Adulterous Affairs Don’t Begin with Sleeping Together

“Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming.”  Song of Songs 2:15

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Adulterous Affairs Don’t Begin with Sleeping Together; they begin with inappropriate friendships. Friendship and emotional attachments with people of the opposite sex can spell danger for your marriage. This is where you husbands, must daily make a choice to protect your marriage. Wives, this is for you as well.  What do you chose?

 

Kerry and I have witnessed many couples who “innocently” will become emotionally attracted to a member of the opposite sex. They become “bored” with the relationship they are in and begin to truly believe that there is something better for them. Instead of investing into their own marriage by seeking counsel and choosing to focus on where they are falling short in the marriage, they instead begin to drift away-emotionally and physically, and especially-spiritually.

 

So here are 4 Warnings for you to be aware of in your marriage and heed immediately.

 

 

  1. Protect your marriage by avoiding private communications and intimate conversations with people of the opposite sex. Too often we see Social Media and Texting becoming a hidden area of spouses worlds. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that you and your spouse share the same pass codes and that at any given time, they have the right to look into your phone for emails, texts, social media posts and IM’s. You have nothing to hide from your spouse…Nothing.

 

 

  1. Beware of workmates who seem too concerned with your personal private life; those that tell you “let me know if you need anything.” That’s the beginning of an open invitation to draw closer to them instead of your spouse. Do not share intimate details with workmates about the trials and struggles in your marriage. If you need to talk to someone, find a marriage counselor, a pastor or find another couple that shares your values and the four of you take time to talk it out.

 

 

  1. Beware of those that give you exaggerated and suggestive compliments about the way you look. Regardless of what is happening in your marriage don’t give the Devil a foothold in your marriage by falling victim to this trap. Let your workmates know there are things you won’t tolerate. Enough said…

 

 

  1. Keep a healthy physical, social and emotional distance between you and people of the opposite sex. This is the most important facet to all of these warnings. Your workmates need to know without a doubt that you are married, that you are in love with your spouse, and nothing will come between you both. Make sure to have pictures up of your family and spouse. Wear your wedding ring. Smile when you talk about your spouse.

 

So in closing, I ask the same question…”What do you chose?”

 

 

Joe

Victim or Survivor?

Victim: Something destroyed; something completely sacrificed in the pursuit of an object or situation.

Survivor: One who outlives another or a situation of conflict.

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In this world, it seems that we begin to classify ourselves as either a “Victim” or a “Survivor” of our past or current circumstances.

It’s become easy to play the victim card and stay a prisoner of the past. Not allowing ourselves to look forward, but to be perpetually stuck looking in the rear-view mirror.  We use the pain of past or the trials of the current to set the tone for our life. We become “Hand-Wringers” and use that victim card to remain hopeless and broken. It is the excuse we carry so we no longer have to take responsibility for our own actions but instead we place blame on the past.

Or, we take a new ownership and call ourselves Survivors! We have overcome the past. We no longer place blame on the past, but instead we know where the pain came/comes from and we conquer it. We take either responsibility for our actions or we choose to forgive the one who caused us the pain and terror. We no longer live in the grip on its guilt. We point back to our past and declare we are a survivor.

However, I am asking that you notice something from both those classifications: Victim or Survivor. They both still point to the past. While one is victorious and the other is brokenness, they both rely on the past as their “Badge.”

In the next couple of weeks, I will share with you all some very personal and raw emotions and events from my past. I will also take time to share with you where I was a Victim, where I became a Survivor, but most of all, when I chose to become a New Creation in Christ. The past is gone, a new life has begun.

Hear me please, I truly know that there are many circumstances out in the world that are so overwhelming that you cannot fully understand how to even begin to survive. I will not be trivial nor contrite in the upcoming weeks. I give you my word that I will be honest, true and very transparent. I will share with you my journey and where my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has brought me. So please, let me share with each of you my heart.  Thank you. We will continue this discussion next Monday.

Kerry

3 Keys for Your Boys in A Sex Saturated Culture

 

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The first time I saw a Playboy magazine, I was about 12 years old and hanging out at a friend’s house. My buddy had covertly collected a secret stash of magazines under his bed. He had gone to great lengths to acquire the contraband, and his bedroom stash became the stuff of legend among our adolescent crew of hormonally-driven friends.

I had been brought up with parents and church leaders who taught me about the sacredness of sex and the dangers of objectifying women. Still, my raging hormones and weak willpower got the best of me and I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the airbrushed images. Those magazines became a “gateway drug” of sorts and ultimately led me down a dark road towards more graphic pornography.

I’ve been porn-free for a little over two decades, but I’m still living with some scars in my mind and my marriage. Thankfully, God’s grace and my wife’s love (plus some important accountability measures) have helped me escape from the grip of porn.

Kerry and I know we have a sacred responsibility to our children to teach them about sex and protect them from all the ways the misuse of sex can harm them. We raised two daughters; however, we also know what we were praying for and longing for in a man for our daughters.

