Funday Friday: Dog Construction Humor

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Here’s a little construction humor told by a dog for your Funday Friday:

dog-construction-joke

If you would like to add some humor or more joy to your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Some Things That Have Helped Me In My Struggle With Anxiety

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By Adam4d.com

Recently I wrote “Some Things You Should Know About Christians Who Struggle With Anxiety†over at Tim Challies’ wonderful blog. Among the many responses it got was a frequent call for a follow-up article in which I could talk about some things that I’ve found helpful in my battle with anxiety and depression. Well, good news. Seven years of dealing with these disorders—coupled with an incorrigible tendency to analyze and overthink everything—have yielded a number of them.

So then, here are a few. I hope they will be helpful to you as well.

Understand and accept that many good and godly fellow Christians do not understand mental health issues.

I don’t mean this in, like, an emo way.

What I mean is this. Since I’ve been open about my struggles and written and drawn on anxiety and depression and antidepressants in the past, I’ve gotten countless messages and emails from Christians trying to explain to me how it’s just a control issue, a faith issue, a submission-to-the-Bibleissue, or a whatever else issue.

Like most theological matters, opinions on mental health disorders usually divide people into “camps.†There are Christians—some whom I admire very much—who believe anxiety disorders to be the same thing as sinful anxiety, and hence, always sinful. To be clear, I absolutely believe there is such a thing as “sinful anxiety,†but a physically debilitating anxiety disorder is not the same thing. Telling the “always sinful†folks that such disorders can render one unable to leave one’s house without experiencing vertigo so intense that one cannot drive, stand, or think, does not seem to sway their opinion. Informing them of people you love who have been so deep into a bout of depression that they sleep for 18 hours per day and can’t leave their bedroom doesn’t change their mind. They probably don’t know anyone who at times is unable to walk into a small group or Bible study without hyperventilating. I suppose that’s a good thing? Some people decide to make use of Colorado hemp oil to reduce their anxiety. It works for some and not for others.

In short, they see the word “anxiety†and they think “excess worryâ€â€”they do not think “physiological central nervous system meltdown.â€

The truth is, for many of these folks, they’re just trying to be faithful to the Bible. But what we, as sufferers of anxiety disorders, need to accept, is that no Christian or theologian is infallible. There will always be people who don’t grasp the profoundly physiological aspects of mental health issues saying that anxiety disorders are caused by sin or inadequate faith, so let’s just expect that and try to not let it throw us into an existential blender when it happens.

It’s a disorder, and fighting it starts with accepting it for what it is.

Realize that God allows you to have this malady.

Nothing happens outside of God’s control. You could not have depression or anxiety disorders without the consent of the Father. Just as those who tell you “if you had more faith, you wouldn’t be dealing with this†are (usually unwittingly) falling victim to horrific prosperity theology, so are you if you see your disorder as something you have the power to merely pray away or rebuke at will.

What do you think when you see Benny Hinn on TV “rebuking in the name of Jesus†some poor person’s arthritis or paralysis or cancer? How do you feel when you see Creflo Dollar telling suffering people that “total healing†for any disease has already been purchased by Jesus, and all they have to do is “name it and claim it†with the correct dose of faith? If you’re like me, these sorts of things make you want to reach through the TV and shake them until their eyebrows fall off.

So why do you think you can do the same thing with your disorder?

Can God heal us? Absolutely. Might God heal us? Absolutely. Should we pray for God to heal us? Absolutely. But for now we have these disorders and we have them because God allows us to have them.

Might God choose to never heal us in this lifetime? Absolutely.

Why has God allowed us to have these disorders? I can’t say for sure. But I think one reason—for me, at least, and possibly (probably?) for you, too—is to help bring this issue from taboo-status to a place where it’s more understood in the church. I’ve always been open about my anxiety and depression because I didn’t grow up in the church and thus was not raised under some of the “we don’t talk about this†unwritten rules, and every time I discuss my issues I am flooded with emails from people saying, “Thank God, I thought I was the only one!†There are countless people suffering in the church because they grew up in a Christian culture that does not allow discussion on these topics, and when they realize that there are other Christians suffering as they suffer, it can be incredibly cathartic and healing. You and I can help these brothers and sisters by being open about the disorders that God has allowed us to have.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.†Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. —2 Cor 12:8–9

Almighty God, in His sovereignty, for His reasons, allows this in our lives. His ways are higher than ours. He knows much better than we do. This should give us some measure of comfort.

