The Science of Intimacy!

For many years, neuroscientists have been interested in the role of the hormone, oxytocin, released in large quantities during childbirth. This hormone helps the birth mother experience intense bonding with her new born (despite all the recent pain the baby has caused!). This same bonding hormone is released during orgasm, leading relationship experts (see www.the-intimate-couple.com) to refer to sex as “the Super-Glue” of marriage!

PillowTalk

More recent studies indicate that oxytocin is also released during specific social interactions, and play a neurological role that tends to promote trust, empathy, and feelings of closeness:

  • appropriate physical contact between individuals
  • hugs, non-sexual touching
  • a genuine smile
  • active listening—demonstrating authentic interest
  • constant eye contact during a conversation

Differing degrees of closeness can be developed in most relationships. It is apparent that neuroscience confirms the fact that God has wired us all to experience intimacy. Even using the few techniques and new understanding briefly described here, we will be able to develop deeper levels of significant intimacy!

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5 Popular FREE Marriage Resources for 2014!

Will 2014 be the year you decide to take the most important relationship in your life to the Next Level?

marriage-next-level
In our November 2013 newsletter, we announced the 30 Day Challenge: an opportunity to receive a free daily email reminder to complete one small romanced-based action directed toward your spouse. These small actions, each arguably insignificant individually, accumulate into 30 days of noteworthy investment in your marriage!

In Jim Collins’ seminal book, Good to Great, he documents the effectiveness of the Flywheel Principle in business. An organization’s ability to transition into greatness is not by means of one large leap; it is the cumulative effect of many, small incremental changes-much like very small pushes moving a flywheel. This is the same in our marriages!

It is not the one huge effort you make, or the one action you undertake that will make your marriage transition up to the next level. It will be the many, incremental things you do!

Why not start now? Not by trying to bring lots of changes-but by bringing strategic, small, well-planned changes that will, indeed, bring you to the next level!!

Use any of these FREE resources to help transition your marriage to the next level this 2014:

  1. Begin the 30 Day Challenge (if you haven’t already!). FREE!
  2. Read the Marriage Retreats for Vision and Goal Setting article FREE!
  3. Set up a reading schedule with your spouse to read short articles on intimacy from the-intimate-couple.com FREE!
  4. Download the 4 page, Marriage Retreat Worksheet (complete with the calendar!), and spend a date night together working through plans and goals for your marriage! FREE!
    • Take the completed calendar from the retreat worksheet and transfer all the dates onto your electronic calendars and devices; place them on your Family Calendar; on the fridge-or anywhere you put important appointments!
  5. Browse the Marriage Resources page on our website. FREE!
    This page has lists…

Yes, all of the suggestions we’ve listed above are free! Nevertheless, don’t ever hesitate to invest in your marriage! Whether you…

  • pay money to obtain resources
  • invest time in conversation with your spouse, or
  • re-allocate a moment of “me time” so you can serve your significant other

…investing in your marriage is always worth it!

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Make the Call: Strikeouts or Homeruns?

Phones in the bedroom… yes or no? Let me tell you about a couple’s recent experience that helped them decide whether keeping a phone on their bedside table was a good idea or not. (This is a true story though names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

Harry and Sally enjoy “morning sex” on their days off especially because they can relax, take plenty of time, and really take pleasure in lingering in each other’s arms. This story begins on their day off when they woke up about 7 am.

7 AM
After a quick visit to the washroom, Harry and Sally brushed their teeth and then returned to bed for some relaxing “skin time”. For the next 30 minutes, they dozed on and off as they talked about plans for their day and prayed together.

8 AM
Shortly before 8 am, Sally cuddled up a little more closely to Harry and they began foreplay. As time progressed, lovemaking became more passionate and heated!

CALL #1
Suddenly, Harry’s cell phone rang! After letting it ring several times, Harry scrambled to find the phone and answer it. He ended the call quickly and politely but the interruption was enough to set them back in their lovemaking. Sally teased Harry, “That’s strike one!” Harry and Sally immediately re-engaged in foreplay and, after a few minutes, were back to where they were before the phone call.

CALL #2
Suddenly, the home phone started ringing! A quick peek at the caller id indicated an early call from the office…probably not urgent but still important. Harry answered the call, promising to call back later with the information being requested. Sally smiled, “That’s strike two! What happens if we get another phone call? Strike three? Strike out?!”

Harry and Sally were determined to get back into lovemaking and finish without any more interruptions! Their passion escalated with a hint of desperation. Soon they were lost to the world…only focused on each other. Passion gave way to climax! Homerun!