So let’s share with you parents raising sons. The first step is obviously teaching your sons to have a deep and abiding respect for women, but respect alone isn’t enough to help them overcome the bombardment of visual temptations out there. If you’re looking for some practical ways to get started, here are three simple ways parents of boys can equip them to live with sexual purity in a sexually-saturated culture.

3 keys to raising boys in a sex-crazed culture:

1. Don’t just have “The Talk;” have many talks about sex and purity.

Instead of having one big talk about the birds and the bees like many of our parents did when we were growing up, open up an ongoing, healthy dialogue about issues related to sex and porn. Ask questions and encourage your son to ask you questions too. Be as transparent as possible in your responses. Kids don’t expect you to be perfect, but they need you to be real. If you want some practical tools to help guide you through those conversations, check out Jonathan McKee’s book, More Than Just the Talk.

2. Try to understand your son’s thought process.

If you’re a man raising boys, you already know all about the male thought process and mental wiring that makes visual temptation so powerful, but your son is living in a different world than ours, so keep the dialogue open to learn how he’s thinking. If you’re a mom and you’d like to understand more about how and why males react so instinctively to visual images of sex and sensuality, I’d encourage you to read the new book, “Through a Man’s Eyes: Helping Women Understand the Visual Nature of Men”, which is written by Craig Gross and Shaunti Feldhahn. The research in the book is eye-opening, and their insights made me think they’d somehow installed hidden cameras in my brain! This book and accompanying video series could help you understand your son—and your husband, too—on a new level.

3. Monitor every screen in your home.

The average kid sees porn by age eight. Sometimes, kids are exposed to porn on accident, and other times, they’re deliberately looking for it. Parents must be constantly vigilant by setting parental controls, downloading porn-blocking software, and using every tool at our disposal to protect our kids from unwanted images. Know where your kids are going online and let them know you’re watching. Tell them what’s off limits, but also follow up by inspecting. Kids aren’t usually as interested in what you expect as they are in what you’ll inspect. Remember this bit of advice, Don’t Overreact-Interact when you discover your son viewing pornography.

As you get started…

You may be intimidated by the thought of even beginning these conversations with your kids. That’s completely understandable. I think we all feel that way at first. This aspect of parenting is indeed one of the most difficult, but also among the most important. As parents, we must conquer or own fears and feelings of inadequacy to give our kids the help they desperately need.

Don’t feel like you have to do it alone, because there are many great resources to help you and your family. Don’t be passive in this process. Be present. Your kids don’t need you to have perfect answers to all their questions, but they need you to be present and transparent with them. If you’re willing to do those things, and to use the tools and resources at your disposal, you will navigate these complex issues with great success.

 

Joe & Kerry

What Tables Need To Be Overturned in Your House?

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And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” Matt 21:12,13

This past week during our staff devotion we spent time in Matthew 21:12-17.  The above verses struck me personally. Pastor Larry asked us, “Why did Jesus react the way He did?”  Great discussion ensued and we all agreed that His house became a house of selfish gain and no longer was it a house of prayer. It was no longer a house of worship. It was a temple that defiled God and dismissed the worship He deserved. God’s house, His temple was purposely dishonored.

As the discussion continued, God began to speak to me. He took me back to a book in His word that I have been in the past few months, 1 Corinthians. I was instructed to land on verses 19 and 20 in chapter 6. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”  The Holy Spirit clearly told me, “You are My temple. I dwell in you and you have now become My house of Worship. Don’t ever forget that you are no longer your own. You were bought with a price and everything you do you must glorify Me in your body.”

So here is where the spiritual re-molding began. I asked God to begin to “overturn the tables” in this temple. Begin to clear away that which is selfish and self-centered.  Turn over the tables which defile Him and dishonor His Name. What in my life, in my body, in His Temple, is an abomination to Him?

Think about what those tables look like.  Not just my tables, yours too. We have tables of apathy, of jealousy. We have tables that are beautifully adorned and wonderful to look at; however, they are those of arrogance and pride.  We also have tables of unforgiveness, of rage and anger.  We have tables of sexual sin and lust.  How about the tables that are covered in linens of lace but hold gossip and condemnation towards other followers of Christ who are hurting?  I think we all get the picture.

So as I ask God to begin to “overturn the tables” in my life, to cleanse His temple, I must also be willing to open those doors and be obedient to what He reveals and removes.  I must never forget, as a follower of Jesus Christ, that my body is not my own and it was bought by the precious life of Him.  My body is now His Temple and I must daily glorify Him through it. It is spiritually painful, yet spiritually refreshing.

Now, are you willing to ask Jesus to “overturn tables” in you?

The Top 10 from Redeeming The White Space

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It has been an amazing year for us. We have been blessed to encounter and counsel many couples.  We have witnessed God’s hand in the healing and restoration of 9 couples. We have also been blessed to journey with many others as they chose to Redeem the White Space in their marriages and families. We wanted to share with you our Top 10 posts from 2014. The top 3 were viewed/visited by over 10,000!  Know that our prayer is to come alongside individuals and journey with them as we all encounter God’s love and commands. To be obedient to His word and seek Him first in all we think, say and do. To live out John 3:21.

Here are our top ten posts from 2014.

