Want to Strengthen Society? Start by Strengthening Marriage.

improve-societyMarriage is tough. It’s work. My wife Jeanette and I married 17 years ago, and I wish more people would’ve told us back then how challenging marriage can be, but it’s a challenge we’ve accepted.

We’ve worked at it.
We’ve had our ups and downs, but:

We’ve grown closer together.

We have a strong marriage because we’ve had access to the right resources.

Our world needs more marriages to be strong. And then stronger.

The stronger our marriages are, the better our society will be. Think about it. Stronger marriages mean fewer divorces. Stronger marriages mean better sex among husbands and wives, which leads to longer-lasting bonds. Stronger marriages mean temptations to turn to porn will lessen.

Stronger marriages lead to a stronger culture.

But here’s one thing I know:

I don’t have a formula for a perfect marriage.

Even though I’ve heard from a lot of marriage experts, I wouldn’t say I am one.

But now that I know some experts, I—and our team—want to share their wisdom with as many people as possible. We are compiling their work in one comprehensive resource: a new website called StrongerMarriages.com, and the response has been huge.

Before we even advertised the site, we had over 1.3 million page views in the first two weeks alone!

People want this. I know it’s going to help them.

I know it’s going to help you. It’s going to help people you know.

We believe in marriage. We believe it takes hard work to make it work, but we believe couples can last 10, 15, 20, 30, 50 years—and beyond. We want to give couples help where they need it, and we believe StrongerMarriages is going to be that help.

At StrongerMarriages.com, we talk about important things you want to know about, like conflict and communication, sex and kids, spiritual growth and emotional growth, what to expect before you get married and what you can expect after years of being married

We’re so excited about the impact StrongerMarriages can have on relationships around the world.

But we need your help to make it as impactful as it can be.

We have four specific goals for StrongerMarriages as we head into 2016:

1) We want to have the number one marriage podcast in the world. 

More and more people are leaving traditional radio for podcasts and on-demand programming available online and on mobile devices. This is the future of ministry. We are in the early stages of working with a knowledgeable team to do something on the level of Serial and other hugely popular podcasts. A high-quality, well-produced show that will be like nothing in this space but that anyone would be proud to share.

2) We want StrongerMarriages to be strong offline as well.

We have a great team of influencers, speakers, bloggers, and writers with massive followings who are getting the word out about StrongerMarriages, including our marriage live events, which we’re scheduling with increasing frequency.

But we want to think bigger and launch some aggressive campaigns that will reach millions more. We reached half a million people in 15 days with almost no promotion; what could we do if we really tried? We’re working with a team that does Facebook Ads, as well as with Google and YouTube to target the people we want to reach.

In addition to reaching people online we want to reach people offline and we have a killer idea that we will do Valentine’s Day, which brings us to:

3) We want to plaster America with Valentine’s Day 2016 billboards. 

All these billboards will have marriage quotes on them—some funny, some serious—and all will point to StrongerMarriages.com. We’ll promote them in the press and online, turning it into a major campaign that extends into print and online. If we do it right, we will make national news.

And finally:

4) We want to hire full-time staff.

We’re so committed to the strength and longevity of StrongerMarriages that we intend to hire full-time staff just to oversee and concentrate on this invaluable ministry.

But we can’t do this without your help. We need your generosity in order to put the necessary weight behind StrongerMarriages so that it can find the audience that so desperately needs it.

I invite you to visit StrongerMarriages. Take a look around. I’m confident that you’ll like what you see, and when you do, I’d ask that you make a contribution to help us invest in this resource so countless couples can invest in their marriage.

Visit X3Christmas.com to get more details on our plans and to download a copy of our most recent informational magazine.

Call it a Christmas gift to marriage.

DONATE HERE TODAY!

Let’s make marriage stronger. Together.

PS. When you give $100 or more, we have a thank-you gift for you in return: access to our online Married workshop! Thank you for your support.

The post Want to Strengthen Society? Start by Strengthening Marriage. appeared first on XXXchurch.com.

3 Quick Tips to Handle the Truth About Yourself

handle-truth-3-tipsSelf-improvement always sounds like a great thing until we actually dig in and get our hands dirty. We talk about the need for accountability, but the second we turn that scalpel inward, we flinch and fight and justify our way out.

