Pursuit of Marriage 3 Day Retreats are Texas Bound!! Join us in March 2019

You asked, we responded. Texas…Here we come!!

Yes, we are taking our Marriage Retreat to Athens, Texas: Caplin Ranch

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This is a Three-Day Marriage Retreat facilitated by Joe and Kerry Vivian.

Come and spend the weekend at Caplin Ranch in Athens, Texas for our ” 3 Facets of Intimacy in Marriage” retreat.

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During that weekend you will spend time as Husband & Wife and learn to apply the three facets of Intimacy in a Marriage: Emotional-Spiritual-Physical. Take time to invest into your marriage what God originally designed for  intimacy in your marriage.

This “3 Facets of Intimacy in Marriage” retreat is scheduled for March 15-17, 2019 in Athens, Texas. Early Registration is $425 per couple before December 1st, 2018, only requiring a $200 non-refundable deposit. The total remaining balance due on February 8th. Standard Registration is from December 1st thru January 31st. That cost will increases to $450 per couple. Also including a $200 non-refundable deposit and total remaining balance due by the 8th of February also.

The cost includes a private room with private bath, all meals and all materials and reading resources for each couple.

This retreat is limited to the first 7 couples who register.  We truly believe it will sell out quickly, so don’t delay.

This is an intimate retreat so couples can listen, share, and glean from God’s word as well as the experiences from other couples.

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Check-In opens at 4pm. The Retreat begins at 4:30pm.
Check-out is 11am on the final day.
Register by using our online registration.

Early Bird Registration POM Marriage Retreat March 15-17, 2019

Don’t forget, registration is limited, so don’t delay.

For more information, please email Joe and Kerry at pomarriage@gmail.com

Adulterous Affairs Don’t Begin with Sex; They Begin with Inappropriate Friendships

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

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It seems that far too often when  a spouse becomes close to a member of the opposite sex, other than their spouse, it begins to place them on a slippery slope.  In our years of counseling we have seen the results of what occurs when it was initially shared to a spouse, “We are just friends, that’s all.”  An adulterous affair, whether it be physical or emotional, begins with allowing a friendship to be inappropriate.  These friendships will grow an emotional attachment with people of the opposite sex. When this begins to grow it can spell danger and sometimes disaster for a marriage.

Here are three things to Avoid…Beware of the following:

Beware of private communications and intimate conversations with people of the opposite sex: The only person to share an intimate conversation with is your spouse, no one else.  Communication between a husband and wife is crucial.  If you feel it necessary to discuss private, personal matters about your relationship with your spouse to someone other than your spouse, especially a member of the opposite sex, then you are emotionally connecting with them instead of your spouse. By doing this, you are purposely causing the relationship with your spouse to atrophy. Which leads to the next one.

Beware of workmates who seem too concerned with your personal private life: Those are the ones that tell you “let me know if you need anything.” They are more interested in having you focus on them and relying on them instead of your spouse. These are dangerous people. They shroud themselves with the cloak of being a “good friend” and “one that will always be there for you.”  The key things to remember is just that, your personal private life is that-personal and private.

Beware of those that give you exaggerated and suggestive compliments about the way you look: Regardless of what is happening in your marriage don’t give the Devil a foothold in your marriage by falling victim to this trap. Let your workmates know there are things you won’t tolerate.  Suggestive comments are a pathway to flirting and there is no such thing as “harmless flirting” between members of the opposite sex.  It is especially harmful to have spouses engage in this activity outside of their marriage.

Remember this, keep a healthy physical, social and emotional distance between you and people of the opposite sex.  This is a safeguard for your marriage.  If necessary, seek marriage counseling to avoid these pitfalls in your marriage.

Again, adulterous affairs do not just happen overnight.  They are a slow and deliberate process that involves the choice of both individuals.

Stay connected emotionally, physically and spiritually to the one God has ordained for you…your spouse!

 

Joe & Kerry

 

 

 

A Prayer for Your Children

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It was about 15 years ago that Kerry came across a “Daily Prayers for Your Children” article from Focus on the Family.  Since then, she has made copy after copy for us. She has also implemented those daily prayers as a guide for the teachers at her school as they pray for their students. She has even made copies to hand out to parents in our Bible Study classes.

What I appreciate most is that my wife not only realizes the importance of prayer, she is gifted by the Holy Spirit and is a dedicated prayer warrior. Since Samantha was an infant, we have prayed over our children daily. For their future spouses, for their protection, for them to get caught in lies or deception. Most of all, we have prayed for their salvation through Jesus Christ. That they will live for Him, first and foremost.

So I will share with you the prayer plan we have adopted and made our own, originally from Focus on the Family.

