Category Archives: Marriage

SEX GONE WRONG! (The Reasons, the Costs, and the Keys to Avoiding Catastrophe)

SEX GONE WRONG! (The Reasons, the Costs, and the Keys to Avoiding Catastrophe)

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Dale (not his real name) was in my office, and through sobs of despair and shame, he said, “I don’t know what happened or why, but I cheated on my wife, and now she’s found out and is leaving me.”

I wish I could tell you confessions like that are rare. They’re not.

The question I want you to consider with me is this: Is illicit sex worth it?

In particular, are adultery and pornography worth the cost?

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On a regular basis, I teach that sex is a gift from God, and it is. Regardless of the current level of satisfaction in your marriage, sex is a blessing from the Creator. He wants you to experience loving, creative, and exciting sex with your spouse. That’s God’s plan, and after over forty years of marriage, I can tell you from firsthand experience—it’s awesome when His plan comes together.

Few want to hear this, and even fewer believe it nowadays, but illicit sex outside of your marriage, including adultery and pornography, are costly. Tragically, we humans tend to focus on the “fringe benefits” of immorality rather than the high cost of our infidelities.

According to researchers:

  • 41% of marriages include either physical or emotional infidelity by one or both spouses.

  • 22% of married men and 14% of married women have strayed at least once during their married lives.

  • 74% of men and 68% of women say they would have an affair if they knew they would never be caught.

  • Over 30,000 people are viewing porn every second of every day.

Apparently, unfaithfulness is a relatively common issue, and immorality is far too widespread.

I’ve written about this topic before (find the article here at Charisma News), but let’s take a deeper look.

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Why do so many fail?

There are many reasons, but here are some:

  • Sexual boredom (we think the grass is greener elsewhere, and that sex outside of our marriage will be better).

  • Unmet sexual and emotional needs in our current relationship.

  • The love of the chase.

  • The thrill of conquest.

  • Insecurities about our physical and sexual desirability.

  • The pleasure of sin (though momentary and fleeting).

  • Addiction to a feeling rather than commitment to a covenant.

  • Fantasies that we believe are better than our reality.

There may be additional reasons why some spouses wander, but perhaps the biggest reason is that we haven’t considered the high cost of our forbidden sexual exploits.

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The costs of an affair that we forget or choose to ignore:

  • Damaged or lost relationships with your friends, children, and extended family.

  • Severe financial impact due to divorce.

  • Loss of your God-given mission and purpose in life.

  • Emotional damage and lost joy.

  • Loss of respect for yourself and by others.

  • Potential physical illnesses (STDs are still rampant).

A strong motivator toward moral purity is weighing the costs of moral failure. Ask anyone who’s been down that disastrous road and they will tell you, “It’s not worth it.”

In fact, many years ago, I had one guy tell me quite bluntly, “When it’s all said and done, an orgasm is just an orgasm, and my moral failure cost me just about everything I truly value.”

Wow.

We all know that drinking poison will kill us; we are aware of the cost of that irrational act. However, we foolishly toy with adultery or pornography thinking no harm will come, but it does.

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Someone recently asked me, “Do you ever struggle with temptation?”

Without hesitation, I said, “I’m a male and I’m breathing. Of course, I’m tempted. But temptation isn’t the problem. Jesus was tempted in every way I am. The sin occurs if and when I stop resisting and give in.”

So what can we do?

As a husband or a wife, what steps can you take to help you delight in the spouse of your youth and to help you stay true?

  • Flee sexual immorality. Don’t linger or dawdle. Run from temptation! Stop reading the trashy romance novels. Turn off the TV programs that stir unholy desires.

  • Have the long view. What will your failure or unfaithfulness mean to you and your family in the years and decades to come?

  • Install accountability software and filters on your computer and smartphone.

  • Count the cost and imagine the worst not the best if you fail. (This should be sobering.)

  • Ask godly friends to support you in the battle and to hold you accountable.

  • Establish and maintain wise and holy boundaries. (For example, never be completely alone with an unrelated member of the opposite sex. It’s impossible to commit adultery if you practice this one relationship rule.)