It can be messy, awful work to hear the truth about yourself.
It’s never easy to hear criticism, most especially when it could be true.

The hard part is that getting better means we have to confront the ugliness inside.

This is harder than you think.

Recovery and improvement demands getting honest about all the crazy, neurotic, self-justified hang-ups that we’ve buried — and it’s extremely painful to expose how messed-up we really are. But that’s the truth about yourself.

Our addictions and destructive patterns didn’t happen overnight: it took so many steps of rationalization to get there until it became a part of us, and to undo those patterns can feel like death. It feels like giving up a part of ourselves, like an amputation of the only way we knew how to live.

Yet we need people outside us to show us our blind spots. We need people who will risk comfort and safety to say, “You’re better than this.” We need more than giggles-and-games and an idealized fantasy-friendship where everyone is simply a yes-man and only says what we want to hear.

We need a reality check when we’ve checked out of reality.

Even with our voice shaking: we must sometimes become the truth for each other, because friendship and accountability means we’re there to see the best in one another.

This doesn’t mean that we each become the morality police and start calling each other out on everything. It doesn’t mean that every criticism is valid and legitimate. It means that when I see you diving off a cliff, I’ll throw myself up against you, even if we both get hurt. It means that criticism from your friend hurts them more than it hurts you.

As Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” And eleven verses later, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Here are three things to keep in mind when you hear the truth about yourself.

1) When you hear the truth about yourself, expect your brain to defend, rationalize, melt down, flip out, and push back. Be aware that your first response will often be the worst one, and work through it.

Because it hurts to hear the truth, our brains are automatically going to defend, even if those defenses are exactly what got us here. The second your friend tells you a hard thing, the limbic system (emotions and drives) perceives a threat and takes over and initiates a fight-or-flight response, while your frontal cortex (reason and judgment) literally shuts down.

It takes a huge self-awareness to understand the mental processes when we face criticism.

If you can actually push past your initial emotional responses, you can “reboot” and begin to hear the other person with a lot more comprehension. It even helps to say to them, “I really want to scream at you and run out of here, but I also want to hear you.” Of course, since we’re frail fragile humans, our first response is almost always going to be yelling or escape. That’s okay. With enough practice and awareness, we can take back control of our automatic responses and see our friend as a friend, and not a threat.

2) When you hear the truth about yourself, the person who tells you the truth isn’t perfect and probably won’t say it perfectly, but that’s no excuse not to consider their words.

The temptation when we hear criticism is to use the Mirror Defense, which is saying, “Well, what about you?

We want to discredit the source of the truth, so we drag up old history and the other person’s weaknesses for self-preservation. Or we say, “I don’t like your tone” and use their voice against them.

The problem is, two wrongs can never make a right. In other words, someone else’s bad thing doesn’t cancel my bad thing. Even if the other person is a hypocrite, it doesn’t magically erase my own hypocrisy. And no one in the history of accountability has ever used perfect intonation and the perfect wording to tell the hard truth. If you find yourself saying, “If only she had said it like this” or “If only he had not said this” — then chances are that you’re trying to wiggle your way out of truth by a technicality.

It takes a certain grace and patience to filter out your friend’s voice and methods and shortcomings. No one is ever going to get this truth-telling thing just right. No one has it locked down to a science. And while there are certainly people who have no say in our lives, there are plenty of people who want better for us, even as they wrestle their own demons. We can’t discount them on their own failings, because we’re in that same boat. Resist the urge to hold up a mirror at them, and instead hold it to yourself.

3) When you hear the truth about yourself, instead of fighting back or shutting down, ask specific questions about how to move forward.

No matter how well it goes when your friend tells the truth:

It’s going to be weird for a while. You might avoid each other for a week, whether out of embarrassment or resentment or both, and the friendship might hang precariously on a wire.

Settle back into your relationship by asking very specific questions. These are not questions to make the other person “the boss” or a “parole officer,” but so that you both find safety again:

 What are some things I can do differently now?

How should I approach you if I mess this up again?

Can you help me with this, even if I don’t do it perfectly?

Can we follow up on this after I’ve had time to reflect?

