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!

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!

7,000 Nights of Sex

Meet the newly revised 7-Day Sex Challenge!

The original 7-Day Sex Challenge e-book has helped over 1,000 couples! It’s a marriage course like no other — plus it requires the absolute best kind of homework with your spouse…

We are excited to announce that our best-selling e-book is newly revised and also available in paperback!

Listen to Jim and Carrie introduce the newly revised 7-Day Sex Challenge!

The original 7-day sex challenge course

The Only Two Things You Should Be Doing in Bed!

Intimacy and sleep experts alike agree on this advice: your bed should be reserved for two things, and they both start with an ‘s’, sleep and sex.


Not only should the bed be reserved for these two activities, but the quality of each positively affects the quality of the other!

Researchers from the University of Michigan (article here) tracked 171 young women’s sleep and sex patterns for over two weeks. They concluded that each additional hour of sleep increases the next day’s possibility of sex by 14%! Take home (or take to bed, that is!): more sleep, more sex — and better sex, in fact. The women in the study reported higher physical arousal after a longer period of sleep.

To set yourself up for sleep and sex success, follow these guidelines:

  • create a welcoming, clean and clutter-free atmosphere
  • keep the temperature cool, and the room dark
  • stick to a consistent sleep and wake schedule, even on weekends; this will help regulate your body’s natural clock
  • exercise daily, if possible
  • avoid being on devices (laptops and phones!) at least 30 min before bedtime
  • keep work out of the bedroom
  • keep the tv out of the bedroom too!

Improving your sleep is an important way that you give your best self to your marriage and, especially, to your sexual relationship!

Fine-Tuning Your Love-Making (in the Key of F)!

Has sex improved for you and your spouse since your honeymoon?  As with any other activity, we need a bit of fine-tuning now and again to really hone our skills! You know what they say…10,000 hours of practice ‘til you’re an expert!

The best way to fine-tune your love-making is to become an expert of your spouse.  Learn how sex works best for them and what they enjoy the most. We suggest you use these specific questions to check-in with your spouse and begin fine-tuning your love-making.


  1. What type of foreplay works best to get you aroused?
    1. slow, tender, and gentle
    2. aggressive, passionate, and intense
  2. How much time do you need us to focus on foreplay?
    1. at least 25 minutes
    2. 15 minutes is plenty
    3. a few minutes is all it takes for me
  3. Do you prefer low lighting or full lighting during foreplay?


  1. Are you satisfied with how often we have sex?
    1. it’s close to perfect for me
    2. no, I want it more/less often
    3. yes, but I’d be okay if we had it less often
    4. yes, but I’d be thrilled if we had it more often
  2. When time of day do you most prefer we have sex?
    1. morning
    2. daytime
    3. evening
  3. What time of the week do you enjoy love-making the most?
    1. weekday
    2. weekend


  1. Where on your body do you enjoy being touched?
  2. Do you enjoy different types of touching?
    1. caress
    2. squeeze
    3. kiss
    4. other


  1. What position do you prefer we use when having sex?
  2. What is your least favourite position and why?
  3. What new position would you like to try?
  4. Would you like to try something besides intercourse, such as stimulation using our hands or mouths?


  1. After sex, what do you like us to do?
    1. embrace one another for several minutes
    2. clean up, cuddle and talk
    3. clean up, cuddle and fall asleep

If you’ve never discussed these topics with your husband or wife, be ready to learn something new! Then, use the information to hone your skills and fine-tune your love-making!

Book Review: XES – Why church girls tend to get it backwards…

When Joy McMillan contacted me in 2014 about reviewing her newly published book, I was definitely curious. Her book title, “XES – Why church girls tend to get it backwards…and how to get it right” was certainly provocative! 

XES bookAs I read XES, there were moments I chuckled and plenty of moments I cried. I found myself pausing often to read portions aloud to my husband:  “Jim, listen to this…”  Besides that, my copy of Joy’s book now has highlighted portions on almost every page!

No doubt, women will be deeply moved to read Joy’s story as she shares it with such openness, honesty, and vulnerability. Despite her painful past with its shame, God’s redeeming grace has given Joy a beautiful confidence that is inspiring to read and understand.

Joy teaches and encourages wives to intentionally pursue God’s best for their marriage and gain a greater understanding of God’s heart toward sexual intimacy in marriage.  Her “Reflection and Action” sections at the end of each chapter help the reader apply the important topics she clearly discusses. Any Christian wife will find something in Joy’s book they can identify with and take steps to move their marriage relationship closer to God’s beautiful design.

Visit Joy’s website for more details.

Part III: The Benefits of Lifelong Learning


The ABCs are always recognized as the basics: they represent the first principles of anything you’re learning. The ABCDs, however, represent Above and Beyond the Call of Duty! This is the approach of high achievers and winners who are willing to do whatever it takes to reach their goal! 

A lifelong learner is aware that they don’t know everything, they haven’t “arrived”, and their marriage can always improve. A lifelong learner is always looking for opportunities, resources, and activities that might enrich their marriage.

ABCD Learners, then, are willing to do whatever is necessary to grow and learn and enhance their relationships! Why not commit to win at the most important relationship in our lives—our marriages?!

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty (the ABCD approach) is an attitude that changes the way we talk, think, and act. The ABCD approach teaches us that investing in the on-going health of our marriage is no longer just a duty to discharge, an obligation to meet, or a responsibility to fulfil. It is a passion to pursue!

The ABCD Approach in Action

ABCD Learners are willing to experiment and try new things! Here are a few ideas:

  • Date nights: When we were married for about six years, we attended a marriage enrichment seminar with dozens of other couples from our church. One of the take-aways we had from this seminar was developing the habit of a weekly husband/wife meeting (a date night with a planning/strategy component). We were encouraged to talk about finances, parenting, our personal and spiritual development, areas of concern or conflict that had arisen since our last meeting, or ongoing issues we were working through. At the time, we did not know that it would become one of the major contributors to a successful marriage!
  • Leading a small marriage group: Find a few couples to connect with around the topic of marriage enrichment. Choose a book study, or a DVD-based study, and simply facilitate the group!
  • Keep a book handy for riding/walking: Carrie and I have gone on road trips together where one of us drives and the other reads aloud from our marriage book. In the same way, we’ve gone for long walks together taking turns reading aloud to one another from our marriage book.
  • Bedtime marriage devotional: Find a great devotional, try and stay awake, and read to each other!
  • Take the 7 Day Sex ChallengeThis is a week-long in-home marriage enrichment course that will change your life, both inside and outside of the bedroom! 

As you apply these principles (the significance of marriage habits, like weekly date nights) and approaches (a top-of-the-year marriage evaluation, a new ‘together’ activity), we are confident you will see positive change and much forward motion! 

We’d like to CHALLENGE YOU: which ABCD learning experiment will you try? Share with us on our Facebook page!

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 newborn (despite all the recent pain the baby has caused!). This same bonding hormone is released during orgasm, leading relationship experts (see to refer to sex as “the Super-Glue” of marriage!


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!

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!

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.

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!

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 /

Image courtesy of Feelart /

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!

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!?!

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.