Tag Archives: relationships

The Sex Talk: Why Sex Can Make or Break Your Marriage

Growing up in the church, I noticed that sex was a taboo topic. Sex wasn’t spoken of often. As if talking about sex somehow makes us impure and dirty. So when I got engaged, I noticed how many marriage gurus (much to my surprise) were placing so much importance on sex in marriage. One marriage expert, Dr. Kevin Leman author of “Sheet Music,” spoke of sex in the marriage podcast “Dear Young Married Couple.” He says, “sex is like a thermometer in marriage.” In that he, as a marriage therapist, could often tell how a marriage was doing based on how sexually active the couple was. Well, if marriage is so important, why aren’t our churches talking more about it?

Sex = Bad

I believe churches often stress abstinence so much that some churches choose to simply not discuss it at all. Figuring that marriage would be something the married couple would discuss after they are married.

But, I’ve noticed that in choosing not to discuss marriage at all, young couples are entering into marriage with incorrect mindsets of sex: a lot of people my age believe sex is just a fun time, or a transactional thing you do between the person you love or sex is some scary thing. Not simply a powerful glue between two married people (more on this later). I once heard someone describe sex as fire: it can provide warmth when in the safe confines of marriage, but it can be a dangerous inferno when outside the confines of marriage-destroying every aspect of your life in its blaze.

Let’s Talk About Sex

The Bible speaks often about sex. God created us as sexual beings, thus why his first command to Adam and Eve was “to be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). So its normal to have urges, or feel like you need sex. That doesn’t make you weird, or depraved. Of course I don’t think its healthy to be obsessed with sex. And there are some people who don’t have these urges, and have been blessed with what the Apostle Paul calls “the gift of singleness (1 Corinthians 7:6-9).” But for most people, the urges are there and strong. Why wouldn’t they? If no one had sex, humanity would die off!

The Apostle Paul even implored married couples to not abstain from sex for too long or you could fall to temptation (1 Corinthians 7:5). God designed sex to bring us pleasure (Proverbs 5:18, and the whole Songs of Solomon). But He wanted us to have sex in marriage. Outside of marriage, there are so many dangers: STDs, emotional and spiritual damage, and of course having children outside of marriage.

Sex: The Fire That Rages

Researchers at the Institute of Family shows that women with 3-10 or more sexual partners were most likely to divorce, while women with 0-1 sexual partners were least likely to divorce. More research shows that having multiple sexual partners before marriage could lead to less happy marriages. Pretty surprising considering our society enforces the idea that having multiple sexual partners is fun and liberating, huh? This data also goes against the idea that you need to have multiple sexual partners to determine who is your “sexual match.” Oh, please. If anything, sexual intimacy develops throughout a lifetime of marriage, and having sex with only one partner strengthens that intimacy. In having multiple partners, it could be easy to compare sex with your partner, and sex with previous partners.

There are also spiritual effects of premarital sex. Bible speaks of being careful who you have sex with. First Corinthians 6:16-17 says “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” This is a clear warning that whoever you have sex with, you become one with. Genesis 2:24 also says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

You see this is why sex is so important. It isn’t just a pleasurable moment of fun between two people. Sex is a spiritual covenant between you, your partner, and God. Having sex tells God you two agree to be partners for life. Thats why today, just like in the old days a married couple had to have sex in order to consummate the marriage. Meaning the marriage wasn’t valid unless the two had sex. Sex is like the glue holding two people together. Thats why sex can be a thermometer in marriage because it strengthens your oneness with your spouse.

Sex is Great and Important

But I digress. Sex is important. It’s amazing, and can only get better with your spouse as you grow to understand what the other wants. The verses above provide further proof that when you have sex, you become one with someone. So, the emotions, personality, and even desires of your spouse becomes enmeshed with your own. I can fully attest to this. My husband and I since becoming married have become a lot like one another: our personalities, goals, and desires are more unified now than when we were dating. This isn’t to say were the same person, but we are definitely one. God designed it this way to maintain unity in marriage.