Monday                                                                                                                                    -Place a protective, solid hedge around them so satan can’t reach in and lead them into temptation and so they will be safe from harm.  2 Thess 3:3, Ps 33:20

Tuesday                                                                                                                                  -They will use Godly wisdom in selecting friends and that they will make a positive difference in their lives. Give them discernment of people and knowing right from wrong.  Prov 1:10, 18:24, Deut 13:6,8

Wednesday                                                                                                                            -Stay pure in their thoughts and deeds. Ps 24:4-5, Job 17:9

Thursday                                                                                                                                 -They will be caught if they cheat, lie, or are mischievous. Heb 13:18-19

Friday                                                                                                                                     -They will be alert and think clearly in school and activities. Help them to be motivated to do their best.  Col 3:17, 1 Cor 10:31

Saturday                                                                                                                                 -Their future spouse. That they will come from a Godly background and desire the life you want from them. That their goals will be the same and their homes will be one that seeks holiness first.  Deut 5:29

Sunday                                                                                                                                   -They will live for Him and that He will use them for His Glory. That they will fully mature spiritually.       Ps 78:1-8, 103:17-18, Is 54:13, Eph 3:20-21

What Makes an Orgasm So…

I’ve had some pretty amazing orgasms with my husband, and each time I am in awe of God. In awe that of all the ways He could show off His creativity, He would choose this.

Oh my, what intense, profound, and whimsical depth of pleasure an orgasm is. Only you, God. Only you could come up with something like that.  Remember women and men, that the clitoris serves no other purpose than a wife’s sexual pleasure. None. That’s its only job description. However, we ladies too often fail in allowing it to do its job.

And no other experience even comesIMG_0451 close to the feeling of an orgasm.

Which is why when I hear from wives who have yet to have an orgasm – or who have extreme difficulty experiencing one – I morph into some kind of sex cheerleader, urging them to not give up.

“You do not want to miss out on this! Seriously. Please don’t give up. Don’t fake it. Don’t rob yourself of this. And don’t rob your husband of seeing you and feeling you experience this.”

Sure, I can hear your skepticism at my enthusiasm, as you mull over whether I’m making waayyy too big a deal about sexual climax in the marriage bed.

“Sex isn’t all about orgasm, Kerry!”

True. But let’s not kid ourselves. It’s a lot about orgasm! Yes, I said it!

Ask yourself this question: “When a husband and a wife are physically able to be sexually intimate, yet their sexual encounters drift toward only the husband being sexually satisfied, what happens?”

Enter bored wife, stage right.

Not only does sex become boring, routine and chore-like to a wife in this scenario, it also becomes a source of tremendous resentment.
She begins to begrudge sex; find ways to avoid it; and possibly even blame him. And before long, the whole fabric of the marriage is taking a hit.  Ironically, even he starts to not really enjoy sex, because she’s not into it.  And how could she be? I mean, there’s no pleasure in it for her.

Sure, we’d like to think sexually unsatisfied wives could rise above all that, but human nature being what it is tells us that few wives (if any) really can  just keep “taking one for the team” – without ever getting to hoist the trophy.  And honestly, why would we want them to rise above it?

Why would we want them to keep missing out on the mind-blowing experience of sexual release?

If you are a wife who has never experienced an orgasm and have resigned yourself to never having one, there’s nothing – nothing – noble about your lack of sexual climax.

“But Kerry, if God is such a generous God, why is this so difficult for so many of us wives? Why isn’t a wife’s orgasm as predictable as a husband’s?”

Valid question. Very valid question.

And I used to think that when I get to heaven, I would finally be able to ask God face-to-face my most perplexing sex questions (I know. Probably not what should be high on my priority list at that point, but if you know me at all, you can’t seriously be surprised I wonder these things, right?)

I think, though, I won’t have to wait for my answer, because I think God has already given it to me.

I believe God has created a unique opportunity for a husband and a wife to discover a level of intimacy they otherwise would miss if it was really easy for both of them to climax.  If it was always easy for both a husband and a wife to have an orgasm, I think we would downplay  God’s intention for sex to be this profound connection.

And if it was difficult for both a husband and a wife to have an orgasm, I think we would give up too easily, also missing out on that profound connection.

So instead, God creates a situation where a married couple is left with no other option than to learn together what it will take for them both to experience sexual pleasure.

In the exclusivity of the marriage bed, God invites a husband and a wife to vulnerably and intentionally explore each other’s bodies, to teach each other sexual pleasure, to try new techniques.

Yes, the penis tends to be more predictable than the clitoris, which may leave us assuming that the wife must have greater patience.  But think about the scenario again, okay?  Do you see where both a husband and a wife need patience?  Arousal is an opportunity; not a burden.