This is where truth and grace meet hand in hand, so that neither person is over the other, but that we travel on the rugged winding road towards greater joy. It’s carved out of compromise, authenticity, and the real willingness to see your friend thrive.

But we can get there by speaking up and seeking our best selves in one another.


If you need someone in your life that will tell you the truth and then be there to walk you through the process think about getting an X3coach. Our coaches will be there when you need them and tell you what you need to hear so you can find lasting freedom from porn addiction. If you would like to learn more about the X3coach Program and how it can change the game for you check out this video. Find out why coaching may in fact be the relational resource you need. Then learn how you can get a FREE coaching session by one of our pro’s.

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Are You At War With Your Sex Drive? (Part 2)

war-sex-drive2

[Editor’s note: this post is adapted from the book Feels Like Redemption – The Pilgrimage to Health and Healing, created by Seth Taylor and David Taylor. You can read Part 1 here. Learn more at MyPilgrimage.com]

I’m a Christian, so much of my new journey toward freedom has been spent on a quest for a deeper understanding of Jesus.

This was one of my first realizations when I started this process: if I was going to follow the way of Jesus, then there had to be more depth to that experience than simply believing he was the son of God and trying harder and harder to do what he said.

According to the Gospels, a very large portion of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth was spent healing the broken—really healing them.

He didn’t lay hands on the sick and declare them “mostly free.” Jesus seemed to do the opposite of that—he would meet people where they were, at their point of pain, removing shame and seemingly throwing it to the wind, and then often saying this interesting phrase: “Your faith has healed you.”

Wait…

Did Jesus heal me or did I heal myself? Our perspective on this question seems to be incredibly important to our understanding of who God is and what it is to be spiritual beings designed by a loving Creator. Think about it for a second. We all feel this question in the deepest parts of us: Is there any real power? And if there is, then why don’t we experience it more?

Why haven’t I experienced it more?

We seem to be afraid of wrestling with these really huge questions because if we do, our identities might be stripped away, along with all the things we keep under such tight control.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to fight a war anymore—I want to experience a peace that transcends understanding.

I believe this struggle in our sexuality is the opposite of a battle.

It is the sacred journey—the pilgrimage—to reconnect to the Spirit who gave birth to this Universe. And in that experience, I think we reconnect to ourselves. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is this mystery where all things are as they were designed to be. And he said this Kingdom is all around us all of the time, if only we have the eyes to see it. Jesus was showing us a way home, back to God…back to ourselves. And this journey courses through every vein and lives in every heartbeat. It’s something you can feel inside.

 It feels like redemption.

So this is where we begin—all we who seek to be saved from whatever is inside of us that would drive us to self-hate and alienation, idolatry and darkness, or just plain unhappiness. This book is about something new. You might have no point of reference for my story, and you might find that unsettling or disorienting. That’s okay, because that’s how pilgrimage begins. You have to leave—you have to move. So lay down your sword, take a deep breath, and start walking…

 Welcome to the pilgrimage.


Pilgrimage-logo-zoomTired of feeling like freedom from pornography or sex addiction is impossible? That it’s an endless “battle?” Check out MyPilgrimage.com and get 3 FREE videos that will help you see that freedom from addiction is possible and something you can really experience.

Get Your 3 FREE Videos

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Are You At War With Your Sex Drive? (Part 1)

war-sex-drive1[Editor’s note: this post is adapted from the book Feels Like Redemption – The Pilgrimage to Health and Healing, created by Seth Taylor and David Taylor. Learn more at MyPilgrimage.com]

The issue of porn addiction—both in and out of the Christian church—is a pressing one. The statistics on addiction are shocking, and spiritual leaders and pastors of either gender are in no way excluded from them. The presence of these addictions at the heart of our spiritual lives functions as a signal flare being sent out from the center of our religious systems, screaming out that there is something wrong with the way we understand our spirituality.

If belief in a God who loves and rescues and redeems hasn’t saved us from all our darkness, then what will?

In this book, we are pointing to a paradigm shift. This paradigm shift is meant not only for the way you understand sexuality, but for the way you do spirituality—your faith and understanding and experience of God. And this is for the believer and non-believer alike.

For far too long, we have been told that we are at war with the most sacred drives that exist inside of our bodies. 

