Unfortunately, we are not helping our children at all when we continually let them get their way or we let their mood determine the overall mood of the family. No. Mom and Dad are to set the tone, not the children. We instinctively know this, yet so many of us have a difficult time knowing what to do or how to follow through consistently. When we fail to do this the mood in our household tumbles and many couples end up struggling in their own relationships. It is difficult for the rest of the members of the family to relax when a child is too often out of control.
In addition, we do a disservice to our children when we let them get away with being out of control. We all know adults who have no consideration of others and demand to get their way and make everyone around them miserable. We certainly don’t want our children to be in that number! You can help nurture and shape your childrens’ future adult personality NOW by the consistency with which you parent your children.
That means you need self-control, too! YIKES! We can’t hardly teach our children self-control if we don’t have it. You teach self-control mostly, not by fancy techniques, but by being consistent in your leadership with your children.
For this podcast I interview my son, Brandon Wall, who is our Staff Researcher and a regular blog writer for our thrivingcouples website (Check out his research summaries here and his blogs here), about some creative ways he and his wife, Philly, have developed to help their two children (Alyas – 3 and 1/2 and Lydia 1 and 1/2) learn self-control and self-comfort.
This interview addresses how to teach your children what they are going to need to succeed in life, how to calm themselves down, and that the parent is in control.
Briefly put, Brandon took some cues from research he alludes to in the podcast from the University of Stanford (here) on how to help children delay gratification. He’s tried these same techniques with his own children with good results. In addition, Brandon has invented a technique he refers to as The Cry Corner, which he’s shared in a previous blog (available here). This is an effective way to help children learn self-control and self-comfort and to establish the parent as the authority in the home. He also discusses a gentle, but firm way to help parents re-establish their authority when a child is absolutely out of control.
As one of the grandparents of these beautiful children, I can vouch that being in their presence is an absolute delight and that Brandon and Philly have figured out how to have a joyful home without anyone feeling dominated or short-changed. Having a peaceful home is a wonderful gift to your spouse and to your children. You’d do well to heed Brandon and Philly’s example.
This podcast is our first attempt using an interview style. We hope to do more of this in the future. We think having two generations (father and son) involved in our Blogs and Podcasts may be an effective tool to helping a greater number of couples of all ages improve in their relationships and develop stronger, happier families.
We welcome your input and further questions about this topic and other issues you are facing in your marriage (fill out the form you can find here.). In these podcasts we are trying to answer questions you might find helpful in making your marriage and family a safe refuge in a cruel world.
If we know what God intended sexuality to be we can spot the counterfeit right away. In these first two podcasts in the “Perversion” series I’m giving my explanation of the Sexuality of Life. In future podcasts I’ll unpack the Sexuality of Death.
In this podcast I review what I covered in the first podcast that marriage is designed by God as the building block of society. The verse from the Bible (repeated in Genesis, by Jesus in the Gospels and by Paul) gives us the foundation of marriage:
For this cause a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two will become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
This verse lays out for us Three Boundaries that must be respected for marriage (and therefore, sexuality) to thrive:
1. LEAVING: A Boundary of Protection
2. CLEAVING: A Boundary of Exclusivity
3. BECOMING: A Boundary of Life
Marriage provides the context for sexuality to be all it was meant to be. Marriage is like a precious vessel and sexuality a priceless ointment that must be stored in the precious vessel. There is only one vessel that can hold this priceless ointment. To break the vessel (divorce), to say the vessel is unnecessary (cohabitation), to say any vessel will do and the precious vessel is discriminatory (same-sex), to say we should mix in other ingredients into the priceless ointment (S & M, bondage, porn, fantasy, role-play, etc.) or we can have other ointments in the precious vessel (open marriage) all pervert the blessing God intended sexuality to be (the Sexuality of Life). If we do any of these sexuality doesn’t just become a different flavor. It becomes the Sexuality of Death and will destroy not only your life but your marriage, your family and society as we know it.
