Archive for February, 2015

word kissCan you imagine kissing your spouse for 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds? According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a couple did just that in 2013. I’m betting that this couple wasn’t married with kids. They were probably dating or newlyweds at best. Kissing during that time is so passionate and romantic. Attractions are at their peak, so those hours of kissing feel like mere minutes. I know this was true for me. Before we were married, kissing my wife was thrilling, and we could go on and on…and on.

However, the longer our relationship lasted, the shorter our kisses became. In fact, kissing became routine. After all, who has time to make out passionately when we have a newborn and a soon to be three year old? Everyday is a battlefield, fighting against the forces of dishes, laundry, garbage, diapers, dinner, bath, feedings and more diapers… all this fueled on only a couple hours of unbroken sleep. Affectionate kissing is a passing thought and reduced to little pecks on the lips as we leave for work or say goodnight.

The question is…so what? Is there anything wrong with this? I still love my wife – maybe even more now than ever. So is kissing with passion like we did during dating important in a marriage? Or is it unnecessary and unrealistic the longer a marriage lasts?

marital blissAccordingly to really smart people, Oxford researchers did a study on 900 couples in the US and UK about their relationships and kissing. They asked the couples what made them happy in their relationships. They learned that couples tended to be happier when they kissed more often. The frequency and amount of kissing was directly correlated with the satisfaction of the couples more so than the amount of sex.

Why does kissing influence the happiness of the couples? The research didn’t have a definitive answer but there are many benefits of a kiss. Kissing reduces stress by releasing “happy chemicals” (oxytocin and endorphins) that relaxes your body and makes you feel good. Kissing also uses 30 muscles in your face and as a result, can reduce the signs of aging. How’s that for a perk!

Aside from all of that, here is my take. Maintaining passionate and romantic kissing in marriage is important because it creates a space and place for intimate, daily connection whereas sex may not occur as frequently. Kissing intimately allows you and your spouse to solely focus on each other – not the kids, not the never-ending to-do list – and just BE with one another.

Now of course, there are seasons in marriages and times where just sitting around and kissing is not a practical reality. And that is okay. But the point is connecting with your spouse in an intimate and loving way is always an important part of marriage regardless of how long you have been married.

one-minuteSo to this point, could you spare a minute a day? During our pre-marital counseling, our counselor shared his one-minute-a-day rule that has helped his marriage and many others. Everyday, he spends one minute looking into his wife’s eyes. No words. Just looking. Sound cheesy? Try it. It can be oddly unnerving and uncomfortably intimate if it has been awhile since you’ve connected with your spouse without any distractions…but also touching and deeply affirming.

The goal is to give the other person undivided attention for sixty seconds in a twenty four hour period. So often, we are running the race with our spouses, facing in the same direction but rarely pausing to just look at each other and really SEE the other person.  The one-minute-a-day rule allows for the couple to stop running and very purposefully turn their attention toward each other to be present with each other. Kissing during or after that minute can add even more depth and connection. It also allows the spouses to reaffirm their vows to one another, and remind them to set aside other time to spend with each other.

With kids or other distractions, this may seem impossible and quite frankly, exhausting. But I encourage you to by making the committment to spend just one minute a day looking into your spouse’s eyes topped off with a kiss. This small act will pay huge dividends in your marriage and lead to greater marital bliss.

 

fake adidasCheck out my new Adidas. I got a really good deal for it.

That isn’t Adidas. It says Adidos. It’s a fake, bro.

This situation has happened to me on more than one occasion, especially living as a teenager in Taiwan where imitation “brand-name” products were plentiful.

Imitation is all around us — clothing, shoes, products and food. They look like the real thing but feel, look or taste different from the real deal.

This is true even in our sexuality.

yadayada1I shared in a previous post about God’s beautiful gift of sex as revealed through the study of the word “yada”. Genesis 4:1 describes how “Adam lay (yada) with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.” It is easy to conclude from this that the word “yada” means the physical act of sex, but it has a much deeper meaning. In Hebrew, Yada means to know, be known and deeply respected.  Yada, is not only physical nakedness but also emotional nakedness. It’s a picture of deep vulnerability, acceptance and intimacy with your spouse in the safety of a committed marriage that goes beyond the physicality of sex. This is the authentic gift of sex as God originally intended.

What a beautiful picture of Adam “laying” with his wife, right? If it were only just this passage, the word “lay” would be such a beautiful thing!

But as we continue to read through Genesis, we hit a rough patch. Genesis 19 tells us the story of Lot and his two daughters and their acts of dreadful deception and incest.

32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him that we may preserve [a]our family through our father.” 33 So they made their father drink wine that night, and the firstborn went in and lay with her father; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 34 On the following day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve [b]our family through our father.”35 So they made their father drink wine that night also, and the younger arose and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. -Genesis 19:32-35

Just looking at the English translation, it appears that the same word “lay” that was so beautiful in Genesis 4:1 is used here to describe the incestuous sexual acts between Lot and his daughters.