Set parameters and try to stick to them.

This, like most things on this list, is easier said than done. For the first several years after developing my anxiety disorders, I fought and fought and fought. I saw my anxiety as a “fear†to “conquer.†I can overcome this! I thought. Perfect love casts out fear! God will heal me of this, if I stretch myself and put myself in situations that make me extremely uncomfortable! But an anxiety disorder is not the same thing as fear. Like any health issue, you have to play on its terms, to a certain extent. Each successive attempt to “conquer my fear†resulted in a vicious anxiety snowball that ruined me for months at a time. Friends have tried using a cbd oil vape pen starter kit and tells me it has helped them. It might be worth looking into.

It took a long time for me to be OK saying, “Here are some things that I choose not to do because it’s not worth it to me to be unable to be a good husband, father, and worker, for a prolonged period of time, just to see if it might work out this time.â€

It’s been so helpful for me to accept my limitations, whether or not other people do. Someone recently told me that a friend of theirs was coming to town from the UK and really wanted to meet me. I just can’t do that sort of thing. A one-on-one meeting with someone I don’t know is like a nightmare to me. Had I accepted, I would have been a complete mess for the entire stretch of time leading up to the meeting, and instead of the jovial cartoonist and writer he was probably expecting, the poor man would’ve had a monstrous black hole of anxiety and panic sitting across from him at Panera.

Of course, I don’t want to seem mean, or stuck up, or whatever, by declining such a nice offer, but you know what? I can’t do anything about that. All I can do is tell the truth, which is what I did.

“I’m really sorry, and I know it probably doesn’t make sense, but I have terrible social anxiety and I just can’t do stuff like that.â€

This is the answer that I’ve given to countless wonderful people who have wanted to buy me lunch, or interview me (I’ve done a handful of interviews, but by email only), or have me come to their conference or event—I’m really, really sorry, but I have terrible social anxiety and I just can’t do that. Thank you so much for the offer.

It sucks that this is my reality, sure—but once I was able to accept it as my reality, it helped a whole lot.

Set parameters to guard against anxiety snowballs, and stick to them as well as you can. This will lower your everyday “resting anxiety rate,†which will make your disorder more bearable.

Exercise. No, seriously—exercise.

This is not just some default piece of advice that I’m throwing in here because everyone says exercise is good for anxiety and depression. When people ask me to give one quick piece of advice for managing anxiety, this is what I say: take up running. Exercise has become one of the most effective ways I manage to live with these disorders, but I used to visit buy cbd oil sarasota florida in order to feel less anxious too!

I never wanted to start exercising at all. I’ve never needed to lose weight. I am naturally skinny as a rail and have always been able to eat whatever I want. Though I know I should, I don’t really care all that much about the life-extending health benefits of regular exercise. This was one of the last things I tried in my battle against anxiety, but I eventually decided to go for it out of desperation.

So I started running a few years ago. It sucked and I hated it, until it became an essential part of my life that I can hardly do without. I now consider it part of my work day. I crave exercise now. When I skip out on it for too long, I don’t feel right. It didn’t take long for me to realize why everyone says to exercise for mental health—it’s so, so good for your brain. Physically exerting yourself does all sorts of wonderful things inside your melon. Regular physical exercise literally changes your brain. Google it.

So listen, please listen, fellow anxiety sufferer—go running. Or if you can’t run for whatever reason, ride a bike, or get on an elliptical or whatever—however you can get yourself tired and breathing heavy for a short but sustained period of time. Then do the same thing again tomorrow. Even though you don’t want to, and you’re out of shape, and you’ll hate it. You’ll only hate it until you’re addicted to it, a transition which will take less time than you expect. Don’t worry about doing it right at first. Don’t worry about having to stop and walk sometimes. Don’t worry about how you look. Just go outside and start running. Get your heart pumping and lungs expanding and keep them that way for 20 minutes. Your heart will pound and you will get lightheaded and your vision will get weird—just like what happens when you’re experiencing acute anxiety—but it will be controlled. You will be controlling it. What a feeling that is. I think this is one reason why exercise is such good medicine for anxiety: it simulates some of the physical aspects of that fight-or-flight response on a regular basis, so when the panic of anxiety starts to creep into your mind, along with its various physical manifestations, your brain is more likely to think, “Wait, I just felt these sensations this morning, when my body was panting down the sidewalk for a couple miles. Maybe this isn’t necessarily a reason to short circuit.â€

