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You only have until 12 noon EST on Saturday November 28th! 




“Weaved throughout are personal stories and doable ideas that inspire readers to turn off auto-pilot and take the wheel of their life…” — just some of the great feedback we’ve received about Jim’s book, No-Default Living: Pursuing God’s Great Dream for Your Life. That’s why today, we bring you this special offer!

Get your copy of Jim's book for 50% off!

Enter discount this code at checkout: 5HGVV3VN and save 50% OFF!
But, keep in mind: Offer ends at 12 noon EST on Saturday November 28th.
Get your copy for only $7.50. In fact, get a few copies – what a great Christmas gift for a loved one.
See Jim’s website for more.

The Thanksgiving Challenge

Thanksgiving and gratitude world cloud
As our Intimate Couple friends in the USA celebrate Thanksgiving (we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last month), we are reminded of the importance and power of gratitude.
We wanted to share with you this guest blog post from our daughter-in-law, Jelena. She talks about one habit that really can change your marriage, and life, if you will only let it. It’s called the Thanksgiving Challenge, and today, we’re challenging you!
You can read the entire ‘7 Days of Thanks‘ series that she did on her blog. We’re sharing her Day 7 blog below. She writes:

I’m quite sold on the practice of gratitude as one of the most transformative powers in the world! The extent to which we learn to cultivate a truly grateful heart and attitude in and through all circumstances is the foundation upon which a truly rich and joyful life is built.

One of my favourite verses from the Bible suggests that gratitude partnered with prayer is the antidote to the destructive nature of worry! This explains why seeking to start each day with gratitude, and guard that grateful attitude, helps us see solutions, instead of focusing on problems. It says this: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

I want to share a practice with you that will radically change your life. If you aren’t sold on having a daily gratitude practice just yet, I hope this will convince you! :)

Something that really impacted me is what Darren Hardy shares in his book The Compound Effect. He issues this ‘Year-Round Thanksgiving Challenge’ to all of us who want more in life by sharing these powerful stories (excerpt follows from The Compound Effect):

We’re particularly gifted in the finger-pointing department when it comes to our romantic relationships—you know, where the other person is the one who needs to change. Let me explain how something extremely simple, taking less than 5-minutes a day, can literally change your life.


A few years back, a friend of mine was complaining about his wife. From my observation, she was a terrific lady, and he was lucky to have her. I told him as much, but he continued to point out all the ways she was responsible for his unhappiness. That’s when I shared an experience that had literally changed my marriage… and me.


One Thanksgiving, I decided to keep a Thanks Giving journal for my wife. Every day for an entire year I logged at least one thing I appreciated about her—the way she interacted with her friends, how she cared for our dogs, the fresh bed she prepared, a succulent meal she whipped up, or the beautiful way she styled her hair that day—whatever. I looked for the things my wife was doing that touched me, or revealed attributes, characteristics, or qualities I appreciated. I wrote them all down secretly for the entire year. By the end of that year, I’d filled an entire journal.


When I gave it to her the following Thanksgiving, she cried, calling it the best gift she’d ever received. (Even better than the BMW I’d given her for her birthday!) The funny thing was that the person most affected by this gift was me. All that journaling forced me to focus on my wife’s positive aspects. I was consciously looking for all the things she was doing “right.” That heartfelt focus overwhelmed anything I might have otherwise complained about. I fell deeply in love with her all over again (maybe even more than ever, as I was seeing subtleties in her nature and behavior instead of her more obvious qualities). My appreciation, gratitude, and intention to find the best in her was something I held in my heart and eyes each day. This caused me to show up differently in my marriage, which, of course, made her respond differently to me. Soon, I had even more things to write in my Thanks Giving journal! As a result of choosing to take a mere five minutes every day or so to document all the reasons why I was grateful for her, we experienced one of the best years of our marriage, and it’s only gotten better.


After I shared my experience, my friend decided to keep a Thanks Giving journal about his wife. Within the first few months, he completely turned around his marriage…

Wow! What can five minutes per day do for your marriage? What can it do for YOU?

They say that the best things in life are free; the very best of things is who we become along life’s journey.

So, here’s how Darren’s challenge works:

  • get a nice journal with enough pages for a year’s worth of short entries (each day’s entry can be just a few sentences long — this is meant to take as little as 5 min!). Even a journal of 100 pages will do!
  • each day, jot down something that you love or appreciate in your spouse’s character or actions — make sure your spouse doesn’t catch on! It’s a surprise. If you’re ever stuck, a simple “I love you” or “I appreciate you” will do.
  • in a year from now, present it to them as a gift of appreciation for who they are, who they’re becoming, and how much they mean to you.
  • except some massive transformation in yourself!

