Posts Tagged ‘ kids ’

Sex in Marriage; Are we REALLY willing to work on it?

relationship difficulties

 

Last week I put out the “Sex after kids survey” (head on over and take it if you haven’t, then come back), and while the results are still rolling in (we’ll post the full results in a couple of weeks), there are a few things that are proving overwhelmingly obvious already.

The first thing is when asked “what are the biggest issues in your sex life?” The three biggest responses by large margins are currently (in order from biggest to smallest) “tired”, “frequency”, and “don’t feel my spouse wants to work on it”.

Also, when asked what the current state of their sex lives were, the large majority of people respond “it’s just ok,  I think it could be a lot better if we worked at it more”.

I don’t know about you, but all that sure starts to sound familiar. Basically, what’s being said is “we would have a better sex life if we would work on in, and the number one reason we don’t, is we’re too tired.”

Let me put this another way. So most couples want a better sexual relationship. Most couples feel it could be better if they worked on it. And most couples would do so, if they weren’t so tired. Huh. Go ahead and read that again. I’ll wait. Got it? Ok good, so in general, the biggest obstacle to enjoying the sex life with your spouse that God designed you to have, and you deeply desire (even if you don’t realize it), is that we pack so much into our day, that we are too exhausted to invest in our marriage? Yeah, that really makes sense.

My dad always told me “you probably shouldn’t complain about something you’re not willing to work on. I didn’t like it as a kid, and I don’t really like it as an adult, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

I guess what I’m saying, is that sometimes we don’t really like where we are in our marriage, but we don’t dislike it ENOUGH, to actually WORK on it. This is especially true with our sex lives. We convince ourselves “it’s too much work” to talk about it, and re-hash the “same argument” that always ends the same way (or so we say).

Or if it’s just “being tired” that is holding you back, maybe it’s time to take a serious look at the ol’ day planner, and figure out how big of a priority your marriage really is. Does it come before golf, or video games, or working on the yard, or the house, or hanging out with your buddies, or (insert your own blank)? Maybe it’s time to readjust your schedule a bit as to not leave you totally drained when your finally get around to seeing your spouse.

Sorry if this is harsh, but believe me, I’m talking to myself here – maybe it’s time to “put up or shut up” when it comes to taking responsibility for your marriage, and sex life. If you don’t like where your sex life is right now, are you working on it? Are you taking steps to communicate, and improve?  Or is it easier to just keep channel surfing?

Maintaining a sex life after kids: Take the Survey

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Maintaining a sex life after those little beings called “kids” show up, can be quite a challenge! 😉

Will you take a few minutes to complete our latest survey on this topic? This survey is for both HUSBANDS and WIVES, and it is totally anonymous. 

We will post the results after a few weeks. 

Thanks for your help, and feel free to share this with your friends! The more that take it, the better picture we’ll get.

CLICK HERE to take the survey! 

The role of DAD; Our kids desperately need us.

The last few days, I’ve had the blessing (ok, so sometimes my face may not have said “blessing”) of taking care of our 3 kiddos (5, 3 and 1) while my wife went to the Woman’s Advance at our church (great thing to send your wife to by the way, to get refreshed and recharged – but that’s another post…). It was really nice to have some “down time” with just the kids and I. And it got me thinking.

Sometimes I think we as men, can view life day-to-day, as one big “task list” that needs to be done, in order to feel like we’ve accomplished and “conquered” the day.

What I’m afraid we also tend to do (most times not even realizing it), is put “quality time with the kids” way down at the bottom of that mental list.

We tell ourselves “I’ll get to that when I get all this more important stuff is done”forgetting that being a DAD to our kids (even if that means just building a Lego castle with your son, or letting your daughter “do your hair” with bows and barettes) is one of the greatest callings God has given us. Spending time with them – not “left over” time, but quality, purposeful, time –  is one of our most important jobs as dads.

Our sons are trying as hard as they can to win our approval, even when they mess up. They’re also trying to figure out what it means to be a “man” in today’s world. And you know what that means, they’re looking to DAD. You remember the feeling – always thinking Dad was about the coolest, strongest, best dressed guy you knew. But are we taking the time to really talk to our sons? To encourage them? To show them how to treat women respectfully and with honor? To show them the value of hard work? What it means to be a man of your word? When they show anger towards us or their siblings, do we show them anger back? Or take that chance to take a deep breath ourselves, and help them understand how to work through it, instead of blow up? If we aren’t training our sons up to be men of God, and what it looks like to be a “real man” in God’s eyes, who will?

Or how about our little daughters? You know, the most beautiful little girl you’ve ever laid eyes on? The one that goes around telling everybody she’s “daddy’s princess”.  Do we even realize what an impact we have on her little sense of self-confidence? How she’s crying out to us “Dad, do you think I’m beautiful? Do you notice me when I spin around in my dress? Do I have value? Do I measure up?”. We forget the impact we have on our daughters. We need to spend that time with them just cuddling on the couch, asking her about things she’s interested in, taking her on “daddy daughter dates”, telling her she’s beautiful. And do you know why these things are so important? Because if we don’t, she’ll end up finding another boy who will.

