Inside Your Circle – Working on Yourself.

ReEngage

The best thing Jim and I have done recently to strengthen our marriage was to attend a 16-week marriage ministry called ReEngage. We have since become leaders and taken multiple groups through. Every time we learn something new about ourselves and about each other. ReEngage uses a small group model to create a safe community where we can be honest, authentic, and real. We spend 8 weeks working on our relationship with God and 8 weeks learning about aspects of marriage. Alongside our spouse and 5 other couples, we dive deep into working on ourselves.

The Circle

One of the most powerful things we teach in ReEngage is to draw a circle around yourself and then to work on everyone that is inside the circle. Really staying in your circle is just a practical principal that empowers us to stop trying to change our spouse. Though it sounds like a simple thing, it is much harder to practice. Learning to stay in your circle will change your marriage, your parenting and even how you foster deep friendships.

Staying inside my circle does not come easily. It is much easier to look at all the reasons and causes of my actions, than to focus only on myself. I would prefer to share all the circumstances that led up to me pouting. If he just loved me more…If he just talked to me more…If I wasn’t so stressed at work, then I wouldn’t pout.  When I realize that regardless of my circumstances, I get to react in a way honoring to God, then I am empowered to change myself

Focusing on ourselves can feel uncomfortable. Many times, people would rather generalize when they answer questions. We say things like, “We…” or “Most of us…” But when we get in our own circle, then we own our actions, with statements like… “I did this….” Or “I feel …” We vulnerably, honestly share our stuff. It becomes a much stronger statement that pierces our heart when we hurt others.  Learning to own your own stuff takes practice, courage and will change your relationships.

Create a Safe Place

Staying inside your circle also means not giving other people advice on how to fix their situation, unless they ask. When people share hard situations or get emotional, most of us feel pretty uncomfortable. We try to make it go away as fast as we can by trying to fix the problem or directing the focus somewhere else. Not giving advice creates a safe place for honesty and openness about struggles. Leaving space for emotions validates feelings. We have to trust God in the process instead of trying to fix others ourselves.

Another way we get out of our circle is by keeping score. We work on our marriage for a while but as soon as we notice that we’ve made more changes than our spouse, then we feel like they owe us something. We become resentful and backslide thinking why should I do all this work if they aren’t even trying. Working on yourself is not about becoming who your spouse wants you to be. It is about becoming who Christ wants you to be. Regardless of what your spouse does or if they do anything at all, we can work on ourselves.

Draw a Circle

One of the most powerful exercises you can do to help you sort through any struggle is to take a piece of paper and draw a big circle. Then write everything that you can control inside the circle. Everything that you cannot control write outside of the circle.  Pray over the things on the outside of the circle and give them to God. Then focus on the few things on the inside of the circle that you can control and focus on them. What changes can you make? What small practical steps that might help? Where you can start? What choices do you have?

I am often reminded of Matthew 7:3  which says, Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Regardless of our situation, we all have things to learn. Rather than feeling helpless in your situation, get inside your circle and discover what you can change. Own your brokenness and give the rest to God.

Reclaiming sex like the Garden of Eden

Have you ever thought about what sex looked like in the Garden of Eden? I imagine the first time Adam saw Eve, he was instantly mesmerized.  Someone finally like him! Yet her differences were what really caught his eye. The curves of her body, the softness of her skin, even the way that she walked and talked.

Adam must have had a hard time keeping his eyes off of Eve as her body magnetically drew him. When he gently reached to touch her, the curves of her body fit perfectly into his hands. Unafraid, Eve trusted him and immediately relaxed into his touch. Gently he explored and caressed listening for the purr of her satisfaction.

The more Adam touched her, the more Eve’s body woke up and became hungry for him. As his body covered her, the wetness drew him into her. Suddenly aware of becoming “one”, he laid still for a moment, in awe of what had happened. As she gently smiled at him and they looked into each other’s eyes, they slowly began to move together until eventually they fell into a puddle of each other.

