Sunday, 27 November 2016

Making The Holidays Merry For Your Marriage

Christmas is a wonderful time, but often it introduces stressful moments and new demands on us that can take a toll on our relationship with our spouse.  It doesn't have to be that way though, Christmas can (and should) be a time where your emotional, spiritual, and sexual bonds with each other are strengthened.  Christ came to this world to make it possible for you and your family to be together forever.  He wouldn't want the celebration of his birth to become an obstacle to having a wonderful relationship with your spouse.  Here are some suggestions to help Christmas become something that strengthens your marriage:

Do Christmas Things Together
There are lots of tasks that are specific to Christmas.  Putting up the tree and decorating it, putting up Christmas lights outside, shopping for gifts, baking, cooking Christmas dinner, etc. etc. etc.  While it is not practical to do all of those things as a couple, there are many that can be shared.  Shopping for gifts for the kids together can be a great date night activity.  Men, don't assume you can't help with Christmas dinner, ask what you can do to help.

Often Christmas opens up opportunities to serve others, and this is something that can sometimes be done as a couple.  Also, going a little further out of our way to serve our spouse and express gratitude for them is very much in keeping with the spirit of Christmas and helps shed holiday stress

Keep The Spirit In Your Home 
Christmas can make it easier to keep the spirit in your home.  Music can be a powerful force to bring in the spirit, and Christmas overflows with music.  Play positive Christmas music softly in the background to create that Christmas feeling in the home and car.  Likewise, there are inspiring Christmas movies that also invite the spirit into your home.

Above all, do not let the business of Christmas keep you from having family prayer, prayer with your spouse, personal prayer, family home evening, and personal and family scripture study.  Be sure that the parts of the scriptures relevant to Christmas are read aloud at some point.

Family Traditions
For a newly married couple, each will have their own families traditions they grew up with, and over the years they will merge and augment those to form their own unique way of celebrating.  My father came from Scandinavia.  Our Christmas traditions were influenced by those of his homeland.  When my wife and I started having Christmas on our own rather than at her parent's or mine, we had to define what 'our' Christmas would be like.

Traditions are good when they remind us of important things and help bring us closer together.  If you don't have some Christmas traditions unique to your family, it is never too late to start one.  One we started for our family is that each year we get a new ornament for the tree that in some way refers to one or more important events from the past year.   We have a ornaments that commemorate the births of our children, the purchase of our first home, and other milestones.  This has made decorating the Christmas tree a trip down memory lane, a reminder of the blessings we have received over the years.

Make Time For Intimacy, And Make It Special
Absolutely do not let intimacy take a back seat to Christmas preparations, instead take the opportunity to make it something extra special.  Deliberately plan your days and evenings so that you will have time and energy for each other.  Make yourself a gift for your spouse, literally even!  There are a lot of Christmas themed things that can be done to spice things up.  You can even have intimate Christmas traditions that only the two of you know about.   You can send each other Christmas wish lists that are for their eyes only and set about making something from your spouse's list your gift to them.

Don't limit intimacy to the bedroom either, go for a romantic walk in the snow, make a snowman, see if you can still ice skate, go spend time together enjoying the beautiful sights, sounds, tastes and experiences that are only available this time of year.

That should be a good starting point for you to work with, the details will have to be up to the two of you. I count the opportunity to be together with my wife for eternity to be the greatest blessing God has given me, and I know that would not be possible had Christ had not come, so to me Christmas and my marriage are strongly linked to each other.

I hope you all have a VERY Merry Christmas.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

A Woman's Guide To Talking Sexy

Just as most women want their husband to be able to open up and talk about his feelings, most husbands would love to hear their wife open up to them about her sexual thoughts, feelings, and desires.  And just as talking about feelings is often a learned skill for men, sexy talk is often something that a woman needs to work at developing.