Our minds have been held captive to control and belief while our spirits have been held underwater by some unseen force, powerless to do anything but push out one muffled scream after another in an attempt not to drown in a culture full of products, both religious and non-religious, that promise they will fill the hole in our core.

“One long muffled scream” is a great way to describe the state of my life after seven years of porn addiction and many more as a slave to depression and anxiety. When I had suffered enough and got tired of battling my sex drive, I laid down my sword, shed my armor, and began to seek another way—I call it “the third way.”

That “third way” has become for me a “pilgrimage”—a Sacred Journey. I rechristened my struggles with addiction as a grace-filled, holy quest. I stopped wasting my energies on feeling guilty and ashamed of myself and instead started asking, “Why do I feel so guilty and ashamed?

It turns out I needed this addiction to show me the door to freedom, not just from the addiction itself, but also from all the things that seemed set on keeping me from ever knowing true happiness.

The starting point was inside my body—deep within that horrible feeling of being frozen by fear, captive to worry and control; slave to my computer and the universe of medication that was available with the click of a button.

I felt it all in my body, so that seemed like a good place to begin—in my body. I was unable to move, desperately reaching up, hoping there was something real in the universe that could see my hand, grab it, and pull me out of the hole I had been living in.

This was where I was, so this was where I began my pilgrimage.


Pilgrimage-logo-zoomTired of feeling like freedom from pornography or sex addiction is impossible? That it’s an endless “battle?” Check out MyPilgrimage.com and get 3 FREE videos that will help you see that freedom from addiction is possible and something you can really experience.

Get Your 3 FREE Videos

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What Does Freedom Really Look Like?

Here at XXXchurch, we’ve always tried to be on the leading edge of what we talk about. But we also know that we aren’t the only ones trying to get people to freedom! And we’re excited about that.

We know we don’t have all the answers. So when I come across something exciting and helpful, I like to share it with people.

That’s what’s happening with My Pilgrimage. This is an incredible way of looking at addiction that is going to change so many people’s entire perspective on their own struggles.

In fact, I liked it so much that I made this short video talking about it. Check it out:

Learn More at MyPilgrimage.com

My Pilgrimage is going to blow up so many people’s notions of what freedom looks like. And it’s coming at the topic from so many angles that you can really grasp what they’re talking about.

It’s a book.
It’s a guidebook.
It’s a video series.

In fact, right now they’re offering three free videos that you can check out, just to see what it’s like.

XXXchurch 100% believes in these guys and what they’re all about, and we’re excited to hear all the stories of freedom that come from My Pilgrimage.

Go to MyPilgrimage.com now and get those three free videos today!

Visit MyPilgrimage.com

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5 Characteristics Successful Marriages Have

successful-marriagesPerhaps one of the greatest–and most baffling–questions of all time is, “How can I have a successful marriage?

After sitting down with so many different married couples and listening to their individual journeys (because truly, no two marriages anywhere on the planet are ever the same!), I’ve discovered that, before any marriage can be healthy, happy, and fulfilling, both spouses must understand what a biblically-based marriage is.

Scripture compels believers to enter into marital covenant. And although that should be synonymous, with marriage, unfortunately, for many, it’s not.

So the short answer to the question is “The way to have a successful marriage is to know that God desires husbands and wives to honor marital covenant.” One author on marital covenant explains what that is this way: “A covenant is intended by God to be a lifelong fruitful relationship between a man and a woman. Marriage is a vow to God, to each other, our families and our community to remain steadfast in unconditional love, reconciliation, and sexual purity, while purposefully growing in our covenant marriage relationship.”

Yep. Now let’s look a bit deeper. Here are 5 characteristics successful marriages have:

1) A true understanding of what marital covenant is. When I sit in premarital counseling sessions, there are two things I bring up before anything else: what the Bible says about divorce and what the Bible says about sex. Marital covenant does not consist of a boyfriend and a girlfriend who stay together until they are irritated, bored, or simply ready to move on to someone else–it consists of two people coming together as one (Genesis 2:24-25). Who cuts off their arm when it hurts them? Who doesn’t take care of their leg when it’s sore? Your partner is a part of you. People who view marriage as a covenant see their husband or wife as basically a limb.

