Changing & Growing Together

With the start of a new year, it has me thinking about my relationship with my husband.  Specifically, where we are now as a couple compared to where we were last year at this time as a couple.  It’s true that we all change and grow through the years but some years we will notice it more so than other years.

Today we are communicating much more effectively than we were last January.  2009 was an important year for us, and we grew together in ways I had only hoped we would.  There were some obstacles early in the year that really had me wondering what in the world we were going to do to get through it, but you know what?  God worked in both of our lives to reveal to us exactly what we needed to be doing.  We took some practical steps, along with some leaps of faith, and in the end we were a stronger couple.  We were able to discover a deeper level of intimacy with each other that we had been suppressing.  What had started out as a chaotic and turbulent year ended up being a wonderful growing season for us.

I know that as couples, we don’t have huge seasons of growth and change each and every year.  There are some years that go by as mundane as the ones before it.  Those are the years that we kind of sail through our marriage without much friction or strife.  Then we hit the growing pains, and we either both take each other’s hand and learn to grow and adapt together, or we sit stagnant…pointing fingers, placing blame, and wondering what to do next.  In our struggles last year there were times that I was pointing fingers and placing blame.  I had allowed bitterness to set in.  Once we got to the heart of the issue, I felt something break inside me.  The wall of resentment that I had built up came tumbling down as I realized that I too, had played a part in our marital issues.

The conversations we engaged in were uncomfortable.  We felt as if we were stripped bare, open and vulnerable to the other.  At times neither one of us knew what to say next, but we knew that we needed to keep talking no matter what.  We didn’t get a “quick fix” but what we did get was so worth it in the end.  We have a stronger marriage, made possible by the deeper level of understanding we attained of each other.  God worked in our hearts to soften them and give us the patience and endurance to work through the issues as a team, without placing blame.  We learned to stop keeping score of wrongs committed, and to instead work on building each other up.

We know that there will still be times that we struggle, but now we are encouraged by the way we have learned to deal with things head on rather than sweeping them under the rug and hoping that no one will notice the huge lump in the middle of the room.  For that reason I am thankful for last year.  2009 ended up being a very important year for our marriage.  Going through those struggles and issues together has brought us to a much better place in 2010, and I thank God for giving me my husband.

Women, We Have Heard You

An increasing number of women are telling us that the comments from the men are really interrupting their sense of community with the other women at our blog. We know that we can’t stop anyone from reading our public blog and if the men can take the ideas we have posted here and use them for the benefit of their own marriage then we bless that, but we are going to temporarily stop approving comments from the men and we want to hear from the ladies as to whether or not you would like it to continue. It has been the opinion of the CN writers that the comments from the men can be helpful, but seeing as we are here as a ministry to the ladies, we want to take this action in order to serve the women we are primarily focused on ministering to.

So for the next two weeks no comments will be approved from men. At that point, once we have heard from enough of you as to whether or not this action is beneficial to what you are looking for from our blog, then we will make a decision as to whether or not we will allow comments at all from men and perhaps introduce more stringent requirements for which comments we approve from men if the ladies give us feedback that they want a bit of the male perspective on the blog.

So ladies, please post your opinion in the comment section below. Thank you!

Weekly poll #29: How long have you been married?

Monday’s Mission # 83

Your mission this week is to kiss your husband for 10 seconds at the start of every day. My husband and I recently heard that it can build a significant amount of intimacy when you begin your day focused on one another like this so we started today. Let me know if you notice a difference in your relationship at all.

Q&A: Paraplegic Husband

“My husband is a paraplegic…we can do 2 position…..me on top and him going down town on me. We have been married 4 years and in the last three years we have DTD less then 10 times! Granted we are having communication issues in our marriage so that doesn’t help intimacy at all. BUT I was wondering if ya’ll could make suggestions about what else we can do….I’m very bored. I used to be a very sexual person…in my life before Christ. I’m just bored, i have tried books, toys, lotions, etc. and nothing seems to help in the bedroom. What can we do? Unfortunately, i miss the positions ya’ll have on this site.”

Actually, I believe you are the second woman we have had to write in with similar circumstances.  You are right that communication issues are huge in a marriage, with or without physical disabilities.  It’s been a few months since you wrote in to us so I am hoping that you two have been able to work out your issues either together or with professional help.  When doing some research on this topic, I came across a website that has a list of books that you may be interested in:  The Travis Roy Foundation.  They look to have some good information there.