Give Yourself Permission
The first step is to give yourself permission.  For many the biggest hurdle to overcome is the idea that a proper Mormon wife just wouldn't talk like that.  It isn't classy, it isn't lady-like, it's dirty.  This isn't about being a lady, this is about being a woman, his woman.  You are his wife, and your sexuality is not 'dirty' or shameful or low-class.  If talking sexily stretches you to the edge of your comfort zone, keep in mind that you are not just allowed, but commanded to be intimate with your husband, so why would it be wrong to think or speak with your husband about something you are allowed to actually do together? 

As his wife, it is perfectly OK for you to have sexual thoughts about your husband, to bask in the feeling of desire for him and linger on sexual fantasies staring the two of you.  It is also perfectly OK to talk with your husband erotically, sharing such thoughts and feelings with him and express in very detailed and clear terms what you like, want, and hope for.  You can and should express gratitude and appreciation for his sexual nature and for what sexual fulfillment he give you.

Be Honest and Sincere
Any intimate conversation should be about sharing how you really feel, not about saying whatever words will produce the reaction you want, true or not.  Don't be a tease who winds up her man saying things that don't reflect how she actually feels.  It's only fun until somebody gets hurt.

If you have trouble thinking and feeling that way about your husband, make the effort to work past that.  If there are unresolved conflicts or hurts that are getting in the way, focus on taking care of those first.  If you have not been able to give yourself permission to think and feel that way about him, work on that, even pray for it.

Get Comfortable With Sexy Words
You need to develop some comfort using erotic words and language.  Innuendo is great, but so is a clear, direct statement.  There are many proper and slang expressions that refer to male and female intimate body parts.  Those that are disrespectful or offensive to your spouse should not be used, but the rest are fair game if both you and your husband are comfortable with them.  Likewise there are other words and phrases that in one context would be cursing, but in another context are just accurate, emotional expressions.

If you have not done much of this before there can be a lot of discomfort saying something even when it is only slightly erotic, but practice builds confidence.  A letter, text or email may be an easier way to start, or memorize some specific things to say in advance and practice saying them in your head and out loud when nobody is around.  Another option may be to make a video or audio recording to send to your spouse, but be sure it will stay private.  When you feel ready, you can talk sexily to him face to face when alone together, or quietly whisper something in his ear when out in public, even at church.  It defiantly should be part of your foreplay, and afterglow.

Be Specific and Descriptive
Men's visual nature often leads them to picture in their mind the things they hear said, and sexy talk is largely about painting a mental picture for them.  The more specific and descriptive you can be, the clearer their picture will be and the greater effect it will have on them. Try to make reference to specific actions, feelings, settings, events, and body parts rather than 'safe' generic or general terms.

Make use of adjectives to bring detail to the items you are mentioning.  It helps clarify the picture and also helps your husband to see things as you see them.  He may be surprised to hear how he looks in your eyes.  Adjectives should be liberally used to describe anything you mention when talking sexily to your husband, the location, clothing, furniture, weather, whatever.  The clearer you make the picture the better

Likewise, adverbs clarify the action and turn the picture into a movie.  Rather than paint a picture, you can play out the best love scene ever inside their head featuring the two of you.

One thing to avoid is saying the same things the same way so often that they become vain repetitions in the ears of your husband.

Consider the following examples which express the same idea but with increasing levels of specifics and description:

I love it when you hug me
I really love long hugs with you.
I really love being held for a while in your arms.
My heart still skips a beat when you take me in your strong arms and hold me tight against you like you want to hold me forever.

Can you see how expanding the simple remarks makes it a more powerful expression of love and desire?  If that last one is too over the top for you, that's OK, just recognize the power behind being very clear.

Obviously I'm not going to give examples relating to acts far more intimate than a hug, but you can come up with those yourself.  If you ever did Mad Libs, you may find that kind of approach helpful (filling in the blanks yourself, not asking others to provide the missing words).  Try this one:

I <adverb> <verb> every time your <adjective>, <adjective> <noun> <plural verb> my <adjective> <noun>.

Don't worry about feeling awkward at the start.  Men are not big drama critics and are likely to be so thrilled to see your sexual confidence and desire that they won't have any complaints at all.  The small amount of time it takes to move forward on this will pay off quickly, and you may just find that it gets your motor running a bit too.