Thursday, May 21, 2009


A while back I was discussing with Adam that it was somewhat frustrating that it seemed that, whenever I communicate with friends from high school or college, it would be because I initiated the contact. It seemed like I was always the one making the effort to stay in touch. Adam asked me if I was the one that generally planned the activities and coordinated gatherings and that was probably true as well. It makes sense that established patterns would be continued. The issue with me was that it felt like I was the only one wanting to keep in touch because I made all of the effort. I was struggling with wanting to feel wanted and pursued. I think that it can be true that I try to hold on to friendships/relationships after their time has expired. I am quite aware that there are seasonal people that are not meant to be lifelong friends, but generally I like my friends so much that I don’t want any of them to be seasonal. However, it is also impossible to sustain a lot of close relationships. And I’m not one to have a lot of surface relationships. I much prefer having a few with deep roots. Still, it’s hard to let go of any. Despite my craziness, God still loves me and shows his love for me. Twice, I’ve been struggling with not hearing from someone who I really want to stay in contact with and then they’ve called when I have pretty much given up hope of ever hearing from them. I know that God can and will provide me with the friendships and supports I need if I will just trust him and ask him.

I think that I’ve gotten better with this issue. In face-to-face interactions with friends, we generally do most of the contacting. We usually understand that people are just busy. There are times when the feelings of frustration arise a bit and I have to remind myself that it’s just life. I’m not going to stop trying to keep up with people just because I don’t want to do all of the initiating. If I did that, I would be pretty lonely. If I want to maintain friendships, then I have to be okay with the work that is involved.

I’m curious as to whether anyone else has struggled with this. If so, what have you done?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Explicit Lyrics Week 5

Extended Play: Keeping Passion Alive
Song of Songs 7:1-8:3

Message Notes:
At the beginning of the scripture Solomon is once again verbally complimenting his wife, this time starting with the feet and working his way up. Jeff mentioned that only those who were trusted in a household were allowed to wear sandals because it meant they were free to come and go as they pleased. Obviously Solomon trusted his wife. He gave her freedom rather than controlling her.

Verse 4 indicates the importance of privacy and confidentiality in one's marriage so that both partners can feel safe and be free to be honest and vulnerable.

Romance is about giving to one another. Appreciating, valuing and respecting one another. Romance dies when we forget about the preciousness of our mate.

When was the last time you verbally expressed admiration or appreciation to your spouse?

Take time to notice the big and little things your spouse does in/for your marriage.

Never in Song of Songs is there domination of one person over the other. It is a relationship of mutual respect and service.

Early on it was in your nature to be romantic. Later, it must become a discipline. Busyness is the enemy of romance.

To have what you once had, you must do what you once did. Are there romantic things that we used to do that we no longer do?

Romance is rooted in the spontaneous and the unexpected. To get what you've never had, you must do what you've never done.

How can we make sure that our best days are still ahead of us?

Personal application: I should think about what I did to romance Adam when we were dating and determine whether I continue to do those things. If not, I should start to incorporate them into my expressions of love for him. I need to make sure I am letting him know that I appreciate him for who he is and what he does.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Explicit Lyrics Week 3

Great Sexpectations
Song of Songs 4:1-5:1

I listened to this sermon on my way to work yesterday so I probably don't have as many notes as normal due to the fact that I had to remember them and write them down after I finished driving.

Jeff said that most of the world seeks sex as god and that the church tends to portray sex as gross. What needs to happen is for sex to be seen as God created it to be. Yep, God created sex which means that it's not inherently sinful. It's all in how you use the gifts God gives.

Jeff said that great sex is selfless and takes its time. In Scripture we see Solomon complimenting his wife. He starts with her head and works his way down. He is tender with her. He is not rough nor does he rush.

Women have a desire to know and understand a man's mind and heart. Men have a desire to know and understand a woman's anatomy. (Verbal vs. visual)

A wife is her husband's only legitimate source of sexual fulfillment. The woman needs to help her husband keep a pure heart and mind by meeting his needs. 1 Cor 7 is mentioned.