I also happened across this site as well.  I’m not sure if this is something that you and your husband are interested in at all, but I’m glad to see that they are coming up with ideas and sexual aids that are aimed at helping people with spinal cord injuries.

As far as positions go, I’m kind of at a loss, since I don’t know more about your specific situation.  You say that your only penetration position is you on top, but have you read any information about paraplegics being able to learn how to perform on top?  I ask because of this article.  It describes the “stuffing” technique, but again, some paraplegics are able to get and maintain an erection without using that, and since I don’t know the specific circumstances in your marriage, I’m not sure what to advise here.  If he isn’t able to maintain an erection, then you could also look into getting a penis extender sleeve for him to wear or a strap on.   He could also use a toy on you to bring you to orgasm, and although it looks comical, you may want to try something like The Accommodator.  That will give you more internal stimulation while he is giving you oral sex.  We do have many different variations of  woman on top and cunnilingus positions on our Position Page that you may be interested in.

I pray that you two are able to find what you need, and who knows, there may be someone out there in a similar situation who reads this and is able to write in with her helpful tips and advice as well.

Why we do Kegels: Pelvic floor muscles problems

The purpose of me writing this article is twofold.   (1) if you don’t have these problems yet, you can learn from this and (2) if you are experiencing (or have experienced) these problems, we can share stories and help one another.   I am in the second category, so I am also looking for help and advice as well.

Being the oldest of the three remaining CN Sisters, I get the privilege of getting to experience a few things first (not all…lol)   Over the past 9 months, I have been told that my pelvic floor muscles are getting very weak, and I now have times when my bowels protrude into my vagina.   But let me back up a bit and give you some information on what your pelvic floor muscles are and what they do.

Your pelvic floor  muscles are there to hold your pelvic organs in place.  They resemble a hammock and are at the base of your pelvis.   There are two main muscle layers, a deep muscle layer and a superficial muscle layer.  These muscles work together to help keep your organs in place and functioning properly.   Just like any muscular area of your body, exercising them helps to keep them functioning properly.  Kegel exercises are a great way to exercise these muscles.  I will get into that later in the article.

These muscles can also weaken over time when not exercised properly or from other causes such as pregnancy and childbirth,  being overweight, age, a chronic cough, or by a genetic predisposition to weak muscles.   For myself, the birth of a 9# baby with an extremely long episiotomy, being overweight for a long period of time after that, a second pregnancy (7# baby) and my age probably have a lot to do with my current condition.    Well, and probably also the fact that I have never been particularly good (or patient at) doing Kegel exercises.

So when these muscles weaken, they can cause pelvic organs to fall.   If the bladder falls, a condition called cystocele occurs, which is the falling or prolapse of the bladder.   In this case, the bladder bulges into the vaginal area.  Rectocele is where the rectum walls become weakened and protrude into the vaginal area.   An enterocele is where the small intestines protrude into the vaginal area.   Lastly is the uterine prolapse, where the uterus descends into the vaginal area.    I have linked each of these names to a corresponding article at mayoclinic.com so that you can read further into these 4 problems that can occur in the pelvic area.  I can tell you from personal experience that this in not a very comfortable situation to be in, and I wish I had paid more attention to doing Kegel exercises.   I am now researching to see if it is too late to start regaining strength in these muscles or if it is gone for good and I will need surgical help to repair any damage.

Let me move on to Kegel exercises.   What are they?  These exercises were named after  Dr. Arnold Kegel.  These exercise help strengthen and can help the blood circulate better to your pelvic regions.  In order to do Kegels, you first need to locate the correct muscles in which to exercise.   Next time you need to urinate, try to stop the flow of your urine.  If you do so successfully, you have found your pelvic floor muscles.   Another way to locate them is to stick one finger in your vagina, and try to squeeze the surrounding muscles.  You will feel your vagina tighten and your pelvic floor muscles move up.  When you relax,  you will feel the vagina relax and the pelvic floor muscles drop.  Once you’ve located the right muscles, let the kegels begin!  Start by contracting your pelvic floor muscles and hold for 3 second, then relax for three seconds.  Do this 10x.  Once you are comfortable doing it for three seconds, move on to 4 second hold and 4 second release.   Try to work up to 10 second hold and a 10 second release.  This won’t all happen on your first time!  You need to keep up with this, like I wish I had.  You will need to try to do these exercises 3x a day.

Note: Once you find the right muscles to use for Kegels, it is not recommended as a frequent practice to stop urination this way because it increases the frequency of UTIs.

