The 4 Types of Premarital Couples & The Relationship Roller Coaster

THE 4 TYPES OF PREMARITAL COUPLES & THE RELATIONSHIP ROLLER COASTER

Kyle Benson

Have you ever fallen head over heels in love for someone?

When you first meet them you couldn’t stop thinking about them. Their smile, how they talked, their passions, the way they looked at you.

In the early stages of a relationship, reality goes out the window and the honeymoon effect influences you to feel that nothing could ever go wrong.

It’s almost like you’re the star of your own love movie. Kissing in the rain and all that jazz.

But then you have fights and breakup, shortly followed by passionately making up.

Believe it or not, these “Hollywood” romances are like a rollercoaster where you experience an emotional high of passionate love followed by a drop of emotional isolation.

Many of these toxic relationships can be prevented if we are more honest with the reality of who are partner is and who we are. Numerous research studies indicate that idealizing our partner in the bliss of love can lead us to ignore red flags. I know I’ve ignored red flags in past relationships.

During my interview with Mike, I talk more about how to prevent yourself from falling prey to this: How to Avoid Unavailable Partners and Have an Emotionally Connected Relationship

I’m not making this up. In fact, a researcher followed 168 couples from dating through 13-years of marriage.

He discovered that the happily married couples who were “very” in love and affectionate were 100% committed to each other, expressed less negative feelings and lots of positive feelings, and viewed their lovers as better than all alternatives. Their relationship was like calm waters.

Here are the four types of relationships Dr. Ted Houston discovered during his 13-year study:

  1. Rollercoaster Romances – these couples had emotionally draining breakups followed by passionate making up. Do you think these couples divorced? They did.
  2. Firework Romances – these couples fell madly in love with each other and like a firework, their passion lit up the sky but quickly disappeared when the reality of their ignored differences and unrealistic expectations darkened the sky of their relationship. Divorce was inevitable.
  3. Status Quo Partners – these couples stayed married but unhappily so. They didn’t have a blissful start (like the couples above) and there were some red flags that were clear in the dating portion of the relationship that got swept under the rug. These problems got worse the longer the marriage lasted.
  4. Stably Affectionate Investors – these couples did not have a dramatic dating period. Rather their relationship was like rowing a boat in a calm lake. They took their time investing in each other and intentionally built a warm and cooperative partnership. Almost all of these couples were very happily married at the end of 13-years. They had lasting and satisfying relationships because they fell in love and became experts on each other over time, not instantly. Both partners were 100% invested in each other. In the first two years of their relationship, they focused on creating healthy patterns of being with each other such as communicating, managing conflict, and intentionally building a culture of love, respect, and admiration. Essentially the quality of their relationship was built on a secure friendship.

Dramatic love may create passionate and blissful moments, but they also tend to come with hurtful and painful conflicts. Take your time falling in love and use the first few years of dating to build a strong culture of love, affection, and secure connection that will make your marriage last a lifetime.

A Letter to My Younger Self on My Wedding Day

A LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF ON MY WEDDING DAY

Shantel Patu

Dear younger self, 

I’m writing to explain what marriage really means because I remember all too well your fairytale ideology that marriage is about a beautiful wedding, then fast forward to your happily ever after

With that said, I’m not writing as a warning. I’m writing more as an opportunity—merely think of me as your sponsor – because you’re definitely a hopeless romantic. 

Your dreams of a man riding in on a white horse, or a knight in shining armor, are figments of an animated imagination and I just want to take some time to talk to you about what’s real.

I want to let you in on a secret, if you will. A moment in time, to give you a gift, the gift of a second chance. 

You are still so young, at only 22 years old. And here you already have a small beautiful child, own your home, and you have a wonderful man who hasn’t quite discovered how great either of you are just yet. You should feel proud and accomplished. I know when I look back I’m definitely proud of you. 

Nevertheless, I specifically want to talk about fear. You see, although you survived a lot of abuse and neglect, you’re traumatized. Your traumas have caused significant damage and created a space for constant anxieties to thrive. Anxieties like your fear of being a victim, a fear of someone thinking they can take you away, and other fears, like your fear of intimacy, of getting in trouble or making mistakes, of not knowing enough information or being looked at as incompetent. And mainly, your fear of simply not being good enough to be loved.

I know you. Probably better than anyone really knows you. I know how hard you try to be perfect. I know how hard you work to be accepted. How much you feel you don’t and can’t possibly fit in anywhere, with anyone. And I know you think that if you achieve genuine happiness it means that you have reached the end of your life. But you don’t have to be afraid. I’ve begun to discover that you can be accepted and you are more than lovable. 