What do you think of the Thanksgiving Challenge? Here at the Intimate Couple, we agree that expressing gratitude for the gift of your spouse will most certainly change your marriage, and you! We can’t wait to hear how this impacts you and helps you get that much closer to the marriage of your dreams!

ps. Jelena’s included a special Thanksgiving offer for you! Found here. FREE for you to enjoy this Thanksgiving Holiday! Get it while it’s available.

Intimacy: The Challenge We Face

The intimacy challenge between husband and wife

CNN recently featured an article by Lee Woodruff entitled, Why Veterans Have Intimacy Issues.

In her article, Woodruff—herself the wife of a war vet—explained that for many war vet couples, the lack of intimacy is the ongoing heartache after many of the wounds of war have been healed. PTSD, chief among many psychological disorders, is one of the obstacles to gaining the communication of mind, heart, spirit, and body that intimacy requires.

Woodruff states:

For many couples, once the acute healing is finished [the physical healing of the body], the impact of combat injury on sexual health, intimacy and fertility is perhaps the biggest heartbreak. While sexual health is a huge contributor to overall mental health, this is an often overlooked and uncomfortable subject.

Woodruff’s article points out how the psychological trauma of war results in couples feeling that intimacy is almost unreachable.

The Challenge

Yet, even for many of us without this kind of trauma, genuine intimacy seems almost unattainable. A simple-minded observation of soaring divorce rates would make us conclude that intimacy—the super glue holding couples together—is challenging to obtain! Much more than just sex, intimacy is the oneness of heart, mind, body, and spirit. It has 4 components: intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and sexual. Obtaining this in a relationship is increasingly unusual.

The Journey

Repairing intimacy is not a quick-fix project; it is a journey. Our approach, then, to developing intimacy must reflect this idea. There is a place to start, a direction to take, and a destination to move toward.

The place we start is the position of humility: we acknowledge that, to some degree, we are needy, broken, and ready to receive help. This position frees us up to get counseling, reach out to others, and most importantly—acknowledge to our spouse that we need and want help.

The direction we take is the pathway of learning: we are life-long students of each other. By actively studying each other in pursuit of greater understanding, we will automatically increase our appreciation of each other.

The destination we move toward is oneness of heart and mind: the end of it all is to become closer to your spouse! With our stated destination of closeness, we will more easily identify factors in our relationship that either draw us away or draw us toward each other emotionally.

Although obtaining intimacy remains a huge challenge for many couples—its pursuit represents a journey of heart, soul, mind, and body that makes every step along the way more than worth the effort!

How to Stop Interrupting Your Spouse! (And How Code Words Can Help Your Marriage)

How to Stop Interrupting Your Spouse/How Using Code Words Can Help Your Marriage

All marriage experts agree that good communication skills are a key component to a healthy marriage relationship. Whenever Jim and I facilitate pre-marriage classes, communication is one of the main topics covered in the very first lesson! After 33+ years of marriage, Jim and I believe we communicate fairly well:

  • We focus on the other person when they are speaking.
  • “You always” and “you never” are phrases we avoid using.
  • Respect for one another’s opinions is paramount!
  • Hurtful, angry words are not part of our vocabulary.

One bad tendency, though, that we both needed to address was the habit of interrupting one another. For example, if Jim and I were in conversation with ourselves or with others, and the conversation was interesting, we’d be eager to contribute to it with our own thoughts and ideas.  The problem was, we’d be so eager to speak that I would interrupt Jim and he’d do the same with me! 

Jim and I talked about the lack of respect we felt when we were interrupted and decided to stop the interrupting! We put together a simple but very effective solution that worked really well!

We introduced a “secret code word” to our conversations!

Here’s how it worked:

Let’s say Jim and I were chatting and I interrupted him. Jim would respond to me with  “Absolutely!” That was our secret code word to let the other person know “You just interrupted me!” For example,

Friend: “Hi Jim and Carrie! It’s good to see you. How is the family doing?”

Carrie: “We are doing well! Five of our sons are now married and we have…”

Jim: (interrupting) “We are the proud grand-parents of 8 grandchildren with one more on the way!”

Carrie: (smiling) “Absolutely! Our family is growing!”