One last thing here: don’t feel like you have to become a marathon runner. I don’t run fast, and I don’t run far. I run 3–6 days per week, usually a 2.25-mile loop. One of the days I’ll do a 3.25-mile loop. I don’t have any running gear. I run in various pairs of old basketball shorts. I should have replaced my running shoes at least a year ago. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that becoming a runner is some big life change or financial commitment—it’s not. Just go outside and start running. If your experience is anything like mine, you won’t believe how much it will help you.

Medication (gasp!) can be very helpful.

“But Christians should never take antidepressants!†says your grandpa who is on medication for his cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes. Again, people who dogmatically say that no Christian should ever take antidepressants are simply ignorant of the physiological basis of mental disorders.

Are antidepressants overprescribed? I’m sure they are. Are people sometimes too quick to turn to a pill? Yep. Should you try regular exercise first? Indeed. But can antidepressants offer relief for terrible anxiety and depression? Yes, they can.

Early in my anxiety career, I could barely leave my house. I couldn’t be in close proximity to people I didn’t know. My wife had to drive me to work on a number of occasions because I couldn’t drive myself. I once got stranded in a Meijer parking lot on my lunch break, unable to drive back to the office because I was so dizzy and the world was swimming all around me, and I had to call a coworker to come pick me up.

I was entirely resistant to my doctor’s prescription for antidepressants. It took me a couple months, a couple meetings with my pastor, and a lot of reading before I decided to get on Paxil. And it was very hard at first—it actually made things worse as my brain adjusting to the meds. But once it took effect a few weeks later, it gave me my life back. While it wasn’t a cure-all and certainly didn’t alleviate all my symptoms, it got me to a place where I was able to work and function again like a normal human being.

The side effects were strange and there were trade-offs, of course. I suppose I could write a book on this topic, but suffice it to say, for me, at that time, deep in a pit of anxiety and depression, Paxil was a God-send. It dampened my most acute symptoms and allowed me to get back to living life. It also dampened everything else—such is how these things work—which is why I’ve been off and on meds for a few years now. I stay on them for a while, then I adjust the dosage, then I try to get off them, then I get back on them, then I try to get off them, etc. I’ve never been able to stay completely off them for more than a year-ish. I keep trying mostly because I would rather not be on them for the rest of my life, if possible. But if I do need to be, it’s better than the alternative.

This is just my personal experience, and please keep in mind the serious situation I was in when I was first hit with anxiety. Antidepressants may not be right for someone with much milder symptoms. I am not saying that everyone with anxiety and depression should definitely get on meds. I amsaying that, in my opinion, you should not completely rule them out.

In my life, antidepressants have been a gift from God, one that I thank Him for.

Remember, Christian. Remember, remember, remember.

In my current journey through the Old Testament I am once again struck by God’s constant plea to His people: remember! Remember who I am! Remember my promises! Remember what I’ve done for you! Remember who you belong to! Remember who is in control!

Nothing has helped me more in my struggle with anxiety and depression that remembering the beautiful, objective facts of the gospel.

Listen, fellow depressed, anxiety-ridden Christian. We live a weird, hard life. We are not like most people. We are different. We are strange. We are at war with our own emotions. Our feelings regularly try to kill us.

But God created us and chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him (Eph 1:4). The eternal Son of God bore all of our sins on the cross, taking our place under God’s wrath and gifting us His perfect righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). The one through whom all things were made (John 1:3) an in whom all things hold together (Col 1:17) took upon Himself of our griefs and sorrows (Is 53:4). In Him we are a completely new creation (2 Cor 5:17), justified not in ourselves, but in Christ and the work He has accomplished (Gal 2:16).

These are statements of objective fact for the Christian, which are in no way dependent on how we feel about them when we are in a pit of depression or rolling down a mountain inside an anxiety snowball. These facts are not dependent on us and our shifty mental issues—they are dependent on Christ.

Oh, what a glorious truth.

God created us, God loves us, God is for us, and God sees a beloved child covered in the perfect, finished work of Christ when He looks at us. These are God’s promises to His people, and in a stormy life, God’s promises are the sure and steadfast anchor of our soul (Heb 6:19).