Jeff also says that great sex is sensuous. Women enjoy the emotional, romantic side of love making the most. To a woman, great sex is gentle and slow. To a man, great sex is responsive sex.

The charge for the week was to pray the following prayer: "Dear God, help me to know what to do to please my mate emotionally and sexually, and then give me the desire to do it."

It seems like great sex can be difficult because by nature we are all selfish. We have to first get out of the mind set that it is all about us. If we are to acknowledge that men and women have different needs in sex and set out to meet them, it is likely that in the process our own will be met. When someone gives you a great gift, you usually want to express your appreciation in a reciprocal matter. Why would it be different in this scenario?

My application: Acknowledge and appreciate the differences between men and women. Remember that "it is more blessed to give than to receive". Seek to meet my husband's needs.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Explicit Lyrics Week 4

Note: You may be wondering what happened to week 3. Adam and I were on vacation in Aruba so I will have to listen to the message and post a response later.

Broken Records: When Love Breaks Your Heart
Song of Songs 5:2-6:13

Jeff started out talking about seven major areas of conflict in marriage: communication, finances, sex, raising children, work, in-laws, and major illnesses. Adam and I agreed that three of the last four were not relevant at present to our marriage.

We learned that the number one cause of relational conflict is selfishness and the number one trait for diffusing conflict is humility.

I was already quite aware of selfishness' role in relational conflict. I have been struggling lately with selflessness. I hate admitting that I'm selfish and yet no one would be surprised to hear me say it. The fact is, we all naturally care most about ourselves and our wants and we have to work hard to change our mindset to consider others. It has been a prayer request of mine for quite some time. I can see how my selfishness keeps me from being more loving and considerate of others, especially my spouse. I hate that that's the case but I suppose acknowledgement is the first part of change.

Anywho, in the section of Scripture, we see Beloved choosing her own desires over showing love to Solomon. We also see her seeking to remedy her mistake by searching for Solomon so that she can apologize. And we also see that Solomon does not react negatively to her rejection, but continues to demonstrate his love in spite of his hurt.

That's certainly an example we all can learn from. I know my natural response when hurt is to figure out how the other person can feel as I feel. Now, I generally try to let this thought pass in order to be able to share feelings in a non-hurt, non-aggressive way. However, it goes against every inclination to be loving toward whoever has hurt me. I know that that is what Jesus did, and I want to be like him, but this attitude requires a lot of work and effort.

Jeff said there was research (did not hear source) that found that couples who pray and read their Bible every day (not necessarily together) have a likelihood of divorce of 1 in 1150 couples. Those couples that go to church but do not have these two disciplines have a likelihood of 6 in 10 just like the national average.

He also said that the first nine years of marriage are the toughest. Adam pointed out that we're a third of the way through...

We were told that the bridge from selfishness to humility is service and communication.

We were asked to ponder the following questions in relation to our marriage: Am I giving or demanding in my relationship? Offering or withdrawing? Depositing or taking away? Generous or stingy with affection? Open-handed or close-handed? Easy or hard to get along with?

We are also supposed to sit down and communicate openly and honestly with our spouse about our marriage.

Our final thought was: Fake it until you make it. Act loving until you feel loving.

My personal question from this was how do you distinguish selfishness from legitimate need? There are things that you want your spouse to do for you. Are these things desired from selfishness or are they reasonable requests, things it is okay to ask for? The hard thing for me is to express what I want because there's always the fear of rejection if nothing results. It's one thing to have a need that isn't met because it isn't known. When a need is expressed and then not met, what are you to think? Does the other person not care enough to act? Do they not realize its importance to you? Are they just not able to do it? There are so many unknowns that it's a little scary to be transparent. But I guess that's a risk that one must be willing to take. A need unexpressed will almost always go unfulfilled. One expressed has at least a 50% chance of being met. Those odds are quite a bit better.

So what's my application? Continue to pray and seek to lay aside my selfishness in my relationships. To continue to express love despite what I am receiving (to not let my emotions decide my actions, but truth and what is right).