I go on in the introduction to suggest that The Sexuality of Life has FOUR PURPOSES:
1. Birthing and nurturing the next generation with children’s original birth parents.
2. Providing spiritual oneness between a husband and a wife
It might be tempting to stop there, but God gives us way more sexual energy then you can possibly spend on making babies and becoming one with your husband or wife! This leads to the two other purposes of The Sexuality of Life:
3. Channeling your sexual energy into creativity and work to be a blessing to your family, your community and the world at large and
4. Moving our spirits toward God in worship.
What do we do instead? Our society shouts from the mountaintops that if you have a sexual desire of whatever stripe or flavor that this is who you are and it is fine to act out on these desires, that these desires entitle you to certain rights and should be blessed by governmental law, that no boundaries are necessary or the boundaries can be redefined until they are absolutely unrecognizable or they can be ignored or scoffed or stretched or thrown away or stomped on in the sewer and to go for all the gusto and do whatever you want and there will be NO BILL TO PAY…EVER. It’s just you, baby! Pleasure here we come. But this takes us directly through the doorway to the Sexuality of Death.
I then introduce in this podcast the nature of marital sexuality, what the Sexuality of Life actually should look and feel like. I suggest it has FOUR ASPECTS. You should ask yourself, if you are married, if the sexuality between you and your spouse looks like these things. If not, something is amiss:
1. Is it MUTUAL? I take this from the word for sexuality in the Bible: “know.” The word “sexuality” doesn’t occur in the Bible (thankfully!) and is in fact a modern term coined in the last hundred years or so. I refer to the writings and recordings of Christopher West who discusses the origins of “sexuality” as a concept. The Bible says “Adam KNEW his wife” and I suggest that sexuality is not just about knowing the other person, but also being KNOWN. For the brief moments of sexuality there is a nakedness and not being ashamed, a reaching back to the Garden of Eden, reminding us what we COULD have been and foreshadowing the unfathomable joys of heaven.
NOTE: There is nothing here in the Sexuality of Life that is about “getting some” or “giving it up” or “it is my duty.”
2. Is it MEANINGFUL? Here I refer to Proverbs 5:18-19 (I forget to mention the right chapter in the recording! Sorry.) where Solomon writes we are to let our spouse be the focus of our sexuality and our spouse ONLY. We are both to be captivated by our spouse and captivating! I also refer to the Song of Songs 4:12 and 4:16 where the husband says his wife is a garden locked up and she then invites him into his garden to “to taste it’s choice fruits.” It is clear from her statement she enjoys that he enjoys exploring her garden. They explore the garden together.
3. Is it SACRIFICIAL? Marital sexuality is a great way to learn patience and the nature of sacrificial love! It will keep you humble and help you grow up! If you let it! usually there is a disparity in sexual lovemaking between a husband and wife: one wants it less; one wants it more. Both parties need to sacrifice for sexuality to be all it is intended to be. I base this argument on Jesus’ statements about it is more blessed to give than to receive and if you save your life for your own sake you will lose it. Marital sexuality as it was intended to be makes servants of both of us: we BOTH need to sacrifice. One of the verses I refer to is 1 Corinthians 7:3-4 where Paul says your body is not your own. The husband’s body is for the wife and the wife’s body is for the husband. Sexuality is not about one person giving and the other person taking. It is about both sacrificing for the other.
4. Is it life-giving? The Sexuality of Life enhances love and oneness between a husband and a wife. I believe there is a spiritual battle going on outside of our immediate tactile awareness. Couples tell me repeatedly that if they are sexual in the types of ways I’m suggesting here (mutual, meaningful, sacrificial and life-giving) they notice they each other more, there’s a lighter spirit, more joy, more laughter, more flirting, more forgiveness, less anger, and less withdrawal for BOTH OF THEM. I believe that when a husband and wife are sexual with each other in the ways I’m describing here that God literally infuses their relationship with spiritual energy. This spiritual energy literally brings in the next generation, it protects each of the marital partners from temptation (1 Corinthians 7:2 and 5), it enhances trust and security (Song of Songs 7:10), it promotes interest, confidence and contentment between them (Song of Songs 8:10).