As I write this, I realize now that you are just starting out on the first path of many that will lead you on a journey into a life that brims with love and hardship, joy and sadness, peace and war, as well as abundance and strife. Your life will be wrought with moments of destitution and incredible successes. And I wouldn’t have you change any of it (except please buy Amazon stock and change your Sam’s Club membership to Costco, trust me, Sam’s Club will fail us). You will learn so much from the experiences that living this life will teach you. 

I would also encourage you, as your sponsor, to ditch your unhealthy addictions earlier.  You should see life through the eyes of someone who chooses to actually live. Find life in every breath. Leave behind the acts of fear that cause you to bury yourself and hide away all that is great in you. 

Now, about the young man you have chosen. He is going to be amazing. You were right to be attracted to his high levels of intelligence, and his cautious, careful approach to tasks. And that great sense of humor. You will laugh every day of your life. He will hold you close when you feel lost and afraid. He will trust your guidance and seek your counsel. He will treasure you. 

But it will take some time. You will both have to learn to grow up and embrace the art of communication. You will find an amazing woman, Julie Gottman, who will introduce you to techniques that will enable you to overcome so many marital obstacles. You’ll learn principles about communicating and methods for dealing with conflict that you’ll even align with your body of work. Trust me, these tools will prove invaluable. 

Your marriage will become a beacon of hope for couples around the world. But it will take time. Time that can be shortened if you heed many words and remember this letter, starting today, your wedding day. You can be so much more if you start by shedding the heavy, unsightly cloak of fear. 

Your story needs to be heard through the ears of faith and not through fear. Fear prematurely ends stories. It changes the narrative and demands surrender. It turns heroes into cowards and strength into weakness. It both clouds and casts judgment. It slowly takes away the essence of who you really are. It highlights scarcity and inflates the balloon of false pride. You are not what you’ve been through. Your truth and destiny lie in the places you will go and the people whose lives you will touch. So continue to go far and shine bright. Dream often. And fear not.

In this letter, I want you to recognize that you are going to have a beautiful family, a legacy of serving others, and a connection to your husband that’s absolutely unbreakable. But your life will really begin when you can begin to see yourself as a whole. Know that life is not just about what you know or have learned, it’s about how well you learn how to live. Do it fearlessly, for there is life in every breath.

So with that said, here are a few things I’ve learned about love and life over the last 23 years of marriage. 

Never stop dreaming together
Talk openly about your goals for the future, and always support your husband’s dreams. Be curious, creative, and explore your entrepreneurial spirit. 

Take better care of your health
Eat better and get into a fitness program or routine. Stop complaining and taking your amazing body for granted. Spend less time worrying about how you wish you looked and spend more time loving yourself. 

Spend less time yelling
You can be heard the loudest in moments of silence.

Enjoy spending time with yourself
I didn’t discover this until I was in my forties. I missed all that time just enjoying who I was and dreaming about who I’d be.

Keep your childlike twinkle in your eye
It will serve you well and keep you and others laughing. You are funny—stay that way. 

Spend more time in the moment with your children
They really do grow up fast. Parenting isn’t a race, it’s a journey. It doesn’t end when they’re 18. It will challenge you in different ways, but you’ll never get their little inquisitive minds back, so enjoy it while you can. 

Always spend time talking to your husband
It gives you both so much life. Have patience for teachable moments and keep laughing, it really is medicine for the heart.

Keep making space for passion and intimacy
Keep being intriguing and spontaneous. These moments keep you both connected.

Challenge yourself often
Don’t sit in the same place, be different, choose different. Regular is your enemy. 

Trust the process
Everything good and bad happens for a reason, even when you don’t understand why. Keep believing and trusting in the process. There’s always another side and a way to go through. 

Please take these words with you, always. And, I love you. 

Revealed! Big Reasons Nigerian Men Cheat, Many Women Are Guilty Of No. 4

REVEALED! BIG REASONS NIGERIAN MEN CHEAT, MANY WOMEN ARE GUILTY OF NO. 4

Victoria Chukwuani

A lot of women usually wonder why men cheat in spite of the effort they put into the relationship to make it work. Truth is, there’s no better way to keep a man than having to build a good relationship with him. The question is, how does one go about building the right relationship with her partner? The best way to go about it, is to first,  look at reasons why a man would contemplate infidelity in the first place. Having a clue, for this reason, would give a better perspective on possible solutions to apply.