I don’t know about you, but when my little girl gets into her teen years, I want her confident in her daddy’s love for her, in feeling valued, in knowing that she can come to me anytime for support, or just to hold her through the tough times. The more we seek to fill this God-given role for our daughters, the less likely they will be to try finding it out from another boy, until the appropriate time when God sends her the mate He’s chosen for her – to take over for me.

Don’t view time with your kids as “optional”. It should be just as important as spending time with your wife. I’m pretty sure when we get to Heaven, and God asks what we did with the children He entrusted to us, it’s not going to go over well if we say “Well, I didn’t spend much time with my kids, but you should see how much landscaping I got done, and how many contracts I closed at work!”. God didn’t call us to have an amazing yard. He called us to train up the children he’s given us.

Our kids just want to see that their dad values them. Over work. Over getting the house clean. Over his golf game or ESPN.

Sometimes it seems like we’re not “training them up” by just playing cars, or doll house, but if we could only see the impact we’re having on them, showing them they matter to us, we’d do it so much more often.

They’ll always be more “stuff” to do. Our kids are only in our care for a short time. We don’t have to be perfect, we just need to be “there”. Don’t short your kids what they desperately need from you – being their DAD. 

Are We Still Pursuing Our Wives?

I hate divorce. I hate hearing that a couple I know has decided to give in and call it quits. I hate the pain it brings on both sides, not to mention how it affects the kids involved. And you know what it all comes down to in most cases? Lack of pursuit. At some point in the marriage, one or both sides decided that other things (life, work, golf, etc) were worth pursuing more than their mate. Now yes, there are other reasons for divorce (cheating, abuse, etc), but I wonder how many could have been prevented if there was a conscious effort by husband and wife, to continue to really pursue the other person, just like they did before they walked down that aisle, and maybe even for the first few years after the wedding. While this could apply to both husband and wife, I’m addressing the husbands in this post, so buckle up guys. 🙂

What do I mean by pursue? I mean this – Remember before you got married? Remember how it was when you were first dating? It didn’t matter if you were at work, or playing ball with the guys, or whatever, you had her on your mind. You were always thinking about the next time you would see her, or what you could do to be romantic, or what little gift you wanted to surprise her with. You were trying to win her heart. You were trying to make her think that you would stop at nothing to make her feel special, and want to spend the rest of her life with you. You were constantly pursuing the goal of winning her heart. 

Now fast forward to 5, 10, or even 20 years of marriage. Somehow, and maybe even without meaning to, “life” started to creep in. Since you had already “won” her heart now (come on, you spent all that money on the ring for crying out loud!), your male “once I’m done with one task, I move to the next one” mind started to kick in, and suddenly that amazing girl who used to occupy 95% of your waking thoughts (and some of your sleeping ones too), now was now buried somewhere after the golf game on Saturday, your goals at your job, and trying to raise 2 or 3 small kids while maintaining some sort of sanity. Somewhere along the way the pursuit slowed, or maybe even stopped.

My dad used to say “you lose what you don’t appreciate”. When I was a kid, I used to roll my eyes when he said that, because most times when it was said, I had just gotten scolded for not taking care of something, and it had gotten damaged or ruined. We have to realize guys (and the sooner the better), we can’t just say “I do”, and then put the gear shift into neutral, and hope to cost the rest of the way on the “we’re in love, so what could happen” feeling. As husbands, we have to continue to do those things we did when we won her heart! And “but I just don’t feel like it” is just lazy. Our wives don’t want to feel like they come in on our priority list right after getting the garbage to the curb every Wednesday night! They want to know we’re still crazy about them! They want to be the apple of our eye, just like they were in the early days.

“But I say I love you all the time!” Yeah, but do your actions line up with your words? We all love the old saying “talk is cheap”, but oh how true it is! If you’re saying “I love you baby! I really want to spend time with you!” on your way to the golf course, she’s probably not going to put much stock in what you’re saying. Look for ways to say “I love you, and you’re still everything to me”. I’m not going to list out a “top ten romantic ways to tell your wife you love her” either, because all wives are different! You’re going to have to think back (come on, you can do it) to your dating days and remember the little things. That place you used to take her to watch the stars (even thought you spent most of the time looking at her). The hangout you used to always go to and get the corner booth. The coffee you used to bring her at work, even though her work was 10 miles out of your way. You get the idea. 

As I’ve watched marriage after marriage of people I know break up, I wonder. I wonder at what point it started to break down. At what point this couple who was by their own admissions “madly in love with each other” just a few years earlier, now can’t stand each other. When did the nights of cuddling on the couch every night and sharing each other’s heart in conversation, get traded for him staying up to work, and her going to bed early? When did the priorities shift? I bet if you asked the couple, they couldn’t pinpoint a time or date it started happening. It just did. Over the years, pursuit was lost, and along with it, sadly, the marriage was too.

Does it take a little effort to continue to pursue your wife’s heart throughout the ups and downs of your marriage? Sure it does! But the when the alternative is being in a marriage where a slow acting poison called “inactivity” is killing it, it should be an easy choice to make. We can’t settle for normal guys! Our wives deserve BETTER than normal! Be the man that your wife fell in love with in the first place. Be a husband that pursues his wife!