CALL #3
Just seconds later, Harry’s cell phone rang again! Harry, still trying to get his breath from the passionate lovemaking gasped, “Sally, you answer the phone! I can’t talk!” Demurely, Sally answered the call and politely offered the caller, “Harry’s not available at the moment. He’ll call you back soon.” She hung up the phone. Sally turned to Harry, “That was a close call…almost strike three!”

Image courtesy of Feelart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Feelart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over the next few minutes, Harry and Sally realized that either all phones needed to stay out of the bedroom or phone ringers needed to be turned off to “silent”. They were determined … No more strikes during lovemaking! Only homeruns!

MAKE THE CALL
Do you and your spouse need to have a “no phone/no texts/no email” policy to protect your times of intimacy? Like Harry and Sally, do you risk “striking out” in the bedroom!?!

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Why Porn Will Kill Your Sex Life

We’re not going to approach this topic by appealing to your morality, even though the overwhelming majority of married, porn users readily acknowledge it’s wrong. From a morality point, nothing else needs to be said: when we feel something is wrong, we hide the fact that we’re users and that we’re addicted. Let’s leave the morality issue for a moment.

Instead, here’s another thought: if you value marital sex, you need to realize that porn will kill your sex life with your spouse. Consider the following 4 reasons:

  1. Your spouse can’t compete with a virtual sex partner.
    There will be many sex acts you fantasize about through porn that your spouse will not participate in when you’re having marital sex. This will lead you to degrees of disappointment that you can’t mask.
  2. Arousal eventually will only occur by using porn.
    The hormones released into the blood stream to bring the onset of arousal become triggered with pornographic images. Just as water or electricity flows through a pathway of least-resistance, arousal via porn will define a neural pathway that demands arousal occurs with the same or greater level of pornographic intensity.
    Simply stated, eventually arousal with your spouse becomes more difficult.
  3. Shame and guilt will take their toll.
    Assuming the husband is the porn addict, his guilt will trigger a response of withdrawal from his wife, sexually. Compounding this, she will then experience shame as she realizes she no longer arouses him sexually.
  4. Porn is solo sex.
    Use of porn is solo sex that undermines the very design of sex in marriage: meeting your partner’s sexual needs and desires. A mental shift towards selfishness occurs. Eventually sex becomes self-focused in the life of the porn user. Rather than sex being the super-glue in marriage, it becomes the issue dividing the marriage! Why? Porn.

Do you want more sex and better sex? Follow these 4 steps:

  1. Forget porn.
  2. Focus on loving and serving your marriage partner.
  3. Study our site with your spouse.
  4. Take the 7-day Sex Challenge.

 

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Father’s Day and the Attitude of Gratitude

I suppose every father is secretly hoping that Father’s Day will do something to help his relationships with his children and his wife. Most guys are not as emotionally intelligent as their wives (hey, just sayin’…), and relationships, with women, at least, almost always hold a degree of mystery for most men!

It’s true, though, that marriage and family relationships take an up-turn during Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Valentine’s Day celebrations. Why? Simply, it’s because our focus is always on the bright side, remembering the good times, and basically trying to be positive and thankful for someone.

Of course, this dynamic doesn’t come into play for those people embroiled in caustic, emotional battles and destructive relationships. No pretty cards, expensive perfume, or chocolate can fix that kind of damage!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What we are saying, though, is that a very simple, yet powerful technique for enriching our relationships—every day of the year—is to adopt a posture of thankfulness. Our kids would sometimes refer to the attitude of gratitude.

Here’s a free suggestion that you can take to the bank: express gratitude for 5 things about your spouse every day, and your marriage and family will change forever!

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Appreciating Your Way to a Great Marriage!

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • appreciation  [uh pree shee ey shun]
  • gratitude [grat i tood]
  • thankful [thangk ful l]

Unfortunately, we all know (and tend to avoid) people who are unappreciative. They are easily recognized by how they…

  • rarely say “thank you”
  • take others and what they do for granted
  • live with an attitude of entitlement
  • believe “I’m owed”

On the other hand, all of us are drawn to those who are in the habit of expressing gratitude! These are people who don’t live with an entitlement mentality or take others for granted.

Now, imagine being married to someone like that who is grateful for you! Someone who

  • constantly points out the positive contributions you bring to your marriage
  • praises you for your acts of service
  • recognizes your depth of care and expression of excellent character
  • sees the strengths and potential in you that you don’t
  • treasures you as God’s gift!

What marriage wouldn’t thrive with an appreciative partner like this? Why don’t you be that partner?

Start today by listing 5 reasons you appreciate your spouse. Most importantly, share that list with him/her.  Then watch your appreciation for one another grow!