1. Never let him forget you exist

We all know adulthood can be exhausting, most times with so many responsibilities and bills to take care of. Most women get so busy they don’t make time for their men and family. In spite of how busy both of you get, a quick text to him saying “I love you,” or “I miss you” or “I have a special surprise for you when you get home!” won’t be a bad idea. You get to rekindle the spark in your relationship with these little pins of love. Using your love for him to push out guilty thoughts out of his mind, just in case he thinks about flirting.

2. Spark up your sex life

Image result for Playful black lovers

If you are feeling a little jaded with your intimate routine (even if you blame him), then he is most likely tired as well. Spark up the bond by being the person to initiate copulation more often, and then take control of the play. There are numerous things you can do to spark things up that would leave no room for some other woman. Try any of the stuff he liked when both of you were first dating.

3. Do things with him, and for him

Image result for Do things with him, and for him.

I know this is no news but some guys live for their lovers, and some guys just put up with them. Be the type of lady men would live for. It won’t make you “unliberated.” It will seemingly make him your willing ”cabana” boy, doing everything he can to satisfy you. Cook sumptuous meals he enjoys. I know this is particularly hard for most female folks but if you can, try watch the football match with him. This would rekindle the bond both of you feel for each other and won’t give other women the chance to wreck your relationship.

4.  Nagging

Related image

When you nag, you inadvertently chase your man to another woman. To prevent any loopholes do not nag or argue provocatively. Verbally assaulting a man can throw the man into a messy emotional turmoil with nowhere to fall back to. Unlike women who have alternative options during their lows, like girlfriends and moms, your man is likely to fall into the hands of another woman who might just smooth things up and make him feel good.

What are your thoughts on this? Kindly leave a comment and don’t forget to share.

Are Particular Sexual Activities Wrong in Marriage?

ARE PARTICULAR SEXUAL ACTIVITIES WRONG IN MARRIAGE?

April Cassidy

ABOUT MY APPROACH TO THIS POST:

I haven’t stated my personal convictions about specific sexual activities in marriage for a variety of reasons. One reason is that last year, God convicted me that Romans 14 admonishes believers to keep our personal convictions about “disputable matters” private.

The sharing of personal convictions tends to cause a lot of division in the body of Christ.

  • Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. Romans 14:1

So I took down any posts that were about my own convictions on a number of topics. I want to build the unity in the body, not create division over trivial matters.

  • So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. Romans 14:22
🙂

I decided to write about this topic after several requests. However, I am not going to be sharing my own convictions or details about my marriage in this area out of respect for God, for Greg, for myself, and for the body of Christ. I appreciate everyone respecting my approach. 

I have decided not to have comments available on this particular post.

  • This topic lends itself toward becoming a debate that would probably not be productive.
  • I also don’t want to have any unwholesome or inappropriate conversations in mixed company.
🙂

There are some resources at the bottom of the post. I invite you to check them out and prayerfully consider each issue for yourself with your own husband. 

A FEW FOUNDATIONAL THOUGHTS:

First, I want to remember that my greatest goal as a believer is to bring glory to God in all I do.

Second, I want to remember that anything that God calls sin is something that is ultimately destructive for me or for someone else. I want to focus on God’s incredible love for His children and the fact that His motives toward us are always good and never evil. Any parameters God gives, I want to embrace with total faith and trust.

Third, I want to remember that God created sex for marriage and that it is very good.

Fourth, I want to remember that Satan wants to make sex outside of marriage and sex before marriage as enticing as possible and he wants to make sex in marriage as difficult, painful, and frustrating as possible. He wants to create division and dissension and do all he can to prevent us from having unity in every area of our marriages, including the area of physical intimacy.

Warning, dear sisters:

Be aware of Satan’s strategies and tactics and resist him, yielding your heart completely to the Lord. He wants you to think accusing, negative, terrible thoughts toward your husband. He wants you bound up in guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, pride, and self-righteousness.

It is so critical that we take our thoughts captive for Christ so that we allow God’s Spirit to control our thoughts, motives, and all that we do, not the flesh.

Jesus set us free from sin, death, shame, guilt, bondage, oppression, fear, and every toxic way of thinking! He guides us in all truth by His Spirit and His Word. He can purify our hearts and minds and empower us to be the women He calls us to be. There is so much freedom in Christ. It is not about rules. It is about abiding in Him and being filled to overflowing with His goodness and then He gives us His wisdom and healing so graciously.

  • Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace… Romans 8:5-6

Let the fruit of the Spirit be very evident in the way we treat our husbands sexually, and in every other way. May God’s supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control abound in our hearts and in our interactions with our husbands. May the way we relate to them bring great joy to God’s heart and glory to His Name!

HOW TO DECIDE IF A PARTICULAR SEXUAL ACTIVITY IS A SIN IN MARRIAGE:

I need to prayerfully ask myself some questions as I seek to allow God’s Spirit to show me His truth and goodness from the Bible – with a heart that longs to obey God no matter what He may ask of me:

1. Does the Bible list this thing as a sin? If the Bible lists it as sin, it’s out of the question. I can’t participate in that.

2. Does the activity I want to do violate a general principle of God’s Word? Is it selfish, hurtful, involving sex outside of marriage, involving lust for someone to whom I am not married? Is it an addiction? Does it involve idolatry, greed, lying, envy of others, etc…?

3. Could what I want to do cause harm/pain emotionally or physically to my spouse? I must remember that “love does no harm to a neighbor” (Rom. 13:10). Could the activity cause harm to myself or anyone else in some way?

4. If the Bible is silent about it, the activity doesn’t go against a general principle of God’s Word, and it does not cause harm to someone then it really isn’t my place to label something as sin that God doesn’t label as sin. I don’t want to put myself in the position of deciding what is sinful. And I don’t want to make up my own “sins” and put myself in bondage unnecessarily to manmade rules. I can have personal convictions that are based on my own thinking. But I don’t get to label things as “sin.” That is God’s job.

5. If an activity violates a particular believer’s conscience, then for that person, he/she is not acting in faith and that is sin for that person even if this is an area where there is Christian liberty and freedom. I don’t want to force my spouse to do something that would violate his conscience. I would seek to “bear with him in love” and patience and put my desire for a particular thing on the back burner.

6. In areas of Christian liberty, I am free in Christ to enjoy something that is not labeled as sin by God and that does not violate biblical principles.

7. My primary purpose in the sexual aspect of my life must be to glorify and love God and love my husband. Sex is not “all about me.” Yes, I can enjoy it, and that is awesome. But, as a believer, I want my mindset to be, “How might I bless my husband in this area?”

Note:

In my book, I share a number of ways that we can be disrespectful to our husbands about sex and ways we can respect our husbands about sex. The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord

Much love to each of you in Christ!

Is Money Bankrupting Your Marriage?

IS MONEY BANKRUPTING YOUR MARRIAGE?

Kyle Benson

Does this sound familiar?

Kris is an accountant and Sam is an architect. They’re trying to create a budget together.

Kris: We just need a realistic budget to stick to.

Sam: I do stick to it, but unexpected things keep happening.

Kris: You have to plan for the unexpected. Let’s go back and look at the checks and the credit cards statements, and see where our money is going.

Sam: You never show me the respect that you show your accounting clients.

Kris: I respect you, but I’m upset that you can’t control your spending. How can we save that way?

Sam: I do control my spending, but I have to get things our family needs.

Kris: We don’t need a 60” TV or 16 knives. We don’t NEED all of this crap.

Sam: You never understand or care about my needs.

Kris: I work really hard for our stuff. I do understand.

Sam: I work too. What do you think I do 40-hours a week? Pick my nose?

Kris: I know you work, and I do care, I just want us to be smart about our money.

Sam: It’s not about being smart, it’s about love. You’ve never understood that.

Kris: Not it’s not. Love is about love. Money is about money. That doesn’t even make sense.

Sam: We’re building a life together, one you clearly don’t value as much as the money in the bank.

Kris: You build a life with how you use the money in the bank.

Sam: Thanks for the lecture, Professor Money. Do you see what I’m talking about when I say you don’t respect me?

If you and your partner have similar arguments about finances, you are in good company. There is no easy way for a couple to go through life without butting heads over money. As you can see  with Sam and Kris, nothing has been resolved. It feels like the real issue is not being addressed.

That’s because arguments about money aren’t about money. They are full of power and meaning that make discussions about money more emotional than the situation seems to warrant.

If you asked 100 people what is “enough” money to be rich, you’d soon realize that what is “enough” for one person is completely inadequate for another. That’s because money is not about how much one has, but about how much one has relative to what one believes is enough.

What blocks Kris and Sam, and maybe even your marriage, is not money. It’s the meaning we give money.