10. Start the Day Focused

9. A Simple Bar of Soap: 3 Ways to Serve Your Spouse

8. Your kid’s an All Star? Wow! Someday he’ll be average like the rest of us.

7. U Pick ‘Em Date Night…

6. Adulterous Affairs Don’t Begin with Sleeping Together; They Begin with Inappropriate Friendships

5. 10 Marriage Tips Every WIFE Needs to Hear

4. Yes, Porn is a Big Deal: A Response to Elite Daily from guest author Ella Hutchinson

3. 10 Things I Hope Sam and Baylee Have Learned From Our Marriage

2. 3 Basic Rules to Follow in Your Marriage In Regards to Social Media

1. Wives, Take Note of This: “3 Reasons Your Husband Likes It When You Climax” by Kerry Vivian

Results from the Intimacy Poll

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Well, the results are in. For the month of November we ran an intimacy poll to see where married couples fall into the frequency of sexual activity. We asked the following question: “Barring medical or reasons due to travel or distance, how often do you and your spouse have sex?”

Kerry and I were amazed at the responses. We had 1092 votes and here are the results.

35.44% of those polled, 387 couples, stated that they are very active in their sex lives. There are experiencing intimacy at least 3 or more times a week. That could be understood to be every other day or more.

20.25% of those polled, 221 couples, stated  that they have sex at least once or twice a week.  With those initial numbers, it is evident that the majority, 55.69% or 608 couples are actively seeking intimacy at least once a week or more.

15.19% of those polled, 166 couples, stated that it has been over two months since they were intimate with one another. After the first two groups, this is alarming. Again, barring medical or distance issues, a married couple should not be withholding or avoiding intimacy with one another. By doing that, you open up temptation and could be setting up your marriage for a crisis.

At 12.66%, 139 couples, stated they have sex 2-3 times a month. 11.39%, 124 couples, are having sex at least weekly. And then, 5.06%, 55 couples, are having sex less then once a month.

Two things jump out from this poll. 1. Majority of married couples are experiencing intimacy as God intended. Within the boundaries of marriage and often. That’s a great result. 2. We still have over 480 couples, 44.3%,  that are in need of increasing that time of intimacy with one another.

It is important that a husband and wife take time to be one together. Scripture is clear. “Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”  1 Corinthians 7:1-5

We will begin to share some intimate counsel as well as articles from other writers to help to assist and for some, strengthen the intimacy in your marriage.

Remember, this is one facet of a Godly, Christ Centered marriage, but one that must not be neglected.

Fight For Your Marriage: 4 Signs of Selfishness in a Marriage

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It is so very evident that the core to most, if not all, sin is selfishness.  And then we quickly discover that the greatest threat to our marriages is selfishness.  Wow, and it took me repeating it twice to fully own that simple fact. Yup, it sure does. Why, because we don’t own the selfishness, it’s our spouse who is selfish, not me. Hmm, wonder when this crazy train will stop?

You see, we go into marriage expecting everything to be perfect. We are taught that after we say “I Do” we will ride off into the sunset with the writing in the sky, “Happily Ever After.”  My question for those in their first year of marriage, “How’s that working for you?”  You see, if it’s one year or 20+ years, you must daily realize that a truly successful marriage is the union of an imperfect husband and an imperfect wife. Anyone who enters marriage must do so with the clear and sober understanding of that fact.

Let me put it this way: A mother was trying to explain to her little son the benefits of unselfishness. She concluded her talk by saying, “We’re in this world to help others.”  After due consideration the boy asked, “Well then, what are the others here for?”  See, in marriage, too many times we consider ourselves the ones who are doing all the helping and we get angry and bitter to the “others.”  When two individuals, married to each other, put their own individual needs and wants first, they’re on a collision course.

Let me share four examples of selfishness in marriage.

  1. In-Laws: It’s a sign of selfishness and immaturity when you constantly remind your spouse about what your parents said, and how they did things. This is unfair and to your spouse and hurtful to your marriage.
  2. Pornography: The Psalmist wrote, “I refuse…to look at corrupting people and degrading things” Psalm 101:3   Pornography is as addictive as heroin and there have been countless marriages destroyed by its corruption and exploitation of women.  Not only does it leave you feeling ashamed, realize that it will devastate your spouse’s self-worth.
  3. Disagreements: Remember this, you are both going to stumble in many ways. James informs us of this fact in his book in chapter 3. We are going to have disagreements; however, it is how you will resolve them. When you are wrong admit it without giving excuses. When you are right, shut your mouth without bragging. It is that simple.
  4. Prayerlessness: A recent study showed that 90% of Christian couples don’t read the Bible or pray together. Are you in that 90%? Kerry and I make it an effort to come together in prayer by holding hands and praying together.  We spend time sharing with each other what God has taught us and how He is working in our day. Begin by praying with each other as husband and wife. Then begin to share what God is teaching you today.

In closing, if Christ is the most important part of your life, then He should be the part you both enjoy sharing the most. When passion and physical beauty fade, your shared love for Christ will sustain you through the storms of life. So begin today to fight for your marriage!