Even though sex felt exciting and wonderful to Eve, she knew there was more to discover. Filled with playfulness, she anticipated her turn to explore. The way his penis grew, and sought her out reminded her of the small fury animals that loved to be pet behind the ears. She wanted to see it, touch it, stroke it and even to feel it against her lips…

I’d better stop, lest I cross some lines…

Adam and Eve enjoyed total freedom in the Garden of Eden – with their own body and their spouse’s body. With no preconceived idea of what sex looked like they simply craved intimacy and connection. Unafraid to be known they fearlessly expressed themselves through words, movement, or even the groans when words would not come.  Void of all expectations, they didn’t worry about performance or what they looked like. Without past wounds, they didn’t recoil at touch, or wonder about intentions. They loved watching what happened and were amazed at God’s creation in each other. They simply enjoyed God’s goodness and reveled in new discoveries.

Living in a Broken World

Our world looks nothing like the Garden of Eden. Media has filled us with images of what sex is supposed to look like. These ideas stunt our own creativity and cause us to drive toward orgasm rather than exploration. Media and magazines cause wives to exchange their husbands’ compliments for insecurities or self-hatred. Pornography and Erotica dirty our ideas of sex, causing some to discard almost everything while others clamor to recreate scenes. We cannot even discern  our ideas from something we saw or read. Performance anxiety plagues both men and women and steals the joy of sex.  Silence from our families and churches leave us feeling stunted and awkward instead of open and free. Sex feels like anything but a blessing.

A Taste of Freedom

But what if God intended sex in marriage to be a taste of the freedom Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden?

  • God’s original intent for us before sin entered the world.
  • Before we started hiding and blaming each other.
  • Before we began to covet and lust after what we cannot have
  • When we had no wounds and no fear

How Do We Move Towards God’s Original Intent?

God cares about us and knows every detail and hurt – even involving our sexuality. He wants you to be free from the lies and deception that the world offers. If you are still immersed in lust than take the battle seriously. Be honest, get help and go after God. If you are hanging onto past sins, then receive God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself. If you are wounded then go after healing through counseling and prayer.  Find your worth from Jesus and He will guide you.

Trusting God causes us to know that our past does not have power over us. Trusting God helps us to value honesty more than perfection in our spouse. Lustful images that tainted our minds can be replaced with beautiful memories that husband and wife make together. When God asks us to get naked, we can get naked, because we would rather be known then hide behind a leaf or blame our spouse.

Jesus paid the price for our sins, and He redeems us. He has torn the veil so that we can have face to face relation ship, not only with Him but with others. Every day He gives us a fresh start to get up and LIVE again.

Creating the Garden of Eden

Don’t try to create what the world defines as great sex, but what God intended. Let yourself be known by sharing all of yourself, even your insecurities or brokenness. Create a safe place for your spouse to be honest and known. Focus on connection instead of orgasm. Bring God into your marriage bed. Pray before sex and ask Him to bless your connection. Ask for His truth and discernment as you make choices together.  Make your marriage bed a journey of discovering God’s goodness. Receive the freedom and gifts that God gives you.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your past experiences, or your spouse’s past struggles, do you trust God with your sexuality? Will you seek His truth and desire for your marriage bed? Is God, all powerful, able, and good? Do you believe He can heal and give you a fresh start?  Do you want a taste of the Garden of Eden?

If your spouse is unrepentant about sexual sin, and not actively seeking healing, then please set boundaries and seek help. 

Tips to Help Wives Enjoy Receiving Oral Sex

Many wives struggle in receiving oral sex. Some think oral sex is completely wrong and don’t want their husband to try. Others don’t have a moral objection, but just can’t seem to relax. If you aren’t sure,  find out what the Bible says. Pay attention to the context of passages about sexual immorality and you will find little written about limitations within marriage. Read Song of Song and get a taste for the freedom they experience. For women with an open mind, I have some tips to help wives enjoy receiving oral sex.

