Sex-cess

couple-kissing

Did the title get your attention? As a marriage coach, sex and money are the two big topics that divide couples in my ministry. They are also the subjects that families rarely talk about. You can’t become knowledgeable, comfortable, and practiced on an issue when you don’t or won’t talk about it? Why do some couples avoid the topic of sex? A sampling of replies to my question: “Why don’t you talk about sex with your spouse?”

  • I’m just not comfortable. Our family never talked about sex.
  • I don’t really have much of a sex drive. If we talk about it, I’m afraid it will hurt my wife’s feelings.
  • I’m not sure. I guess we should talk more about it.
  • My husband is addicted to pornography. I’m angry at him, so why would I want to have sex with him.
  • I don’t want sex. If I avoid talking about it, I’ll feel less pressure to have sex.
  • I’m afraid to tell my husband what I really want because of what he’ll think of me.
  • I’ve faked too many orgasms that I’m afraid to tell my husband the truth. He’ll think I’m a liar, and I don’t want him to feel bad that he didn’t please me. I love my husband though.
  • I was sexually abuse as a child, and it’s too painful to talk about sex.
  • For years, it’s all about him, not me. Why bother?
  • I’m tired of asking, so I’ve just given up.
  • We don’t need to. We have unspoken understandings. For me to get sex, I need to do ….

What would you answer? Differences in individual values, needs, relationship conditioning, and preferences can naturally cause sexual conflict, but if you won’t talk through these differences, nothing will be resolved or managed? If you want to have a fulfilling, aka successful, sex life with your spouse, it starts with you. Becoming sex-cessful in the bedroom is a journey taken at a pace you’re comfortable committing to. You might consider the following steps:

  • Expanding your sexual self-awareness: needs, limitations, boundaries, recognizing underlying influences
  • Getting comfortable talking about sex without pressure to perform
  • Sharing and learning about partner’s needs and wants as well as uncovering the whys and feelings behind both
  • Negotiating, compromising, and developing a sex plan
  • Acting on the plan

You may think that may work for some, but what if my spouse and I have wildly different sexual appetites. That’s where you need to take a hard look at the cause. Is it because of conditioning, taboo stereotypes, performance anxiety, sexual abuse, or just plain skewed hormones? As with most problems, there’s usually more than one contributor. Identifying the main issues will give you a starting point on where to focus. In some cases, you may never fully emotionally or physically enjoy sex, but that doesn’t mean you should withhold sex from your spouse unless he or she is abusive. I know a few couples who have fluctuating and divergent sex drives over the course of their marriages. How do they handle the incompatibility? They give sex gifts?

People routinely give gifts to family and friends whom they love and care about. What better way to love your spouse than to give them the gift of sex? There may be times when you’re both “into it”, and sex is a big theatrical production. Other times, it’s a gift of pleasure. As with any other gift, you don’t expect anything in return. Your spouse will appreciate your gift of sex, even when he or she knows you weren’t in the mood and gave it freely.

Some believe they shouldn’t be pressured into sex when they don’t want to. I agree. I’m not suggesting they do something they don’t want to. I’m suggesting they intentionally give a gift to their life partner.

Note: If you are in sexually abusive marriage or relationship or have untreated sexual trauma in your history, I encourage you to seek help. The effects of sexual trauma are devastating for the individual and their relationships. Seek the healing you need, so you can experience the power of healthy relationships and focus on the purpose God has called you into.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in life, premarital/marriage, finances, and ministry. She coaches individuals and couples to be the best versions of themselves. Sandra welcomes comments and conversations. You can reach out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com

Enemies That Can Undermine Your Marriage: Break Free from Jezebel, Leviathan, Ahab, and Legion Spirits

As a Christian marriage coach, my purpose is to educate, equip, empower, and encourage couples who trust me with their personal vulnerabilities and relationships. God has called me to help strengthen marriages, because the health of the marriage directly affects the family and its future generations. The degree of individual brokenness in a spouse has a significant impact on how well I can help a couple.

jvc-breaking outMost couples experience break-through and success as evidenced by my growing collection of thank-you cards and personal testimonies. And then there are those couples who can’t find a way out of their relationship pain. Until I was trained in Restored to Freedom by Nelson Schuman’s School of Ministry, I couldn’t have explained or freed these troubled spouses from the spirits that were gripping one or both from the joy God intended for their marriage. Who are these spirits? Say hello to Jezebel, Leviathan, Ahab, and a host of Legions.

The Spirits

Schuman (2018) describes the grip and manifestation of each spirit on a person. Many spirits own bloodlines until a generation breaks the spirit hold. The spirits are given authority when a child grows up with (1) an absent father, (2) father/step-father who spoke with criticism, was verbally, physically, or sexually abusive, or (3) a mother who was abusive or controlling. These spirits can inhabit either gender and their degree of control depends on several factors.

Is a Spirit Operating in Your Life

It’s hard to admit when you’re not perfect or don’t measure up to a standard you’ve set for yourself. Your only chance of breaking free is to at least be honest with yourself. Ask yourself the following sets of questions.

Do you experience any of the following feelings or behaviors?