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Beyond Ordinary: Book Review

Justin and Trisha Davis have opened their lives and souls for us that we may benefit from the pain of their journey. In fact, their story is so compelling, so powerful, that you will be drawn in to the fabric of their lives. Though you may begin as a sideline observer, very soon after you pick up Beyond Ordinary you will experience a connection with Justin and Trisha that makes you think, ‘Wait! This is my story!’

Although the facts of Beyond Ordinary may not include the same details as your personal journey, Justin and Trisha’s exploration of the depths of their inner brokenness resonates with all of us. This is not simply the journey of two people in a marriage; it is the record of two broken souls finding wholeness in Christ, and healing in their marital relationship.

Every couple would do well to consider Beyond Ordinary as a must-read! This deep, gripping narrative is also a teaching tool we must all learn from!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Visit Justin and Trisha’s Refine Us website for more information and help for your marriage.

 

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Communication at its BEST!

Everyone knows open communication is the key to a great marriage. And, everyone knows that sex is critical to an invigorating marriage. However, only smart couples know that openly communicating about sex is one of the best indicators of a great, invigorating marriage!

  • awkward
  • insecure
  • embarrassed
  • shy
  • inadequate
  • vulnerable
  • afraid

…these are just a few of the emotions we might experience when we start to open up about sex. Really—that’s the point isn’t it? Healthy marriages are developed by learning to talk about the difficult things in constructive, non-judgmental ways. When we can open up about our deepest feelings, we enter a new level of closeness.

How Do We Learn to Open Up Like That!?
Are you afraid to voice what you really think about sex—or other difficult issues? Are you afraid to hear what your partner might say about their deep issues and their responses to yours? The Bible indicates that “…perfect love casts out fear.” (I John 4:18) Being afraid to discuss things—and thereby creating a “don’t mention” category of topics is evidence of fear crippling our lives.

Face Your Fears
Though this step may be the most difficult thing you’ve ever done—it’s essential!

  • For some couples, counseling will be necessary.
  • For other couples, setting aside times of introspection and evaluation will be necessary.
  • For still others, taking the 7-Day Sex Challenge home-course will be necessary.

But for all couples—honesty and humility will be necessary!

The Real Deal is Intimacy
For many people, sex is a synonym for intimacy. In actual fact though, sex is like the tip of the intimacy iceberg! Following our metaphor, under the surface, the other types of intimacy: emotional, spiritual, and intellectual really define what the tip will look like!

Fantastic sex will be a natural consequence of developing intimacy through communication in all four areas! Yes, difficult conversations may make hard times, awkward times—but the payoff will be huge! With the openness and transparency that will develop, your marriage will go up to an entirely new level!

Posted in Jim's Posts, Marriage Improvement, Sex | 1 Comment

Avoiding the Upcoming Marital Cliff! (post by Jim)

Image courtesy of Dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

US Republicans and Democrats are so at odds with each other that no one is willing to work together and avert the USA from plunging over the so-called, Fiscal Cliff.

Without delving into the quagmire of political opinion, let’s agree on one thing—pride and stubbornness on both sides of the political spectrum have a lot to do with the looming threat posed by the Fiscal Cliff.

In the same way, is your marriage facing a looming Marital Cliff?

When husbands and wives are unwilling to humble themselves and admit they are often wrong—there is a cliff awaiting their marriages that is totally avoidable! 

How do we avoid our Marital Cliffs? By working together!

Any couple that agrees to do whatever they need to do in order to get on track with God and with each other has done most of the hard work already!

Help is readily available!

May we suggest, taking our 7-day marriage course: we refer to it as the At Home-but Intense marriage fixer. Please check out our 7 Day-Sex Challenge.

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Better Sleep … Better Sex!

Recently, we experienced an extremely difficult three-week period as a result of Carrie’s acute insomnia. During this time, Carrie suffered from anxiety attacks, depression, negative thoughts, and feelings of hopelessness. It was terrible.

Then, after a change in medication, sleep returned and, within a few days, most of those terrible symptoms were gone–thank God!

Since that time, we’ve been making a concerted effort to get better sleep–and now without using any medication. Quality sleep has changed our lives!

Considering our little adventure with insomnia, we’ve started to better appreciate the simple things (those we easily take for granted) that can have huge effects on everything–including our sex lives!

Here’s a list of a few things that may seem small and, on their own, rather insignificant. We’d like to suggest, however, that small improvements in these areas may yield huge, positive results. Furthermore, improvement in all of these areas will guarantee significant dividends!

  • Quality sleep (8 hours)
  • Improved nutrition
  • Weight loss (if needed)
  • Regular aerobic exercise
  • Cultivating an attitude of gratefulness
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