So what do you do with all this information? I believe engagement is a great time to discuss sex. Don’t get too spicy though! But definitely discuss it during premarital counseling-not by yourselves. Talk about how often you would want to have sex, even going as far as making a sex schedule. I know, that sounds so silly right? But life has a way of getting in the way of things-even important things like sex. Your spouse may be in a season where he has to work long hours and you two can’t just have sex whenever you want. It definitely does help. Plus making a schedule gives you something to look forward to throughout the week! Sex should be a priority in marriage. Don’t be afraid to talk about your sexual desires or fantasies with your spouse (in marriage!). Or to spice things up with flirting, lingerie or romantic weekend getaways.

I’m not saying of course if you have had sex outside of marriage you’re a completely broken being with no hope. Of course not! God can restore any situation, and provide healing and newness if that’s your story. But, if we choose to live God’s way in regard to sex, we will be much better off than doing it the world’s way.

Blessings,

M/M

How I Knew My Husband was the “One.”

In today’s day and age, there are so many ways to meet people: social media, online groups, dating apps or sites. How do we find “the one?” Well for me, God told me when and how I would meet my husband.

What??

I know, it sounds wild, but its true! In fact, God gave me multiple confirmations that Jason was the one for me. With all the methods available to us today its so important to be led by God as to who “the One” is. In this article, I’ll give you three ways God can show you who is “the One.”

Three ways to Know He/She is “The One”

1. The When and How

When I was single, I spent a lot of time in prayer, and bible study. This allowed me to grow in my relationship with God. I felt lead to pray for my future husband. He told me in November 2019 that I would meet my spouse the following January 2020, we would meet on Facebook and we would get married fast. I wrote this down in my journal and just knew it was a fact. I knew I would meet my husband the following January. Thanksgiving 2019, it felt like it would be the last thanksgiving I would have with my family in a while. I knew I would be moving from Maryland the following year and getting married. And I had so much peace with that.

2. Peace

When Jason and I got engaged, some people did not approve of our marriage. Rightfully so, we had only met in January and were getting engaged in June. I understood their hesitation, and even fear. But with Jason, we clicked on so many things like our desire to have children, our desire to live in Florida, we both shared the same Christian faith, and we both had similar financial goals. There were no red flags either. He is a genuine, kind, intelligent, hardworking man with a vision and goals for himself that I wanted to be apart of. He was my best friend, and I loved being with him. He pushed me to be better. I was confident he would take care of me, and our future children. I knew without a shadow of doubt he would never harm me. In spite of all the chaos in the world, as long as I was able to be with him, I would be okay.

3. Opposition

I knew my husband was the one because we had some chaos during our engagement. Don’t get me wrong, God works in decency and in order. Satan will often attack you before you reach your promised blessing. Look at the people of Israel, as they travelled to the promised land, the surrounding nations gathered together to fight against God’s people (Joshua 11:5). The people of Israel had to depend on the Lord to get through this. God is a god of love but he is also a god of war. He will fight for His people if you trust him. I had multiple instances of opposition from people in my life. Of course it sucked, but because I knew what God told me I used that opposition as further confirmation that Jason was the one. Although there will be opposition, you will still have peace knowing your spouse is “the one.”

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,” Isaiah 46:10

God knows our end from our beginning. Like every area of your life, its so important to be led by God in your love life.

While God gives us free will, he also has a perfect will for our lives. I wanted God’s perfect will for me, so I invited him into my love life and had him lead me to my spouse. God surely can tell you when you’ll meet your spouse like He did for me, or even who He is. But He can show you in other ways too: if you meet a guy who’s mature, loves the Lord, respects you, works hard, and has goals for himself and his future you can get with then you’ll know he is the one. But if you see multiple red flags, don’t feel respected by him, he isn’t mature, you disagree on key things like family planning, children, financial or career goals, or family issues then maybe its a sign to take a step back. God is the ultimate matchmaker. Allow him to write your love story. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The Marriage Gym: How Marriage Makes You a Stronger Christian

I never truly liked the gym. I go every week, but its not my favorite place to go to. What keeps me going every week then? My body needs it: the gym is where my muscles get worked and get stronger. So although I don’t like to go to the gym (especially early in the morning), I go because my body needs to get stronger.

