This week began the annual season of Lent, that time of year when Christians around the world give up something that they really enjoy in order to prepare for Easter. Some people give up sweets, others give up caffeine, others give up social media.
We’re thinking this a great time for you to give up porn.
The whole point of Lent is to clear something out of your life in order to make room for God. You’re intentionally removing something from your world so you can fill the space that remains with Jesus. And what better thing can you give up for Lent than the soul-destroying, eternally unsatisfying consumption of porn? (Tweet This!)
Sound good? Seems like something you’d like to do?
We can help.
We actually already have a 30-Day Porn-Free Challenge all ready to go for you. It’s completely free and will provide you with some encouragement as you journey through this season of having porn be absent from your life.
And when your 30 days is up, why not keep going all the way through the rest of Lent? And then, when Lent is over and Easter has arrived and everyone else enters a time of feasting and enjoying all over again the things that they’d given up for Lent, why not take a moment and consider how much better your life has been without porn?
Let this be a season that gets extended far beyond what you ever thought you could do.
In the first 5 years of my marriage, I gained 65 pounds, and none of it was muscle.
My wife, on the other hand, gained nothing. (In fact, we’ll celebrate our 25th anniversary next year and she just keeps looking better and better.)
Me? Well… there was just more of me to love, right?
When I was overweight, I always liked to make little jokes like that. But are they jokes… or are they excuses? (Tweet This!)
When my friend Craig Gross posted a video interview ( Can overweight people have great sex?) the comments began pouring in. Countless people were offended, claiming Craig and his wife were focusing on the external instead of the internal.
Really? Think about it. Because I know most of you have seen both extremes.
On one hand we’ve all seen that person who becomes obsessive about their appearance (or maybe you’ve been that person!). They look in the mirror and are overwhelmed with being too fat, too short, too pale… you name it. They look at the models on magazine covers or the celebrities on the red carpet and feel like there is no way they’ll ever measure up. They let their looks become their identity. This isn’t only mentally unhealthy, it’s spiritually unhealthy. Few would argue this.
On the other hand, we’ve also seen what happens when someone “lets themselves go” physically. The list of consequences is large, the biggest being weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. (You can read more on that here) It’s not easy to talk about this kind of indulgence, but the Bible does: it condemns a lack of self-control and gluttony, sins which tend to get ignored in the church.
And what about in the bedroom?
Who’s going to bring that up? (Oh… someone did last week, and they got drilled!)
I wonder how many spouses want to bring it up but never do?
A Wake-Up Call
My dad had a heart attack a few years ago, and so we all decided to lose some weight together. I lost 30 pounds and even got rid of a bunch of my “fat clothes.” My wife was overjoyed. In the middle of an intimate moment in the bedroom she reached her arms around me and began feeling some of my muscles. She said, “Wow. I can reach around your body!” (She didn’t really mean for the words to come out like that… but they did.) We both began laughing, but it provoked a candid conversation. I begged her to be honest with me, and after some coaxing and cajoling, she shared that it was much easier for her to be intimate when she was turned on physically. She assured me she never loved me any less when I was big… but let’s be honest. Abs are more attractive than blubber.
On our wedding day we said the words “for better or worse,” but she kept getting better while I got worse. (Tweet This!)
How is that fair?
Before you get offended at my wife, or me, please consider God’s design. My guess is that Adam and Eve probably weren’t flabby.
This is where someone always chimes in with, “Well, I’m just big boned.” I remember hearing a comedian making fun of that phrase. He jested, “Where are all these big boned people when they die? Have you ever seen a fat skeleton?”
For me, it all came down to discipline. I gained weight because of two things: bad diet and lack of exercise. Sure, I had a ton of good excuses: I was working hard in ministry, I was raising my kids, I was trying to be a good husband… a good chubby husband. But what good is an employee who is messing up the health plan with his diabetes? What help can a dad be when he dies at age 52? (Tweet This!) What kind of character does a husband reflect when he figures his wife should just love him for who he has “grown to be”?
Last year I messed up my shoulder and had to get rotator cuff surgery. Two things happened: I had to stop my favorite forms of exercise (and didn’t do the forms that were available to me), and I ate whatever I wanted. After all, I was depressed from the injury and lack of exercise.
I lost muscle and gained weight.
In January, my wife and I had a heart-to-heart conversation. She asked me, “Jonathan, please lose the weight. I love you and I don’t want you to be unhealthy.”
A noble request.
I vowed to her, “Lori, I’m going to change my diet and exercise until I get to the ‘healthy’ zone on my doctor’s weight chart (a zone I hadn’t seen in over 20 years). This time I won’t stop at 10 pounds overweight. This time I’ll keep it off.” She almost did a back flip.
I called up my dad and asked him, “Do you wanna join Weight Watchers with me?” He said, “Yes! I was just waiting for someone to do it with me.”
We signed up and have been dropping pounds since. Last week I worked out five different days (three of them on the road). I’ve lost almost 15 pounds as I write this, and I’ve got 17 to go to hit my goal. (I’ve got abs under this layer of chunky… I just know it!)
Are you an overweight lover?
Are you convincing yourself, “it’s fine!”
Who do you need to call?
Are you looking to increase the marital fitness in your sex life? Not sure where to start talking about these sensitive topics? Learn more about these things and how to take your sex and intimacy life to a BRAND NEW level in our newest video workshop Best Sex Life Now.