But is the word “lay” used here “yada”? Is the beauty of yada used to describe these incestuous, deceptive acts? Could this be the same word?

It’s NOT…thankfully.

The Hebrew word for “lay” in this story of Lot and his daughters is NOT yada, but shakab, which means “to lie down.” Shakab is often used with another Hebrew word sikba, which means “emission.” Shakab is often used to describe sexual acts such as adultery and fornication, and to convey the purely physical acts of sex.

not-equalThe point to be drawn from all of this is this: not all sex is created equally. 

Godly sex is deeper than the physical and is designed to be part of the intense fellowship, commitment, and absolutely beautiful intimacy of marriage that comes from being genuinely known and genuinely knowing. It is rooted in sacrificial love, and mutual respect for each other that is intended to mirror God’s own radical and passionate love for the church, His people. This is Yada Sex.

Other sex may look like yada – the same physical actions – but it is not sex as God intended and designed. It strips the emotional intimacy and commitment from the physical act, and glorifies the pleasurable feelings. It can be exciting and alluring—but compared to God’s original design, it is counterfeit. It’s fake. This is shakab sex.

So how do you know the difference between the two? Firstly, Yada sex is designed to be part of the beauty of marriage, but there is a lot of brokenness in marriage. Sex in marriage doesn’t always translate to yada sex. One thing to consider is what happens afterwards. Godly sex, yada, leaves you feeling closer and more intimate with your spouse. Shakab sex with your spouse or anyone else leaves you feeling guilty, ashamed and empty. You may have heard the term “walk of shame.” Shakab leaves a trail of shame or emptiness and a longing for something more. Even though it may be enjoyable and pleasurable for a short time, it doesn’t lasts.

Shakab sex is all around us, and yada sex is grossly misunderstood or misrepresented. Rather than helping others strive for the beauty of yada in marriages, sometimes we Christians can fall into the trap of or shaming and guilt tripping others (or even ourselves!) about shakab sex.

redemption-608x456-608x350Fortunately, our God is a God of redemption. No matter what our story is, God’s love for us is passionate and unchanging, and His desire for us is to experience the best, authentic pleasures of life – including yada sex.. I think of the story of King David. He engaged in shakab when he had an affair with Bathsheba. He even committed a heinous crime by murdering his friend over it. But through his confession and God’s forgiveness, he was redeemed, and it is from his family line that Jesus was born! No matter who you are, God longs for a yada relationship with you, and no matter what your experiences, God can redeem us so that we can experience yada in our relationships.

 

birds and the bees“Daddy, where do babies come from?” If you have kids, at some point, inquisitive young minds may ask you this question. Fortunately, my oldest daughter is only 2 years old and this is the farthest thing from her mind.

When she does ask, however, I might go “pastor” mode on her and refer her to Genesis 4:1- Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.

Now, the Hebrew word for “lay” is Yada. Even if you haven’t taken a single Hebrew language class in your life, the definition of YADA seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? After all, babies don’t come from just cuddling and snuggling together!

So Yada just means sex, right?

yadayada1Wrong. The Hebrew word yada is a verb that means to know, to be known and to be deeply respected.

It can represent sex but also goes beyond that to signify an incredibly deep sense of intimacy, vulnerability, and connection between two people. In fact, this word is used over 900 times in the Old Testament, including instances that describe how God “yada” (knows and respects) us deeply.

Be still and know [yada] that I am God. Psalm 46:10

O Lord, you have searched me, and you know [yada] me. You know [yada] when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. Psalm 139:1-2

So what is the significance of this in your marriage? Yada shows us that God’s gift of sex is more than just a purely physical and pleasurable act – it is part of a deeper gift of intimacy God desires for us to have in marriage. Godly sex, yada, is not just being physically naked but also being emotionally and spiritually naked with your spouse.

naked emoNow this is not easy. Just as there may be insecurities, tiredness, or other obstacles that prevent us from wanting to be physically naked, there are tremendous hurtles that prevent us from being emotionally and spiritual naked with one another.

Yada requires the fruit of the Spirit –love joy, peace, patience and self-control towards your spouse – which I’m sure many of us can agree is always not natural or easy (And this may be an understatement!). Yada requires work and commitment. Yada requires sacrifice and the killing of pride. Yada requires seeing the heart, vision, and beauty of marriage that God intends for us, and this goes beyond fulfilling the physical needs and desires.

For me, it was understanding that my wife craved a heartfelt conversation and the space to fully express her thoughts and be understood. For my wife, it was understanding that I craved respect from her and wanted her to be proud of her man, and that many of our fights stemmed from my insecurities in this area. All of this growth together has deepened our intimacy including sex. Godly sex, yada, is part of the holistic connection between husband and wife.

I was deeply impacted by these concepts of yada and everything it represented when I read about it in the book by Dannah Gresh called “What are you waiting for? I highly recommend this book especially for those seeking to edify their marriage. It has helped me to see God’s heart for marriage and sex in a deeper and more beautiful light, and has encouraged me to truly yada my wife.