Last Monday we brought you Part One of this interview with Joe Beam. We are pleased to share Part Two with you today.
Joe Beam is an internationally recognized marriage expert and a dedicated Christian. The LovePath 911 seminar he leads has been researched by colleges and psychologists because of its unusually high level of saving marriages in trouble. Joe has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Focus on the Family, The Montel Williams Show, MSNBC, Fox News, The Dave Ramsey Show and many other television and radio programs around the world. He is author of several books including his most recent, “Your LovePath,” which is a guide for rekindling lost love, for keeping love strong and for finding true love. For more information on Joe, visit his website at http://www.joebeam.com.
As the tide turns in the Church and more people are becoming aware of the need for godly teaching about sex to be taught by the Church, what do you feel are the most beneficial settings for the teaching to happen? Should it come from the pulpit or in an adult only setting?
As one of the first to talk openly about sex from the Christian perspective, I received both compliments and complaints. An MSNBC poll about my teaching on sex showed that 17% of respondents were appalled. However, about 53% said they wish I were their pastor! When NBC’s Today Show invited me to take questions about sex live on the air with them, Lester Holt visibly perspired. (He’s a dedicated Christian, by the way.) When invited back to the Today Show a couple months later to be interviewed by Natalie Morales, I discovered that she thought I was talking about explicitly sexual matters from the pulpit on Sunday morning. She seemed relieved to discover that instead I did it in specific groups.
More ministers are talking about sex from the pulpit. My understanding is that most of them are doing generic teaching on the subject as opposed to dealing with specific sexual questions such as “is oral sex a sin?” I think it’s wise occasionally to do generic teaching from the pulpit such as preaching on 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 that clearly states that we should be sexually fulfilling in each other in marriage. However, in my opinion, more good is done with specific groups that can ask the questions that they wish to ask so that rather than talking “around” the matter, we can address openly and frankly the things they most wish to understand from a godly standpoint.
Note that I didn’t say “adults only” specific groups. I’ve been invited to talk with groups as young as middle school about these matters. I think that’s very wise. We should be teaching godly views of sex to everyone, edited, of course, to be age appropriate. Interestingly, the teen groups I’ve talked with about sex were much more knowledgeable about the matter than most of the adult groups.
I strongly urge that if there is to be a Biblical discussion of godly sex, it must be led by a spiritually mature man, woman, or couple that is comfortable with their own sexuality and unafraid to discuss frankly the real questions that people have. It is as important to emphasize the freedom and fun that a Christian married couple can have as it is to explain the prohibitions God gave us.
I sum up all the things we are not to do with three statements: 1) We must not allow, in either reality or fantasy, any other person than our spouse to be involved in our sex lives. 2) We must not involve any animal. Yeah, I know but it’s in the Book. 3) We must not do anything that harms either person physically, emotionally, spiritually, or psychologically.
That leaves many areas for exploration, fun, and fulfillment.
What are the signs of infidelity? If someone suspects that their spouse is committing adultery, what is the best course of action?
There are many signs of infidelity. Short of being caught, most are not conclusive in themselves, but as they begin to add up, they make a strong case that something is definitely amiss. Though it would be impractical to list every potential sign, these are some:
- Your spouse’s appearance (body shape, fragrances, or dress) has improved recently
- Money is unaccounted for
- Time is unaccounted for
- Cell phone bills are hidden and/or your spouse spends time on the phone where you cannot hear
- Facebook or email accounts are protected from you
- Your sex life recently changed (either more or less),
- You discovered that your spouse told you they would be one place and you discover they were in another
- Your spouse drifts from happiness to sadness to dreaminess to irritableness
- Your spouse starts telling you that you are “crazy” or confused when you question things
- Your spouse gets defensive when you ask about a certain person, activity, or time period
The first thing to do if you suspect your spouse of infidelity is to discover if s/he really is or if you are being overly suspicious or paranoid. I recommend the direct approach, “I need you to reassure me. Maybe I’m just feeling vulnerable, but I’m starting to worry about our relationship. Will you help me by making everything transparent for the next couple months so that I can find inner peace? Let me ask questions and see things and the like. I’m not accusing you; I’m asking you to help me with my fears.” If the spouse agrees, check bills and locations and those things randomly…but not too much or you’ll cause other problems with your spouse feeling trusted. If your spouse becomes defensive, angry, or indignant, it may be wise to start doing some checking on your own.