When I first got married, I understood that marriage would be hard. I understood it would take alot of work. But, I didnt realize how marriage, in a way, is like a gym. The daily trials, struggles, and triumphs of marriage strengthens you as a Christian.

So let’s discuss three ways marriage can make you a stronger Christian.

1. Growing in Grace

When you get married, you learn to give grace to your spouse. Although its easy to forget this: none of us are perfect. We go into marriage thinking the world of our spouses. We think they can do no wrong and would never hurt us. But we forget that our spouses are humans-thus bound to make mistakes and fall short of expectations. When your spouse does something to offend you, and they apologize, give them grace in forgiveness. And forget it ever happened. Remember: they are still human! Although this sounds impossibly hard (I’m still growing in this area!), its doable with prayer and practice. Giving your spouse grace really helps your relationship in the long run. Because again, no one is perfect. We all need God’s grace. When we remember that, its not too hard to give grace after you’ve been hurt or offended, and it makes it easier to love your spouse in spite of their faults.

2. Learning to Love

Love is something that is truly powerful when experienced. When your spouse loves you even after your worst moments, its the best feeling ever. You can grow to truly love people starting with your spouse. Your spouse will annoy you, irritate you, anger you, and hurt you. But when you can look past that and love them anyway, your capacity to love grows so much more. My understanding of what true love is has grown so much since getting married: I believe my experience with loving and being loved by my husband has helped me to love people who are hard to love. Like mean customers at work, coworkers or rude people I run into in my day to day life. Loving, like forgiveness, isn’t always easy, but its definitely worth it.

3. Fortifying Forgiveness

Forgiveness isn’t easy for everybody. But when you live with your spouse, they are gonna make mistakes. Again, they will anger you, upset you, and/or annoy you (sometimes all in the same day!). But you’ll have to forgive them anyway. When I think of forgiveness, I try to consider my own actions in the past. I’ve done things to anger God, or anger others and needed forgiveness. So, why couldn’t I forgive my husband? While that’s so easy to say it could be very hard to do.

We sometimes cant think past our own hurts. But when we choose to forgive, we get so much freedom. Dr. Bob Enright, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison has done a lot of research on forgiveness. He found that forgiveness is associated with reduced anxiety, depression and major psychiatric disorders, as well as with fewer physical health symptoms like pain, and lower death rates. I’ve learned that forgiveness (especially after a hard situation) is a process. You have to tell yourself to forgive, make yourself think differently about that person, and choose to think differently toward them. When we choose to forgive, we truly grow stronger in our Christian walk.

“While bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

1 Timothy 4:8.

We all need exercise, the Bible says, but the most important exercise is spiritual exercise. And we all need it in order to be stronger Christians. Marriage is not just about having a best buddy to have fun with, or sex, or money, or prestige. All those things are wonderful and fruitful; but I believe God designed marriage to help us get stronger and to be more like Christ. The same is true with the gym as it is in marriage: its often easier to work out with a buddy than by yourself.

Four Ways to Have Intimacy With Your Significant Other Without “Getting Intimate”

Let’s be real. As unmarried Christians in relationships, we may want to have intimacy with our boyfriends or girlfriends. Hey, we’re only human! Of course everyone will say, “don’t have sex!” Or “just don’t do it! Wait until marriage.” Or “just keep waiting.” But sometimes you may feel like you can’t wait. Or you may have such strong feelings for your significant other you feel you just can’t wait! You may feel the only way you can have intimacy with your significant other is only through sex. But can you have intimacy without getting it on? Why yes you can!

