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Christian Report July 2024

Charting a Course for Christian Marriage

Enjoying the Passion and Romance of Marriage


“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 KJV


The uniqueness and specialness of each marriage is expressed in the myriad of ways that we live our lives from the most intimate to the mundane and everything in between. Yet, we are equally convinced and testify that the romance, passion, and sexuality of marriage is at the core of the fundamental experience of becoming one flesh.


Sex is a gift from God to bless your marriage, a core element in the “abundant life” He has given us. A good sex life increases feelings of love and strengthens your attachment to each other. Our bodies are actually constructed to form and strengthen emotional bonds during sex by the release of the hormone oxytocin1. A good sex life helps to meet one of the basic needs of married folks, the need to feel both unique and special to each other. That is why the “thief” in John 10:10 works so hard to distract us with the sexuality of others and interfere with this union of a man and a woman in Holy Matrimony. A Christian couple must make the effort to honor the boundaries of intimacy around their marriage, their sexuality, and their home. This requires implementing Christ’s powerful injunction to be in this world but not a part of it on a very personal and couple basis. Yes, we cannot help but notice attractive men and women on TV, in the movies, in books, magazines, and among people we encounter in our work, social, and spiritual lives. (Yes, even in everyday clothing catalogues!) We find it important to remind ourselves that all those other folks are intended by God for other mates and that they are first and foremost souls and people with their own set of life purposes and challenges; they are definitely not objects of desire however they may wish to advertise themselves as such for personal or financial gain.


To be both unique and special to our spouses we must not keep secrets from them, we must not talk about marital issues with other people (especially of the opposite sex), we must not invest more energy and love in our children or family of origin than we do our own spouse. To be both unique and special to our spouses we must not shy away from expressing our sexual desires and listening to their respective desires and needs. Showing our emotional vulnerability with our spouse in the area of sex is especially relationship building. Those conversations are private and intimate in and of themselves, and they can be as bonding as much as the sex is itself.



We acknowledge that feelings of anger, resentment, or dissatisfaction can rob you of any interest in sex with your spouse. Do not let these feelings fester as they will grow and rob you of any possible peace or happiness. Use the suggestions and recommendations covered previously to discuss this with your spouse and come to an understanding and a plan to make things better.  If your attempt to deal with these issues does not result in positive changes or relieve you of the negative feelings, it may be helpful to enlist professional help. We would caution our fellow Christians to choose professional help wisely. If possible, consult with trusted pastors, fellow Christians, and pray for God’s guidance in the selection of professional help. Patient-therapist fit is one of the best predictors of a positive outcome from professional help. Be a good consumer and ask good questions about the therapist’s support for Christians up front.


If you are chronically ill or overtired, not sleeping well or working too hard, this can also interfere with a good sex life. You may feel that there is nothing that you can do to fix that problem, but it is important to find a way to move incrementally toward the changes that lead to more rest and feeling restored physically. A trip to your primary care physician may be a good first start.


Being in our late seventies, we will just mention aging as an issue briefly. We suspect most readers will be much younger, and we know you do not like to think about older folks…you know…doing it! The truth is that age and the health issues of aging can certainly impact our sexuality, but we think it is important for Christian couples to understand and know that their sexuality can be a blessing to them well into those “advanced” years for as long as they live. There may be some issues to be dealt with medically, but you CAN look forward to passion and romance for a whole lifetime. Some might say sex and passion gets better and better as Christian maturity grows in our hearts and our marriages become even more intimate with the advancing wisdom of a long, good life together. We said in an earlier letter that love is not a feeling, that it is a decision, a commitment,  and an attitude of service. That was true as far as it went. Love without the decision, commitment and regular willing service to the beloved fades and eventually dies. However, when there is a continuing pattern of commitment and service, the feeling of love also grows, becomes more intense and stronger. That precious feeling of uniqueness and specialness continues to grow even more gratifying with each of those graying hairs and the ever-increasing wrinkles! Really, it does!



Summary and Conclusion. We all know that good military trainers tell you in advance what they are going to teach you, then they teach you, and finally they tell you what they taught you. At least that is what our old instructor training courses emphasized. Here is what the Holy Spirit has laid on our hearts to share with our fellow CMF members with this paper.