Learning to Receive

Learning to receive does not come naturally to many women. Yet most of our husbands have no problem laying back and letting us serve them. Maybe it’s just so ingrained that women should always be doing something. Or maybe it feels too scary or vulnerable to let go of control and just receive. Either way, learning to receive is important not just for our marriage bed, but for our faith.

God does not call us just to serve but to receive. One of the hardest things we do is to humble ourselves and ask for help. To cry out to God and say, “help me. I can’t do this anymore!” To ask friends to pray for us, help with a meal, or mentor us in our marriage. It takes humility, letting go of control, and an attitude of “I am worth it”. If we don’t deem ourselves worthy, then we have a hard time letting others love us. When you understand that you are His beloved, a dearly loved child of the King of Kings, then you can stop striving to measure up and find a healthy balance of both giving and receiving.

Practice learning to receive in small ways. Accept the compliments of others with a simple thank you. Ask for help from a friend when you need it. Ask your husband to give you a back rub without feeling guilty. Learning to receive is the first step to enjoying oral sex.  Make your husband’s day by letting him  give you an amazing gift.

Take Care of the Practicalities

Many women spend the entire time during oral sex worrying, “Do I taste bad? Do I smell bad? Is he getting a crick in his neck? Am I taking too long?” Instead of worrying, take care of things so that you feel confident.

Shower beforehand, and do a little grooming by trimming, shaving or waxing. Put a pillow under your bottom to raise yourself up to make him more comfortable. But most importantly, ask him.

Many husbands love the unique odor and taste of their wife’s body. If he doesn’t, then work towards solutions. You could adjust what you eat or drink. Just like diet can affect our husbands taste it can affect yours. Things like coffee, smoking, and antibiotics can have a negative effect. Citrus fruits, pineapple, vegetables and sweet potatoes have a positive effect. You could use coconut oil as a lubricant to enhance the smell and taste or try a flavored lube. You could even use a barrier like a dental dam. Talk about it, work towards a solution and then stop worrying.

Mindset

Our mindset plays a huge role in how much we allow ourselves to enjoy oral sex. If you think oral sex is dirty or disgusting, your husband could do every thing right and you still wouldn’t enjoy it. If you think intercourse is “the right way” to have sex, you may limit the pleasure that you can enjoy during oral stimulation.

Conversely, when you understand how much your husband enjoys giving to you and how well he reads and knows your body through oral sex, then it thrills you every time he discovers something new. When you expect that he is going to take you on an amazing ride then your body readily joins in. When you can revel in the freedom that God gives you, then you freely receive all of His gifts.

If your past or your spouses past impacts how you feel about receiving oral sex then you need to deal with those things. Think about what has formed your ideas about oral sex? Did someone force or coerce you to do it? Was it something you enjoyed outside the boundaries of marriage? Did someone tell you oral sex is what “those” girls do? Ask God to reveal His truth to you. With your husband or a close friend pray about specific situations and ask for what you want. Then take small steps to start living out your new freedom.

Stay Connected

Compared to face to face intercourse, a husband can feel like he is a million miles away when they pleasure us with oral sex. My old self would have just laid down the covers and disconnected.  Relaxing in my own world, my mind would take us to a deserted beach to create the excitement I needed. Though the end result felt awesome, it also felt lonely.

We can choose to stay connected even during oral sex. Rather than let the covers fall, we can hold them over our head to enjoy the view. Our husband can learn to hold us with their arms to create more contact points then just mouth to vulva. While leaning on their elbows they can wrap their arms around us to stroke our body or breasts. Gently running our hands through their hair can communicate our pleasure. Talking, or even moans can help us tune into each other.  Make a conscious effort to stay connected rather than disconnect during oral sex.

Communicate

Just because your husband wants to give you oral sex does not mean he knows anything about what will feel good to you. One of the biggest mistake’s men make is simply to move too much and too fast. It just feels like a blur of motion. One of the most important concepts a man can learn is the power of stillness. To envelope us with a flat full tongue until our body begins to awaken. Then to slowly gives us a taste of what’s to come.