  • Walk in the light and the power of the Spirit.

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In hundreds (and maybe thousands) of conversations over my many years of life, it’s become clear to me that we all wrestle with the flesh. Frankly, every one of us is just one bad decision away from disaster. You’re kidding yourself if you think you’re beyond the potential for a moral fiasco.

Not now. Not in this corrupt world. Not on this side of eternity.

But the good news is God is faithful, and He will always make a way of escape for you.

You just have to take the God-given off ramp.

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“No temptation has overtaken you

except what is common to mankind.

And God is faithful;

he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted,

he will also provide a way out

so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

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One Response to SEX GONE WRONG! (The Reasons, the Costs, and the Keys to Avoiding Catastrophe)

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME (OR YOU) AND WHY THAT REALITY MATTERS

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME (OR YOU) AND WHY THAT REALITY MATTERS

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phone selfie“Honey, I want to pop into the Verizon store for just a second to check out the new iPhone 6S. I might be eligible for an upgrade. I’m not going to buy it today—just take a peek!”

She gave me the look that said, Yeah, I know what that means.

I assured my wife, “Really, I’m not going to get anything today. We have a few minutes to kill, and I’m just curious.”

“I know you.” she says, “It won’t be a quick detour, and it’s our day off together.”

An hour later I’m walking out of the store, bag in hand, new phone on my hip.

First mistake: I made my “need” more important than Laura’s and broke a promise not to do business on my one day off with her.

But the saga continues . . .

While waiting to get my phone activated (this was about thirty minutes into the detour), I’m tapping out a beat to a song on the store counter. I have two annoying “musical” habits: I whistle (a lot and involuntarily), and I use my hands to play percussion on counters, steering wheels, handrails, or anything else available.

The salesman at the counter asks, “Are you musical?”

“Why, yes, I am! I play percussion, the trumpet, the sax, the guitar, and a host of other lesser things like the Irish Whistle and harmonica.”

He smiles. I continue.

“Yeah, my dad brought a trumpet home when I was in third grade, and I’ve been involved in music ever since.”

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Second mistake: My arrogance led me to give TMI to a guy who probably regretted asking, and I never even thought to say to him, “How about you?”

Fast forward to about 3 a.m. the next morning when I woke up to pee, and the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart (yes, I did use the word “pee” in the same sentence with God).

“Kurt, life is so much more than you realize at times. It’s not just about you and what you want; it’s about others.”

phone others

Embarrassingly, this is a lesson I continue to learn the hard way.

I missed an opportunity to show my wife (and show is always better than tell) how much she truly means to me.

I missed an opportunity with the Verizon salesman to turn the conversation from me to him and thereby show him that he mattered to me and, more importantly, to the Father.

Sadly, when I make my world mostly about me, I miss a lot of great opportunities to be more like Jesus, who said, “I didn’t come to be served or to get my needs met by others. I came to practice the gift of otherliness for the sake of love. In fact, I came to sacrifice my life for others.” (Matthew 20:28, Unauthorized Bubna Paraphrase Version)

phone show tell

With Jesus, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the One. With me, not-so-much sometimes, and my phone upgrade wasn’t worth the relational downgrade.

Time to find my wife and apologize. Thankfully, she’s a pretty amazing woman who is full of grace.

When it comes to putting the needs of others before your own: Choose well. Live well. Be well.

phone Jesus

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14 Responses to IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME (OR YOU) AND WHY THAT REALITY MATTERS

  1. Oh friend I’m glad I’m not the only one. Great article and well written.

    I was just telling Tim the last few weeks I’ve felt on a short leash with God. He made a joke and said “Well maybe you need to be!” We both laughed, anyways.
    I’m more aware of my sin than ever. Not feeling condemned, just really aware. I believe we are entering into another season of humility. Many blessings!

  2. Thank you for your words..& your paraphrasing Gods words for us sinners to get!!! I am thankful your gift of speech is out there for us to hear!
    Thank you for being you, sir! I REALLY do appricate you.