Marital covenant is not just a relationship–it is the true essence of oneness. (Tweet This!)

2) A true understanding that God is the most important part of marriage. One of my favorite scriptures about marriage is, “Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.” (Matthew 19:6, MSG) Marriage is truly a work of art, and God is the Artist. The Inventor. The Creator. It’s the only relationship that speaks directly to God being all up in it!

Unfortunately, sometimes when marriage gets hard, couples look too much to one another rather than to the Creator. Two flawed people can’t make a marriage work. (Tweet This!) But two people who put God and what he desires for them and their marriage, two people who know they can’t stay married doing it on their own but they can with God at the helm? They are well on their way to being more than just “successful,” but a mind-blowing example of God’s miraculous love and power!

3) A solid friendship. Whenever couples come to me in serious trouble, I don’t ask them, “So, are you still in love?” No, what I want to know is, “Do you still like one another?” Ecclesiastes 4 speaks of the value of friendship; that both people can help one another, yes, even when they fall. When your spouse is your absolute best friend, when you’re being ever-conscious about that being the foundation of your marriage, then how can you just…end things with the person who is closest to you? The one you tell your secrets to? The one who knows all about you? The one who is there for the roller coaster ride? If more couples worked on their friendship, I truly believe the marriage would take care of itself.

4) A consistent sex life. Did you know that 15-20% of couples are considered to be sexless (having sex less than 10 times per year)? Sex is a gift for married people, but you know what? It’s also a responsibility. It’s not a “perk.” It’s a staple. And let’s not forget what I Corinthians 7:5 (NLT) says that going without sex can do to a relationship: “…you should come together…so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” In fact, let’s jump up a couple of verses: “But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.” (I Corinthians 7:2-NLT)

Sex is fun and pleasurable but more than anything, it is purposeful. (Tweet This!) It is a physical act that represents spiritual oneness. And, it’s also a form of spiritual protection from the Enemy too. A successful marriage doesn’t “fit sex in”–it makes sex a top priority.

5) A counselor on call. Proverbs 12:15 says that “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise” and Proverbs 24:6 says that in counsel, there is safety. These two verses alone speak to the importance of marriage counseling.

But here’s the thing: Don’t wait until you are ready to move out or sign divorce papers before seeing one!

A car needs an oil change every three months. Married couples could benefit from “getting their temperature taken” (or as I call it “checking for mouse holes”), at least a couple of times a year, too. It helps to improve communication. It helps to understand mutual needs. It helps for both people to see how far they’ve come–and where they want to go. A successful marriage is about being proactive rather than reactive. Marriage counseling is a big part of that!

I’m praying for each and every spouse reading this.

A healthy marriage is possible.

With God, all things are!


 

Logo-Married-Event-new-size-Kajabi-v2If you are married and looking for ways to salvage, improve, or supercharge your marriage and marital satisfaction then check out Married. This online experience is just for married couples and features a ton of great teaching and insight from experts like Dave and Ashely Willis, Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn, and Craig and Jeanette Gross.

Check out married now!

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3 Lessons I Learned Instantly In My First Week of Marriage

lessons-for-marriageThey say everyone gets a honeymoon period at the start of your marriage, but whoever brandished that idea: I want a refund.

Marriage is hard work right out of the gate. Our sentimental ideas about romance get tossed out very, very quickly — and I want you to be ready. Everyone told me what to expect, but no matter how much you prepare, it’s still a jump into the deep end. The more you know about what’s coming, the more quickly you can stand on your two feet.

I know that marriage isn’t for everyone (contrary to our culture, singleness is not an illness), but whether you’re not in the dating scene or you’ve been married for years, here are three things I learned instantly in the first week of marriage. These lessons could be valuable and necessary for our entire journey.

1) Marriage pulls down the hologram and brings about the gritty reality of your spouse (and yourself too).

My wife and I dated for six years before we were married, and in those six years, I had never heard her pass gas once. I would constantly tell her that it was okay, but my wife was dead-set on maintaining an air of elegance. No pun intended.

About four days into the marriage, on a wonderful crisp morning in Florida, I asked my wife, “Are you boiling eggs?

She said, “No. I’m not boiling eggs.”