If, however, the nature of the sexuality between them is selfish, sexuality will spread other messages between them, and rather than being a blessing and source of joy, it can be a source of doubt, insecurity and chaos. These Four Aspects of Sexuality are fundamental to the Sexuality of Life and if you don’t have them you can turn the Sexuality of Life into the Sexuality of Death without even trying!
One time I sat down and thought through my entire current client load, and went through each client in my mind and looking over my notes and asked myself what percentage of my clients have difficulty with sexuality? Fully 70 percent of them had struggles in this area! I believe it could well be higher than that. What is the deal with that? We live in the most sexualized society in the history of humanity and yet people are fraught with worry, pain and heartache about it? What has happened?
I believe we’ve lost the precious nature of marital sexuality (what I am calling The Sexuality of Life) and we’ve exchanged it for a counterfeit. That counterfeit, I will argue going forward in future podcasts, is the Sexuality of Death and it leads to chaos in human relationships, WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE MARRIED! I will argue you must avoid it and if you don’t you do so at the expense of your own dignity and the sanctity of your marriage or future marriage and the safety of your own family. Furthermore, your poison spreads to the rest of us and causes the disintegration of society at large! YIKES! A lot is at stake here! More than you can ever know. Do yourself, your spouse or future spouse, your children and/or future children and the rest of us a favor and learn to harness the God-give sexual desire you do have for His Glory and His intended purposes. Ignore it and we all suffer, but most of all you.
In the next podcast I will introduce Uncle Bob, my metaphor for the voice of the Sexuality of Death in our society. You listen to Uncle Bob to your own peril. Stay Tuned!
In particular we will be looking at such things as pornography, S & M, bondage, open marriage, same-sex, fantasy and anal sex. Should these and other similar behaviors be part of sexuality in our marriage? This question is coming up more and more in my therapy office, which is both sad and not surprising given the deterioration of our public morality in society today. It is only a matter of time before people embrace these things in the privacy of their own homes to their own peril.
The question this series is addressing arises out of the belief that “We can do anything we want in the marital bed as long as we both agree.” I very strongly disagree with this statement and will try to give a coherent response to it. Whether I succeed or not is another story!
One person in particular has asked me to give a Christian response to this question as he has asked several pastors about this issue and hasn’t felt they gave him an answer that addressed his concerns. I was a pastor earlier in my career and now that I’ve worked with 1000’s of couples and have heard and addressed the rationalizations many times, I hope I can add some insight into this important question.
If you are not a Christian, you can still benefit from my discussion of the issue and I hope you will give these podcasts a go.
This podcast (#9) is the first in a series. It’s a pretty involved topic and I wanted to give it the attention it deserves. I’ve struggled for a couple of months on this and have been thinking about it for some time. Initially I taped a couple of podcasts on it, but after Brandon Wall (Staff Researcher here at Heart to Heart) and I listened to them we decided they both started out too dark and we needed to begin from a more positive footing. Today’s podcast is an effort to do that.
The overall structure of the podcast series will be to contrast the Sexuality of Life with the Sexuality of Death. The first two podcasts in the series will look at the Sexuality of Life. This podcast today will define the word Perversion and explain The Three Boundaries of Marriage and The Four Purposes of Sex. The second in this series will look at the the Four Essential Ingredients of Marital Sex. Then, in the third and following podcasts in the series I will contrast the Sexuality of Life with the Sexuality of Death and conclude that you can’t mix the Sexuality of Life with the Sexuality of Death without the Sexuality of Life becoming the Sexuality of Death. It’s not the other way around. The Sexuality of Life does not make the Sexuality of Death become the Sexuality of Life. Any effort to bring perversion into the marriage will only breed insecurity, mistrust, heartache, doubt, fear, manipulation, control, abuse, distance, anger, despair, and, if we aren’t careful, the death of the relationship altogether.