  3. Thanks so much for the great words and great timing . I have to work on this daily and knowing I am not the only one helps me. I am blessed by your message! Thanks again.

  4. Thanks for being so transparent, Kurt. I think we all struggle with this issue at times (I know I do). I’m grateful for Jesus’ grace and mercy on a daily basis. 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing this and being so real with us. I really admire that about you. In the last couple of months God has really been speaking to me to show my kids how important it is to serve others before yourself. We are raising a “me” focused generation and that needs to change. Our family came up with the plan for us to choose a charity once a month to go n serve. Our family is going to serve at City Gate for Thanksgiving. I’m so excited to see what God is going do in all of our hearts and to bless the people that we serve.

  6. This is so me, I don’t even realize it when I am doing it. I have been working on it. Thanks for the reminder Kurt. I will say, “You are loved” before you can, brother. Peace…

THE KEY TO NOTHING (Is there really an answer to all your problems?)

THE KEY TO NOTHING (Is there really an answer to all your problems?)

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If someone ever tells you, “I have the key to your health, to your happiness, to your success, to your marriage . . .” walk away. In fact, run away.

imageThere is no single key.

Frankly, when a pastor, teacher, or counselor says he or she has all the answers to any problem, I get very nervous. If I know anything about anything, it’s that I actually know nothing about a lot.

After over 40 years of marriage, I’m still figuring it out. In fact, about the time I think I finally know something about my wife, she changes! (And she would say the same about me.)

I’ve been a parent for 37 years and a grandparent for 9 years, but my children still baffle me at times. (And they would say the same about me.)

I’ve been a pastor for about 35 years, and I’m still grasping for answers most of the time. Of course I understand the core of my faith, but there are plenty of things that remain uncertain in my theology. The more I learn about God and the Word, the more I realize how much I still need to know.

If you’re looking for the all-knowing-Yoda pastor, husband, or father, keep looking. I ain’t him.

And if my true confession regarding my ignorance concerns you, welcome to the club. I don’t like it either.

However:

  • The upside to not knowing everything is that I’m still growing and learning.

  • The benefit of being ignorant at times is that I still enjoy the process of discovery. (Besides, ignorance truly is bliss on occasion.)

  • The blessing of not having all the answers is that it keeps me humble and dependent. I still need God. I still need others.

  • The advantage of having the key to nothing is it keeps me focused on the only One who truly does have all the keys.

image

One of the biggest hindrances to healthy relationships with others is arrogance. Nobody likes a cocky know-it-all. When we act like we know everything, we tend to alienate everybody.

I suggest that it’s better to say:

  • I don’t know it all, my love, but I know I need you.

  • I don’t have all the answers, my friend, but it’s better if we figure this out together.

  • I don’t understand all the mysteries of this life, God, but that’s why You are God, and I am not.

So maybe—and I say maybe because I may not know what I’m talking about—maybe the real answer to all my problems starts with admitting my inadequacies.

image

Perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, being humble and childlike is simply owning my limitations.

By the way, the other side of this coin is the fact that God seems to delight in showing Himself strong through the weak.

Sounds like a good deal to me. I own my need. He shows up.

Choose well. Live well. Be well.

image

Like what you’ve read here today? Check out all five of my books on Amazon.

Some of the eBook versions can be purchased for only $2.99.

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You might also be interested in my newest book for children: Pete the Prodigal Pumpkin! A Good News Halloween Story.

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4 Responses to THE KEY TO NOTHING (Is there really an answer to all your problems?)

  1. Thanks, Kurt. I can also testify that the older I grow the less I know and the more I have to learn. I’m thankful for my heavenly Father who knows everything and promises to share His wisdom if I ask (James 1:5). Keep up the good work!

BUT I LOVE A “GOOD” EXCUSE!  (What not to do when you blow it!)

BUT I LOVE A “GOOD” EXCUSE!  (What not to do when you blow it!)

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There are two words that should never go together: wrong and but.

