(Here’s a link to the series introduction — a good place to start!)

Habit 1: Be Proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. You can’t keep blaming everything on your parents or grandparents. Proactive people recognize that they are “response-able.” They don’t blame genetics, circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. They know they choose their behavior. Reactive people, on the other hand, are often affected by their physical environment. They find external sources to blame for their behavior. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and performance, and they blame the weather.

And you can’t keep blaming your spouse, either!

Stephen Covey describes three Circles that can be used to understand and evaluate our circumstances:

  • Circle of Concern: Everything you care about, everything that impacts your life.
  • Circle of Influence: The subset of your Circle of Concern that you can affect with your decisions.
  • Circle of Control: The subset of your Circle of Influence that you can directly control.

Here’s a diagram, for you visual thinkers.

When we’re reactive, we spend all our time and energy worrying about things we can’t control or even influence. When we’re proactive, we spend our time and influence on the inner circles, the things we can control (in our own life and body) and the things we can influence in our immediate community and family.

As an exercise with your spouse, it can be helpful to categorize your concerns using these circles. First, list everything you care about. Second, underline the concerns that you can influence. Third, put a star next to the things you can control. (Once you have your list, you can draw the three circles if you want!) Discussion questions: Do your lists match? What items are you spending the most time and energy on?

Here’s what Jesus says about our Circle of Concern:

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

God is all-powerful, so nothing is out of his control! As believers, we can trust God with our Circle of Concern and have his peace, relying on his power and goodness to handle everything that concerns us.

God’s power isn’t just for our Circle of Concern, but for everything in our lives. Proverbs 3 is full of advice, guidance, and commands for making good decisions — it’s hard to pull out a few verses to quote, but these are some of my favorites:

Proverbs 3:3-6

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
    bind them around your neck;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
    in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

Action words for the proactive Christian: bind, write, trust, lean, acknowledge — along with promises of what God is proactively doing for you. God is active — he is always at work around us — and since we’re made in his image he expects us to be active also.

Here’s another passage from Proverbs about being proactive.

Proverbs 6:6-11

Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
    officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread in summer
    and gathers her food in harvest.
How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

The ant doesn’t need anyone to tell her what to do, and she doesn’t sit around waiting, pouting, or complaining about the seasons. The ant works within her Circle of Influence to gather what she needs when the circumstances are favorable.

It would be easy to go on and on — God’s commands in the Bible are always proactive. Even when you’re in a season of waiting, you are commanded to be in prayer, service, and study.

So then, what does it mean to be proactive in our sex life with our spouse? Here are some examples that might resonate with you.

Reactive thinking says:

  • I don’t know if I want to have sex, let’s see how I feel at the end of our date
  • It’s not my fault, I can’t help how I feel
  • Our sex life is disappointing because of our jobs/kids/health
  • Why doesn’t he know what I want?
  • Why doesn’t she initiate sex?
  • After my day at work / with the kids, I just can’t do it
  • If he would ABC, then maybe I would XYZ

Proactive thinking says:

You can’t choose your circumstances, but you can choose how you act in response. You can take responsibility for yourself. You can’t control your spouse, but by being proactive you can influence your spouse through service and communication. As you focus on what you can control and influence, your Circle of Influence will grow!

Being Proactive is a big idea, so maybe you’d like an actionable tip for where to start. Take a look at this post about The Five Love Languages and Sex and find your spouse’s primary love language, then do something for them that speaks to it. Afterwards, remind your spouse of your primary love language and point them at that post and this one. Rinse (if necessary) and repeat!

If this habit has made an impact in your life and marriage, leave a comment to tell us about it.

Date nights are essential for intimacy and connection, especially after you have kids. It’s fun to go out to dinner, see a movie, go for a hike, or do an escape room — and it can be just as fun (and even more relaxing) to have a stay-date at home after the kids are in bed. However you do it, date nights are great!

One of the things we’ve realized over the past several years is that we really don’t like staying up late. No matter how late we’re out, those darn kids wake up at the same time every day! In fact, by the time we get home from a date at 10 or 11 we’re pretty wiped out. Sex takes energy, even after a romantic, intimate evening together. But after a date with your spouse you’re supposed to have sex, right? It feels anticlimactic to just crawl into bed and go to sleep.

Fortunately there’s a simple solution: have sex before you go on your date. It can be right before you leave, during nap time in the afternoon, or in the morning before the kids come knocking —  give each other an orgasm to kick-off your date right! Here are some advantages to having sex before your date:

  • Oxytocin: Orgasms get your bonding hormones flowing, which will jump-start intimacy for your date.
  • No pressure: There won’t be any pressure to make sex the capstone of your date when you get home late. We find that it’s especially hard for Sexy Corte to summon up the energy for an orgasm late at night, no matter how great a time we’re having. Time of day has a big impact on many wives, and it doesn’t always line up with date night.
  • Lingering arousal: Date nights are a great opportunity to talk positively about your sex life together — what you like, what you want to try, how it feels when your spouse touches you just — like — that. If you have sex before your date, the lingering arousal can fuel your conversation. It’s hot to look at your spouse across the restaurant table and know that you just rocked their world!
  • Mementos: You can carry a memento of your recent sex with you on your date. For example: a secret hickey or lingerie. It’s a huge turn-on for me just knowing that my semen is still inside Sexy Corte when we go out. We’ve also talked about the idea of me finishing on her body and SC wearing it under her clothes, but we haven’t done it yet.

The downside of having sex before your date is that you lose some of the angsty build-up, but hey, there’s no rule that you can’t have sex again after! (Or during.)

So when do you have sex on date night? I’m sure we’re not the only ones who are tired when we get home!