Meaning, Money, and Marriage

If I asked you how much you paid for your home, you could probably tell me without hesitation. If I asked you how much you spent at the grocery store four days ago, you would probably need to think about it.

That’s because your memory is designed to focus on the significance and meaning of events in your life rather than the details.

This makes sense. Memory is biologically pricey. Rewiring our neurons and synapses costs a lot of energy. It is nearly impossible to remember every detail about every event in our lives, so our brain “cheats” when it organizes information.

If you’re 43 years old, that means you have 43 years of complicated life experiences with a lot of unimportant micro-experiences, such as buying a sandwich. If you were to analyze the details of every single experience before you decided something, you’d be paralyzed by analysis.

So your brain cheats by deriving an overall meaning of an experience and then fills in the facts to create a narrative that aligns with that meaning.

This is why Sam feels so disrespected when Kris brings up the issue of budgeting. To him, it’s not just her trying to control his spending. It’s her taking away the feelings of love money gives him. Feelings he has felt for most of his life.

Sam’s mind does this because his memory, like yours, is designed to create little cause and effect stories to support the meaning we get from our experiences.

By doing this, we simplify our conflicts around money and we start reacting instead of responding. Sam starts accusing Kris of disrespecting him and reacting to her complaints. Instead he should listen to her complaints so he can understand why she feels that way.

If we were to simplify the meanings of money throughout our entire lives into cause and effect stories, then what we are left with is a simple if X happens, then I feel Y. This is what we call a “money law.”

The Money Laws of Marriage

Money laws are the things that must happen for you to feel financially secure and happy in your marriage. They tend to follow a simple if-then framework.

Money Law Examples:

  • If James saves $1,000 this month, then he truly cares about the financial future of our marriage.
  • If Steve takes me out to an expensive dinner on Friday, then he loves me.
  • If Kim books our two-week vacation, then she cares about my well being.

Broken Money Law Examples:

  • If Sam doesn’t stick to the budget, then he doesn’t care about my needs.
  • If Tom buys another “toy” instead of taking me on a vacation, then I’m not valuable to him.
  • If Susan spends another $300 shopping instead of saving for our kid’s college, then she doesn’t care about our children’s education.

As you can see, money conflicts are far more meaningful than the dollar value we give them. For some of us, it’s about love and connection. Maybe for you it’s about power and significance. Maybe for someone else it’s about personal growth, or contribution to society. We fight about money because we don’t feel understood by our partners.

Understanding Your Money Laws

If you can identify your money laws, you can instantly help your partner understand you better and improve the quality of your relationship.

If you take time to understand your partner’s money laws,  you will be able to turn the destructive fights about money in your marriage into a constructive way to grow closer to one another.

What Are Your Money Laws?

Want to learn which money laws are bankrupting your marriage? Below are three steps that will help you use money conflicts to deepen your emotional connection.

Step 1: Understand Your Personal Meaning of Money

Throughout life, we pick up subtle and large meanings of how money should be used.

By understanding your hidden meanings to money, you can really help your partner understand why certain things bother you. You can do this by downloading the Meaning of Money In Marriage by subscribing below. Go through the list of items and check the meanings that resonate most with you.

Step 2: Understand Your Partner’s Meaning of Money

Have your partner fill out the checklist. Sit down and share stories about why you have those meanings around money.

Step 3: Create Three Money Laws Each

What do you need to feel financially secure in your marriage? Come up with three money laws and share them with your partner. Examples include:

  • If you take me on a date every two weeks, then I will feel loved.
  • If I contribute to the Red Cross, then I feel helpful to those less fortunate.
  • If I invest in a personal trainer, then I feel sexy and will want to make love to you.

Use money conflicts in your marriage to invest in each other.

Stats on the Porn Industry

STATS ON THE PORN INDUSTRY

CovenantEyes

Below are a sample of porn stats. Each statistic or quote has been carefully researched and referenced with the original source in our Porn Stats PDF document. In this way, this compilation of stats, quotes, and figures do not act as a last word on the subject, but as a first word, providing a good starting place for your own research.

Stats on the Porn Industry

“It seems so obvious: If we invent a machine, the first thing we are going to do—after making a profit—is use it to watch porn.” – Damon Brown, Author of Playboy’s Greatest Covers

It’s projected that virtual reality (VR) porn should be a $1 billion business by the year 2025. That’s third behind an expected $1.4 billion virtual reality video game market and $1.23 billion VR NFL-related content.

VR Business

Pornographers are hoping VR porn will boost porn website revenues that have been mostly stagnant from 2010 to 2015. In that time, adult content increased roughly 0.3% to $3.3 billion.

