Archive for the Pleasure Category

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE- A Simple but Radical Prayer

Posted in Acceptance, Beauty from the Inside Out, Commitment, companionship, Conflict, Encouragement, Faith, God' Love, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Listening, Ocean of Love, Overcoming Struggles, Pleasure, Prayer, Understanding each other, Valued with tags , , , , , , , on November 11, 2013 by hmclaughlin

heart in hand
Gary Chapman’s book on the 5 Love Languages hit the bull’s eye, but I think we need to go deeper. I specifically remember the time and place when I discovered how we truly learn to love each other.

After being married about 15 years to my first husband, I hit the brick wall thinking that nothing was ever going to change. My husband was never going to love me the way I needed to be loved. I needed the kind of “action love” where I knew my words were being heard and that I was accepted for who I was; junk and all. I wondered if there would ever be a life beyond Monday night football and the next basketball event. I thought: If he would just do all those things that I need, then I would be happy and our marriage would be perfect.

It was 1982 when God nudged me in my spirit and these words came to me: In order for you to feel loved, why not find out how Dick needs to be loved.

I remember that moment in time because that is when I started praying this prayer, “Lord, show me how Dick needs to be loved, and show me how to love him.” I thought it was kind of a strange prayer and I wondered what would happen. For the next 12 years I prayed this prayer faithfully. Over time, albeit slowly, this is what transpired:

1. The most important thing this prayer taught me was to STOP trying to change my husband so that he would meet all MY needs.
2. I started observing what my husband needed. For instance, he needed to watch football and play basketball. Those were things he loved and I finally relented and stopped nagging him.
3. Miraculous things began to happen. Over time as I stopped trying to “get him to do things” he took more notice of my needs.
4. I re-learned how to love him in a deeper level…not for what he could bring into our relationship but to ACCEPT him for who God made him to be.

When my husband died 12 years later, I can tell you from the depth of my heart that this simple but radical prayer taught me how to love in a way I never thought was possible.

I have discovered that loving people is not easy. I need God’s love to fill me and cover me so that I feel like I am in the middle of an ocean of God’s love. Over time the people around me will feel the splash of this love on them and they won’t be able to help themselves but love us back. Over time that is what this radical prayer will do. The bible puts it this way: “The fervent prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results” (James 5:16).

If you want to put joy, vibrancy and intimacy back into your marriage, I dare you to start praying this radical prayer. Persist, don’t give up. Wait for the results. They will come.

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UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – Breaking Bad

Posted in Communication, companionship, Conflict, counsellor, God' Love, Good Marriage, love, Making Wise Choices, messes, Pain Pleasure, Pleasure, pornography, Prayer, secrets, SEX, technology, Valued with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Hidden HeartWe all have a dark side. Sexual scandals are rampant. Anthony Weiner, a former U.S representative and candidate for the mayoral race in New York is now called a “Sexter”. This was the second time he was caught in a sex scandal and it has probably ruined his reputation and career. Bob Filner, the 35th mayor of San Diego just stepped down, in disgrace, from his office after eleven women came forward and alleged he was a “serial sexual harasser.” Jerry Sandusky, the retired football coach who was an idol to thousands of young boys and men, is now in jail for being a “convicted serial child molester”. What a tragedy. Lives ruined forever.

These men were exposed for their dark side. Many people are still seeped in their secret, destructive, addictive lives. If this is part of your story in your marriage…run for help.

None of us can be self-righteous and judge. Every one of us is probably just a movement, sentence or step away from something that could potentially destroy any one of our lives. We need to have the eyes and heart of compassion of Jesus to help each other, especially the spouses, who are caught in the chains of their own prison.

The world and social media makes it to easy and accessible to receive free drugs. The next pleasure is just a click away. Violent games and gambling are at everyone’s fingertips. Any addiction is destructive but there is help and new hope for everyone. Every one of us is God’s creation and He will help us if only we turn to Him.

My heart aches for husbands and wives who are living the secret lives of a spouse who is battling a secret addiction…whatever it is. Please don’t despair. But you can’t do it on your own.