Preach the gospel to yourself, Christian. Remember who God is. Remember His promises. Remember what He’s done for you. Remember who you belong to. Remember who is in control.

Remember, remember, remember, remember.

If you would like help with your struggles with anxiety, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

The Terrible Truth About Cannabis

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The Terrible Truth About Cannabis

By Ben Spencer

keep off the grass marijuanaA definitive 20-year study into the effects of long-term cannabis use has demolished the argument that the drug is safe.

Cannabis is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and opens the door to hard drugs, the study found.

The paper by Professor Wayne Hall, a drugs advisor to the World Health Organisation, builds a compelling case against those who deny the devastation cannabis wreaks on the brain. 

Professor Hall found:

  • One in six teenagers who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it
  • Cannabis doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia
  • Cannabis users do worse at school. Heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development
  • One in ten adults who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it and those who use it are more likely to go on to use harder drugs
  • Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash, a risk which increases substantially if the driver has also had a drink
  • Smoking it while pregnant reduces the baby’s birth weight

Professor Hall, a professor of addiction policy at King’s College London, dismissed the views of those who say that cannabis is harmless.

‘If cannabis is not addictive then neither is heroin or alcohol,’ he said.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2783111/The-terrible-truth-cannabis-Expert-s-devastating-20-year-study-finally-demolishes-claims-smoking-pot-harmless.html#ixzz4K4zhm0ia

If you are struggling with cannabis use and would like help, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with one of our counselors who focuses on helping those with addiction struggles.

Six Reasons Why Adultery Is Very Serious

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hearts romance

Six Reasons Why Adultery Is Very Serious

By Tim Challies

Adultery is a serious matter. At least, it is a serious matter in the mind and heart of the God who created sex and marriage and who put wise boundaries on them both. But why? Why is adultery such a serious matter. Christopher Ash provides six reasons in his book Married for God and I am going to track with him as we go.

Adultery is a turning away from a promise. In the mind of the adulterer, the pursuit of another person is not first a turning away but a turning toward—a turning toward someone who is desirable and lovely. “I deserve him.” “She meets my needs.” “He understands me.” “She does the things my wife won’t.” But at heart, adultery is first and most significantly a turning away. It is a turning away from one to whom promises were made in the presence of witnesses. Most importantly, it is a forsaking of promises made in the presence of God and, in that way, a turning away from God himself.

Adultery leads the adulterer from security to chaos. Because the adulterer has turned away, he or she enters into a life of torn loyalties. “Once the promise is broken, the barrier is breached, the secure wall of marriage is torn down, all hell breaks loose. And an adulterer finds he or she has not after all exchanged one secure place (his marriage) for another secure place (the new home with the new partner). That is the illusion, but the reality is much different. Adulterers soon find they’ve entered a world in which unfaithfulness is the norm—after all, if one set of vows can be broken, why not another?” Even when the adulterer remains loyal to that new partner, there is still the divided life, the divided family, the divided memories. “To the adulterer, the grass seems so much greener the other side of the fence, but it isn’t nearly as green as it looks.” The adulterer’s actions lead away from the security of stability and into disorder.

Adultery is secretive and dishonest. Adultery is inherently secretive, inherently dishonest. It has to be because no one wants to trumpet that they are breaking a promise. Adultery loves the darkness and flees the light and for as long as it can it tries to remain a secret. “Whereas news of a marriage is broadcast by joyful announcement and invitations, news of adultery leaks out by rumor and under pressure.” Ouch. That alone should tell us what is at the heart of adultery, for sin loves to remain in the darkness while righteousness loves the light. Adultery depends upon a dishonest secrecy.

Adultery destroys the adulterer. Adultery does no favors to the adulterer. To the contrary, it undermines and erodes character and integrity. “Like all secret sin, it eats away like some noxious chemical at the integrity of the one who commits it. The moment any of us drive a wedge between what we say we are publicly and what we actually are privately, we injure ourselves at the deepest possible level.” Isn’t that always the way with sin? It promises so much but delivers so little. It promises freedom and delivers captivity. It promises fulfillment and delivers emptiness. Adultery destroys the adulterer even as it promises joy and life.

