Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

ID-100138515Sex therapist will tell you that lack of sex in a marriage could be a sign of marital crisis. While that may be true, it is normal for a couple’s sex life to slow down over time and even stop. Yet, having sex turns out to be one of the ingredients for a happy marriage. In fact, even when we think we are having more sex, we get happy!

So if you want those sparks to  fly again, pay attention.

A lacking sex life needs to be discussed. I know it is not easy to bring up the topic, but having a conversation about wanting more sex is the place to begin. Don’t blame or criticize. Tell your spouse you want more intimacy. Then problem solve a few ideas to make it happen, e.g, time of the day, where, things that would put you in the mood, etc.

Next, shake it up by doing new things in your relationship to get the brain stimulated. Novelty brings that zest back to a relationship. Think about dinner on a blanket in front of the fire, trying out a new restaurant, exploring a new part of town or nature, etc. Get out of the rut. Think expresso shot, not just coffee.

The good news is that most couples married 25 years or more report being satisfied in their sexual relationships. For those who aren’t (and that is a big enough group to be concerned about), be intentional about attending to your spouse in this area. Don’t ignore the issue. Do random acts of kindness, attend to each other emotional, and talk about what might be getting in the way of making time for each other. Then, take the time and get those sparks flying again!

fetusWe all know the warnings new moms are given to stay away from alcohol and drugs before and during a pregnancy. Maternal exposure to alcohol in-utero is a risk and cause for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Children born with FAS can suffer intellectual and social problems, stunted growth and nervous system abnormalities.

But what about the father? Does a father’s lifestyle choices make any difference when it comes to his unborn baby. Does his drinking have a similar effect when it comes to the developing fetus?

A study published in Animal Cells and Systems says YES. The study was conducted on mice and found that paternal mice who were exposed to alcohol consumption prior to conception presented a potential risk to fetal and postnatal development. In the study, fetus that were sired by male mice had more abnormal organ and/or brain development compared to those in the control group.

You may be thinking, wait…the father’s drinking isn’t going into the developing baby like the mother’s would be. After all, she is carry the child. But, the problem begins before the fetus is even conceived. The research shows that the sperm donated by the father is altered by the alcohol (alcohol-induced epigenetic mutations in sperm DNA (Knezovich & Ramsay 2012).These changes or alterations in the critical genes required for normal development can be transmitted through fertilization, resulting in the problems noted.

What does this mean? If you are considering having a child, both the habits and health of mother and father are important to normal development of the baby. Both parents are responsible for bringing the best to their unborn child.

 

 

Source: “Transgenerational effects of paternal alcohol exposure in mouse offspring.” Animal Cells and Systems, Volume 17. Issue 6, 2013

 
 

ID-10097474Joshua 7, a sobering chapter deals with sin in the Israelite camp. It begins with a sin committed by Achan, one member of the tribe of Judah.

When the Israelites took the city of Jericho as recorded in chapter 6, God tells them not to take anything from the siege. But, Achan disobeys and takes some of the “accursed” things and then lies about it. Not only does he lie, but his entire family goes along with the lie. When Achan is confronted, he continues to lie, then eventually confesses. The cover up was because of clothing and money he coveted.

Coveting is covered in the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses. Achan’s sin was coveting, but that also lead to deception. Achan saw, coveted and took. Then he lied. As a consequence, Achan and his entire family were stoned to death, burned and made into a rock memorial to remind people to obey God’s commandments.

In Joshua 7, the nature of sin is clearly spelled out. Sin is deceptive, it hurts others whether we think it does or not, it stirs God’s anger and it weakens us in battle.

Achan’s punishment is harsh, but it speaks to a healthy fear of the Lord. Sin is nothing to fool with in terms of its consequences.

According to Webster, coveting is an inordinate desire for what belongs to another. Think about that. Most advertising is built on this premise. We want what others have and are reinforced to be dissatisfied with the status quo. Is discontentment related to coveting what others have? If so, rather than hide that sin, we need to confess it, the sooner the better. While we thankfully live under the grace of God now, unconfessed sin blocks our relationships and impacts our families.

Ask yourself, are you engaging in secret sin? Are you coveting your neighbor’s house, car, wife or even lifestyle? Perhaps coveting is so common in our culture today that we don’t even recognize it. In many ways, it has become a culturally acceptable sin.

The good news is that the power of sin is completely broken by the righteousness of Christ. When we confess our sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us (John 1:9).

Achan’s life is a reminder that if we live with hidden sin, it not only has repercussions for us, but also for those we love. Achan’s entire family paid for his sin with their lives. So, obey God, resist the temptation to covet and confess secret sins.

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ID-100169077Rick and Susan were once passionate lovers. Now, they wonder what happened. Can they keep passion alive in their relationship?

For years, researchers believed that romantic love wore off after about 18-36 months, explaining why romantic love burns hot in the beginning of a relationship and then simmers to ember stage. 

However, brain scans now reveal that romance can last past that initial attraction. In fact, we now believe long-term relationships can have that same passion as new love. Turns out that long-term relationships are less anxious and obsessive for the person in love (sounds like a good thing) and more calm and attached. When couples keep the emotional bond strong, their sex lives stay lively as well. And adding novelty to your relationship can reignite love.

So all you potatoes get off the couch and sign up for a couple’s cooking or art class. Do something new to stimulate your relationship that breaks from ordinary life. New experiences stimulate dopamine in the brain and that brings feelings of romance.

This Valentine’s Day, forget the traditional candy and flowers and go on a picnic, get massages, or take a drive to a favorite romantic spot. Create a memory that strengthens the couple bond by doing something new to bring passion to your relationship. Romantic love doesn’t have to fade over time. It just needs a few shots of novelty once in awhile!