  • Need to control or manipulate people/outcomes and to get what you want, because no one will watch out for you and your best interests
  • Do not easily trust; people have to earn your trust
  • Have anxiety and fear
  • Lie to get your way at times
  • Not feel loved by parents

Do you experience any of the following feelings or behaviors?

  • Experience back, neck, and upper shoulder pain
  • Have Scoliosis
  • Suffer from Fibromyalgia
  • Struggle with insomnia
  • Fall asleep when listening or reading the Bible
  • Have difficulty remembering anything that helps from spiritual perspective

Do you experience any of the following feelings or behaviors?

  • Are passive
  • If male, difficulty leading your family and defer to wife
  • Avoid rocking the boat
  • Walk on egg shells
  • Struggle with sexual purity

Do you experience any of the following feelings or behaviors?

  • Dwell on past sins and traumas
  • Struggle with feelings of forgiveness
  • Suffer disease, sickness, fears, and suicidal thoughts

Each of these sets focus on a specific spirit. Afterwards ask your spouse and/or child how they would answer on your behalf. If they are not afraid to answer truthfully, the answers may be different.

Breaking Free

Each of these groups of questions relate to a specific spirit. If you want to learn more you can reference Schuman’s series of books. People have the ability to renounce and free themselves of the spirits through the power of Jesus but only if the prayer is from the heart, not the head.

References

Schuman, N.L. (2018). Restored to Freedom: The Road to Deliverance from the Enemy’s Finest

Schuman, N.L. (2018). Waking the Lion Within: Reclaiming Your Position in Christ

Schuman, N.L. (2018). Restored to Freedom: Deliverance from the Spirits of Jezebel, Leviathan, Ahab, and Legion


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, premarital/marriage, finances, and ministry. She coaches individuals and couples to be the best versions of themselves. You can contact Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com

 

Use Your Strengths to Strengthen Your Marriage

Sandra Dillon: December 2, 2017


Marriage strongThere’s no such thing as a perfect marriage, but everyone can have a great marriage. Some struggling spouses may respond: “I don’t see how; my wife is the opposite of me” or “I just don’t understand how my husband thinks.” Hope lies in the fact that awareness and appreciation of individual strengths in the marriage can narrow any divide.  Who knows?  Maybe you will create a marriage that will be a shining light for others.

As a leadership coach, I help clients identify and drive on their personal strengths.  The CliftonStrengths Assessment (https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/) can identify and force-rank 34 potential strengths.  Your top 5 become your Signature Theme and can provide insight into what brings you the greatest fulfillment (Evans & Kelsey, 2016).  Your Signature Theme also becomes the basis of your worldview—the lens by which you evaluate and judge people, their actions, and the happiness of your relationships.

People who are like you tend to “get you.” We typically gravitate to people who share similar worldviews except in those instances were feelings of love, newness, excitement, and romance can cause us to choose someone who is different than us. In these cases, when the “love chemicals” dissipate, it is not uncommon that spouses question how they chose their mate.

Hope is just around the corner! Differences in individual strengths can help explain the emotional distancing, but knowledge of Signature Themes can also be the bridge-builder to greater harmony and closeness. There are no perfect marriages, because there are no perfect people.  However, couples who understand their own and spouse’s strengths can work as a team in bringing together the powerhouse of all their gifts.

How do you get started on this journey? Take the CliftonStrengths Assessment and get to know yourself. Share your top strengths with your spouse and learn theirs.  The more dissimilarity in your strengths rankings, the more likely you will have different priorities, perspectives, and skills.  Awareness building around strengths should increase patience with your partner, because you realize your partner is not stubborn, uninformed, or unreasonable.  Your spouse is only filtering the information through their own lens.

The next step is to brainstorm how each spouse can use his or her strengths for the benefit of the marriage. My husband and I only share the “activator” strength in our top 5, which means we are impatient with pause and want to lead and make things happen. We are focused on performance.  When we partner on a project, watch out world.  Many people probably feel left in our dust.

My remaining four top strengths are classified as either strategic or executing: (1) futuristic, (2) learner, (3) strategic, and (4) achiever.  All of Darin’s remaining strengths fall into either influencing or relationship-building categories: (1) communication, (2) woo, (3) connectedness, and (4) individuation.  Yes, “woo” is a strength.

When you look at how we apply our strengths, I’m the business leader, and he’s the sales leader.  When Darin and I disagree on a customer approach, I typically defer to Darin, because I know he has a greater strength to understand and connect with customers than I do.  When it comes to business strategy, I will usually seek Darin’s input, but he defers to me as that is my strength.  When we disagree, it doesn’t divide us.  We are instead grateful that we have so much talent spread across our marriage.

Take the CliftonStrengths survey!  Find out your strengths and share your top 5 with your spouse over a date night.

Reference

Evans, J., & Kelsey, A. (2016). Strengths Based Marriage: Build a Stronger Relationship by Understanding Each Other’s Gifts. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional leadership coach with an extensive background in premarital and marriage coaching, education, and mentoring. She coaches individuals, and couples, as well as facilitates relationship workshops.  She has a passion to help people experience outstanding marriages and relationships.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website www.shinecrossings.com