Today is my birthday and Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras)! What better way to celebrate than to talk about my pregnancy weight gain and how I’m trying to keep the pounds down over the next nine weeks.
Today is the last day of February’s Love Focus–kiss your spouse every day. How did you do?
If you puckered up all February—congratulations! And if you didn’t, don’t worry because it’s time to turn our attention to March. The March Love focus is to give your spouse a compliment every day. Find something nice to say about your spouse daily this month. This could be a compliment about a personality trait, a recent accomplishment, or simply “You look nice today.” Try not to think too hard about it. Just do it. Even if you’re mad.
Are you up for the challenge? Comment and let us know!
Get your focuses for each month, 15 day jumpstart, time management for love, more than 100 relationship building activities and much more with the Making Love in the Microwave: A Busy Couple’s Guide to a Great Marriage book!
In the conclusion to this month’s series, From Sex Addict to Husband, I asked Bob why he believes that society views monogamy as a burden rather than a gift, whether it is hard for a man to express a desire to be with one woman, and whether men are actually “wired”’ for monogamy. Here is what he had to say:
Our society has drifted from God and His principles overall. Our society does not fall on its knees before God in humbleness. We have become very proud. As for monogamy, even women nowadays look at men as a plaything for the bedroom needs, a human vibrator of sorts to be tossed away when they are finished. We had the blessing of God but made many choices that take us away from God, day by day, for decades.
Sin and pride feed a macho Marlboro/NFL/guy kind of thing. The media points to the belief that monogamy is quaint and old fashioned. It portrays that we are now at a much more intellectual level that is not so burdened by morals.
No matter what a man may feel, the party macho man still prevails as the ultimate ideal in the locker room. But these are not men who necessarily believe in God either. Porn only fuels that fire.
Porn promotes “get as much as you can as often as you want” so it is engrained in men’s minds culturally. What man (other than a godly one) wants to buck that tidal wave in the locker room and get laughed at and humiliated?
We live in a sex saturated society and culture. This generation of men have been awash in this mindset from the onset of Playboy years ago to MTV to internet porn now. This is a generation of men who have experienced something that no other one has: constant assault. So of course, the thought of all this is so deeply ingrained in men’s minds that multiple partners , 24/7 sex and the dehumanization of women via porn, no wonder men struggle with remaining pure.
Married guys respect and even envy when a guy has it good. But married guys still go to strip bars and pay for sex. Why? My theory is that a.) they don’t believe in God and b.) if they do, they have not truly practiced laying down their life for their wife. I believe in my heart that if more men did this they would experience wives who were both shocked and grateful. I am not letting women off the hook here either, as saints and all wonderful. Just like men, they have their own set of issues. But someone else can take that up. I have enough on my plate just trying to figure out how to be the best God-fearing, wife-loving servant of Jesus that I can be.
It can be challenging because some guys are still in “The Matrix” and can’t see what is really happening. Most people are that way. God opens our eyes and with time we see what He sees.
In a nutshell, yes men ARE wired for monogamy. Adam had Eve, not a corral of females to choose from. But in the fall of man, all of that changed. Monogamy and so many other things were lost. God can restore all of them – he heals our hearts and minds and bodies. BUT it takes belief in God and the Bible and God begins the restoration process. Without a belief in God, there is no permanent change. I can stop smoking, overeating, or playing the field sexually. But I may still want to and that is a setup for temptation and sin. I need to let God minister to me and change my heart so that I don’t want to anymore.
Imagine that there is a vicious dog who wants to bite people. I can muzzle the dog and not get bit. But all I have is a vicious dog with a muzzle who, if it gets the chance and the muzzle is off, will bite me still. The dog needs to be changed so that it doesn’t need the muzzle anymore, because it no longer desires to bite.
That dog is my heart. Only God can change my heart. But I need to make myself available for change so that God can begin the process.
So here I am, a man with a changed heart. The dog no longer has it’s muzzle. It no longer even needs the muzzle. The dog has a new heart. It doesn’t want to bite anymore.
