexual Promiscuity

In the first two parts of this series, I talked about the potential damage of sexual promiscuity. In this final installment, let's look at what we can do about it.

Be Transformed

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul gave us some very powerful advice that can help us overcome the negative effects of sexual damage.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. - Romans 12:2

So here we have the answer to the big question "How can I make things different?" The answer is "Change the way you think!" Quit thinking in the destructive patterns of our lust-driven culture and be transformed. Transformed not by special prayer or through being anointed by holy oil or holy water or by being touched by some holy preacher, but by the renewing of your mind. In other words, you need to change the way you think! You need to re-program the way you think about sex.

If you have imprinted on lust and find yourself constantly thinking in that way when you have sex with your spouse, you need to STOP it. Refuse to allow your thoughts to drift off to a "lust" context when having sex with your wife. You need to re-imprint on the girl you are married to. You need to key off of her and her alone.

May you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer-
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be captivated by her love.
- Proverbs 5:18 & 19

You may find, however, that re-training the way you think can be extremely difficult. You may even find that your sexual performance may get worse initially as you refuse to think those lustful thoughts that drove your erections in the past. But if you persevere, you will find your sexual energy will come roaring back and without the need for dirty thoughts that take you back to your early sexual encounters. You will find that your wife will be all you need in order for you to be sexually fulfilled. And you will find that the sex you experience without lust is multiple times more fun, exciting, and fulfilling than the kind of sex you try to re-play in your mind. FULL POST

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