Earlier in the week XXXchurch posted a video on Facebook entitled “Can overweight people have great sex?” This was a video outtake from our new video series Best Sex Life Now.
When we posted it, I thought nothing of it. In fact,
I think it’s a legitimate question.
However, within minutes of posting the comments started pouring in. And let’s just say most of them weren’t good. In fact, many were super-angry accusing the speakers in the video (Craig Gross and his wife Jeanette) of being superficial and poking fun at “fat people.”
This completely blew me away.
And let me be clear, one of the great things about this organization is that we all don’t have to agree on everything.
We understand the importance of talking about difficult topics and we realize that, in doing so, we will stir up conflicting opinions. In fact, there have been things we’ve posted before that I personally wouldn’t have posted.
BUT this video ain’t one of them.
Why? Because there is a lot of legitimacy in asking this question!
However, let’s clear something up:
Weight is not the issue. Fitness is the issue.
And yes, I believe that better fitness will improve your sex life. (Tweet This!)
And before you accuse me of “fat-shaming,” know this about me:
I’ve been super-skinny and in terrible shape.
I’ve been in single digit body fat % and been in great shape.
I’ve also been about 30lb over what I weigh now (which was considered obese) and in even worse shape.
And today I’m 43, I work out daily, am in very good shape, and I love it. I don’t even let up when I’m nursing an injury.
Because I realize now that, for me, a better fitness level equals a better lifestyle level.
So, I thought I would share with you five fitness benefits that will impact your marriage in a positive way. These aren’t for the purposes of shaming anyone who’s out of shape or overweight: these are just real benefits. Take ‘em or leave ‘em. Regardless, these are things I’ve seen in my own life; I can attest to their validity firsthand.
1. Better Sex – I thought I’d get this one out of the way first since many of you may already be pissed at me.
When I was 30 pounds overweight, I did not like the way I looked, but one thing I thought about a lot at that time was, “If I don’t like what I see, what does my wife think?”
Now the truth is, my wife has always loved me for me and will continue to do so. She still swears that I was “sexy” to her back then, and I believe her now. But back then I saw what I saw, and that robbed me of my self-confidence. And self-confidence is very sexy (ask anyone); lack of self-confidence is not.
Better self-confidence equals better sex. (Tweet This!) Maybe your fitness level doesn’t matter to your spouse, but I assure you: if you get into better shape, you will feel better about yourself, and that will translate to a more confident bedroom performance.
2. Longevity – Straight up: poor fitness hurts your life span. Sure, people in great shape die all the time, but statistics don’t lie. The better shape you are in, the better chance you will live a longer life.
Why is this great for your marriage? Well, unless your marriage is terrible, hopefully your spouse is in no hurry to see you cash out (and most likely neither are your kids). No one wants to sit around wondering if their partner is going to make it another five years because of their obesity problem. If you love your spouse, then give them some security. Give them the gift of a marriage that’s not marred by an untimely and early death.
3. Performance – Hey, when you are in you 20s, you can usually hang with most physical activities (even if you aren’t in good shape). But once you hit your mid-30s, that all changes. All of sudden you are huffing and puffing from walking up a flight of stairs or from chasing your kids around the house… and that sucks.
Better fitness means you will be in a better place to take on the word’s challenges.
Want to take a long walk with your spouse without needing an oxygen tank at the end of it?
Want to climb a scenic trail on vacation without needing an elevator for the trip down?
Want to be able to wrestle your kids without feeling like your chest is about to explode?
Get in better shape and open up a world of possibilities that you couldn’t fully enjoy when you weren’t.
4. Discipline – One thing fitness requires is discipline.
You need to be disciplined enough to say no to that second Krispy Kreme donut.
You need to be disciplined to drag yourself to the gym when it’s cold out and you’d rather stay in bed.
You need to be disciplined to push yourself on workouts so you can reach new fitness levels.
Fitness breeds discipline, and that discipline WILL spill over into other areas of your life.
Trust me, no one enjoys a spouse that lacks discipline. You already had a mother and a father. Your partner doesn’t want that responsibility.
Lack of discipline is a marriage stressor (Tweet This!), whether it is how you parent, how you budget, or how you eat. Better fitness instills a better sense of discipline, and that will appeal to your spouse.
5. Reduced Stress – One thing that we can agree on is that marriage brings stress. Add kids into the picture and holy crap… talk about a lot of stress.
Stress is linked to (not necessarily the cause of) almost every ailment or disease you can think of, whether it be cancer, high blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, cholesterol, and so on. Stress is BAD. Period.
Being in shape (i.e. exercising) greatly reduces stress levels. In fact, exercise releases “feel good” endorphins, has been referred to as meditation in motion, improves your mood, disrupts anxiety, and improves sleep. All of these things help reduce stress.
Who doesn’t want less stress?
What marriage can’t benefit from reduced stress?
Get in better shape and you will lower stress—and improve your marriage quality at the same time.
Bottom line is this. Being in shape will improve your life. And yes, that will have, at minimum, a trickle-down effect on your marriage and your sex life.
No one is saying if you aren’t in shape then you are no good.
No one is “fat bashing.”
No one is saying you can’t have a great marriage and a great sex life if you are out of shape.
But, fitness will improve these things even more… sometimes dramatically.
By the way, here’s that video that caused all the “fuss.”