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Here is a series of ideas for men in regards to loving their wives… some of them may seem a little cheezy, but I guess that doenst mean it will to you – or much much more importantly, our wives…

http://www.familylife.com/site/c.dnJHKLNnFoG/b.4126505/k.D43C/Simply_Romantic_Tips_for_Him.htm#

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A brother has submitted to the Phalanx a site for sending free online cards – maybe a surprise online card will be just what she needs!  He says that 123greetings.com is a good site for this.  I found a cute one and sent it to my wife.

We are all in this together!

Chris

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The other way that a person can experience sexuality is intimately

If illicit sex is about experiencing the dark or shameful excitement of doing something “wrong” and erotic sexuality is about experiencing the joys of sex, then intimate sexuality is about experiencing  and knowing another person. 

In the intimate expression of sex, the purpose of the sex is the most-complete possible engagement with your lover.  Your desire is for them… not primarily for sex.

Think of it this way:  I ask a bud to go throw the football.  He says “nah, I’m not really interested in throwing the football.”  Then I have two choices… I can say “ok, then I will find someone else who might be interested in tossing the football”… this choice would indicate that football was the interest – what was irreplaceable to me was football.  Obviously, with something like football, even if someone was as insecure about not being chosen as I am, they would probably be fine with it….

… or, I could say “well, then, bro, what would you like to do?”  In this, I would be making it clear that the intent of the request was getting time with the person.  The person is a priority over the activity, get it?

Intimacy is about knowing another person.  The more intimately I know them, the more I know what is going on inside of them – their thinking, ideas, beliefs, etc.  I think it is a mistake when speakers, pastors, etc. use “intimacy” as a euphemism for “sex.”  I think it is confusing.  Certainly two people  can have intimacy without it having anything at all to do with sexuality.  This confusion is another reason I wanted to write this article.

It is easy to see why or at least how the two got confused.  As its creator intended, sex is meant to be experienced intimately, and it also encourages intimacy.  It is meant to be intertwined with sex, like baptism and salvation for the Christian… however, they are not interchangeable and you certainly can have one without the other.  This unavoidable intertwining, I assume, is why “intimacy” has become a nice way of saying “sex”, but it leads to confusion… and God knows we don’t need any MORE confusion in this area.

There are some very significant consequences of the expression of intimate sexuality.  First, unlike erotic or illicit sex, it is an investment that grows. 

One of the lies of modern psychology about marriage is that being good at sex (as a skill set, like skiing, or swimming) is important in marriage.  This MIGHT be true if every man or woman appreciated and enjoyed the same things sexually and in the same way.  However, they don’t.

I had some clients in the past who were both sex professionals… and they were married.  Why were they in counseling?  Because they were unable to enjoy the sex life that they wanted in their marriage.  Believe me, they had all the skills and experience they needed… and they looked like Greek gods.  Their eros meters must have been off of the chart.  However, as I said before, “generally, when someone has a dissatisfactory experience of their sexual life, it seems most often because they ONLY have illicit or even erotic expressions.”  Maybe this is part of why sexual experiences between future spouses before marriages often have to be healed as part of marriage counseling… maybe, but I don’t know.

The truth is that in marriage, the fulfillment is about intimacy, not sex… including in regards to sex. 

Make sense? 

Again, maybe… maybe this is why people who have something of an expertise in sex aren’t more (in the anecdotal experience of this therapist) likely to have a great or satisfactory sexual aspect to their marriage; but, people with a “PhD” in their spouse do!

Hope for us: 

All around us are examples of broken, shallow, empty, hopeless examples.  We have taken God’s great precious and valuable gift of sex, taken it out of its protective glass case of marriage and begun to treat it as common and cheap… a thrill of empty calories rather than a satiating meal of intimacy…

 but all we need is the hope of it having been done well… a different kind of example…  A path worn well enough to follow.

 I have one:  my grandparents were married 62 years before my grandfather died.  Few of us will ever know that kind of intimacy.  I don’t mean to be odd about this, but I assume that my 84 year old grandmother did not compete well in the erotic arena… but can you imagine how there would be no one on Earth capable of competing with her in the intimate arena?  And they didn’t have just time, but devotion, love, knowledge and passion.  My wife and I model our marriage after theirs.

As time passes and the “ravages” of age set in, our erotic power may fade… but our intimate investments can compound.  I am certain my grandfather would not have traded for any woman anywhere.

I have an example.

I intend to be another. 

You?