Are the sprinklers on outside?

No. The sprinklers are not on.”

But then what’s that sme—

And it hit me. Pun intended.

(By the way, I have my wife’s permission to share this story. I’m proud to say that she now regularly passes gas around me with the most exuberant freedom.)

In dating, we’re often on our best behavior. It’s like a job interview, where both sides show off their impressive benefits and credentials. In marriage, you see the rough, raw edges of the entire person. Marriage creates perhaps the closest proximity you will ever have with another human being. You’ll see every insecurity and neurotic tendency. There will be friction.

This is more than just about keeping up a pretty image. It’s also a way of learning how to love an entire person and not just the parts that you like.

In Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage, he discusses how we each have fault lines in our hearts, like the cracks of a great bridge. These fault lines get exposed when we collide with another person, so that we spill anger or jealousy or anxiety. A married couple, because they’re so close in space, will inevitably drive a truck through each other’s hearts: which exposes all the fault lines. Deep-seated flaws will shake out of us like shaking a tree in the autumn. It’s in this exposure that we can choose to face our flaws, so that they would be re-shaped by the love we share. The sooner, the better.

You’ll also see every dream, hope, talent, passion, and ambition in your spouse. You’ll see what lights them up and gets them excited. This means that marriage is often about showing grace for your spouse’s worst and promoting their very best. Love sees a greatness in someone who cannot see it in themselves. (Tweet This!) And if marriage is one of the most intimate unions in the universe, then it has the power to encourage a person beyond their self-imposed limits. Though this can happen in many types of relationships, marriage offers a profound intensity to spiritual growth. Finally, we can switch off our holograms of who pretend to be, and actually become the people we were meant to be.

2) Marriage means your stuff isn’t your stuff anymore.

In our first week, we didn’t fly off to the honeymoon, which was another two weeks away. We spent time unpacking, opening wedding gifts, frolicking in our new home, and merging our lives together. About five days in, I wanted to meet up a friend to hang out, one of the groomsmen in the wedding.

I neglected to tell this to my wife. This is one of those very obvious things that I should’ve knew from the get-go, but in my defense, I’m an idiot.

Marriage is about Two-As-One, as We instead of Me. My time was no longer my own. It was our time. Our things. Our bank account. Our bed. Again, this sounds obvious, but I’ve spoken with so many singles and unmarried couples who were dismayed at the idea of splitting a life in half. No one is quite prepared to completely surrender unilateral decisions. We quickly learn why Apostle Paul compared our relationship with God to the marriage union — because we are entrusting our will with another.

The wonderful advantage is that rather than “splitting in half,” it actually feels more like a merging of strength. Our individual abilities can make up for each other’s weaknesses. Our knowledge and our view on life is suddenly augmented with an entirely new angle. By the end of the week, I was figuring out what she would want and why, which helped my tiny brain to open to new avenues I had never considered.

While both dating and engagement can offer the benefit of unified minds, the promise of marriage solidifies an active undercurrent of cooperation. There’s now a lifelong goal: for the health of the couple, and not what works for “me,” but for We. What works for you as an individual might be good, but what works for the couple turns out to be great. It’s not half plus half, nor is it one plus one; instead, the grace and synergy of marriage equate to an exponential growth of each other’s hearts.

3) Marriage means there’s nowhere to run except towards each other.

Our first argument in the first week was different from any argument we’d ever had.

When we were dating, our conflicts were always able to be delayed. A few days of separation could cool us off. The problems might come back, but a little bit of distance smoothed things over. We could just bury it and move on.

Now we have no such apparatus.

No buffer, no denial, no escape.

We could either go to bed angry or we could wrestle our exposed demons all the way to resolution.

For those who are more likely to avoid confrontation, this proves extremely troubling. If you’re like me and you absolutely need to resolve things on the spot, it can still prove difficult, because you’ll end up defending yourself in the most tone-deaf ways possible. It’s all rather very embarrassing when we realize how bad we are at the Rules of Engagement.

We had to figure out a system. We had to know what words we would never, ever use. If we were going to fight, we would have to fight fair, with no low blows and no dragging up the past against each other. None of this is a perfect process. The initial start of a conflict will never be smooth; our first reactions are always emotional because it feels like your own value is at stake.