VR revenue

In 2006, estimated revenues for sex-related entertainment businesses were just under $13 billion in the US. These estimates included video sales and rentals, Internet sales, cable, pay-per-view, phone sex, exotic dance clubs magazines, and novelty stores.

28,258 users are watching pornography every second.

$3,075.64 is spent on porn every second on the Internet.

88% of scenes in porn films contain acts of physical aggression, and 49% of scenes contain verbal aggression.

79% of porn performers have used marijuana, and 50% have used ecstasy.

1 in 5 mobile searches are for pornography.

“Amateurs come across better on screen. Our customers feel that. Especially by women you can see it. They still feel strong pain.” – Carlo Scalisi, Owner of 21 Sexury Video

There are higher percentages of subscriptions to porn sites in zip codes that…

  • Are more urban than rural.
  • Have experienced an increase in higher than average household income.
  • Have a great density of young people (age 15-24).
  • Have a higher proportion of people with undergraduate degrees.
  • Have higher measures of social capital (i.e. more people who donate blood, engage in volunteer activities, or participate in community projects).

Stats on How People Perceive Porn

90% of teens and 96% of young adults are either encouraging, accepting, or neutral when they talk about porn with their friends.

90% of teens


Teens

96% of young adults


Young Adults

Just 55% of adults 25 and older believe porn is wrong.

55% of adults

Teens and young adults 13-24 believe not recycling is worse than viewing pornography.

Recycling and pornography

Only 43% of teens believe porn is bad for society, compared to 31% of young adults 18-24, 51% of Millennials, 44% Gen-Xers, and 59% of Boomers.

43% of teens


43% of teens

31% of young adults


31% of young adults

51% of millennials


51% of Millennials

44% of gen xers


44% of Gen-Xers

59% of boomers


59% of Boomers

Porn in the Church Stats

1 in 5 youth pastors and 1 in 7 senior pastorsuse porn on a regular basis and currently struggling. That’s more than 50,000 U.S. church leaders.

1 in 5 youth pastors


1 in 5 Youth Pastors

1 in 7 senior pastors


1 in 7 Senior Pastors

43% of senior pastors and youth pastors say they have struggled with pornography in the past.

64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women say they watch porn at least once a month.

43% of pastors

Only 7% of pastors report their church has a ministry program for those struggling with porn.

7% of pastors

Teens and Porn Stats

A 2018 study revealed:

  • Nearly 27% of teens receive sexts.
  • Around 15% are sending them.

57% of teens search out porn at least monthly.

27% of teens sext

51% of male students and 32% of female students first viewed porn before their teenage years.

The first exposure to pornography among men is 12 years old, on average.

71% of teens hide online behavior from their parents.

A 2016 study on Canadian adolescents showed that 45.3% admitted to problems in erectile dysfunction.

“The young women who talk to me on campuses about the effect of pornography on their intimate lives speak of feeling that they can never measure up, that they can never ask for what they want; and that if they do not offer what porn offers, they cannot expect to hold a guy. The young men talk about what it is like to grow up learning about sex from porn, and how it is not helpful to them in trying to figure out how to be with a real woman…For the first time in human history, the images’ power and allure have supplanted that of real naked women. Today, real naked women are just bad porn.”

– Naomi Wolf

Pornography and Marriage Stats

“I have also seen in my clinical experience that pornography damages the sexual performance of the viewers. Pornography viewers tend to have problems with premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Having spent so much time in unnatural sexual experiences with paper, celluloid and cyberspace, they seem to find it difficult to have sex with a real human being. Pornography is raising their expectation and demand for types and amounts of sexual experiences; at the same time it is reducing their ability to experience sex.”

– Dr. MaryAnne Layden

68% of divorce cases involved one party meeting a new lover over the Internet.

56% involved one party having “an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.”

70% of wives of sex addicts could be diagnosed with PTSD.

Prolonged exposure to pornography leads to:

  • Diminished trust between intimate couples.
  • Belief that promiscuity is the natural state.
  • Lack of attraction to family and child-raising.

A 2014 study found that compulsive pornography users “had greater impairments of sexual arousal and erectile difficulties in intimate relationshipsbut not with sexually explicit materials.”

Facts About Long-distance Relationships

FACTS ABOUT LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS

sheqoz

How Long is the Distance?

Depending on what you refer to as long distance, expectations may vary. Some people consider living in different cities as long distance. In my opinion, if you can drive to someone at any given day or time, then your relationship is not really long-distance.

