We don’t discuss politics here (whew!), but we want to encourage everyone to pray for our political leaders — whatever country you’re in.

1 Timothy 2:1-4

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

No political leader can bring about perfection here on earth. Pray for peace; pray that the Gospel will be boldly proclaimed throughout the whole world; and pray that the Holy Spirit works powerfully for the salvation of the lost.

Pray as a couple. Pray with your kids. Pray for our new president, our governors, our mayors, our lawmakers, our judges, and all the civil service workers who make our government function. Pray for freedom, justice, integrity, wisdom, and humility.

Thank God for all his blessings, and never take them for granted.

Two Salvation Army officers wrote to the organization’s founder, evangelist William Booth, expressing frustration and discouragement with the ongoing failure of their ministry and requesting his permission to shut it down. General Booth replied with a two-word telegram: “Try tears.”

Sexy Corte and I receive a lot of emails from people who are frustrated and discouraged in their marriages, and especially with their sex lives. We try to offer practical, Biblical advice — some sexual, some relational, and some spiritual. In many cases, we’ll go back and forth with someone who has “already tried everything” we suggest, with no positive result, and it’s in these situations that I’m reminded of Booth’s advice: “Try tears.”

Not tears of self-pity, frustration, or anger — those are all-too-easy to come by when your marriage is hurting. Those tears are generally selfish: I’m not getting what I deserve.

We often think that God wants us to be happy, but he doesn’t — he wants us to be holy. The process of becoming holy is difficult and often painful. Consider James 4:1-10:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Godly tears are the result of humility before a holy God. Instead of focusing on how your marriage and spouse are failing you, humble yourself before God. Weep and mourn for your own sin. God’s will is for you to become holy, and for your marriage to become holy. That includes a marriage with humility, joy, gratitude, and yes, awesome sex. But those things are the result of holiness. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33:

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Get on your knees and beg God for your marriage. Turn your laughter into gloom. Fast, pray, and meditate on God’s Word. Let your heart be broken for God’s will. Learn to see yourself, your spouse, and your marriage the way God sees them: infinitely precious, and in the process of being perfected through fire. Let God bring you to tears like Jesus’ in the Garden of Gethsemane as he faced his crucifixion. Luke 22:39-46:

And [Jesus] came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow,  and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Try tears.

Ah, spring is in the air!

Why does my husband want to watch me masturbate?

If at first you don’t succeed… ask for sex again. Why? Sex leads to more sex. As we’ve written here before: great sex comes from frequent sex.

Five ways to pray for your husband.

The sexiest thing you can do for your husband — hint: it’s enthusiasm.

The value of friends. Friends that build up your marriage are a treasure.

Bring sex out of the church closet and four lies about sex the church struggles to talk about.

For the dancing and the dreaming — ok, so I mostly linked this because of the corset.

I was recently in a conversation with other women and we were talking about dating before marriage. One remembered seeking advice from a counselor about how far was “too far” to go before being married. Another laughed and said “it’s funny, before you are married, you always want to push the limit on how far you can go. After you are married you think, I have to do this again?!?!” It was meant to be funny, but in retrospect has made me sort of sad.

Has sex within marriage become a chore? Or merely a duty? Where did the excitement from dating go? Shouldn’t there be more of a spark within marriage because now you can have sex?! What happens?

Honestly, I don’t know. I can only speculate. My guess is that the tiredness of our busy lifestyles makes sex one of the first things we cut out of our hectic schedules. Sexy time with your spouse should be one of your most guarded appointments. You have to guard it, because no one else will. Your boss, kids or house won’t mind in the least if they suck up that extra time from you. Connecting with your spouse, emotionally and sexually, is one of the most important things you can do.

Another thought is that maybe one spouse isn’t feeling loved. If you haven’t read the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I suggest you pick up a copy and start speaking to your spouse in their love language. I know I am definitely more responsive sexually when my “love tank” is full.

You and your spouse might also need better communication. If you do or don’t like something, speak up. As much as I think El Fury should be able to read my mind by now, I know that he can’t. This comes easy for some couples and for others it will take boldness. But the more you communicate about sex, the easier it gets. Do a re-cap after sex. Try saying “I really liked it when you…”

Or maybe you need to find a way to change your attitude about sex. Again, this could be easy or extremely difficult for some. No matter what, pray about it. Pray that you can see sex as the beautiful gift that God designed it to be. Pray that you would welcome those touches and caresses from your spouse and instead of thinking “again?” you would think, “YES, again!”.