It’s in these moments that my wife and I had to learn to seek an end-point to our arguments. The beginning would always be rough, but with enough humility and self-awareness, we could run toward intimacy instead of toward an exit. (Tweet This!) This kind of spousal love is not only a means to an end, but the end itself.

We’ve discovered that when confrontation has a direction, it’s always an opportunity to grow.

And if a guy like me can learn these things, then I guarantee you: we all can.

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Here’s Why Men And Women Don’t See Eye To Eye

eye-to-eyeAs men and women our goal is to make our relationships with each other (especially marriages) as enriching as possible.

But a common challenge we all face in making that happen is a mutual lack of understanding about how each other views and processes the world around us.

This is why you probably have heard the saying, “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.”

The way men and women see the world impacts everything they do. (Tweet This!)

It impacts their communication.
It impacts how they deal with conflict.
It impacts how they handle stress and temptation.

Your relationships are incredibly valuable so it’s critical you understand each other. (Tweet This!)

Watch this video from a recent talk I gave with my friend, co-author of the book Through A Man’s Eyes, and researcher Shaunti Feldhahn.

In this video we specifically talk about how men process their world visually and the unique temptations they face at the hands of a hyper-sexualized culture.

Please STOP and invest 40 minutes in your relationship by watching this video.

You’ll be encouraged AND pick up some very subtle yet brilliant insight.

 

The post Here’s Why Men And Women Don’t See Eye To Eye appeared first on XXXchurch.com.

Why A Mistake In This Technology Age Can Cost You Everything

mistake-1In the war between the world and sex, sex is the undisputed champ. (Tweet This!) And sex seems to be winning, especially when it comes to some of the head-scratching laws our country has designed around it.

I’ve seen a few headlines lately that really have me wondering what is going on when it comes to sex, adults, kids, and technology. We have to do something about our laws to protect our kids.

You may have heard the news recently that Jared Fogle, the now-former spokesman for Subway, is being investigated (allegedly) for child pornography. But before all that, he allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old girl and then attempted to pimp her out on Craigslist. But here’s what’s crazy to me—an old guy like Jared having sex with a 16-year-old is perfectly legal in Indiana. It’s the money and the Craigslist part that’s adding to his legal troubles, not the sex-with-a-child part.

Or what about this story, about famous and wealthy rapper Tyga, a 25-year-old, buying a Ferrari for his (presumed) girlfriend Kylie Jenner for her 18th birthday. Now, set aside the acceptability of buying a car that costs several hundred grand; why is no one pointing out that Tyga was, up until a few days ago, dating a child? (Tweet This!)

One more story that really brought this home to us here at X3church. We recently received an email from a concerned parent. This parent has a 20-year-old son who used a supposed 18-and-over chat room on Kik to talk with two young women; after a series of back-and-forth conversations over a few day, he asked for images. They sent 29 photographs and videos, and only then did he discover they were 15 and 16 years old. He is now facing life in prison on 29 counts of possession of child pornography.

The more our society progresses, the more it sometimes stays the same. Young people are still going to attract the sexual attention of others, and sometimes that attention will be unwanted or even illegal, but our laws are wacked out and are not reliable. (Tweet This!)

So how can we as parents keep our kids safe?

For starters, we have to understand the law. Depending on what state you live in, “sexting” is just as much of an offense as actual child pornography. Whether you think that makes sense or not (and I don’t), it’s possible that’s the law where you live. That means that, if your 17-year-old sends a sexually explicit photograph of themselves to their boyfriend or girlfriend, then they’ve participated in the transmission child pornography and could be doing time.

Your kids are growing up in a different world than the one you did. That’s just the fact of the matter. It’s up to you to educate yourself and to understand that the laws are all over the place, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Teach your kids that nothing they do online can ever truly be deleted, and that they can’t always trust their peers with sensitive images or videos. (For more information on parenting your kids through today’s technology, check out our sister site iParent.TV.)

Beyond that, you just can’t police people’s actions and expect change; it requires a change at the heart level. Though our society’s laws about child porn need to catch up to technology, no law is going to change anyone’s heart. Jared and Tyga won’t be litigated into normalcy. Only God can do that.


touchy-subjects-workshop-resourceFor more information and practical advice on raising your children in a tech saturated world, check out the Touchy Subjects video workshop for parents. Practical teaching. Sound advice. Straight talk from two dads who’s been there.