Couples who can spend every weekend together can thrive very easily as long as they are committed to each other. Being in a position to discuss things one on one is the key to a long-lasting relationship.

When Life Takes its Course:

Things happen in life forcing separation of two people who truly love each other. When one person travels to a distant land for whatever reason, the couple may manage to maintain their passion and love for an extended period of time.

Even with the distance between the two love birds, they can easily maintain intense passion and love for each other. Unfortunately because of lack of physical contact, long-distance relationships cannot be battle-tested.

Because majority of the problems are either ignored or not properly resolved, they begin to create an emotional gap to a point where the relationship just masquerades a real relationship.

Love is Present:

The fact is, real love requires time, commitment and contact with reality. A distant relationship is more like a suspended honeymoon with both lovers waiting for the verdict as to whether or not their boat will sink.

Unless there’s a strong plan on the drawing board backed by two disciplined individuals, long-distance relationships are not worth wasting time or energy on. The moment one boards a plane marks the beginning of the end to a love story.

The Battleship in Distant Relationships:

The number one killer of long-distance relationships is hearsay. Friends and family always have true and fabricated rumors cooking. Once the trust is broken, the bond goes down with it. Without trust, even the strongest cannot thrive.

Holding on to a long-distance relationship without any trust is the worst mistake anyone can make. Without emotional connection there can be no future. Disconnection in this area is a sign to move on with your life.

Communication plays a huge part too. Once the chemistry starts fading, which does happen because of lack of physical contact, the phone calls or text messages become minimal. Communication clearly becomes a burden.

Don’t Waste your Precious Time:

When days turn into weeks, months and eventually years, don’t look back. The pain is not worth revisiting. It’s like opening a healed wound. I know there are always chapters waiting to be written once that flight takes off.

But unless there’s a definite plan and minimal time frame away from each other, trying to build a long-distance relationship is like building castles in the air. There’s someone special for each and every one. However, if that someone is not right where you are, save yourself and keep it moving.

Inevitable Breakup: Who is to Blame?

When long-distance relationships fail to thrive, it is nobody’s fault. The distance just plays its role while fate opens fresh doors. Don’t miss out on the best things in life trying to focus on the rear-view mirror. Life is best lived forward because there are a lot of discoveries to explore.

Although these are facts about long-distance relationships, there are a few exceptions. Just like you are more likely to be struck by lightning than you are winning the lottery, few love birds do push it through.

Agape Love in a Losing Battle with Terminal Cancer

AGAPE LOVE IN A LOSING BATTLE WITH TERMINAL CANCER

sheqoz

How We Met:

I met Melissa during my pre-natal clinics. She was the most beautiful blue-eyed blonde l had ever known. Her personality lit up a room as soon as she walked in. I picked up on her southern accent pretty quickly, which was unusual because most people pick up on mine first.

We had depths of interesting topics to discuss which made 30 minutes go too fast. Her name was called out first so we hurriedly exchanged numbers. My turn came and l went in and out but no sight of Melissa.

She reached out a few days later and we set up a lunch date. We had such a strong bond, she was like a twin sister from a different mother. We giggled the whole time because she had a great sense of humor.

Unbreakable Bond:

That was the beginning of a lifetime friendship between a southern blonde and a Kenyan country girl. Our bond became so strong that we made plans to tour the world. Melissa wanted to start with Kenya. Due to earlier travel commitments to my other friend Tanisha, I introduced them, and it went very well.

Tanisha was a beautiful sun-kissed lady with a pure heart, and she was very energetic too. All the positive vibrations needed in the world was present in those two beauties. However, there was a problem, something out of my control.

The Losing Battle:

They both battled cancer. Although they were on continuous treatment, the cancer had spread too rapidly to other organs. I had met Tanisha about 10 years earlier and had witnessed her struggles.  She had almost given up and would often turn down treatment.

Melissa managed to persuade her back on treatment several times. They gave each other a reason to fight for another day. They were both wives and young mothers in their 30’s, except that one was black and the other white.

It wasn’t long before Tanisha gave up the fight. I remember she held her mum and Melissa’s mum’s hands, gazed outside the window and made them promise to keep their families close. A few hours later, she took one last deep breath and left us.

Melissa on the other side fought with hopes of surviving. She knew she was terminally ill but believed in miracles. Unfortunately, few years later her cancer spread to her brain. She’s not with us anymore.