God gave us sexual needs and spouses to fulfill those needs. One of the beautiful things about marriage is that you no longer have to worry about going “too far”. There are so many ways to enjoy each other. Embrace your time together and go have sex!

Lately I have been hearing from more and more women a consistent desire that is burning in their hearts. They want and need their husbands to step up and be a spiritual leader to their family. They are weary of bearing the burden of leadership that they were not created to bear. We live in a time that feminism and equal roles are common themes in our households. But this is not what God has intended.

God has blessed us with a lot of scripture to help us fulfill our roles as husbands and wives. My favorite is Ephesians 5:22-33.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Scripture makes it very clear — God designed the husband to be the leader of the family. As most Christians learn, when God sets up a model of which to live by, it’s because that is the best possible way. It’s what will bring Him glory, how we will be happiest, and how our lives will function properly. Husbands, you are the leaders. Your wife is to be your helper, your counselor. Lead your wife lovingly and she will happily follow.

So wives, what do you do if your husband is not being the leader you need him to be?

1. Pray. Pray that God would convict him and guide him.

2. Equip him. We are the helpers, the supporters. Start by asking him to make the decisions, and then follow through with the decision he does make. You can also give him the tools and the encouragement he needs to be a good leader. Find a devotional the two of you can do together or with your family. Ask him to lead prayer at meals or bedtimes with the kids.

3. Encourage him. If he does step up and lead, it is probably out of his comfort zone to do so. If your first response is criticism, it will probably make him shut down. Encouragement will build up his confidence to continue leading. Keep in mind his style of leading might look very different from how you would lead. This is where you need to submit and surrender to his leadership.

4. Praise God. God deserves all the praise and glory. I think especially for women, it is easy to put our hope and faith in our husbands. But putting our hope in anything other than God will bring disappointment every time.

5. Don’t get discouraged. Leadership is a learned skill. He’s not going to turn into the leader you dream for your family overnight, and he might not fully step up at once. If he steps up, then falls back into letting you lead, keep praying and keep encouraging him.

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

When was the last time you thanked God for your spouse? When was the last time you thanked God for creating sex, and bringing you and your spouse together to enjoy sex together? Don’t fall into the trap of spending all your prayer time asking for things — “count your blessings”, and thank God for them. Especially your spouse. It’s temping to “pray for your spouse” by listing off all your complaints to God (and that’s certainly wiser than listing them all to your spouse), but don’t use “prayer” as an excuse to develop a bitter or demanding spirit. Notice how I put “prayer” in quotes everywhere? If you use your time with God to complain, are you really communicating with him at all?

Check out my Song of Solomon series and meditate on the imagery the Lover and Beloved use to describe each other. Pray those words over your spouse.

When was the last time you thanked your spouse for their love? When was the last time you thanked your spouse for being your lover? Maybe you figure “she already knows”, or “he won’t want to talk about it”, but ’tis the season! Thank your spouse for their love, their intimacy, and their sexuality.

Even though the holidays are busy and stressful, make some time to be alone with your spouse and give them something special to be thankful for!

XXX Church has a post with some tips for great sex in your marriage (thanks for the pointer, SC). There’s definitely no shortage of tips on the internet, but here are my top two from this post:

#1 Twice a week.

#5 NO More Excuses.

For #1, I think twice a week is pretty modest. I guess if you’re at twice a month then quadrupling that would seem like a bonanza (or a hassle), but really, this is a very low bar. Sexy Corte and I have young kids, jobs, hobbies, etc., and we do it 8-10 times a week. If that sounds crazy to you, then one of both of these is true:

  1. You don’t want to have sex that much
  2. Your spouse doesn’t want to have sex that much

If it’s both of you, then great. I’d still recommend having sex twice a week, but whatever. If you both want to miss out then that’s up to you.

If your spouse wants it and you don’t, then you need to check yourself before you wreck your marriage. Introspect. Maybe your spouse can “improve” something to increase your libido, but honestly, your lack of desire is primarily your problem to fix. So get on it. This is #5 above: no more excuses.