Learn How To Talk To Your Kids About Touchy Subjects

 

 

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3 Things to Do When Your Wife Dresses Too Sexy

wife-dresses-too-sexyAbout six months ago, I was hanging out with a couple that I happen to really like a lot. As we were talking about different ways to protect a marital union, the conversation turned to wardrobe.

They were sitting on the couch across from me, and the wife had on some super-short shorts. Think Jessica Simpson in the horrific remake of Dukes of Hazard pair of denim cut-offs. Nah…shorter than even that, actually. When I asked the husband if he would be cool with male company coming over and seeing his wife dressed that way, he said, “Yes,” and then took it a step further and said “If they end up feeling some kind of way, that’s their lust problem, not ours.”

What was even more interesting is that the wife said “Is what I’m wearing too sexy? I’ve had a few people talk to me about that lately.”

 Too sexy. It’s kind of a hard call to determine what that actually is. Muslims and Orthodox Jews would say that a whole lot of us are looking crazy out here in a simple pair of jeans and a graphic tee. But if you were to ask me what I think it is, it’s when a wife is dressed in such a way to where her husband feels as if what is reserved especially for him (I Corinthians 7:3) is something all of us get a sneak peek at. And it’s also the attitude that the wife carries in her clothing as well.

So, if you’re a husband reading this and you personally feel like your wife dresses too sexy and in a way that, while it may not make you jealous and insecure (that may be your hang-up), doesn’t send the message that she’s already committed to someone, then here are three productive, effective, and non-offensive or caveman-like things that you can do:

1) Have a sensitive conversation with her.

I just had a conversation over the weekend with a male friend of mine who admits that he has a tendency (which I prefer to see as a “bad habit”) of holding things in until he snaps. By then, he just comes off as a jerk (a nice version of the word I’m really thinking), and it only causes me to go onto the defensive.

If you’re uncomfortable with how your wife dresses, first think about if you married her with that wardrobe. If you did, what’s your issue now? That’s certainly something worth pondering on your own before bringing it up.

Secondly, don’t come at her like a parent. No healthy and sane wife wants to sleep with her father (Tweet This!) (George Michael’s song “Father Figure” always creeped me out). You don’t have the right to tell her what she can or cannot wear. But as her husband, you do have God’s permission to bring up how you feel, to state your reasons behind it and to work towards a happy medium. A compromise (I Peter 3:7). Oh, and you might want to throw some “I feel…” statements in. You know like “I feel like my feelings aren’t being taken into consideration with some of the things that you wear.” We tend to resonate with that type of phrasing as opposed to “When are you gonna stop wearing that hoochie crap?” (See the difference?)

 2) Take her shopping.

If you’re a woman checking this out, raise your hand if the thought of going shopping for a new outfit repulses you. No one? Okay, so that’s the confirmation that I need to make this point.

Something that is helpful, romantic, and even a little sexy is when a husband decides to go clothing-rather-than-grocery shopping with his wife. This doesn’t mean you walk around hemming and hawing or dictating what she should or should not purchase; it means that one day, you decide to spontaneously say “You want to get a new dress today? Let’s go!” By participating in the shopping process, she’ll not only feel more connected to you, but also to your opinions.

3) Affirm her. Often.

From the beginning of time, we see that affirmations within a marriage are extremely important. And necessary. After all, what is it that Adam said? “You are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23), right? He was letting the Woman know that she was a part of him.

Look, some women dress super-sexy simply because they like to. But there are others who do it because it gets them a certain amount of attention that they so desperately crave. The more you tell your wife how beautiful she is, how much you love her body and also how smart, funny, and special she is to you, you might be surprised by how the clothing—and attitude—starts to shift a bit. Why? Because she knows that her husband is her biggest fan. This means that there’s no need to draw in any other kind of audience.


Check out Craig Gross and Shaunti Feldhahn’s new book Through A Man’s Eyes for a more in depth discussion on this topic and to learn more about the visual nature of men . Get the book HERE and learn more about the workshop HERE.

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