Listening to Your Emotions

Throughout our lives, we are trained to listen to a vast multitude of voices. Voices that have a powerful influence upon us. These voices can come from parents, siblings, family members, friends, and co-workers. Depending on the household in which we were raised, those voices determine in many ways the path we find ourselves on in our adolescent years all the way through becoming an adult. Some are incredibly healthy and life-giving while others can be destructive.

In this episode, I want to switch gears just a little bit and talk about a different voice. One you may not be totally familiar with: The voice of your emotions. Yes, believe it or not, your emotions have a voice and the real question is this: Are you listening?

Just Pray Harder

Just Pray Harder

Three words that have been spoken by a multitude of well-meaning Christians throughout the years. Words that have traditionally been a response to another Christian’s unhealthy behavior or lifestyle. It may have been directed towards a particular kind of sin or behavior. And in most cases, it was spoken with completely pure intentions. Yet for many these words were the complete opposite message they needed to hear. In this episode, Frank shares the fallacy AND the significance behind this statement. Also, is recovery all on us? Or is it God’s responsibility to change us? We explore these questions and more.

Healthy Sex Is Consistent

I have to admit that in the past I’ve really struggled to write posts that center on this particular topic. Not because sex scares. Not because I’m not a fan of sex.

But quite honestly, it’s because I don’t feel like an expert when it comes to sex. I know that it’s an area that my wife and I are still learning and growing in together. It’s also one area of intimate connection that we have to regularly fight for in our marriage.

Again, not because either of us doesn’t enjoy it, but because life can get crazy!

We take on many roles: Spouses, parents, co-workers, and ministry partners to name just a few. There always seems to be a demand right around the corner or something to take care of.

Don’t get me wrong, we have gotten better over the years in all of these areas, including fostering healthy sexual intimacy within our relationship. But as I was thinking through this post, I felt the biggest truth you need to be able to take away from it is this:

Healthy sex has to be consistent.

At the risk of sounding legalistic or forced and in no way am I advocating for obligation sex*, I believe there’s more to that statement than meets the eye. Specifically, the two words which are emphasized: Healthy and consistent.

First, sexual intimacy between you and your spouse should be healthy. What does this mean?

Straight to the point, sex shouldn’t be just about meeting YOUR desires.

It actually should be first about meeting your spouse’s desires. When we come together with our spouse with that kind of motivation, it makes the union that much sweeter and that much more enjoyable for both.

I’m not going to detail in this post tips and techniques for better sex. That misses the point behind this article. What I will say is that healthy sex is the kind that you and your spouse both discuss and agree to TOGETHER.

I love what Philippians 2:4 says to us:

…not looking to YOUR OWN interests but each of you to the interests of the OTHERS.

I understand that Paul wasn’t specifically referring to sexual preferences here in this passage, but he was talking about what humility looks like. Humility disregards what is important to me so that you can receive what is important to you.

This is one of the hardest things for us as humans to learn. And I suspect this may be true as it relates to our sexual needs as well.

I think “healthy” sex isn’t just a time where two people enjoy intense physical pleasure, but it’s where they can connect deeply on an emotional level.

And even a spiritual level. The idea that you’re fulfilling what the Bible talks about in becoming one flesh is a beautiful reality.

Secondly, healthy sex is something that should be consistent. Perhaps it’s better to start explaining what this doesn’t mean versus what this does mean.

For starters, consistency is something you and your spouse need to discuss together.

What does a healthy connection look like for you? Perhaps this is 2 or 3 times a week. Or 2 or 3 times a day. Or 2 or 3 times within a month. The bottom line is that there’s no “one size fits all” for sexual intimacy. And don’t let anyone ever tell you there is.

The one caveat I would add to that though is this: If it’s been SEVERAL days, weeks, months, or yes, I’m saying it — years since you’ve connected with your spouse intimately, there’s most likely a problem there. And it’s your responsibility to figure it out if you want your marriage to thrive.

Look, I get it…life can be crazy! Between our jobs, families, kids, church commitments, ministry appointments, it seems as if there is always something or someone demanding your attention. And by the time the evening rolls around, you’re fried! I know I am.

But again, connecting with your spouse physically, emotionally, spiritually needs to be a priority.

And when something is being done with consistency, deeper intimacy will grow as well. Perhaps for some out there, it means you and your spouse schedule your time together.

Now before you roll your eyes and make any assumptions, hear me out: We schedule things and put things on our calendar that are important. And isn’t sexually connecting with our spouse important?

If not the calendar, keep the lines of communication open with your spouse and be looking for the moments and minutes you can steal away for time together. I think there’s sometimes been a misconception in the past that says sex needs to be this glorious thing that lasts for hours.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Sometimes, when you don’t have a very long time to get away, it can be more functional and may not take much time at all. There’s no judgment there! Remember, you’re still connecting with the other person in a meaningful way.

I believe that it’s possible for you and your spouse to have an intimate and thriving relationship with each other. But it takes work, that’s for sure. It must take priority in your life. It takes consistency. And when those things happen, you will find that your time together will become
healthier and healthier.