The bible tells us over and over again that we are to “help each other.” The first thing you need to do is break the darkness of the secret and seek help.

1. Tell someone. There is no shame in this, we are all broken people.
2. Get help. I read just recently that there is now a Rehab home for people with computer game addictions. There are programs, counselors and people who are willing to help.
3. Pray and ask God to direct you to someone who will help you, walk with you and cover your back.
4. Something happened in your past that triggered this addictive need inside of you. Find out what this is and ask God to heal you.
5. God is in the “heart transformation business.” You cannot change yourself. Only God can heal your broken heart and restore your health.
6. Don’t condemn our spouse. Help him/her. But also don’t enable them in their addictive patterns.
7. This will take time…don’t despair.

Yes, there are horrific stories of addictive behavior that has destroyed lives. But there are also stories of victories, of families restored and lives healed. I pray that you will have a story of new hope and victory.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE- “Put Fun Back In your Marriage”

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Boring marriage, Communication, companionship, Conflict, dopamine, Encouragement, Expectations, Freedom from Busyness, Friendship, fUN, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Laughter, Norepinephrine, Pleasure, Uncategorized, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Is your marriage fun
Laughter cuts tension and breaks down barriers. I observed this concept in my own children when they were little. I watched them play, and then fight, and then laugh hilariously about something silly. In the aftermath of that refreshing laughter, they completely forgot they were mad at each other. This concept still applies to us grown-ups. Life can get very serious these days and we desperately need to learn to laugh again. Yes, the butterflies of early romance quickly flutter away, but they can be replaced by something more substantive.

In a New York Times article i. entitled Reinventing Date Night for Long-Married Couples, the writer concludes that “Simply spending quality time together is probably not enough to prevent a relationship from getting stale.” We’ve all heard the phrase “familiarity breeds contempt’ and I also believe that none of us want to become that “old boring couple”. I am passionate about the fact that we must intentionally put fun and laughter back into our marriages. We need to do this so that we can remember we really do still LIKE each other.

My husband and I have a lot of serious stuff going on in our lives. He is a pastor and I am an author, speaker and controller of a large car dealership; plus we have a large family. I also have an aging mother and we are that point in our lives where grandchildren are leaving home and travelling all over the world. But we both know that in order to keep our marriage fresh, vibrant and healthy, we must intentionally make time to have fun and laugh.

Our brains are created and wired for pleasure. The New York Times further states: “New experiences activate the brain’s reward system, flooding it with dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the same brain circuits that are ignited in early romantic love, a time of exhilaration and obsessive thoughts about a new partner.” Frankly, if spouses don’t find the fun in their marriages, they will pursue it somewhere else.

Here are some tips to re-kindle the spark and re-activate the brain:
1. Be INTENTIONAL about creating some fun. My husband and I love to golf at different golf courses and we make intentional plans to attend football games in other cities. I hear of other couples taking dance lessons, hiking trips or something as simple as a different restaurant or a funny movie.
2. Be CREATIVE. Doing the same thing and re-visiting the same familiar haunts takes you down the same boring path. Try something new and tailor your date nights or activities with some novelty and fun.
3. BRAINSTORM together. The simple process of brainstorming together can be part of the fun factor. Be open to each other’s ideas and don’t dismiss each other’s different perspectives.
4. Protect your fun times from CONFLICT. If the activity is not working out the way you anticipated, protect is from conflict and agree to discuss the issue the next day. Take this opportunity to go out and just enjoy each other’s company.
5. Share FUNNY STORIES. My husband and I love to share funny incidents that occurred during the day. Look for the simple, funny things all around us and take the time to laugh about them.
6. Do the BIG SWITCH. Decide to have a happy marriage. Decide that you will not become that old boring couple that sits across from each other in the restaurant without saying one word to each other.