Intimacy ideas

1. Learn Each Other’s Love Language

Knowing your partner’s love language help you know just how to love on your spouse. Because love isn’t just about saying “I love you.” Like faith, love without action is dead. You’ll have to pair your expressions of love with actions. Some people need love by words of affirmation. Some people need love through acts of service. Others need love by quality time. Others require affection (but be careful with this one, haha). Take the love language test below to determine what your partner’s love language is and work on appeasing to that whenever you can.

https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/love-language

2. Find Activities to do Together

Work on a new skill or project together: take a language class, or learn to dance! Jason and I would workout together when we were dating. This not only helped us connect, but it was great to see results from something we’ve worked on together. We also read books together, which gave us good things to talk about. Find ways to grow together.

3. Pray or Fast Together

Let me tell you: praying together helped so much in our relationship. Bringing God in is always great but really praying and even studying the Bible together and fasting can help your intimacy get stronger because you’re bonding over your shared love and need for God. And be real when you pray! If you’re feeling tempted to get intimate, tell God! He will always help you.

4. Remember the End Goal and Work to Have a Great Future Marriage

When Jason and I were dating, we made sure to do our homework because we had an end goal in mind: a great marriage. We listened to a lot of marriage podcasts. There are a few wonderful podcasts we would listen to together called “The Godly Dating Podcast” and “Dear Young Married Couple” while we were dating. These podcasts were great! They always provoked deep, thought-provoking conversations. Dear Young Married Couple actually has decks of cards that feature questions you can ask each other while you’re dating and during marriage! We got a deck, and have really enjoyed them! Sometimes you want to know what your spouse thinks about key issues like children or finances but don’t know where to start. So these card decks really help with starting those conversations. See links below!

*Not Sponsored*

This deck is for those in relationships that are still on the journey of growing in their relationship. Lots of great questions to ask each other.

This deck is for deeper conversations that really stimulate thought-provoking conversations any boyfriend or girlfriend should ask each other before marriage.

In Luke 17:1, Jesus tells his disciples “There will always be temptations to sin.” We have to be prepared for the temptation. Be real, when you’re with a person you sincerely love, and are attracted to-the temptation is bound to come! So, its important to be prepared by finding other ways to have intimacy without getting intimate.

Monday Musings: In Defense of Marriage

Michelle, you sure do talk a lot about marriage! But there are so many people I know who get divorced, cheated on-the idea of marriage leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Why should I even think of getting married?

I’m so glad you asked!

In Defense of Marriage

According  to a report released last month by the Pew Research Center, found 25 percent of millennials are likely to never be married. A report released in 2013 by Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Marriage and Family Research found that the U.S. marriage rate is 31.1, compared to the much higher  rate in 1920, at 92.3.

Many young folks my age are choosing to either put it off altogether, or opt for a cohabitation situation. But doing so causes those to miss out on the wonderful benefits of marriage!

Benefits of Marriage

1. Health Benefits

A huge survey of 127,545 American adults found that married men are healthier than men who were never married or those who are divorced or widowed. Also, the longer the man stays married the longer he lives generally.

Another study found marriage, among other factors, was linked to a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

A large, long-running study called the General Social Survey found that married people reported the most overall happiness, second was the cohabitating group reporting somewhat less happiness, and singles who’ve never married or lived with someone being the least satisfied of all. Speaking of cohabitation, the same study found that cohabitation doesn’t deliver the same levels of happiness, trust and well-being that marriage brings.

Furthermore, those who consider their spouse or partner to be their best friend get about twice as much life satisfaction from marriage as other married people

2. Wealth Benefits

According to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, married men are earning much more money, on average, than everyone else in America.

Married people can protect their wealth for their children. Under federal tax laws, you can leave any amount of money to a spouse without generating estate tax.

A married taxpayer without paid employment, however, may contribute to an IRA using joint income.

Married women work significantly less hours than single women, and save $1 million more in a lifetime compared to single women. By combining resources and splitting costs, married people have the edge on all kinds of day-to-day expenses like gas, food, rent, utilities, and car payments.

3. Future Kiddos

Marriage can provide stability for children. A researcher at the Pew Research Center found “children are more likely to thrive in stable families and [a] married family is overall more stable for children than a cohabiting family.”