Remember, one of the greatest keys to health is consistency.

If you want to read more about healthy sexuality, go buy The Good Guys Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Gregoire and her husband Dr. Keith Gregoire which will be available on March 15.

*Editor’s Note

Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn Proofing Today’s Young Kids

This week, Frank shares an incredible resource for parents to help them begin having healthy conversations with their kids about pornography. If you’re a parent, you’ll definitely want to have this tool in your arsenal. “Good Pictures Bad Pictures” is a ground-breaking guide for parents to have open, honest, and really helpful conversations about pornography in a non-shameful, non-awkward way. In this podcast, Frank shares his thoughts on the book and how he’s using it with his kids too. Go here to grab a copy of the book for yourself.


Podcast:


If you and your spouse are struggling and would like help on your journey, please feel free to contact us! Or, if you’re a wife and need some extra help from another wife who’s walked through what you have, head on over to the “Support for Wives” section and shoot Tracey a message by filling out the contact form. All communication is strictly confidential.

4 Vital Sources of Community You Can Find Today

Podcast:


Today, nearly twelve years into recovery from a porn addiction that consumed the better part of my adolescent and young adult life, I’m convinced now more than ever of need for healthy community.

The presence of various forms of community are the greatest tools I carry, even to this day, in living victoriously.

It’s really not an overstatement to say that I don’t think I would be free today without the counseling I received, the encouragement from support groups, and the comfort I received from purity coaches along the way. ALL of these sources of support were needed in order for me to become the kind of man God was calling me to be.

One of my greatest missions in life is helping other men find the freedom that I found. And that includes finding healthy sources of community where they can share their addiction with people who will help them heal. All too often, men who struggle in addiction continue to struggle because they don’t have the necessary sources of community in their lives.

As I’ve gotten healthier and healthier in recovery, I’ve come to believe there are four vital sources of community that are available to every man out there. This isn’t to say that one needs all of these sources in their lives at every moment. But perhaps there are seasons where we keep 1-2 of these sources consistent either daily or weekly, depending on what they are.

Here are 4 vital sources of community you can find today:

  1. Coaches — I mention this one first because I believe there are so many “purity coaches” that are widely available at any given moment. There are countless ministries and organizations both locally and online that can be sought out for this purpose. A purity coach doesn’t even have to be a certified counselor. They simply need to be a person who has shared similar struggles and has found freedom from addiction. While I don’t hold any sort of counseling degree, I’ve long considered myself a purity coach to other men. I’ve spend countless hours on the phone and in in-person meetings with men as well as produced podcasts and videos in an attempt to coach individuals who want freedom for their lives. If you’re struggling today and need some coaching, I’d love to help you out.
  2. Groups — Mark my words: There is something about gathering together with 4 or 5 other guys who share the same (or different) struggles as you do. There’s something you can only receive and you can only give within the context of a group setting. Some of the most powerful moments of healing in my life came on Monday nights early on in recovery where I gathered with just a few other guys in the same room to talk about our week. The trust, the tears, and the camaraderie we shared is something I will never forget as long as I live. It was truly a priceless experience which helped me in so many ways. It was in that season where I felt my call deepen to help other men the same way I was being helped. Today, it can be hard to find groups like these in your local area. Factor in that along with the difficulties Covid has made in meeting together. But online organizations such as Small Groups Online make it incredibly easy to find a group at the time of your choosing that you can become apart of.
  3. Counselors — Spending time with a licensed counselor can be one of the most valuable opportunities for someone dealing with a sexual addiction. I often recommend to men to try and find a therapist in their area who is a certified sexual addiction therapist (CSAT). This person has specific education and training in this field. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend some time with a licensed Christian therapist who really helped me to understand the addiction I struggled with. The down side of counseling is that it can be incredibly expensive. But if you can afford even 2 sessions a month, I would encourage you to dedicate a season to try it.
  4. Pastors/Churches — While the local church isn’t the first place I would recommend someone go for support, I would definitely not disqualify it either. Many pastors & churches are not trained to be able to effectively help individuals in the area of sexual addiction. But finding a spiritual family where you can foster healthy relationships, receive solid biblical teaching, and participate in spirit-filled worship is one of the best things you can do for yourself in recovery. Remember, you’re building your support structure and getting yourself out of isolation. When you allow people in to see the real you, feelings like shame, anxiety, and hopelessness cannot survive. Your spiritual family can be an excellent source of support along your journey in recovery!

Here’s what you need to know: YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN YOUR RECOVERY. There are so many sources of support and community available to you. But YOU must be the one to want it and find it.

Contact Small Groups Online today if you’re interested in starting the journey of knowing and being known by others who also struggle like you do. Each week, you’ll have the opportunity to jump into a Zoom meeting hosted by a trained group leader waiting to get to meet you. You’ll also be invited to download and join the Live Free app where further communication and discussions are available to you throughout the week.