Adultery damages society. We can widen the scope from the individual to the society around him and see that the damage continues there, too. Adultery does harm to the very fabric of society. “Each act of adultery is like a wrecker’s ball taking a swing at the secure walls of the social fabric of society. It stirs up hatred and enmity. It encourages a culture which reckons marriage boundaries needn’t really be quite so rigid.” We love to think our sins are our own, that they concern only us. But no, our sin goes far beyond ourselves and impacts others. With adultery we see this even in the ways friends or colleagues are uncertain how to speak, how to react when they learn of adultery. We see the damage it does if and when they say “At least he’s happier now.” The adulterer removes one more brick from the foundation of marriage.

Adultery hurts children. Adultery does grievous harm to an innocent party—children. “Because children are right in the thick of it, in the intimacy of the family home broken by cheating on promises, darkened by secrecy and lies, riven with conflict and hatreds.” Children thrive when there is structure, when there is stability, when there is peace and order. Children are harmed when adultery brings chaos and conflict and disunity. Children are innocent parties who are terribly harmed when adultery separates their parents.

In these ways and many more, adultery is a matter of the utmost seriousness. No wonder, then, that the Bible contains such serious, repeated warnings against it: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished” (Proverbs 6:27-29). “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32). “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Hebrews 13:4).

 

If you are struggling in your marriage, please contact a counselor or coach at CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 for help.

The Anger Iceberg

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The Anger Iceberg

By The Gottman Institute

[Sometimes] anger is an emotion we use to cover up feelings we don’t want to show. Learning to identify when anger isn’t really what we’re feeling is important for helping…identify and cope with their emotions.

anger-iceberg

If you would like help with anger struggles, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Funday Friday: Engineer Humor

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Here is a little engineering humor for your Funday Friday:

engineer pun

If you would like to add some more humor or joy into your life, give CornerStone Family Services at call at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Overcoming the Fighting: Chores and Bills

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chores

Overcoming the Fighting: Chores and Bills

By Drs Les and Leslie Parrott

You and your spouse have sunken into the grind of everyday life, and now you’re up to your eyeballs in chores and bills. You could always try an energy comparison website to make sure you are getting the best deal on your utility bills to start. On top of all that, you’re fighting over who should handle what! Maybe your spouse has skipped out on housework, leaving you in the lurch.

You feel like everything is on your plate–but literally every plate in your house is filthy! What do you do?

Today, we’re sharing suggestions for how to break a stalemate when it comes to doing the chores and paying the bills. Arguing over bills will always be a source of frustration. Although, it can sometimes open the dialogue towards researching alternative Energy Plans that could save you money in the long run. So who should do what, anyway? And how do you figure it out together when you’re already at odds?

DIVIDE & CONQUER

Have an honest conversation about all the things that need to get done around the house, and where you stand on each item. Each of you have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to taking care of business at home. Focus on your strengths, and where you may be able to compliment one another.

For example, maybe your wife hates washing the dishes, but you don’t mind. That’s great! You can step in and take over dishwashing duty, while she takes out the trash (something you’re not fond of doing).

Where will you be most effective? What about your spouse? Honing in on these attributes will simplify division of labor in your home.

GIVE A LITTLE, TAKE A LITTLE

You two are a team, right? Dividing chores between the two of you won’t necessarily be the most enjoyable task…mainly because you’ll each have to claim jobs that you really don’t want.

Remember to put your spouse first. Maybe neither of you want to scrub the toilets, and you’re locked in a stalemate. Don’t be afraid to step up and take that unpleasant job, without complaining or arguing with your spouse.

Being willing to compromise for one another means that your chances of getting into a fight over chores or bills will plummet. And once you step up and take on a task you don’t really want, your spouse will be more likely to do the same for you on the next round.

DON’T MAKE DEMANDS

By the same token, if you refuse to take the high road by compromising first–and, even worse, make demands of your spouse–you could be sailing into very hot water.

It might be tempting to lay out your list of demands when you powwow with your spouse about who does the chores…but be prepared for them to dig their heels in. If you’re going to act stubborn, they’ll feel justified in doing the same. Maybe include them in the purchase of cleaning materials and equipment such as trying to find the best carpet cleaning solution for stain removal.

CIRCLE BACK LATER

Set a future date with your spouse to revisit the agreement you’ve made, and don’t be afraid to make any tweaks or adjustments necessary. Maybe you’re tired of the chore rotation you’re on, and would like a little variety. You and your spouse can switch some tasks to break the monotony.