If you’re desperate for sex and your spouse isn’t interested, then maybe there are some things you can do to help the situation. Here are some basics:

  1. Hygiene. Seriously, are you clean? Are your sexy bits clean? Do you shower, or stink? How’s your breath? This is pretty basic, but it’s worth mentioning.
  2. Grooming. Do you make an effort to be attractive? Do you shave your face or legs (or balls)? Do you put on something sexy? Or do you expect your spouse to swoon for a slob?
  3. Attitude. Is your attitude crappy? Do you complain a lot or pick fights over stupid stuff? Are you grateful for your spouse, or bitter? Are you helpful and understanding, or dismissive and impatient? Are you like Christ?
  4. Enthusiasm. When you initiate sex are you demanding, resentful, whiny, desperate… or enthusiastic? Everyone loves to have fun, so be excited! “Want to try something crazy?” “Look what I just read on Married Christian Sex!” “I can’t wait till we’re alone together later….” Be flirty and fun. Build up anticipation.
  5. Pray! Yes, God cares about your sex life, and He wants it to be awesome. If it isn’t all you want it to be, then pray about it. Confess your sins, look inside yourself and change what needs to change. Pray that God would be at work in your spouse too. Pray that God would give you a great sex life, and that your spouse will want it as much as you. God works through prayer.

I’ve still got to write my post about enthusiasm….

Bonnie Wallace has written a couple of posts with some reasons that husbands and wives don’t feel sexy. Some of them are physical/medical, but most of them are mental/emotional. Even some that appear to be physical are really mental/emotional. I won’t excerpt all the reasons, but they’re worth reading and Bonnie’s suggestions for addressing them are very constructive.

Rather than offering suggestions of my own, I’d like to share a couple of verses from the Bible. The first is part of a poem written by King David that beautifully describes the loving care God has invested into the creation of each of his children.

Psalm 139:13-18

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

How precious concerning me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

God’s thoughts for each of his children are vast and precious. He has intricately woven each of us into exactly the wonderful form he intended.

The second passage is an exhortation for believers to present the members, the parts, of our bodies to God for his righteous use.

Romans 6:12-13

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

We are commanded to discipline our minds and bodies and bring them into subjection to Christ. We must not only avoid sin, but go beyond that to present the parts of our bodies to God as instruments for righteousness. Included in this preparing and developing your mind and body for sexual relations with your spouse. There are many things your spouse can do to make you “feel sexy”, but the primary responsibility is yours. There are many things you can do to help your spouse feel sexy, but ultimately that responsibility belongs to your spouse and to God.

So if you don’t feel sexy, what should you do? Start with prayer. Ask God to reinvigorate your sex life with your spouse. Tell God that you want hot, frequent, satisfying sex with your spouse. Ask him to change you and your spouse to make it happen.

Second, confront any sin in your mind or body that is inhibiting you. Vanity over your imperfect looks? Gluttony? Lethargy? Contempt towards your spouse? Lust for other people? For husbands, a lack of love and sacrifice? A failure to lead spiritually? For wives, a lack of submission?

Finally, tell your spouse that you’re praying for your sex life and repenting of the sins that have held you back. Pick the right time for this conversation… don’t do it right after an unsatisfying sexual encounter. Don’t put the burden onto your spouse and say that you’re praying for them and their sin. When you bring it up, focus on God and what you’re asking him to do.

If your relationship with your spouse is in such dire condition that you don’t feel that you can have this conversation without it turning into a fight, then just don’t. God doesn’t need you to tell your spouse in order for him to work. Just start praying and confessing, and wait to see what God does.

I just read the book Kiss Me Like You Mean It: Solomon’s Crazy In Love How-To Manual by Dr. David Clarke. In it he asks a question about “the source of passion in marriage?” The answer is God! God created marriage and even created sex. He wants us to have passion in our marriages! Clarke gives four “passion principles” for spouses to keep God at the center of their marriage.

  1. Come to Christ – Knowing Jesus is the most important thing a person can do. You need Christ as your foundation in order to be able to share him as a couple.
  2. Share Your Personal Spiritual Growth – Talk about what God is doing in your life. Ask each other what you are learning, how you are growing. Read scripture and discuss it. Your spouse should be your best accountability partner.
  3. Pray Together – And not just at meal times. Hold hands and pray out loud. Pray for each other. El Fury always asks me before we go to bed how he can pray for me. It’s such a blessing to know that I always have someone praying for me.
  4. Read the Bible Together – Reading Scripture and discussing it together is an amazing experience. I learn a lot from El Fury. And when we don’t know the answer to something, it’s fun to look it up together.

To have a spiritual bond is incredibly intimate. This is how God designed marriage. Closeness with Him leads to closeness with each other, which means more passion! Passion is what fuels the fire of great sex and great intimacy.

I think Clarke’s Passion Principles are really refreshing compared to a lot of marriage books I have read. Rather than relying on methodology on how to communicate better, resolve conflict, etc. he cuts to the core of your relationship. More Christ. God desires to be intimate with you and your marriage.