Marriage was created to be the most enjoyable and intimate relationship we will have in this life. This does not happen organically or automatically. It takes some work and I know you can do it.

i. http://www.reuniting.info/science/reinventing_date_night_for_long_married_couples

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE- “Oh, You’re So Sensitive”

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Communication, companionship, Encouragement, Friendship, Good Marriage, Harmony, Intimacy, Kindness, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Pleasure, Power of the Tongue, power of words, sensitive with tags , , , , , on July 13, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Woman whispering in man's ear
I cringe when I remember saying to my children: “Oh you’re so sensitive.”At that time I did not realize the negative impact it would have on their spirits. Even though we are all grown up now, we still have those tender…“sensitive” feelings that cause us to react defensively. Let me explain.

As we mature, we do not want to show our weaknesses. But each one of us has that tender spot in our spirit, or a red hot button, that when it is pushed or trammeled on, causes us to respond negatively. Most men have been taught to “suck it up… be a man… babies don’t cry…grow up”, and consequently have learned to build a wall around their weaknesses. But, those tender feelings are still deep inside their spirits and are easily evoked when the wrong thing is said. However, men… (and many women) have learned to hide weakness and respond defensively through anger, arrogance, and indifference or trying to be emotionally distant.

It can actually be quite irritating when we make a simple comment like: “Why are you wearing THAT shirt?” or when we compare or criticize their golfing skills, mechanical, “Mr. Fix It” skills or their computer expertise to someone else. If they react defensively, we know we’ve hit a “red hot button”. Of course we all need to learn to get over the small, seemingly insignificant issues in our life, but until that day comes, we have to realize we may have hurt someone with our flippant comment.

Here’s where it gets dangerous. If we don’t recognize our “too sensitive side”… we will learn to protect ourselves from hurtful barbs by building walls. One brick at a time. After a while we may realize it’s just too much work to edit all our conversations and we shut down and protect ourselves. Once this happens, the marriage loses its intimacy and joy. We become defensive instead of protective. We enter into power struggles instead of joyful companionship.

I know! I have spent my whole life learning not to be so sensitive and to take comments personally. It has helped tremendously to learn to sort through criticism and people’s opinions by being a speaking and author, a Controller of a large automobile dealership and being in a second marriage. Needless to say I have become “sensitive” to other people’s sensitivity and I realize how much some comments may hurt.

I want to ask you.
“Do you know your spouse’s sensitive areas?”
“How do YOU respond when your spouse gets defensive?”
“How do YOU respond when someone hits YOUR red hot sensitive button?”
“Do you use your spouse’s sensitive spots to deliberately hurt him at times?
“Do you know YOUR sensitive spots and how do you protect yourself?”

Our marriage should be places where we feel safe and protected. Learning each other’s sensitive areas by protecting them instead of using them as hurtful weapons, builds the kind of joy and intimacy we are looking for in our marriages.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-“A Home Called Harmony”

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Commitment, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Friendship, Good Marriage, Harmony, Intimacy, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Making Wise Choices, Pleasure, power of words, Prayer, Respect, Uncategorized, Understanding each other, Valued with tags , , , , , , , on June 14, 2013 by hmclaughlin

100_2633Through 48 years consisting of 2 marriages, I have learned the significant parts that husbands have in alleviating family stress and tension and promoting peace and harmony.It simply requires that a man step up to be proactive, rather than withdrawing and isolating himself from what goes on in the home.
I experienced a very positive example of this several years when my wife Heidi and I were invited to spend a weekend with a couple and their three children. We looked forward to the visit with keen anticipation of skiing on one of our British Columbia, Canada’s most outstanding mountains.It is to be understood that preparation for a family ski trip can be fairly chaotic with the amount of equipment that walks away and the socks that are eaten by the clothes dryer. However, in this case, the preparation for the departure was a thing of beauty.
We woke up to the smell of coffee and quickly encountered a fresh and tantalizing breakfast set out on the kitchen table. We soon discovered that this did not happen by accident. It was the husband who had been up early and had already packed all the skies and poles for the entire family into a Van roof top container. Gloves, socks and goggles had been inserted into each person’s boots and all the boots and helmets were assembled and lined up in categories at the back door. All we had to do at this point was was pick up our belongings, our prepared bagged lunch and head out the back door.
I attribute our peaceful getaway to the willingness of the dad to anticipate and defuse the possibility of confusion and tension. I might add that the children are now grown up, and through their father’s example, are completely adept of taking care of their own gear.
Husbands can facilitate harmony in the home through their actions for which we use the term “Greasing the Skids”, which means: “wanting something to go smoothly”. The origin of the phrase comes from the practice of constructing ships on a set of rails, also known as skids. When the ship was ready to be launched, the skids were covered in grease to reduce the friction and the supporting blocks were knocked loose, so that the ship could slip easily, into the water and then to the sea.
With the many forms of pressure that families face inside and outside the home, I believe that there are many things that husbands can do to create a harmonious atmosphere and release each member of the family to achieve their God given potential:

1. I have found that it is helpful to anticipate times when there is potential for added family stress. Those would include such times as meals, trips, guest visits to say nothing of preparation for Sunday church. Working with your wife, assisting in anything from peeling potatoes or carrots to cleaning up after her as she prepares the meals, goes a long way to enhance team like harmony.
2. I have learned the importance of praying with my wife; particularly when she is faced with challenging situations.Those who are tech savvy may wish to text a prayer and declaration of love and support. This is also true of our sons and daughters. A verbal or written blessing is extremely important.
3. I have learned how to make sure that my wife is spiritually and intellectually fed, particularly during periods of her life when her primary responsibility is the home. Share with her interesting ideas and books that you are reading. Encourage her to pursue interests in learning new skills through offering to take care of the house and providing creative financial support. I might add that I have also learned that facilitating a wife’s shopping and spending time with her friends is also very important.
While I could offer scores of suggestions, I have learned that it all begins with my personal desire to do whatever is necessary to achieve “God given harmony” in my home.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – “IF YOU HAD ONE WISH”

Posted in Anticipation, Beauty through Boldness, Commitment, Expectations, Friendship, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Life of Jesus, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Pleasure, Prayer, Resentment, Uncategorized, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , , on April 13, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Girl Dressed as a Fairy for a Birthday Party
If I had one wish that would get answered with the snap of a finger, it would be “to help restore marriages so that everyone can enjoy the pleasure and intimacy in the way God designed marriages to be.” It breaks my heart to see spouses angry, unhappy, resentful and turning to the searing pain of divorce.

If you had one wish for YOUR marriage to make it the way you envisioned it to be, what would that be? But let’s take it one step further, because marriages need more than a wish and a swish of a magical wand. A wish can sometimes look like this: Wishing you spouse would stop leaving socks on the floor, start putting down the toilet seat, stop playing so much golf, stop working so much, start helping with the children at bath time. Wishing something supernaturally would fall from the sky to change the dynamics and picture.

Let’s change that “wishing” to an “expectation.”
They look the same but there is a difference. “Expectations” put action (legs) to the word “wish”. We EXPECT something to happen or change. We no longer TOLERATE the status quo and we work towards helping to make that change. We open our hearts to embrace the change that needs to happen and we will assist, co-operate, make plans and partner with our spouses to bring about the needed change. Here are some examples:
1. My friend Larry’s wife had an aneurysm and he wrote about it on my previous blog. He did not just “wish” his wife Janet to heal and recover; he expected it to happen. He made a commitment to his wife to live up to his marriage vows. Every day he prays and asks God for help, he expects his friends and neighbors to jump in and help when necessary, and he actually puts words to his requests so that he knows this will happen.
2. In my first marriage I always wished that my husband would know when I was tired and needed help in the kitchen. I wished he would take his eyes off the Monday night football TV screen and rush into the kitchen or laundry room to help me. It never happened. I was no longer satisfied with the present status quo and realized my “wishing” was getting me nowhere. I then used words to express my “expectations” that I needed help and clearly explained what that help looked like. It perpetuated the desired change.
3. In my present marriage I expect my husband to help me with my income tax, advise me on my car repairs, speak to me kindly and to take out the garbage each Monday. I don’t just “wish” for this to happen, I have put words to those expectations and we have a mutual understanding that this will transpire. It does.