If you become convinced that your spouse is being unfaithful, get a wise third party to help you think through what to do next. Get that person’s opinion of what you’ve discovered. Before making any accusations, be as sure as you can be that you are right. If necessary and you can afford it, hire a detective. If you aren’t sure enough to make that step, maybe you need to rethink what you think you know.
Finally, once you are sure, get together a group to do an intervention. I will happily send you a link to a document that guides you step-by-step though that intervention process. Just email info@JoeBeam.com and ask for the Intervention Document.
If you intervene, be sure that you have a course of action in mind as to what should happen next. Successful interventions conclude with a call to a specific action; for example, “We want you to agree to attend LovePath 911 next month,” or “We’ve set up an appointment with this counselor…”
Pornography is such a tragic epidemic that is wrecking havoc in so many lives. As the target audience of our blog is wives, what action do you suggest that women take if their husband has a porn addiction?
I recently wrote an article “Internet Porn is the New Sex Ed” that you may find here. Porn isn’t just a male problem. Approximately 15% of men use porn compulsively, but nearly 5% of women do as well. The entire article contains very important information, but for now, I excerpt the following paragraphs…
As a proponent of fulfilling sex in Christian marriages, I shout from the rooftops that porn is not the answer to achieving that goal. It creates impossible expectations that lead to misery. If a couple pursues porn, they will drift emotionally from their partners into an imaginary world that will never exist in reality. They eventually will reach the point where their lovemaking relies on fantasy and not at all on intimacy between them. If you are both into porn in your marriage, please believe me when I say that my experience with thousands of couples demonstrates that you will develop problems with your intimacy, self-esteem, and fulfillment as a couple. Stop now. Save your future by rescuing your present.
If one of you is into porn and the other doesn’t know, don’t think that it isn’t hurting your marriage. Every exposure to porn immerses you into a fantasy world that erodes the reality you could have together. It will change you; maybe it has already. Think you can keep it a secret? Get real. When your spouse discovers, he or she will very likely feel betrayed, rejected, unattractive, and abandoned. As one woman said to me, “I wish I had the money to have cosmetic surgery from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet so that maybe my husband would want to look at me rather than those women on the Internet.” Even before your spouse discovers, you are programming your mind in a manner that leads inevitably to a lack of appreciation of and attraction to your mate.
If one of you is into porn and the other does know, the spouse not into porn should take the lead in demanding the removal of porn opportunities altogether. Get rid of the Internet, just as you would remove an addict’s access to alcohol. Check up on missing time and missing money. Seek out a Celebrate Recovery group in your area (you can find locations online). Finally, do something immediately to salvage the future you can have together. If your marriage is in trouble, let us help. Our success rate over the last decade is three out of four marriages, even when porn, adultery, or other things have deeply hurt the relationship. (See www.MarriageHelper.com)
If not us, let someone help. Don’t think a slap-on-the-wrist and a promise to do better will solve a problem that is deep-seated, especially an addiction such as porn.
I believe that a couple can overcome porn’s affects by learning a new kind of sex education. However, it is very unlikely that they will until they solve the problems in their marriage, especially unrealized expectations on the part of one, or feelings of betrayal by the other.
By the power of God, you can have a great marriage and a great sex life.
Act now. Save your future.
We are so thankful to Joe Beam for sharing his insights and wisdom with us. I know our readers will find this interview a very valuable resource. Thanks again!
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