“It’s not Good for man to Be Alone”

God spoke those words in the beginning, and He is still right today! This post isn’t to make anyone feel bad or anything, I wanted to state the facts. And while marriage has the potential to be amazing, I know there are many people in the world who don’t have an amazing marriage. My heart goes out to them. But for those considering marriage or for those who’ve written marriage off altogether. Please think again. Marriage can be the best relationship you have with another human being. Of course, being a human relationship, you can have your ups and downs, but there is nothing like having a spouse who can support you, push you to be better, and commit their lives to you.

Blessings,

M/M

P.S.

Check out these resources below for more info!

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/267043/

https://www.bgsu.edu/news/2013/07/marriage-rate-lowest-in-a-century.html

https://www.google.com/amp/s/turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/marriage/7-tax-advantages-of-getting-married/amp/L1XlLCh0m

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.deseret.com/platform/amp/indepth/2019/11/6/20951878/cohabitation-vs-marriage-married-couples-living-together

The Battle Between Loneliness and The New Wife in a New City

I may receive affiliate funding for products suggested in this article.

Behold! A battle of epic proportions! Between me and loneliness. Loneliness sucks. I grew up in a household constantly surrounded by people. Family members or friends coming over every day. Cooking together, watching games or movies together. The togetherness was real. But when I got married, I didn’t realize how much of a transition it would be to go from a big, crowded household, to a household with just me and my best buddy.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband to bits and I consider myself eternally blessed to spend every day with him. But moving away from home to a whole new town was hard for me. I didn’t know anyone in this new city. Let me tell you, I spent many nights crying because I didn’t feel like I belonged and I felt alone.

But Michelle, how can you feel lonely when you have a whole husband?! It’s not as hard as you may think. As a new wife, I’m still getting to know my husband. While we have many things in common, we don’t share an infinite amount of interests. Plus, he’s a guy, and I’m a woman. So the need for connection with others like you was so strong for me. I yearned for girl time, for connection with others, to feel apart, to have a family in my new home.

Solutions, Solutions, Solutions

Enter: the church. Going to church really helped me get connected to others in this new environment. I was able to connect with some people and make friends. This was hard at first. Its always hard to put yourself out there. I pushed back against making new friends at first. Rebelling, because I yearned or my friends back home. But eventually, I was able to push myself to make friends

Be friendly. Being friendly is the first step to making friends. The Bible says to be friendly. If you’re an introvert like me, it can be hard to do this. But the more you practice, the better you’ll do! I just go up to people who seem nice and start a conversation with a compliment.

Prayer. Get closer to God during this time of transition. Learn more about him through study plans, books and such. Ask him to lead you to people like you who will grow you. Ask him to lead you to others you can help. The Lord guides our steps (Psalm 37:23-24) and He has a desire for everyone where ever they are placed. Ask the Lord what (or who) is your mission for you where you are and dedicate ourself to that. Perhaps he wants you to pray for a sister in church or babysit for a single mom struggling financially. A good book by Nancy Leigh Demoss called A Place of Quiet Rest: Finding Intimacy with God is great for growing intimacy with God. It helped me a lot with my daily devotions.

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Cry as much as you like. I probably cried at least once or twice a month when I first moved down from home. I missed my family and friends so much. This is completely fine! I needed to process this. I allowed myself to process this transition, and m better for it. One year into the transition, and I don’t cry as much. I feel more at home in my new town.

Get a Journal! Journaling has also helped me process my emotions about this transition. It has allowed me to really delve into my emotions. I’m often not the best at explaining myself or my emotions. So writing it out helps a ton. Tjmaxx, Marshalls, and Ross have really pretty journals.

Find things to do in Your Area. Activities for personal growth help a lot as well. My husband and I joined a gym and got a personal trainer. This is something I can look forward to each week. This also helped me get to know more people in the community, and get acclimated to activities in the community. You don’t have to join a gym; instead you could take a pottery class, join a book club, or explore a new restaurant, hiking trail, or beach nearby! Get yourself excited about what is in your area.