Did you notice how I used the code word? Our friend didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary because “absolutely” naturally fits into the conversation but Jim heard me use the code word and was immediately reminded not to interrupt!

If you and your spouse struggle with interrupting one another, why not give our “Absolutely” solution a try!

The Power of the Weekly Date Night

The power of the weekly date night with your spouse!

Jim and Carrie often talk about having weekly date nights! Although they have missed a few, even with raising nine children, they’ve managed to consistently have weekly date nights since 1988! Impressive, right?

They talk about ‘checking in’ with each other (eg., “how can I serve you this coming week?”), using the time to plan, ‘dating your spouse’, as well as having fun to keep the passion going.

Recently, I’ve been listening to Darren Hardy’s book the Compound Effect, and was reminded about the power of the weekly date night. I think Darren touches on something really important: we can say that we value our marriage and our spouse, but do our actions, calendars and priorities line up with that?

In his book, Darren explains that one of his goals is to deepen the love and intimacy of his marriage. To do that, he designs a weekly, monthly, and quarterly schedule. He writes:

Doesn’t sound too romantic, I know. But maybe you’v noticed that, even when something’s a high priority for you, if it isn’t scheduled or on your calendar, it often doesn’t happen, right? Certainly not with the regularity you’ll need to get into any kind of rhythm.

Here’s how it works. Every Friday night is “date night”, and Georgia and I go out or do something special together. At 6 p.m., an alarm goes off on both of our iPhones, and no matter what we’re doing, date night is on!…Essentially sundown on Friday night until sunup on Sunday morning is time we devote to the marriage and family.

Every Sunday night, also at 6 p.m., we have our RR (Relationship Review). This is a practice I picked up from relationship experts Linda and Richard Eyre…During this time, we discuss the previous week’s wins, losses, as well as adjustments we need to make in our relationship. We start the conversation by telling each other a few things we have appreciated about the other during the previous week—it’s helpful to start with the good stuff. Then…we ask each other, “On a scale of one to ten (ten being the best), how would you rate our relationship this week?” This gets the discussion of wins and losses flowing…

Let’s dream for a second: is it possible that you’d get that much closer to the marriage of your dreams by making this a habit? Will you do what it takes to connect in a meaningful way with your spouse (every week if possible!) to deepen and strengthen the intimacy and love in your marriage?

Remember to lean in and do whatever it takes to honour, cherish and serve your spouse. The power of consistently connecting with your spouse is not to be under-estimated — that’s why Darren talks about the compound effect (small, consistent investments compounded over time equal huge gains)!

Curious about how to apply the compound principle to all areas of life? Get the book here.

12 Steps that Lead to an Affair

Watch Out for this Slippery Slope

The slippery slope to an affair — things to watch out for

Did you know? The first steps that lead to an affair are common to most couples. Let’s first outline them and then discuss some strategies for safe-guarding your marriage!

  1. Something makes you lean away from your spouse (argument, sickness, a trauma).
  2. Awareness of another person (entertain lingering thoughts of them).
  3. Innocent meetings with that person open the door to flirting (stop now, or you’ll go down the slippery slope quickly) — or, perhaps more common in today’s day & age, starting to text, Facebook or email with that person on a regular basis.
  4. Meetings become intentional and planned by one of the persons.
  5. When in a group setting, the two people linger in conversation with each other.
  6. Conversations shift to feelings about life, God, relationships…deeper topics. (Raise the red flag for help!!)
  7. The two people have isolated meetings under the guise of legitimate purposes.
  8. The two people have isolated meetings just for pleasant conversation.
  9. Embraces become affectionate, and playful touching begins.
  10. Embraces become passionate (everything but sex).
  11. Adultery happens (and torment begins).
  12. The affair is made public.

Since Jim and I first learned about this topic (we were at a conference in Texas years ago and heard Brady Boyd talk about this), we’ve changed our phraseology. We talk about ‘leaning away” and “leaning toward” each other. Some examples:

“Sorry for leaning away from you earlier, Sweetheart!”

“I made you this snack because I want to lean towards you, honey!”

“I am leaning towards you, heart and soul. All of me, all for you!”

Another thing to keep in mind is how else you can intentionally connect with each other on a regular basis, as on a weekly date night (never underestimate this habit – it can change your marriage).

Here are a few other resources you may find helpful:

Do you see yourself sliding down the slippery slope leading to emotional, and even physical, adultery? If so, get help, and start working on repairing your marriage relationship now!

Don't underestimate the power of...