1.  There are some “prerequisites” for a good marriage Christian or otherwise---safety, freedom from addictions and absence of a competing relationship.


2.  Becoming more Christlike, our personal spiritual mission, is likewise simultaneously the core requirement for becoming the husband and wife we want to be.


3.  Working out the leadership roles and mutual areas of influence within a couple and family requires time, a certain amount of trial and error, and collaboration. Military couples will find this challenging due to deployments and the increasing role of women as warriors.  We suggested stepping back from military rank and roles within the marriage and home, exercising a high level of compassion for one another, and trying to catch one another doing something right…often!


We emphasized the importance of creating an environment where spouses can express their most vulnerable emotions and feel heard and understood. Understanding is not an automatic commitment to agree or make a change. It is an act of mercy and love that says I can hold that part of you in my heart even if it is tough to hear. Loving your spouse when they are most unlovable is very important, because that is usually when they need it most.


4.  Resolving conflicts is a normal part of a Christian marriage. Making positive efforts to express problems without accusatory rhetoric helps get a discussion off toward a better start than trying to tell someone what they are doing wrong. This will go a long way toward solving conflicts. Granting a beloved spouse time to regroup emotionally when overloaded is another act of mercy and love. This can be done in such a way that conflict resolution can resume with better prospects at  a later time.



5.  Romance, passion, and sex are gifts God grants us, which if held in sacred privacy within the marriage will enhance the bond between husband and wife. Sexual intimacy contributes vitally to both spouses feeling unique and special. Establishing firm emotional and physical boundaries around marriage is critical in as much as modern culture tries so hard to separate sexuality from the sanctity of marriage.


Well, we think we hear that whiny growl of the letter carrier’s little truck again. Better get the old sailor out of his recliner and send him out to see what is in the mail today. All that remains is for us to thank you for reading this paper or letter (not sure what to call it) and considering our personal testimony regarding Christian Marriage as reflected in our personal and professional experiences. We consider the request to submit this paper to CMF one of the highest honors we have ever been given in our lives. Beyond our own family, there is no community of people whom we love more. In conclusion we humbly ask you to let us give you our benediction.


We pray that as you work diligently to nurture your marriage within the constraints of serving your country in uniform, that wherever your lives take you that you will feel Christ walking beside you, talking to you in your most challenging moments.


To help realize that awareness — Commit to sail with Him, march with Him, fly with Him; submerge with Him; parachute with Him; complete every mission with Him in your heart.

Pray for peace in your soul as you work out the enigma in which Christian servicemen and women often find themselves while serving the Prince of Peace and defending home and hearth.



Come home to your spouse and your family. Share with one another how He brought you all through. When you suffer loss, grieve and honor those lost in military operations.

Know that every serviceman and woman who has ever proudly put on that uniform honors you and your family. Know that what you are doing is your calling from Him for purposes that may or may not ever be clear in our lifetimes. But we know it is vitally important.

And know that if you and your family are ever near our home in Orlando, Florida, you have a seat at our table.


Dr. Herschel Hughes, Jr., CDR, MSC, USNR (Ret.) and Dr. Anne S. Hughes, LCDR, USNR (Ret.) are CMF Local Reps who are engaged in CMF’s Marriage & Family and Combat Trauma Ministries.  During different seasons of the year, they are able to adopt a vagabond lifestyle with their RV and enjoy traveling to different military ministry posts while continuing their own Bible teaching and ministry via video conference.

1. Crossman, Miriam M.D. (2009) You’re Teaching My Child What?: A physician Exposes the lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child. Regnery Publishing, Inc. p. 49

 

BOOK OF THE MONTH

KISS THE WAVE

 



“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”

What does it mean to “kiss the wave?” These words, attributed to nineteenth-century British preacher Charles Spurgeon, speak to the Christian’s only hope for perseverance in suffering. What if we can learn to experience the nearness of God in the midst of suffering? What if God intends to work through our trials rather than simply take them away?


After living for more than a decade with a debilitating nerve condition in both arms, Dave Furman shows us that God, in His grace, always designs trials for our good―not minimizing the pain, but infusing significance into our suffering. Furman demonstrates that, even when tossed to and fro by stormy waves, God is near ... and that makes all the difference in the world.


Supplies are limited.  Order yours by calling (800) 798-7875 or emailing us at office@CMFHQ.org 

 

 

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