I’m sorry this is such a dark topic. But I must address it. My hope is to give those who are struggling with these temptations the spiritual and intellectual resources they need to overcome them. I am sure that those who think these behaviors are fine will not be persuaded and will continue down their personal road of destruction. They probably wouldn’t listen to this material in the first place! I’m not worried about detractors. I’m hoping those who struggle with these things and are looking for resources will find some places to start here.
Here’s a brief outline of the podcast and a list of references you can explore for more information:
I. Definition of Perversion
II. The Boundaries of Marriage (based upon Genesis 2:24)
- The Boundary of Protection “Leaving”
- The Boundary of Exclusivity “Cleaving”
- The Boundary of Life “Becoming”
III. The Four Purposes of Sex
- Creating the Next Generation
- Breathing Spiritual Oneness into the Marriage
- Creating and Being a Blessing to Our Family and Society at Large
- Turning Our Spirits Toward God
Biblical verses mentioned in the podcast are:
Genesis 2:24 For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. (See also: Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7, Ephesians 5:31)
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled (NIV: kept pure) for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
Psalm 46 (the entire Psalm, but especially verse 1: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.)
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:28a So God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply.”
God is our example. This is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. See, for example, Deuteronomy 10: 17-19 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.
Song of Solomon (I refer to the entire book which is a love poem between a husband and a wife and has also been interpreted over the millenia as a love poem between us and God and between Christ and the Church. I think both interpretations bear insight.)
You can look up these verses and their contexts at BibleGateway.com and type in the biblical reference in the search engine there.
I refer to the following works in this podcast:
Walter Trobisch, I Married You
Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House
Christopher West, Theology of the Body for Beginners
For other materials by Christopher West click here.
More information about the Theology of the Body can be found here.
I use this Model in marital therapy and in working with supervision of marital therapy cases and have decided to share it with our readers and podcast listeners. The purpose of the Model is to help couples assess how they are doing and to see where they need to put their emphases to improve the relationship. It also helps marital therapists and their clients assess where the couples’ strengths are and where to begin work in counseling.
You can access information about the Model in five different forms:
As A Podcast:
The Model is explained in an one hour introductory podcast available below.
As a Brief Narrative Online:
I’ve provided a brief explanation of the Model in today’s blog available here.
As a PDF Graphic:
The Graphic helps visualize the relationship between the concepts. The Graphic is available for download on our Thriving Couples Model page. Our thanks to my son, Marty Wall, for his development of the Graphic. See his other work at Fritzcartoons.com.
As a PDF Chart Contrasting Living As Roommates vs. Husbands and Wives:
The Chart lists the 6 levels of the Model from the point of view of Living as a Roommate and contrasts that with Living as Husbands and Wives. The difference is startling. Many couples divorce before ever even living as husbands and wives! How sad to divorce your roommate never even knowing what living as a husband or wife is! YIKES! Take a look at this chart! It is available on our Thriving Couples Model page.
As a PDF Narrative Explanation:
The PDF Narrative Explanation is the same text as is available in today’s blog. With the PDF, you can download it and have ready access to it on our Thriving Couples Model page.
If you are wanting to explore the Model in your marriage in more detail, give us a call. We’d be happy to help you work it through.
The style of this podcast is a bit different. I record the podcast on a walk in the early morning. You can hear the birds in the background and I’m talking like you and I are just chatting. It’s a lot more informal than the other podcasts to date.
One of the authors that had a huge impact upon me was Dr. Francis Schaeffer. I refer to him in this podcast. I read most of his books in the early 70’s. The ones that impacted me the most with their links are the following:
The God Who Is There
Genesis in Space and Time
And True Spirituality.
I refer also to the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible and Solomon’s statement that there is a time and a place for everything under the sun. Knowing when to talk about things and knowing when NOT to is wisdom. You can read the original passage here.
A book that helped me through my midlife “crisis” was The Season’s of a Man’s Life by Daniel Levinson. It was recommended to me by my counselor at the time. I ended up reading it twice. After reading it I realized I wasn’t crazy after all and I needed to be proactive about the rest of my life and how I used my time. I ended up preparing for a whole new career. This podcast tells a little of that journey.