Transitions are had, but they are doable. A transition is a temporary period: getting you from your starting point to your destination. Your job is to determine what steps you’ll do to make your transition a little easier. You can do it!

Blessings,

M/M

How to Have Healthy Boundaries in Marriage.

***This article isnt to say that you will have issues with family members and your spouse in your marrriage! Or that problems with family members and your spouse cant be reconciled. But unfortunately drama does happen sometimes.***

“I married you, not your family!”

These words or some rendition of these words could be heard coming out of the mouths of any spouse. We all have family. We love our family. Family is supposed to be there for you, know you, love you, and back you no matter what. But what happens when the family gets too involved? Or what is the role of the family in the marriage relationship? Is there even a role?? Lets look at how to have healthy boundaries in marriage.

I grew up with a big family. I have three older siblings, and lots of great aunts and uncles and cousins. Whom I love. I respect them, and back them. But when I got married this dynamic changed a little. Of course, with my husband being a new member of the family, its natural for my family to be skeptical of him. Because they haven’t yet gotten the chance to truly get to know Jason. This comes in time, and by spending time with him. We have had situations where family members have gossiped about him, and slandered him. There has been drama, upon drama, which stinks. But it taught me some valuable lessons about the relationship between the new spouse and the family.

Here’s What I’ve Learned:

Peace must be guarded

You must establish your peace. Practically, this can be done by having your own place to call home and not living with family. Of course everyone’s situation is different but try your best to establish your own place, and work toward getting your own place. Even keeping your address private if you feel you need to can help as well. This is super important for establishing boundaries.

Keep up Boundaries

The bible says the following in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” It says a man LEAVES his parents. Of course you don’t have to block everyone out. But establish some boundaries. you’ve created a whole new family, you and your spouse. Ive established physical and nonphysical boundaries.

Physical boundaries include: Distance-I live far from my family (which stinks sometimes) but it has allowed my husband and I to stay away from certain arguments and tension.

Space-we have our own place, which is so freeing. I don’t have to be bombarded by negative views or opinions. If this isnt possible for you, make it a goal to be financially able to get your own place, or find other housing arrangements.

Nonphysical boundaries: No gossipping!-Make up in your mind to not gossip about your spouse to family members and don’t tell them when we have disagreements (unless you have a family member who can be objective and not take sides). If I constantly tell my family members disagreements we have had then this will give them a negative opinion of my spouse. And this will be compounded because they may not be objective since they don’t know him as well as they know as I do.

Time-I speak to certain family member still. But not too often I plan when I will speak to certain family members which may have unsavory opinions of my spouse or who are likely to cause drama. This ensures my peace.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Respect! Respect! Respect!

Although I have had drama and disagreements with family members about my spouse, that doesn’t mean I don’t love and respect them. Matthew 5:44-45 says “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” And I respect my spouse and his feelings. He has chosen not to associate with certain family members I still associate with. I have respected his feelings. And I don’t tolerate disrespect for my spouse. My family knows that I wont tolerate disrespect of my husband.

When you get married, you create a new family. While that doesn’t mean that your extended family is to be discarded, it does mean that the marriage relationship with your spouse must be respected and honored. This isnt to say that you will have issues with family members and your spouse in your marrriage! Or that problems with family members and your spouse cant be reconciled. But unfortunately drama does happen sometimes. You dont want the bad opinions or feelings of family members to destroy your marriage. A 26-year longitudinal study looking at 373 couples showed that a husband having a close relationship with his wife’s family decreased risk of divorce by 20%. While lack of support from family is cause for 17.3% of divorce according to a study polling 52 people in a relationship program.

Boundaries should be established to ensure that the new family you’ve created is its own. You and your spouse have the opportunity to create a beautiful new family together. Your family can add to that beauty in numerous ways: support, love, confidance, and guidance. I believe that can be done through boundaries, respect and guarding your peace.

Blessings,

M/M

Can I Really Wait to Have Kids Without Taking the Pill?