With a little patience and cooperation, the two of you can establish a better system that will leave both of you feeling happier and much more peaceful!

The Best Apology

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When there has been a hurt caused in a relationship, it is a sign that an apology is likely necessary.  Yet it seems that the words, “I’m sorry” can be so difficult to say. When an apology is made, too often it is followed with some kind of qualifier that makes the apology no longer legitimate.

Here is a guide for “The Best Apology” from StayMarriedBlog.com:

The Best Apology

If you would like some help in your relationship or dealing with hurts, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Lights On or Lights Off? Sex and Comfort

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Lights On or Lights Off? Sex and Comfort

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott
light bedSo you’re newly married–and with marriage comes a fantastic sense of freedom. Finally, the two of you get to cultivate the intimacy you’ve been dreaming about during all these months and years of dating and engagement. It should feel liberating for both of you…but what if it doesn’t?

Oftentimes, the introduction of physical intimacy in a new marriage can feel sudden and invasive, especially if you’re a new wife. For many women, exposing themselves completely to their husbands–no matter how long they’ve been married–is an uncomfortable, tense experience.

In today’s blog post, we’re sharing tips to help you increase physical intimacy while honoring the specific needs that each of you have.

TO THE WIVES

For most women, sex is about the experience you’re immersed in. You want to feel completely comfortable, but that’s hard to pull off when you’re feeling self-conscious about your physical appearance. Naturally, you might find that you’re most comfortable when the two of you are plunged into complete darkness–easy, right? You can’t see each other, and now you don’t have to worry about what your body looks like.

Unfortunately, this is probably going to be a letdown for your husband (and for you, even if you don’t realize it yet!). Men are hard-wired to be visual, and he wants to be able to see you in all your beauty.

If he’s asking to see your body, that means he is attracted to you. He isn’t going to be looking for physical flaws; he wants to appreciate you fully. Gifting him with a generous visual is just going to add another dimension to his pleasure. And you may not realize it at first, but it’s going to add to yours, as well.

Of course, when it comes to fully revealing yourself to your husband, you can work together to compromise. Let him know what is comfortable for you, and gradually take steps in the direction of being more intimate and less guarded. Don’t feel like you have to take the plunge in a way that makes you tense, anxious, uncomfortable, or more self-conscious.

Meet in the middle and set the mood. You don’t have to turn on all the lights…but maybe you can dim them or light some candles. Create a romantic atmosphere where you can be relaxed, laugh together, and allow him to love you completely. The payoff will be huge for both of you, and before you know it, you won’t feel this anxiety any more.

TO THE HUSBANDS

If you’re a new husband, maybe you’re chomping at the bit to start your marriage off with a bang…but your bride is feeling uncomfortable and ashamed of her body. What gives?

First, know that it’s totally normal (and common) for your wife to feel this way. The two of you can work through this together, and soon you’ll both be much more comfortable with physical intimacy.

It’s important not to pressure your wife, because this situation is very delicate. The two of you can definitely reach a balance that works for both of you, when it comes to the lighting and atmosphere during your times of intimacy. If you’re feeling impatient, just remind yourself that it may take her some time to become fully comfortable with being naked in front of you…but when she finally is, the wait will have been worth it. Plus, she’ll remember and appreciate your patience and understanding (which could definitely help your case).

To help your wife gradually become more comfortable with physical intimacy, prime her with a little romance every day. Let her know she is beautiful, and that you truly cherish her. Become intimately familiar with her on other wavelengths, besides sexual intimacy–get in tune with her interests, the things she loves, and little details about her. Let her know how much you appreciate who she is.

Prize her uniqueness, continue to court her, and shower her with romance. Putting forth the effort to help her feel truly loved for her entire being could help her feel more comfortable with physical intimacy.

FOR BOTH OF YOU

Remember to keep your lines of communication open as you work together to heighten the physical intimacy in your marriage. Check in with each other regularly about where you’re at in your sex life, and where you’d each like to be. Continue to patiently compromise with one another, maintaining a generous spirit as you give and take on both sides.

Be honest about each of your needs and enjoy the journey. If you need professional counseling to help you deconstruct limiting or unhealthy beliefs about sex in marriage, seek it out. The investments you make in your marital health and intimacy are worth every bit of time and effort, and you’ll reap the benefits for the rest of your lives.