She departed the same way Tanisha did, all three families were present except no one was crying. We were laughing at her silly jokes about dining with Tanisha that evening. She told us that she wanted to take a nap and that was the last we saw her beautiful blue eyes.

Left Behind:

So close yet so far! I don’t have my friends around anymore. I can’t feel their heartbeats or hear their giggles except on the videos we recorded. The love and kindness they shared made a lasting impact on all who knew them.

Through their eyes l saw beyond cancer and color. I saw oneness, genuine love and humanity. Sadly the good in the world is often tossed behind the scenes. The negative people clattered with hatred get the most attention and exposure.

All the same, there are a lot of good people who don’t jump on the hate wagon. These are the people who truly care for the generation behind them. It breaks my heart to see how ignorant we can choose to be. We are all human beings. We all need each other in this walk.

My Plea to All:

If anything went terribly wrong with the earth, everyone will be equally affected. We are all born empty and will leave this world the same. It doesn’t matter how one is buried or cremated. To keep my friends’ wish alive, l made the decision to love everyone the same regardless of the changes and hate in this world.

Why waste our energy hating each other and teaching our children to do the same? The worst anyone can do to someone they hate is kill them, right? Then what? The soul cannot be touched and the afterlife fact awaits the murderer whose life isn’t permanent either.

I honestly pray that the good people out there will continue to show love without boundaries. There’s a lot of good going on every day which will always outweigh bad. Melissa and Tanisha are resting in peace now, and the impact they made will live on.

I might never understand why they both had to go too soon, but one thing l know for sure is that they gave me the courage to just be me, to live my life without noticing skin color. That doesn’t mean others will not notice mine; we are all entitled to our feelings and opinions.

I share these thoughts from the bottom of my heart, with the intention of letting anyone else who feels the same way I feel know that they are not alone. Little is much, anything you do for love makes a huge difference.

My plea for people to get along as human beings may not change the whole world. Nonetheless, it sure did change three families from completely different backgrounds. Shine on Tanisha and Melissa, you will be forever missed and loved. Your voices are still alive.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

How to Battle Against Emotional Adultery

HOW TO BATTLE AGAINST EMOTIONAL ADULTERY

Intentional Living

Audio Player00:0027:58 Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.

It may have nothing to do with sex; but just maybe you have emotionally given your heart to someone other than your spouse. If that describes the precarious state of your heart, Dr. Randy shows you How to Battle Against Emotional Adultery.

“Avoid the passions of youth, and strive for righteousness, faith, love, and peace, together with those who with a pure heart call out to the Lord for help.” (2 Timothy 2:22 GNT)

Family Time Means Quality Time

FAMILY TIME MEANS QUALITY TIME

Intentional Living

Whether it’s at the dinner table, in church or watching a movie together, families form strong bonds when they connect on a personal level.

There was a time when parents would read to their children every day. It could be a beloved fairy tale, a favorite Bible story or a library book, but it helped build intimacy, comfort and trust. Mothers and fathers had an opportunity to build morals and principles for living.

Intentionally spending time as a family is extremely important. How a family interacts will have great influence on the development of a child’s personality.  As an Intentional Parent, you will help your children feel secure in your love for them.

Dr. Randy Carlson explains how “Ten Commandments for the Family” might be a good guide for living in your family.

Families that emphasize organization and sets of rules, for example, will likely produce children who highly value organization themselves and rely on regulations to help them know boundaries in life.

Families that place an emphasis on freedom of expression are more likely to have free-spirited children, who may have trouble setting or distinguishing boundaries without help.

Prevailing attitudes often stem from the family atmosphere present in homes where the parents were raised. For example, strict, repressive homes may produce children who grow up to be legalistic, overbearing parents.

Children raised in that atmosphere, depending upon their individual makeup, will either likely rebel against it, or become overly cautious in adulthood themselves. Moreover, family crises and problems can have effects on a child. Parents who are tense and worried about finances may find themselves parenting a child overly interested in making money.

While families, like individuals, take on unique personalities, there is one contributing factor that will help produce happy, well-rounded children: the home should provide an atmosphere of love and attention.

This is one thing you should strive to be very intentional about.

Intentional ONE THING Challenge

If you could do ONE THING and know that it would make a significant, lasting, possibly life-changing difference in your life, would you do it? Dr. Carlson shares the power of ONE THING and why you should get started doing your ONE THING today.

Tell Us

How do you spend time as a family? Do you read the Bible regularly? We’d love to hear your success stories. Post your comments below.

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