Keep looking for more articles describing the rest of the teaching about sexuality that I went over at the Seminar.  My goal is that all of us be able to communicate to our wives (and families) that they are treasure.  I don’t want to leave sexuality out of that discussion.  If this is your first article to read, let me encourage you to go back to the Phalanx page and start the materials to men to start getting the complete picture.

Brother to Brother

Chris

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God, give us men!  A time like this demands

Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;

Men whom the lust of office does not kill;

Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;

Men who possess opinions and a will;

Men who have honor; men who will not lie;

Men who can stand before a demagogue

And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!

Tall men, sun crowned, who live above the fog

In public duty and in private thinking;

For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,

Their large professions and their little deeds,

Mingle in selfish strife, lo!  Freedom weeps,

Wrong rules the land and waiting justice sleeps.

                Josiah Gilbert Holland – “Wanted” 1872

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If you need a challenging encouragement (and who doesn’t?), check out this song by Sanctus Real… “Lead Me”… lyrics and the song at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAKBXBXz1fo.

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One purpose of the Phalanx is to give men the resources we need to make it, together, as epic heroes.

A good friend and fellow soldier & worker recently let me know about an event that he is helping make happen. I feel very confident in recommending anything he is involved in… so I am going to post his words on this event for men here in case anyone is looking for something like this…

Rob: “For six years now, Sabine Creek Ranch has been a great site for Men’s Retreats.

Four years ago Eddie Walker decided to start sponsoring a Men’s Conference to serve churches with great speakers and worship. Steve Farrar came the first year. Neal Jeffrey came the next two years. Check out our website for the bios on the three speakers this year. The keynote speaker is Colt McCoy’s dad and he is going to talk about Living to Win.”

It is being held the weekend of Jan 21st. More at http://www.sabinecreek.com

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Now you may be thinking that I meant “read with your wife” or “read to your kids,” (and I highly recommend both of those too)… but I meant what I wrote.  Though we have been looking for a great book recently, throughout most of our marriage, I have been reading one book or another out loud at night to my wife.  We have read mostly fiction, because it makes us want to get back to read the next chapter.

Most nights, we have gotten to bed, lied down in bed and I have read out loud to her.  While I read, she generally scratches on me with her miracle fingernails.  Sometimes she falls asleep while I read, but that’s good too.  We usually limited ourselves to one chapter a night, or about 15-20 minutes. 

By reading one chapter a night for most of our 17 year marriage, we have read quite a few books!  Reading these together like this have given us a common source for inside jokes, common analogies (you don’t totally appreciate this until your wife uses an analogy from Lord of the Rings to make a point)… and something special to look forward to every night.  Finally, intimacy is about knowing what is going on inside of one another’s hearts.  Reading together helps you know this – because it really feels like we have experienced it together! (and sometimes later experienced the movies based on the books together too).  I would never have foreseen all the advantages of reading together, but they are there. 

The reading helps us to experience the emotional intimacy that is so important to marriage and so tough for us men to create to the degree our wife appreciates (and with the scratching, the physical intimacy* is there every night too).

So, here are some books that Ginger and I have read together, and some others that I recommend that we read separately and wish we have read together instead.

Lord of the Rings series TWICE (didn’t read the Tom Bombadil section the second time)

The Hobbit

Three of the Pendragon cycle: Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon by Lawhead

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Dahl

James and Giant Peach by Dahl

The ENTIRE Harry Potter Series by Rowling

The complete Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis

Death in Silent Places

The Coming Global Storm

Krakatau

The Alamo by Myers Myers

Ted Dekker – Black, Red, White

Series of Unfortunate Events 1-3 (before we got sick of them)

The Gospels from the Bible

I think I am forgetting some too…

We would also recommend:

The 5 Love Languages

and The Fablehaven Series

I think we are going to start either the Percy Jackson series or the Ranger’s Apprentice series next.

I also recommend praying to God  with your wife at night (I kind of have a deal with God, that if He will remind me to pray, I will.  I mention this because until I did this, I often forgot to pray, and many of the days when I did remember, I would talk myself out of it.)  More on praying with and for your wife later!

Men, it isn’t usually easy for us to create the emotional intimacy that most of our wives crave.  If anyone has any other ideas on growing this plant in the marriage garden, let us know!

*I do not use physical intimacy as a euphemism for “sex”.  As you will see in some upcoming posts, the word I use for sex will be “sex.”

Here is an article that won’t apply to everyone who is married, but will eventually for most:  https://phalanxmen.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/loving-a-womans-children/

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