You Need a Sex Habit*

Couples who are having problems aren’t having sex.  Yes, I’m not a researcher or a therapist and my evidence is all anecdotal from conversations with lots of different couples, but I’m telling you: couples who are having problems aren’t having (enough) sex.  Correlation or causation?  Here’s what I think.

Sex is a Keystone Habit

I’ve written previously about keystone habits:

A keystone habit is a simple habit that has effects that cascade into other aspects of an individual’s or a group’s life.

So, a keystone habit might be:

To think of it another way, a keystone habit is the first domino that falls and knocks down all the others with it.

So, a keystone habit in healthy families is having dinner together at home every evening.  That simple practice affects the relationship between the mom and the dad and the kids’ behavior in school and even their reading level.  It’s one domino that falls, knocking over a bunch of others.”

It’s not the keystone habit itself that matters as much as what that particular habit represents and sets in motion.  I think sex between a husband and a wife is exactly that sort of habit; it’s a domino that falls and knocks over a bunch of others.  Here’s why:

  • Sex requires proximity.  It’s good for a husband and a wife to spend time together–too much time apart is never good.
  • Sex requires selflessness.  Like everything else in life that’s good for you, sometimes you won’t feel like it, but there are times when your husband or your wife will need it, and therefore your relationship needs it.
  • Sex requires intentionality.  Unlike in the movies, married folks don’t walk around ripping each others’ clothes off whenever possible.  With jobs and kids and schedules, sex requires intentionality.
  • Sex sends a message.  Women tend to become self-conscious about their bodies as they age and have children, and when a husband tells his wife she is desirable, it draws them together in a profound way.  And vice versa (though not the having children part).

[http://whyatt.com.au]

[http://whyatt.com.au]

Everybody likes sex, but contrary to what a 15 year-old boy would think, it’s not the sex itself that makes the difference for couples so much as it is the proximity, selflessness, intentionality, and message of commitment that regular sex brings to a marriage.

At least, that’s my theory.  What do you think?

 

*If you’re married.  I subscribe to the outlandish and clearly ridiculous belief that sex has a purpose, and that that purpose is only realized within a marriage between a husband and a wife.  If you’re not married, not having sex won’t kill you, believe it or not.  You should try it.

 

 

 

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The 2 Skills Every Man Needs

When I was a boy, I thought that grown men men knew about the world; I thought that grown men weren’t afraid of anything.  But now that I’m a grown man myself and now that I know lots of other men, I’ve come to realize that most grown men are just as insecure, feel just as inadequate, and are just as fearful as they were when they were boys, but that now, as grown men, they have more power, more responsibility, and more potential to hurt others.  Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t teach men the skills we need to thrive as men; there are 2 skills in particular that I believe every man needs to know.

Every Man Needs to Know How to Pray

Men don’t know how to pray.  I talk to guys all the time who feel completely inadequate when it comes to prayer.  Prayer makes the man.  To be a man of confidence, peace, and inner strength, you need to be a man of prayer.

I talked at length about prayer here, but I believe there is one thing any man can do immediately to become better at prayer:

To become better at prayer, you need to be specific.

  • Be specific in your time and place for prayer.  Pick a favorite arm chair, or your kitchen table, or your front porch, and pray there every morning.
  • Be specific in your prayer requests.  Lots of men are afraid of really asking the Lord for specifics, but this is a misplaced fear.  God desires our specific prayers.  “If you want a brown hat, don’t just pray for a hat.”  I keep an index card in my Bible with specific prayer requests on it.  Pray for a specific meeting at work, or a specific issue with a child, or a specific fear or worry.  (It’s also powerful to be specific in your prayers of gratitude.)

Learning to pray can do more to change how a man sees and engages the world than anything else.

Every Man Needs to Know How to Apologize

Do you know how to repair relationships that you’ve damaged?  Many men, not knowing how to apologize, do one of the following:

  • they either walk away when relationships become injured; or
  • they ignore the problem, hoping that it will somehow get better.

Neither tactic works.  And we wonder why so many men are so lonely.  If you don’t learn how to apologize, you’ll live with failed relationships, and over time you’ll see marriages and friendships wither.  A failure to apologize is one of the primary ways I’ve seen men fail at relationships.

There are 3 parts to a good apology.

  1. Make eye contact.  If possible, an apology should be done in person.  Apologizing over the phone is a distant second.  In my opinion, a man should never apologize in email or over text.
  2. Take complete responsibility.  Say, “I did [X] and it was wrong.”  Never ever make an excuse when apologizing.
  3. Say, “I’m sorry.  Will you forgive me?”

Learning to apologize and repair a relationship will change a man’s life for the better.

Here’s the Good News

Praying and apologizing are skills that a man can learn.  Like riding a bike, they don’t come naturally to us, but we can learn to get better.  And, like riding a bike, you have to start somewhere, and when you fall down, you get back on and have another try.

 

 

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