5 Ways Summer Time is Good for Your Marriage!

What is your favourite season? It may or may not be summer, but did you ever stop and realize how beneficial the summer season is for your marriage? Take a look at the 5 ways we’ve listed here! No doubt, you can think of more ways summer time is good for your marriage!

Summer time is good for your marriage

1.  Longer Days

  • Waking earlier because of daylight streaming into your bedroom gives time for early morning sex.
  • Late sunsets allow for evening strolls or tennis matches together.

2.  Warmer Temperatures

  • The temperature allows for “making out” in the car or outdoors!
  • Rarely does your spouse shock you with their ice-cold feet on your body
  • Sleeping in the nude is totally possible!
  • There are more reasons to shower together on hot summery days

3.  Summer Attire is Conducive to Sex!

  • It’s quick and easy to move from “making out” to “sex”
  • No bulky sweaters, socks, or jeans to be removed
  • Your sexy swimwear can help “turn on” your spouse!

4.  Vacation Week

  • Not having to rush to work every day gives you time to work through the 7-Day Sex Challenge!
  • Rest and relaxation makes you less stressed and more patient, caring, and kind to your spouse.
  • You have enough time to read a few marriage books while relaxing at the beach, cottage, or campsite.

5.  Wedding Season

  • Weddings bring back memories of your own wedding day and encourage you to rekindle love towards your spouse.
  • Hearing couples repeat their marriage vows is a good reminder about keeping the vows you made at your wedding
  • You can celebrate your wedding anniversary (if you had a summer wedding)!
  • Seeing happy newlywed couples helps inspire romance!

Be sure to take advantage of the summer season and all of its benefits to your marriage! Don’t waste another day… autumn and winter will be here before we know it!

The Three-Story Technique for Couples

If you and your spouse find mutual conversation a bit of a chore, try the tip that Elizabeth and Thomas have for us today, called the Three-Story Technique.

Their little tip is especially suited for couples when one is an extreme extrovert, and the other an introvert!

Their practical exercise will help every couple meaningfully engage in conversation—and have lots of fun doing it!

The Power of Intimacy

power of intimacy in marriage

What does a wife do when her husband is secretive about an issue and resistant to talk about it openly?

Here are a few thoughts:

1. Self-esteem and being valued are high on the husband’s list of needs; therefore, it’s important that, generally speaking, nothing is done ‘behind his back’, including discussions with others, counseling, or seeking opinions of friends. Taking ‘private’ problems between a husband and wife and discussing with friends in a ‘public’ manner without his permission can be devastating.

Men that discover their wives have been sharing private issues/ problems with others without stated permission feel “raped” and betrayed emotionally. Of course, the exception to this rule of thumb would be the presence of violence, neglect, or abuse of any kind taking place. Wives need to talk about this immediately with someone they trust!

2. The power of transformation in a marriage is found in its intimacy. The goal is to reach it, maintain it, and enjoy it, in all its expressions!

When Intimacy thrives, there is honesty, openness, and vulnerability between both partners:

  • Honesty demands we work toward becoming an ‘open book’, being ourselves with no pretense—all the while expressing ourselves in love. Honesty leads me to say what I feel and think—even if I’m apprehensive.
  • Openness is inviting your spouse into a relationship that enjoys free flowing expressions of ideas and feelings. This is the place of unconditional acceptance. Difficult conversations in the context of real love transform both partners.
  • Vulnerability means I willingly expose my heart and mind to the person I love most in the world. No need to protect myself; heart encounters always result in the healing of souls.

3. Don’t encourage the secrecy by avoiding it. Occasionally a wife will empathize with her husband and begin to protect the secret by avoidance, even to the point of protecting him from situations or conversations she knows will bring it to light.

Men are designed to be warriors and protectors and when challenged appropriately, with God’s help, will rise to the occasion. It may be a mistake for wives to try to protect their husbands—perhaps the best approach is complete honesty and openness even if there is pain as a result.

How long will your marriage last?

July 14, 1982

Our Wedding Day: July 14, 1982

Jim and I were thrilled to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary last week (July 14th)! When we consider 33 years, a few thoughts come to mind:

  • that’s a long time to be married!
  • we don’t feel old or mature enough to be married that long!
  • our marriage hasn’t been a drudgery but a wonderful journey of growing closer and deeper in love!

Watch our video below to hear us share two reasons why our marriage has lasted 33 years (and counting!). Apply those tips to your marriage and you’ll enjoy a long-lasting marriage too!