As for my problems, I won’t know for sure until I go for my second opinion.  Even though the term hasn’t been used by my primary doctor, I am sure I have a rectocele.   If that is the case, a pessary can be inserted by a health care professional or surgery can be done to repair the weakness between the vagina and rectal walls by using either stitches or a mesh net to hold the organs in place.

My own doctor has mentioned the word “hysterectomy” to me for this…while I don’t understand why yet, I am waiting to see if the second opinion suggests this as well.  If so, I will definitely ask then.   I have found a website that has helped me a great deal to prepare for if this is to occur.  It is called Hyster Sisters.  While it isn’t a total Christian site, there is a section for prayer requests and I have found some Christian sisters on that site that are praying for me as well.

If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would have been doing Kegels since I was pregnant with my first.   But I have to make good with what I have now.  I will start trying to do Kegels again so that maybe I can get some strength back in my pelvic floor muscles.  If you don’t do these daily, please start doing them.  They will help you out so much in the long run.

If you have ever experienced problems such as this and you wish to comment or offer advice below, I know myself as well as others might appreciate the support.

*CN News*

Back in November we were approached by Eryn-Faye Frans, and asked to write a guest article for her blog.  (For those of you unfamiliar with her click on her name.)  She enthusiastically works to help married couples with “Commitment, Communication, and Consummation!”  She has a lot on her plate right now with her website, blog, and new book coming out, so she decided to ask a few people if they’d be willing to write guest articles for her.  We feel so honored that she thought of us!  She asked for something written on the subject of Anal Sex, so Cumingirl went to work in December to put something together for her.  On this past Monday she announced to her readers that she would be featuring a couple guest writers each month.  Click here to see where she introduced us! So bookmark her site not only for her wealth of information on marital intimacy, but also so you can check out Cumingirl’s article on Tuesday, January 12th!

And now on to another subject… There seems to be some confusion lately as to comments left on our blog and the moderation of them.  We have moderation cut on.  That means that comments you leave will NOT be visible to our readers until we physically get online ourselves and approve them. However, when you leave a comment, it appears that it is immediately published, and then 15 minutes later disappears.  We assume that WordPress has it set up that way just so that you can see what your comment will look like when it’s published.  You’ll be able to see if you made any spelling mistakes or if your comment made sense.  It is only visible by you for that 15 or so minutes, and then it disappears until one of us three has the free time to get online and moderate comments.  Sometimes it happens quickly (if one of us is online at the time you leave your comment) and sometimes it may be hours before one of us is online.  If you leave a comment that isn’t helpful or that contains inappropriate language/content, then we simply delete it, and no one ever sees it.  We wanted to take this opportunity to try and explain this to everyone, and hopefully this has cleared up any misunderstandings out there.

Weekly poll #28: Gender demographics

Monday’s Mission #82

Your mission this week is to spend some time going through our Position Page. Refresh yourself on the 99 different sex positions brought to you by the CN girls and pick one that you haven’t tried yet. Introduce it to your hubby this week and see what the two of you think. Have fun 🙂

What’s New In 2010?

We are posting today to let you all know that we will be taking a break from our Friday Position of the Week feature. We chose to end it at position #99 for now.  We have thoroughly enjoyed researching and trying out all of these new positions along the way and hope that you will keep coming back to our Position Page any time you need inspiration or fresh ideas for something new.  It may be that we decide to pick up where we left off and continue with more positions at a later date, or our future may go in a totally different direction altogether.  But for now, we will be ceasing this weekly feature.

While we have your attention, let us take this opportunity to announce our new Friday feature, which will be replacing the POTW.   Next  Friday, January 8th, we will start:  Your Questions Answered!  (Q&A for short) Fridays will now be reserved for us to answer your email questions!  We get so many questions in each week.  We decided that it would be nice to have one day set aside to publish your questions, our answers, and to invite discussion in the comment section.  Sometimes a question comes in that needs more help and advice than what we have to offer.  For those questions that need professional input, we are so happy to announce that Lauren Jordan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Certified Sex Therapist, has agreed to be a consultant for us! If you missed our interview with her, then please read it and familiarize yourself with her.  Her website is also at the bottom of our blogroll to the right of every page.  We are thankful to her for lending us her experience and expertise.  So make sure that you tune in on Fridays for Your Questions Answered!”

Also, please be sure and check out our new homepage! We’ve worked to condense it a bit and make it more aesthetically pleasing.  We are constantly thinking and planning and trying to make our blog the best resource it can be for married women everywhere.  Thank you for being our loyal readers and contributors and we hope and pray that 2010 will become a wonderful and blessed year for us all!

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