Kick Your Wife Out of The House!

Not permanently, just for a little while. Here’s the scenario:

You walk in the door after a day at work, and it looks like a tornado by the name of “3 kids” has blown through the house. Your wife looks up from a pile of laundry with a “thank God you’re home” look on her face and gives you a half-smile.

You put your work stuff down, and soon find out that in between the kid that pooped on the floor, the 6 loads of laundry, and the baby that has spit up on 3 sets of clothes, it’s been a doozie of a day for your poor wife, and she is about at the end of her rope.

You have a couple of options at this point. You can either choose to ignore that your wife is about ready to lose it, and turn on SportsCenter, or you can say “hey hon, after dinner, I got the kids – why don’t you head to Starbucks for a while and catch up on that book you’ve been wanting to read”. She will most likely try to put up a weak protest saying something about how she’s ok, and needs to get stuff done here, but if you tell her you’ll finish the laundry, and that she needs to take the time while she can, she will probably be out the door before you finish speaking.

For those of us husbands who are blessed with wives want to stay home and do the amazing job of taking care of the kids, we need to make sure they are still getting some time to themselves. Sometimes we forget as husbands, that just because they “get to stay home all day”, it is nowhere close to “restful” most of the time for our dear wives. You think a rude customer at work is hard to deal with? Try a teething 1-year-old who wants to be held all day. At least with the rude customer, he will finally leave the store after a while, not so with the teething kiddo. He’s there ALL DAY.

“But I just got done working all day, I want to be able to come home and relax, not play babysitter”. That’s great, if you want to watch your wife slowly lose her drive to even try anymore. She needs that couple hours alone every once in a while to help her “refocus” and “regroup” a little. You at least get your lunch hour and breaks at work. I heard one mom say she’d be thrilled just to be able to use the bathroom, without a child knocking on the door needing something.

Contrary to popular belief, stay at home moms do not sit in front of the TV all day long and eat bon-bons. 🙂

So, if your wife stays at home with the kiddos, give her some “HER TIME” often. Even if you have to schedule it and make it a once or twice a week thing, do it! Not only will you have a much happier and composed wife, you’ll get to build your relationship with your kids in the process! The other day Ben (5yrs), my oldest, told his mom that “she needs to go somewhere, because we haven’t gotten much time with dad lately.” Plan a movie night, or take the kids to the baseball field. Make it a fun time that the kids look forward to! Sometimes we get a little too involved in our work and forget the kids need their DAD to PLAY with them too. They’re only kids for a limited amount of time, don’t make the mistake of thinking work needs to come before that game of catch.

Give you wife few hours away from the crazy. Who know kicking your wife out of the house could be such a positive thing! 😉

What my Dad Taught Me About Hard Work

I was out mowing a lawn for some extra “diaper money” the other day. It was hot, and the lawn I was mowing was at a house that had been repossessed by the bank, so “lawn” didn’t truly reflect the condition grass I was cutting. “Hay field” would have been a better representation. It was so bad that I couldn’t even use a regular mower to get through it, I had to use a “DR Trimmer Mower” (basically a 6HP weed eater on wheels) to hack through the overgrown grass. Anyway, there I was, sweat dripping down my forehead, grumbling to myself about how hard it was, and how I wished I could just go home and have a glass of my wife’s homemade lemonade, when my mind started to wander back to when I was a kid, and the lessons that my dad taught my sister and I about hard work.

My sister and I were always expected to help with whatever project dad had going at the time. It could be building fences around our 5 acre plot of land, or weeding the very large garden he insisted on growing every year. Whatever the task was, dad always taught us that it didn’t matter if it was 95 degrees out, or if you were tired, or had some great excuse for why you needed to go inside – the job needed to be done, and done right, and with the right attitude. There were many times I thought he was mean to make us stay out and finish the job. I had no idea that what he was instilling into me would be of such great value as an adult. What I thought was dad just being a pain – I should have been thanking him for.

There have been many jobs as a teenager, and as a young adult, that I would not have gotten, or been able to keep, if it weren’t for what Dad taught me as a kid. I’ve worked for burger joints, all the way up to self-made millionaires, and each one has always gone out of their way to hire me, and then try to keep me on if I decided to leave for a better job. Is this because I’m a likable guy, or I have some kind of secret power? No, it’s because I know how to roll up my sleeves and get down to business – just like my dad taught me.

Being a father myself now, I have to remember to teach a good work ethic to my kids – to do the job “unto the Lord, not unto man”. Even if it’s not an enjoyable job, or everybody else has quit – having to determination to see the job through. This is harder than it sounds however, in the culture we live in. It’s tempting in our world of automated everything and “the government will do it for you” attitudes, to end up doing too much FOR my kids instead of letting them work at something and see it through without my direct help. I also need to lead by example in the work that I do with them. Just like I remember my dad seeing the job through no matter how hard, my kids will also remember how their dad did, or didn’t see a job through.

Thanks Dad, for showing me the value of a hard work. It a trait that’s becoming harder and harder to find.