It’s not okay to say, “I know I was wrong, but you made me do it.” Or, “I was wrong, but it’s not that big of a deal.” Or, “Yeah, I’m wrong, but you’re wronger!” (I know it’s wrong to use wronger, but . . . )
Excuses 1You see, the instant we excuse our words or actions with a but, we fail to honestly and completely own our failure. We excuse the event as either something we couldn’t control, something we’re not able to change, or as something that’s minor compared to what someone else did to us.

This self-defensiveness tendency goes deep in most of us. Matter of fact, the first humans on the planet wrestled with this problem.

Adam eats the forbidden fruit, and he says, “Yeah, I blew it, but the woman You put here with me is to blame.” In other words, God this is Your fault and the doing of that woman!

Eve says, “Oh my, yes, I failed, but the serpent deceived me (the serpent You created, BTW).”

Imagine you and your spouse are having a fight (not too hard to imagine, I imagine). He or she does something stupid or says something that rips your soul to shreds. Some time passes. And then you decide to take the high road and initiate a humble act of restoration.

“Honey, I’m sorry I called you a _______ and threw you into an emotional meat grinder, but you really shouldn’t push my buttons that way.”

How does that make you feel?

Doesn’t it make you wonder if your spouse is sincere? Don’t you question whether or not they truly are sorry? In fact, many times a response like that ends up leading to another round of conflict!

Perhaps it’s better (and trust me, it is) if you just admit your mistake and ask for forgiveness. Anything more brings your authenticity into question.

Rationalization, justification, and even an attempt at clarification (regarding the why) typically only adds insult to injury. It also calls into doubt your sincerity.

Excuses 2

But what if you’re not the only one at fault? What if you honestly didn’t create this situation, and your spouse is more to blame for what happened than you are?

Here’s what I suggest: at another time, and after the storm of emotions have passed, then say, “Honey, can we talk? I need to understand something about what happened the other day.”

By putting time and space between your admission of guilt and your concern over the other person’s complicity, you give everyone the opportunity to pause, reflect, and respond rather than react.

Of course, the best of both worlds is when your spouse immediately replies to your apology with, “I blew it too. Please forgive me.”

However, in my experience, especially when people are hurt, it’s best to simply humble yourself and take personal responsibility with no “but” attached.

Besides, as I frequently mention, being right doesn’t matter if you’re not relational first and foremost.

Choose well. Live well. Be well.

Excuses 3

Humble yourselves before the Lord,

and he will lift you up in honor.

James 4:10 (NLT)

Like what you’ve read here today? Check out all five of my books on Amazon.

Some of the eBook versions can be purchased for only $2.99.

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You might also be interested in my newest book for children: Pete the Prodigal Pumpkin! A Good News Halloween Story.

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4 Responses to BUT I LOVE A “GOOD” EXCUSE!  (What not to do when you blow it!)

  1. One of my favorite quotes is from Craig Groeshel in his book; Weird, because normal isn’t working. He says” we judged others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions.” After all I really MEANT to do something special for our anniversary. Right Kurt?

  2. Three and half years ago I had a great excuse to stop attending East Point Church. The Church had tryouts for the drama department and I graciously accepted the opportunity since acting was very much a part of my college years. In fact, I played two lead roles for the SCC drama department. However, my audition apparently didn’t go well and I was not invited to join the team. My feelings were hurt and of course everyone was wrong in the Church and attending East Point Church was not on my happy list.
    After mulling over my resentment for a couple of weeks, I heard that little voice in my heart from God giving me specific instructions to be involved, or help the Church. My task was to volunteer vacuuming the youth auditorium on a weekly basis. Very humbling.
    I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve God in this manner and would like to share an epiphany or word from God that happened to me just a couple of weeks ago.
    I was vacuuming the auditorium one day and something occurred to me. For the last three and half years I have been on stage every week. Although, I do not receive applause for my efforts, I also do not receive any boo’s.
    I’m glad I didn’t use an excuse to leave East Point because attending this Church has been nothing but positive, enriching and Spirit filled. Thank you for the lessons

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