I am making myself sound really good, eh? But even still I occasionally find my mind wandering on paths and grooves that I tread on in “my day.” That’s okay. I know better now. I see temptation for what it is and the Holy Spirit in me lets me know that temptation is coming. So I nod, start a prayer, lay down my life & desires, and then gear up with my armor and get ready for another fight. The battles get less frequent and the victories roll thanks to God’s hand and direction. But like Joshua on the cusp of the Promised Land, I do still have to fight. It’s necessary – it helps me remember I am not perfect yet. It keeps me humble because I still need to lean on God for help and sustenance. It’s my daily manna. One day, in Heaven, I will be. But for now, I fight when I have to. And the battles can actually seem not so hard because I see them for what they are. Thru God’s eyes and perspective.
So, yes, a man is wired for monogamy. But we live in a fallen world. And we need to get back to the way we were intended to be.
Do you agree with Bob? Are men wired for monogamy? Why or why not?
This is part four of the series, From Sex Addict to Husband. In this post, I ask Bob to expand on what he meant when he wrote this comment in the blog comments section: “What a beautiful wonderful reflection of being devoted to one woman is! What a wonderful puzzle of femininity I have been given. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it could be this good.”
God created man and woman in His image. That means that a man is as much in the image of God as a woman.
But God displays both masculine (warrior, provider) attributes and feminine (lovingkindness, caring, love). Which means that men and women are essentially two portions of God’s person that fit together and complement each other.
By being committed to one woman, I take on the commitment to know her deeply, sacrifice for her, lay down my life in a thousand little ways each and every day for her; to leave my crazy man world and go take up residence in her insane female world that is all upside down with things like emotions and drama and fickleness and shoes and …and love her. And by love her I mean put her needs above mine. Not only LOVE her, but also to LIKE her and all her ways, whether I understand them or not.
Jesus left His perfect world of heaven and came into my world, became like me (subject to temptations and all that I am) …and He loved me so much, He liked me so much, beyond words that He died so that I could live forever with Him at a later time. He wants to be with me (!) THAT much. By Him dying on a cross, He delivered a very holy romantic message: ‘I would rather die than live without you.”
So if I believe that God created us in His image, then my wife is the other half of that image or person. The two pieces of the puzzle joining together to make the whole image and likeness of God. The two become one. Simple. Beautiful. Amazing. The differences between man and woman cease, the spiritual bond unites us and we get a sense of our place in Him and His complete person.
But the merging of my wife and I or any man and woman goes beyond just the bedroom, that is only a small part of it. It’s the day in and day out laying down my life for her. Doing what she wants or needs me to do even though it’s the absolute last thing in this entire world that I want to do. Over time I look for the opportunity to do them for her because I know it pleases her and shows that I care and love her.
Monogamy gives me something I could never have with multiple women. With multiple women, I care for only me. With one woman, I care not about me, but her. And if it is a balanced relationship, she will do the same for me.
How funny that God puts us in positions where we need to be like Him and sacrifice ourselves to learn the language and ways of the other half to achieve the beauty, balance and wonder of love.
Be a servant and as a result, live like the king.
As I strive to better understand, accept, love and honor my wife, hour by hour, day by day…she responds in kind. The Bible has 5 times the amount of instructional words for how husbands should behave and treat their wives than there are words for women and how to treat their husbands. It almost seems like God knew that men needed to hear things more than once to get it.
This isn’t something that comes naturally. It takes work, effort, ridding myself of my occasional flaws of stubbornness, selfishness and too many other things to mention.
I can’t do that with a one night stand. Or a one week stand.
And then there is the intimacy. I avoided intimacy with women by rotating them. But what I have with my wife goes beyond spoken words. The thousand things that get said between us when our eyes meet, especially in “those” moments. But even all the time. The history we have, the battle scars, the love, the collective amalgam of everything that is now “us”. Imperfect yet beautiful. And the intimacy I crave from her now feeds my soul and my heart in ways I didn’t even know it could be. I am made complete in her. I am experiencing what God intended. My own personal Song of Solomon. Here. In my life. Wow. It’s like when I have that uninterrupted fellowship, soul to soul with God. Pure, beautiful, beyond words. I believe that this is why God allows us the pleasure of sex – it is a human reflection of the union and intimacy that we have with God. Just like he allows us to be little creators (kids), a mirror of another one of His attributes. He wants us to experience on a practical level how to love – in many different ways – intimacy, creation, servanthood, submission.