You need to help your husband understand what you want. If you aren’t sure, read a couple of my articles or Ian Kerner’s book She Comes First. If something sounds good, then read it with your husband. Talk through ideas and share what you would love. Help your husband be the amazing lover that he wants to be. Don’t leave him looking for a needle in a haystack.

Express Yourself

Sex really is supposed to be a shared experience. Showing, moving like we want to, and asking for what we want are all part of letting ourselves be known. If you want to really enjoy oral sex than have the confidence to express yourself. Let your body move like it wants to against his tongue. Grab his hands and bring them to your breasts when you are ready. If you need lighter pressure, gently push his forehead away. When you want his finger on your G-Spot ask for it. Take things up a notch and express yourself.

Trust His Intentions

Some wives think their husbands just wants to give them oral sex because they have seen it in porn. To be honest, I don’t know your husband, only you know if he is just trying to recreate what he has seen. Just because he has seen oral sex in porn, does not mean that it can’t be an amazing way for the two of you to get to know each other.

Most husbands can feel much better through their mouths than their hands. The coarseness of their skin makes it seem a little like touching us through gloves. All they want to do is to get as close to us as is humanly possible.

Close and upfront, husbands can tune into the changes in their wives bodies during arousal. They can learn when to tease, ramp up stimulation, step on the gas or gently coax out her last bit of tension. When we enjoy oral sex, we not only create intimate connection, but we add to our husbands playbook for giving us pleasure – one of our husband’s greatest thrills.

Final Thoughts

Most husbands that enjoy giving their wife oral sex, think their wife’s body is absolutely amazing. When wives can relax and just receive then they can enter into the eroticism of oral sex. Learn to communicate, stay connected and express yourself and your husband will learn to know you in one of the most intimate ways.

Awaken Love Men’s Edition Coming Soon

After years of waiting, on December 5-7, Jim and I will record videos classes for Men’s Edition. We are excited, nervous and full of anticipation as we create much needed resources for Christian husbands to create an amazing sex life in their marriage. Filled with God’s truth,  detailed respectful information and practical application we hope to have the videos released by March 1st.  Already revamped, the Awaken Love website has information about classes For Wives, Engaged Couples and Men’s Edition.

I have had a passion for helping husbands for years. Though many resources exist to help husband’s in the battle for purity, few exist to help husbands create an intimate sex life with their wife. While it might seem strange for a woman to teach men, I bring a unique perspective. After having taught hundreds of women, I am uniquely qualified to help husbands understand their wives.

Through the class Jim and I will:

  1. Help husbands understand the difference between just having sex and intimately connecting during sex.
  2. Help husbands become a great lover to their wife, by understanding the battles in her head, how her body works and how to woo her with words and actions.
  3. Teach men that learning to intimately connect with their wife will help them understand what an intimate relationship with Christ looks like.
  4. Equip men to talk to their wife, their kids and other men about sex, so that they might know God’s truth.

Lack of Information

With few messages besides “Don’t do it” from families or church, men get married and assume things will magically fall into place. But many times they don’t. Without the ability to communicate about sex, men feel stuck and alone. For some men, pornography adds to the struggle by creating unrealistic expectations and performance pressure. Even when couples figure out how to make sex enjoyable for both, a wives constantly changing body and complicated mind can leave a husband feeling confused and timid.

How it Works

The 6 week class is designed for a group of men to take parallel to their wives Awaken-Love class. It can also be taken as a follow up or on their own. Regardless of whether a wife takes Awaken Love, Men’s Edition will help husbands understand God’s design and equip them to understand their wife.