****Just to be frank, I am not trying to control or coerce anyone to do anything. I am NOT a doctor, or nurse. Everyone’s situation is different. My goal here is to inform and tell my story. Do your own research, consult your doctor, and make a decision based on what’s best for you.****

Before I got married last July, I started on birth control. I was actually kind of excited because I felt like a “lady” taking her birth control pills. I laugh at my naïveté now, but back then taking birth control was a big deal for me! You see, before I got married I was told by family members that women on both sides of my family are super fertile and as soon as I have sex, I’ll have a baby! As, a a woman who wasn’t ready to have kids yet (and also a twin!), I was quick to start popping birth control pills. I didn’t understand that women are only fertile for a short period of time (around 6 days) after the date of your last period. While the pill did prevent pregnancy, they destroyed my body in so many ways: I experienced hair loss, I was tired literally all the time which got in the way of my school work, I had deep abdominal pain, I developed a fibroid (a benign tumor), and I was moody a lot.

After doing some research I discovered the pill is associated with the symptoms I had. I recently started reading the book Beyond the Pill by Dr. Jolene Brighten, a nutritional biochemist and leading expert in women’s medicine. Dr. Brighten explains in her book how the pill can wreak havoc on your body and is associated with symptoms like anxiety, depression, low sex drive, fibroids, fatigue, hair loss, and even cancer.

Dr. Brighten also speaks on how to restore your body to its best state after the pill and while you’re taking the pill. Dr. Brighten also details what medical test to take to determine what hormones may be off balance, and provides supplement, food and recipe recommendations for those needing to get their hormones back on track both on and off the pill.

So onto the juicy stuff: how to prevent pregnancy without the help of birth control. Again, everyone is different but I believe the tips I provide can be beneficial to every woman.

Number 1: Track your period!

First things first, you need to track your period. Most women’s cycle lasts around 26-28 days. This is the cycle when the body prepares for pregnancy by producing an egg. This counts as the first day of first period to the first day of the period of the next month. There are multiple apps to track your period, one of the ones I use that is great for any forgetful woman is the health app on the iPhone. It’s great because the app will remind you to track your period if you haven’t started tracking it yet. The app allows you to track symptoms and how long your period lasts. It will then predict when your next period could start and when your fertile days are (super important, keep this in mind for later). Other great apps are the Clue app (in-app purchases), Flo Period Tracker App (in-app purchases), and Period tracker app.

Number 2: Know when you’re fertile days are!

Using your app, plan for when your fertile days are! Again you are only fertile on five to six days after your period ends. Five to six days a month. I was so naïve to think as soon as I have sex without the pill, I will have a baby!

Number 3: Find your method for protection

Now, knowing that women are only fertile for five to six days a month, you could simply not have sex on those days. While the pill is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy if used perfectly, and 91% effective, according to Planned Parenthood, if not used effectively which is very good. But, there are other methods you could use. You could combine two effective methods: condoms and withdrawal. According to Planned Parenthood, male condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy if used perfectly, and 85% effective if not used effectively. Another way of protection is withdrawal. According to Planned Parenthood, withdrawal is 96% effective if done perfectly, and 78% effective if not done perfectly. So, one could combine these two methods for more preventative power!

Again, everyone is different, and everyone’s situation is different. So please keep that in mind for your own plans. You don’t have to get on the pill to prevent pregnancy. There are other ways to prevent pregnancy without experiencing the debilitating side effects like fatigue, hair loss, fibroids, or even breast cancer (the pill increases risk of breast cancer by 20-30%). Once I got off the pill two months ago, my cycle was a little wonky for a month but I’ve returned to my regular cycle. And, a lot of my bad symptoms have subsided since I’ve given up the pill.

Explore the resources below for more information!

What Are Fibroids & How to Treat Fibroids Naturally

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control

Birth Control Pill Use

Blessings,

M/M

From Single to Married: Transitions

Photo by Anastasiya Lobanovskaya on Pexels.com

I have been married for a full year this past July 22-its been a wild ride. As I reflected on my first year of marriage with the love of my life, I considered how much I have learned in that one year. Well, I would like to share with you the things I have learned that have helped me to transition from single to married.