Are men wired for monogamy? Find out in the bonus post in this series on Thursday.
Every week I’m documenting my pregnancy journey through a series called To Baby and Back. Check out this week’s installment where I ask the question, what are you going to do with those toes?
This is part three of the series, From Sex Addict to Husband. In today’s post, Bob talks about what drew him to God, the wounds that pushed him away, and what drew him to ultimately be able to help he and his wife commit to God and each other.
My wife was quite the experienced young woman. Fueled by alcohol, she had slept with many men. This was never an issue for me – I understood it. And besides, what she did in her past … well, that was her past. It truly didn’t bother me. Besides, I preferred a woman who was experienced and confident, not someone timid and shy in the bedroom.
My past, before we met, was not an issue in our relationship, the same as it was not an issue for me with her. BUT I was fooling around a lot on her initially and for a bit…that was a problem. My intent was not to keep her around but that is what happened. We have worked through many of those issues though. We’ve been married 14-plus years now with six wonderful children. God took a train wreck and made it good.
OK, so how does God fit into all this?
I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic schools but did not know Jesus. At the age of 17, after years of humiliating bullying, I made up my mind to end my life one particular night. I was literally moments away when I decided to give a motivational phone call to a friend of mine who stopped dealing drugs and became a “born again Christian.” She lost all her friends. All of them. So I called her up and gave her a pep talk – “hang in there, you are doing the right thing, turning your life around, etc…” And then she asked me a question that forever changed my life: “How are YOU doing?” I am not sure why but I spilled my guts. And then she confidently told me that God was bigger than any of my problems. I told her that while I was sure that God was bigger than any of my problems, He had 24 hours to “fix” (translate STOP) the bullying situation…or I was going to end it myself by ending a particular young man’s life and then my own.
Well, miracle of miracles, everything stopped. I kept believing. I read my Bible. God’s presence was so full in my life and quite frankly I needed that. I joined a non-denominational Christian church with an emphasis on social outreach with tutoring inner city kids in housing projects. I grew. It was wonderful. I met my wife, we married.
But then the leadership in the church changed. The wonderful church morphed into a personality cult with the new pastor. He abused his position and was a pedophile who preyed on the inner city kids we were trying to help. I later found out that all the youth and the other young church members were having sex with one another, sometimes in groups. I had no clue at the time, I was happily married – they probably left me out for that reason. Newlyweds. My wife was humiliated on her 21st birthday in front of the church and she left.
Later on, so did I after I was being forced to shake people down for money that they owed in tithes – everyone had signed agreements about how much they would give. The final straw for me was a young single mother who struggled with a drug addiction and lost her job – they were adamant that she had to give weekly what she agreed to…even if it meant no food or diapers that week. It got so very mean and weird.
So I left. My wife and I looked for another church. We had not lost faith in God, just man. But we never found a new church. We drifted and then some until years later we were so far gone we hadn’t been to church in years and were way into the whole New Age movement. We used to host psychic parties at our house. I went to psychics regularly, always in search of an answer. Some were more “gypsy fakers” than anything else but one or two were downright shockingly accurate about specific things in my past and future.
So a few years later, my wife comes out of the closet, I am now alone and now I am very hostile toward God and Christians and all that church stuff. It was time for me to shine. I felt liberated that I could push my own norms and experiment and not be freaked out. And then I met my new wife to be but she was just another notch in the bed post at the time. But the Lord had other plans. We stayed together. We had absolutely no religious beliefs. We would have been doomed if the Lord had not intervened.
We were going to get married by a Unitarian minister in the woods and then our minister got cancer and could not perform our ceremony. And then our banquet hall burned to the ground. We had no one to marry us, nowhere to go celebrate. It was all the Lord’s doing. His plans were in motion now.