Some of the topics covered in class are…

  • How to create intimacy through sex
  • God’s design for sex and how it plays out in marriage
  • Understanding and helping your wife battle the lies she believes about sex
  • Recognizing the lies men believe about sex
  • Discerning what to enjoy in your marriage bed.
  • How her body works
  • Men’s bodies
  • Navigating frequency
  • Wooing your wife

Please Pray

I am praying that the Men’s Edition of Awaken Love will be an amazing resource for husbands to find detailed, respectful information that is packed with practical advice. Will you please pray for Jim and me? Please pray for:

  • God’s Inspiration to bring the class to life from men
  • Unity as we work together
  • Freedom from nerves to energize His truth
  • That we let go of our own agenda and have flexibility to let God work

Adapting to Physical Limitations During Sex

A few weeks ago, I had a molar pulled that had bothered me for years. The recovery of an implant has been slow. With activities like kissing eliminated, my husband and are learning to adapt. Rubbing noses and burrowing into each other’s necks have helped us stay connected during sex. Rather than avoid sex we are learning new things, and grateful for what we have – not unlike a friend of mine.

I will never forget the night that Stacy showed up in class. With eyes that sparkled, and a smile that lit up the room, she rolled into class on her scooter. Years of a physical disability might have limited her mobility but God filled her soul with a passion for living that made me just want to hang out and learn from her.

After reconnecting with her at my book signing party, I asked if she would share a few thoughts to help others challenged by a physical limitation. What follows are her words.

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What We Can Learn From Giving Freebies

Wives commonly use freebies to serve their husbands. When we aren’t physically available because of our period, pregnancy or a physical challenge we offer manual or oral stimulation. Some wives give freebies because they think it will be fun to focus their full attention on their husbands. Void of the distractions of worrying about their own orgasm or performance we lavish our husband with love. Giving our husbands freebies might even become a regular way to navigate a  difference in drives. When we think of giving a freebie, most people think in terms of a wife giving her husband oral, manual sex, or maybe even intercourse, with no expectation in return.

Switching Roles

But how many husbands give their wife freebies? Besides older men, few husbands have even considered the idea. Younger couples can think it impossible or pointless. Even when the wife has the higher drive, you don’t typically hear about a husband treating his wife to a freebie.

But exchanging roles can help us learn so much about our spouse and what sex feels like for them. So, what can we learn from a husband giving his wife a freebie?

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Engaged Couples Video Class Available Today!

Do you want to help engaged couples start on the right foot when it comes to sex?

Are you getting married soon and wonder about sex in marriage?

Do you have a hard time addressing sex in pre-marital counseling?

Talking about sex can feel scary and awkward, but couples learning to communicate about sex can help prevent patterns that take years to reverse.

Check out our new video class designed just for Engaged Couples.

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10 Practical Tips to Make Sex a Priority

Even when you have a great mindset, making sex a priority when you are raising kids can be challenging. Exhaustion, busyness and feeling over touched can all play a role. Living in survival mode with little time to talk or play leaves our reserves depleted and disconnection can feel hard to overcome. Breaking the cycle and making sex a priority often requires some very intentional choices.

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A New Mindset to Embrace Sex when Parenting

Raising kids is hard! Even though I am now an empty nester, I remember well the days of changing diapers, wiping spit-up off my clothes and interrupted nights of sleep. With 4 kids under the age of 6, I wish I had known then what I know now about sex. Surviving those years, I often felt isolated, exhausted, and on opposite teams from my husband. Sex always seemed to be the last thing on my “to do” list. I found myself feeling resentful when Jim would gently coax me towards connection. Though I am sure some practical choices might have helped for a while, they would have just acted like a band-aid that eventually falls off. What I really needed was a whole new mindset toward sex.

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Many Options for Taking an Awaken-Love Video Class

When I first created the Awaken Love videos, I based everything off of my experiences teaching live classes. I realized the importance of community so that women could encourage and support each other as they shared their struggles and growth. I tried to recreate classes, with pauses for mixer questions, reading Song of Songs as a group, and discussion questions. Rather than just tell you the answers, I wanted women to discover their own answers. Though I still believe taking the video class in a group provides a powerful dynamic for transformation, I now realize that God can work regardless of the circumstances. If God has softened your heart and you are ready to seek His truth, He can use the Awaken-Love video class in many different ways as an impetus for change.

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