1.      Preparation is key

There are so many ways to prepare for the transition from single to married. One of the things that helped me was service. Service is a huge aspect of marriage: you’ll have to serve your husband at times when you don’t feel like it or at times when you don’t think he deserves it!

So, I practiced serving by serving at church as a Sunday school teacher, volunteering my time at a homeless shelter, and nannying for a single mom at church without pay. Let me tell you, there were multiple times I woke up on Sunday after a long week of work and thought, “Nah, I’m not up for it today, those kids can teach themselves!”

But in those moments, I got to practice ignoring my temporary feelings, getting up anyway and serving anyhow. Discipline in serving takes practice. All of these experiences helped me to develop a heart for servitude that is invaluable in marriage.

2.     The Who, what, when, and why of communication.


Communication is so huge in marriage especially when you are transitioning from single to married. I am naturally an introvert. So, its been a different transition for me to learn to truly express how I feel. Especially, when I am naturally more inclined to stay silent when handling disagreements with my hubby. I can be a master stonewaller. But, according to Dr. John Gottman of the Gottman Institute, stonewalling, or blocking your partner out, is one of the leading causes to divorce.

As a children of divorced parents, both myself and my spouse recognize that divorce is NOT an option. So, being self-aware of my nature and really pushing myself to communicate how I feel has been super beneficial for my marriage. Practicing communication also entails explaining how YOU feel, not putting words in your spouse’s mouth.

The Oxford dictionary defines communication as the imparting or exchanging of information or news. Communication is really an art in my opinion. You have to know when is the right time to speak on something, how to speak on something, and what you will say. For example, if I need to tell my husband I don’t like it when he doesn’t clean out the bathroom.

I need to consider when I will tell him (after he takes a shower or before?), what to say (tone and message: “hey, can you remember to clean out the shower, my love?” Vs. “so, why don’t you ever clean out the shower??”), how to say it: over text, call, email, or speaking directly (which is often the best way to communicate). Communication takes practice-and practice makes perfect!

3.      Being willing to be molded and giving grace in the process.

Giving grace to your spouse is important when transitioning from single to married
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Marriage is not just an amazing relationship you have with another human being, but it’s a lot of work. I mean, a lot of work on you and your spouse. I have changed so much since getting married. I’ve grown, and developed.

I’ve learned to be bolder in my prayer life. To respect my husband, and allow God to change him. I’ve learned to curb my tongue, and not gossip. And I’ve grown in my love, respect, and fear of Jesus. My husband is very gracious, and he works with me (as I work with him) as we work through the bumps of a marriage between two imperfect people trying to be more like Christ.

4. Doing your homework.

I also read a few good books that have helped me prepare for marriage before I met my husband. One good (yet slightly controversial) book was I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris.

This book gave me a good perspective of the dating and marriage relationship and what you should expect out of both. this book also gave me some good insights into how to conduct myself in each type of relationship. Another good book for the single ladies is The Five love languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.

This book is great because you can read it in any season of life! Single, dating, married, or divorced. The book is an easy read that highlights the importance of understanding your own and your loved ones’ loved languages. a great book for dating/engaged couples is Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

This book is fantastic! My pastor recommended this book to my husband and I after our first big fight. This book is worth its weight in marital gold! Dr. Eggerichs helps husbands and wives understand the basic needs of the husband and the wife: respect and love (respectively, no pun intended). This simple yet profound message has helped my young marriage grow exponentially. I talk a lot more about respect in my post “Encouraging respect for your husband.”

Finally, a good book for married couples is Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman. This book is a little spicy, so I recommend it to married couples to avoid temptation. The book does a deep dive into the importance of sex in marriage and how to understand the role of sex in the marriage.

This post isn’t to say that I am this “super wife” who knows everything there is to know about being a wife. No way! I am still young in age and in marriage, and I have a lot to learn. But having humility,  and a heart to learn has allowed me to grow and have a thriving marriage.

Blessings,

M\M