A friend of my wife recommended that we ask her minister if he would marry us. Oh great, a Bible believing Christian church. Been there, done that. Bought the t-shirt. No need to go back. BUT we want to get married. OK, so here we go. I conceded.
Long story short: we had to attend the church to get married. Over time, God began softening my heart again. I recommitted my life to Jesus in time. So here I am, approximately 15 years later.
So what’s so great about monogamy? Are men truly “wired” for it? Bob gets real about men, marriage, and monogamy in the next installment of From Sex Addict to Husband. Check back on Thursday for the conclusion of this series.
What are your thoughts? Can church hurt fuel this type of behavior?
Time for my weekly round-up. This week’s best of the marriage web is full of Valentine’s Day giveaways and gift guides.
Sex: How often is it happening for you? As much as you want it to? The Marriage Bed asks the question and shows you how you compare.
Check out these easy Valentine’s Day crafts. Do them by yourself, as a couple or with the kids. Real Simple
Get a basket full of resources to help your marriage, and a romantic dinner to take along for the ride. Enter the Great Valentine’s Day Giveaway of 2014 at Love and Respect.
A Valentine’s Day gift guide that goes from keeping it simple to all-out extravagant at NY Mag.
A Kindle Paperwhite and some sexy lingerie? Do you need anything more? Enter this giveaway hosted by MJ Pullen.
A Totally Awesome giveaway by Honey & Birch. Check it out for real—because it is awesome.
And this, for no other reason than it makes me…happy!
I tend to have an addictive/OCD personality. It takes form in alcohol (25 years sober now), eating (or not), working out (or not), sex, work, etc., etc., etc. It boils down to putting all of my efforts into the wrong things to satisfy my soul. It’s more like the nature of the human heart
Jeremiah 17:9 says “the human heart is wicked and evil above all things – who can understand it?”
The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.
The heart will ALWAYS make a convert of the mind – how many times have we seen smart people do stupid things? Hitler grabbed the heart of a nation. Educated people with PhD’s have affairs. Cigarettes – we all know how bad they are. But desire always trumps knowledge. I can know original Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew translations of the texts but until I fall on my knees like David and cry “create a clean heart in me, O Lord” and I get that “heart transplant” from my Creator, it all means nothing. Once God has my heart, he has ME. (Prov 4:23 Above all things, guard your heart.)
So in the end I had slept with 300+ women in a period of about 4-5 years. It stunned me that it was so easy to do. I remember Friday nights – having a woman sleep over, leave in the morning, having another come over for “lunch & fun,” then leaving and later having a woman over for dinner and a sleepover. Three women in the same day. A guy’s dream!
Yet I was left so horrifically empty.
Women who I met on business trips – I would not even talk to them. I would just give them a slip of paper with my room number and a time on it – and get a knock on the door at the designated time. Married women, single women, it did not matter. I have been stalked by husbands but the hand of the Lord was protecting me. I had one husband sit outside my house in his tinted window pick-up truck. I had NO idea – I thought my neighbor’s buddy had come to his house for a visit. His wife asked me one day if I had seen a truck outside my house, and proceeded to describe it to me. Her husband was a gun aficionado. I. Nearly. Died. Sometimes married women seemed to be more frisky than young single ladies.
But towards the end I remember thinking – is this all there is? Am I doomed to this? Having all that I want but never being satisfied by it and yet craving more somehow?
And then I met my wife to be. I never figured that I would end up with her. Initially I was not even attracted to her. But she really liked me. She saw my sobriety and she wanted it for herself. She figured she needed me to help her get there. And we were a good match in bed. But because I did not know she was going to be my wife, my behavior with other women kept on. I figured it was only a matter of time for her. I dumped her many times in the hope of losing her. But she kept on coming back. One day she was going to leave herself. I was stunned! Nobody leaves me (anymore)! I am the one who calls the shots! I felt like this was my one last shot and I had better not screw it up. I started to try and make it work. But it was half-hearted. But I realized what my other option was – the lifestyle I had created. I knew enough about love from my 1st marriage that I thought I could do it again, if I put my mind to it. I was afraid of being alone, an old man with a lot of memories. And so it began.