Wives, if you struggle experiencing orgasm, I pray you will hear my heart on this.  Your sexual pleasure matters.   If you have thought it doesn’t matter or if your husband has been indifferent, I encourage you to courageously shed light on this.

I know of a wife who was years into her marriage when she finally got the courage to talk to her husband about the reality that she had never been completely satisfied.  She knew that together they had to figure out how to change that unhealthy pattern into a healthier one where they valued pleasure for both of them.

Her marriage and their sexual intimacy are better today because of what at the time was an incredibly awkward conversation. Praise God she pushed through that hesitancy.  By the way, that wife is me and both Joe and I are better for it because of our transparency, not only between the sheets, but in all facets of our marriage.

Ladies, you have heard both Joe and I scream from the rooftops….COMMUNICATE with each other!!  Take time to share with your husband your struggles all the while communicating with him where to touch and how to touch you.

In the next few weeks both Joe and I will contribute to articles on the How, When, Where, and Why of Orgasm. Please know we do not take this lightly nor make this a trivial topic, but we both agree as a husband and wife how important sexually intimacy is in a marriage. When a husband learns because of the communication of his wife on how to bring her to orgasm, or if the wife begins to allow herself to learn more about her body so she can share that with her husband, it is then that a physical intimacy grows exponentially!

What about you?  If you are a wife who struggles experiencing orgasm or if you are a husband with a wife who is missing out on sexual pleasure, what are you going to do today?

The most profound intimate places in a marriage begin with authentic vulnerability.

Kerry

A simple bar of soap: 3 ways to serve your spouse

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I stepped into the shower the other morning to find a brand new bar of my soap.  Before you jump to those clever and sarcastic replies as to why I was presented a new bar of soap, it had more to do with the wonderful display of love by Kerry than the possibility of fear that I have odor.

What I am sharing is that Kerry took the time to notice my bar of soap was down to a sliver and she took time to get out a new bar and replace it with the diminishing one.  She was thinking of me. She was choosing to display her love for me in a simple act of service.  As busy as we are in the morning, getting ready for work and school, she stopped and placed my needs first, even as simple as a bar of soap.

We both take time each morning to ask God to reveal to us how we can display His love to each other by serving each other in ways of sacrificial love. This is a habit that has become as natural as walking. We have made a commitment to each other that before our feet hit the floor in the morning, we spend time in prayer with God, thanking Him for the blessings He has given us. We ask Him to guide our thoughts and actions so as to display a heart of worship to Him. We close by asking Him to reveal to us how we love on each other in a way that we have not done in either a long time or in a new way.

So let me share 3 simple ways to help guide you into acts of sacrificial service to your spouse that will also display a heart of worship to God for the spouse He has graciously given to you.

  1. Start the day praying for your spouse: As I stated above, you must start your day in the proper posture and direction for your marriage. Thanking God for what He has given you. Remember, you are married to His child.
  2. Be a student of your spouse: Watch and observe those acts of service that make them smile and what eases their burdens. If you see that when you cleared the table, your wife was smiling and thanking you, then remember she appreciates you taking the lead and allowing her to rest.  If you know your husband enjoys having a cup of coffee in the morning, maybe you make sure to bring him a cup of coffee before he goes to get his own.  Study, take mental notes, and be observant.
  3. Expect NOTHING in return: When you serve your spouse, you must do it with a sacrificial heart. In other words, DO NOT expect anything in return. Not a thank you, not an acknowledgement, not even the possibility of an act of service in return.  You serve your spouse out of reverence and worship to God, first and foremost.  Your spouse is a gift from God and the way you serve them is a display of your thanks to Him for that gift.

Our prayer is that each day you display love to one another through your words, actions and deeds.  By the way, it’s never too late to change the bar of soap.

As A Woman Thinks…So She Will Be

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Wives, may I share a secret with you…a lot of who we are sexually is what we tell ourselves. We all have baggage from our lives. It’s very possible that your bags contain regret from premarital sex. Maybe they contain shame and guilt poured onto you from a parent.  There could be heavy bags from sexual abuse that you endured for years, held close and not dealt with because of the pain. Or yet, your bags could be from a previous betrayal of an ex or an existing spouse.  We open up those bags and “tell” ourselves that is who we are sexually and it can never change.  Well, the lies in those bags need to be thrown away and allow Christ to begin to heal you.

God has every intention of blessing your marriage bed. God created sexual intimacy specifically to be shared between a husband and a wife. If you don’t believe that, read chapters 6 & 7 of Song of Solomon. Wives, it’s time you handed over your baggage to God and let Him heal you. If you are in Christ, you are a new creation, the old has passed away.  Let’s start today by having God tell us who we are sexually. Spend time in prayer and ask for His guidance and wisdom. Grab a pen and paper and start writing about your sexuality as God sees it.