Because of my husband’s and my mutual desire to have a loving, strong and intimate marriage, we don’t silently wish for something to happen, we use words to express our expectations and then EXPECT them to happen. When they don’t happen, we talk about it.

Turning a wish into an expectation can turn resentment into appreciation and love. But we can’t successfully do this on our own, we need God’s help to guide us through this process. The Bible puts it this way: “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3 NIV).

We pray to God with clear words of expectation for Him to help us in our marriage. Marriage can be hard and we need a supernatural power to guide us through the complicated maze of turning wishes into fulfilling expectations. This is much bigger than ourselves; God created marriage to be good and He is the One who can help make this happen.
What is one wish…no expectation…that you have for your marriage? Ask God help you and then expect it to happen.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-“Predictable Patterns”

Posted in Anticipation, Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Freedom from Busyness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Pleasure, Resentment, SEX, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , on March 14, 2013 by hmclaughlin

image
Some predictable patterns evoke a sense of pleasurable anticipation. For example. My husband and I can’t wait for golfing season to start so that we can golf on every available Friday. This pattern is full of joy and freedom because it is something Jack and I love to do. But there are predictable patterns that turn into boredom, rob us of all freedom, suck away our joy and may leave us feeling depleted and even resentful. These are the patterns that evolve from repeated and endless duty and obligations. Once an obligation or duty becomes predictable…be prepared for the danger signs.

Let’s be realistic. In all marriages there are obligations that must be met every day. But there comes a time when we have to change our routines or pull away from them for a short time so that we don’t turn into time management robots. As I observe marriages these days, my heart aches for couples that are caught into the predictable pattern of work, driving children to activities, paying bills, going to meetings and the myriad of tasks that endlessly fill their days. We cannot experience the joy and fullness of marriage if we don’t break away from these predictable patterns and get reaquainted with the person we said “I do” to. Relationships cannot survive without eyeball to eyeball conversations and heart connection intimacy. Here are a few suggestions for breaking the patterns:
1.Unplug. Put away your phone, I-pad, computer, game boy and anything that resembles a piece of technology. Yes, those pieces of plastic and wire are important, but not more important than answering your child’s question, or your spouses plea for an important conversation. Pour your favorite drink, sit down, look each other in the eyes and talk.
2.Go away. Do something different. If you go to aunt Sophie’s house each summer, it may be nice visit, but over the years this may have turned into another assumed predictable pattern. Go to the mountains..the ocean…explore an area that you’ve never seen before. Try golfing, playing a new game, go to a different restaurant, try a new ice cream, buy coloured shoes, a different coffee shop or maybe it’s time to attend a marriage retreat.
3.Laugh. When was the last time you laughed? I mean belly laughed! Laughter has the power to heal wounds, it breaks down tension, and puts a new perspective on our relationships. Go to a funny movie..or download one on your tv or computer. A quick and easy fix is to watch some Brian Regan (the comedian) clips on utube…together. They are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.
4.Prepare a Romantic night. Yes, get dressed up and go to a romantic restaurant where you have to sit across from each other and talk. Talk about your future. Dream about possibilities. Remember how funny you once were!
5.Give each other freedom. Tell your wife to go shopping for as long as she wants. Tell your husband to go golfing and not worry about rushing home. We all need to know that we are not TRAPPED into a certain time frame all the time. Because when we begin to feel trapped, we will find other means of pleasure.
We are living in a time in history where many marriages are struggling to survive the many demands that bombard us every day. Please do not be one of those that thinks it will be easier to walk from the marriage than to fight for it.

God made us to be fulfilled in our relationships. The only way we can thrive is to spend the most valuable commodity we have to succeed. TIME.
Please take the TIME to break some predictable patterns and change them into freedom finders. Freedom to be who God created you to be as your own person..and a successful spouse.