It was hard on her. It was hard on me. Things took time. Trust does not come overnight.
How did they make it through? Check back for part three of this series, from sex addict to husband, on Tuesday.
I first heard from Bob on my post about whether or not a man should get to choose his wife’s gynecologist. I was struck by the insightful comments he left, and followed up with him to ask whether he was a blogger and if he could expand a little on some of the thoughts he shared.
It turned out that Bob is not a blogger. His name is not even Bob, although he wrote this blog post using the pseudonym out of respect for his family’s privacy. Yet in speaking with him, and learning his story I was given the opportunity to venture into the mind of a former sex addict and gain some of the most poignant insights I have to date about addiction, marriage, men, society and monogamy, God and overcoming it all.
How did a former sex addict become a faithful husband and father of six? Read part one of his story.
I married my first true love at age 25. Over the course of our seven-year marriage my wife came out of the closet.
The sex life between she and I was not frequent after our courtship, engagement and marriage. She was the first woman I was ever with (yes, virgin male almost to the age of 25!) After a few years into the marriage, she befriended a lesbian chiropractor which opened up the door to many other friendships with other women. She claims to have been faithful to me during that time and I believe her. At this point we are so far removed from it time wise, she would have no reason to lie to me about it. I do not have contact with her anymore.
After she came out, I was devastated by our separation and pending divorce. Like a goldfish out of the bowl, on the table, unable to breathe devastated. I decided if I was ever going to get over this relationship, I had to be with another woman. But here I was at 33-ish, newly separated and on the way to a divorce with no idea how to date, a mortgage to pay (I kept the house and everything, she just kind of walked away to a new life) and all the associated bills on one salary. I had no money to invest in expensive dinners, fancy gifts…I felt hopeless.
So I hired a woman. I went into a massage parlor and did the deed. I was very nervous, felt embarrassed and yet decisive about this whole thing. I remember that I was genuinely concerned about my “hired partner” having an orgasm. Afterwards I felt strangely empty. It satisfied one need (the physical) but not another (the emotional). I was actually kind of shocked that I did it.
I was shocked at how it was just an act. I was so used to the emotional ties of marriage. I was very let down that it was just physical.
And then nothing for a while. No women, no dating, nothing…until my neighbor introduced me to an acquaintance of hers. Turns out that it was a dream come true at the time. She was young, pretty, a nymphomaniac and a very creative one at that. Fill in the blanks. But after a year or two, I actually felt like it was too much too soon and I needed/wanted to date other women. It was the classic rebound relationship.
It was the early 90’s and then I discovered Love@AOL. It was fairly new and online dating had not yet gotten such a bad rep. It was an easy way to meet people. I found that meeting up with women I met online was very easy and some of them seemed all too willing to fall into bed very quickly. One time I met someone at a diner for the first time, shared an egg breakfast, went back to my place and spent the day in bed. That was just the beginning.
Over time, I found that I became addicted to meeting new women and bedding them. Some took longer than others, others not so much.
Now, I am just a man of average looks with a slightly athletic build but I learned to compensate with charm and personality. I think it was charm took me places that my lack of tall broad shoulders and smoldering looks never could. And of course the enemy had a vested interest in seeing me get way sidetracked, so it was a kind of setup I guess.
I cannot tell you how many times an initial meeting with a woman ended up in the bedroom. I became addicted to just seeing if I could get a woman to want to bed me. I became very skilled at what to say, how to say it and when to say it. The challenge was to get to see if she would want me that bad. Twisted, yes I know. It got to the point where once I knew a woman wanted to be with me, it was “game over” for me. There were times when I didn’t even really want to bed the woman, I just wanted to know that I could make her want me. The sex had actually become a concession on my part in some cases.
That’s when I started feeling REALLY empty. Was this what life would be like? At some point I would be old, unattractive, the game would be over for me. What then? The rest of my life in loneliness? But meanwhile, I would get another response or woman lined up and the game was on again.
In the end, Bob had slept with more than 300 women in less than five years.
How did Bob go from sex addict to devoted husband and father? Check out Part Two of the interview.