What do you think?
What do you feel?
What do you want?
What do you fear?

What do you want your sex life to look like?
What new messages do you need to begin to tell yourself?
What do you need to communicate to your husband?

Take time to really sit down and answer these questions. It’s important that you see yourself as God sees you…fearfully and wonderfully made. Seek first His Kingdom and everything else will fall into place.

Please don’t settle for less than God’s best for your sexuality.

Kerry

Guest Post: “Two Hours a Week to Affair Proof Your Marriage” by Gary Thomas

Today’s guest author is Gary Thomas. He is a bestselling author and international speaker whose ministry brings people closer to Christ and closer to others. He unites the study of Scripture, church history, and the Christian classics to foster spiritual growth and deeper relationships within the Christian community. Check out his Blog here.

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Just two hours a week. 

That’s all it takes to affair-proof and divorce-proof your marriage.

After years of reading, writing, and speaking on marriage, and a few less years doing some pastoral counseling, I’ve identified two things that, when they are in place, can almost guarantee that your spouse won’t have an affair and that you won’t get a divorce.  But you need to do both.

I didn’t come up with these; I’m just recognizing them. You’ve heard of both of them, there’s nothing new here, but consider these two elements as the “canary in the mine.” You remember that old mines used to hold a canary in a cage in case poisonous gas began to leak into the mine. With such tiny lungs, the canary would die first, so the miners knew to get out of there. If your marriage has both elements that we’re about to mention, the “air” in your mine is relatively fresh and healthy and your marriage is probably fairly stable. If one or both of them die, the air is getting poisoned, and you need to take caution. Your marriage is now much more vulnerable to disintegration.

The first element is prayer.  Couples who pray together more days than not—say, 4 or 5 days out of seven—almost never get divorced. Much has been said about how Christians get divorced as often as non-Christians, but that’s not true of praying Christians. Husbands, most of us men have no idea how the rest of marriage will flow from this if we will simply take the lead and pray with and over our wives. I have not been nearly as faithful as I should have been in my marriage in this area, and am regularly convicted that this should be a non-negotiable, because I’ve seen its power in the lives of so many couples. The prayer times don’t need to be long—even five minutes at the beginning or the end of the day will suffice. It is very difficult to stay bitter and resentful or dishonest when praying together regularly. This act all but forces you to maintain a certain level of intimacy, and men, it moves most women in ways we will never understand.

Second, couples who have sexual relations two to three times a week, and who pray together regularly, almost never experience affairs. Wives, many of you have heard me talk about oxytocin and sex—Helen Fisher, the guru of neurochemical sexual research, has recently pointed out how the bonding factor of sexuality is more pronounced in men than it is in women.  That’s why some of you women may not understand the power of regular sexual relations, just as your husband may not understand the power of prayer. You already have elevated levels of oxytocin, but your husband needs that re-bonding release of oxytocin on a regular basis. For young husbands, 2 to 3 days a week might seem Spartan—I’m giving general, not particular, advice here.

The reason these two areas work as “canaries in the mine” is that sustaining regular prayer and regular sexual intimacy requires taking care of the marriage in its entirety. If we’re not talking to our wives, men, they don’t find it very easy to take off their clothes in our presence.  But you know that. And it becomes increasingly difficult to pray with someone if we’re even thinking about cheating on them. There’s just something about being in God’s presence with someone that goes far beyond words—God gives you His heart for that person in a way that can’t be naturally explained.

If either element is lacking (I’m not talking about marriages where a physical ailment makes sexual intimacy impossible), the marriage is taking a regular hit and you’re far more vulnerable to an affair or a divorce. Too many couples over-estimate their willingness to put up with sub-par marriages. They “get by,” slowly becoming spiritually or sexually isolated from each other, not realizing that temptation is patient. It will wait until we’ve reached our breaking point and present itself with a spectacularly captivating enticement just when we feel weakest. Spiritual intimacy and sexual intimacy, enjoyed on a regular basis, makes both parties much less susceptible to an overwhelming temptation.

I have yet to meet or talk with a couple where both of these elements are present that is in serious trouble. If one area is lacking the mere act of making it right—having to talk things out, listen, repent, change—repairs other areas of the marriage as well. Why can’t you pray together? Why don’t you want to enjoy each other? Those very questions lead to so many other issues. In the same way, however, neglecting either area is tantamount to ignoring other relational cancers that are slowly attacking the relationship.

For various reasons, you may not like either medicine, but when you know a medicine is so effective that its cure rate is virtually 100%, or at least in the high nineties, who are we to argue? Maybe, just maybe, God designed married couples to regularly pray and regularly have sex. As the creator of our souls and our bodies, He just might know what he’s talking about.