A Healthy Sexual Relationship

God designed sex to be the intimate, sharing, caring, selfless union of a husband and his wife wherein, over their lifetime, their very essences become thoroughly intermingled. We people, however, via our customarily willful and reckless disobedience, have thanklessly turned such beauty into the extremely ugly, filthy, selfish use of one person by another as what, all-too-often, amounts to little more than a primitive bodily function relief object.



Introduction

While the rest of the world has been becoming increasingly preoccupied with global problems such as war, terrorism, violence, and racism, I've been becoming increasingly preoccupied with domestic problems such as failing, failed, and pretend marriages, single parent homes, domestic abuse, and depressed children. Why do we people believe that we'll ever be able to resolve all of the big problems out there without first resolving all of the foundational problems that are rampantly afflicting our homes and families? That's what finally motivated me to write this document.

The title of this document says that it's about sex. Yes, it certainly is that, but you might be wondering why I've also delved into other areas such as courtship, marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, and raising children. The answer is that all of these areas are so completely inter-related and entangled that any problem in one of them tends to have negative impacts on all of the others. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the root problem to all of it is the abuse of sex.

If you've ever wondered what the Bible has to say about topics such as sex, marriage, and courtship then this is your opportunity to find out. Yes, I'm a Bible person. You won't have to read very far before you'll trip over a reference to God or a quote from or reference into the Bible. I believe that, even though He did use a number of human secretaries, no less than God Himself is the author of the Bible. I also believe that, as the one who designed us, He alone is the only one who truly knows how we're to conduct ourselves within courtship and marriage, and the role that sex is to play within our lives and relationships.

The author of this document has actually had some practical experience in the areas of life that it covers. My wife and I have been married for almost 40 years. We've been very richly blessed with 13 children - six sons and seven daughters. All births were single - my wife was pregnant and/or nursing for the first 20+ years of our marriage. We've also had one miscarriage.

If you're considering marriage, or maybe just thinking about it, then perhaps you'll find some hints within this document that'll help you try to ensure that it'll be the best part of your life. If you are married but it isn't going so well then you might find some ideas within this document regarding how to properly love your spouse. Yes, that really is all you'll need to do. Simply starting afresh, by relegating all of your grudges to history and just loving one another from now on, will rekindle the craving and revive the feelings. Don't wait - initiate!

Loving ones spouse isn't a feeling - it's a duty!
How wondrously beautiful are the fruits of fulfilling it!

Dave Mielke
EMail: dave@mielke.cc
Twitter: @Dave_Mielke

An Indivisible Union

Our culture is correct when it insists that consent for sex is necessary, and that this consent should be the "yes means yes" flavour. It's wrong, however, regarding how consent for sex is to be obtained/granted. There's ultimately only one form of sexual consent - the marriage vow! There's to be no sex before marriage, but a constant expectation of and willingness for sex afterward. A man and woman shouldn't proceed with marriage unless both of them are completely willing to grant one another unlimited, uncensored, uncontrolled access to their bodies thereafter.

Since marriage means sex, and since each and every single sexual union includes the possibility that a new child might be created, you oughtn't marry anyone unless both of you are willing to become and are ready to be parents. Also, since raising your children will be an intense, difficult, challenging, life-long endeavour that the two of you will share, take the time to be as sure as you can that you and the person you're considering both agree on how children should be raised. Your children should be a further and very public expression of your love for one another rather than a source of tension between the two of you.

Marriage isn't a domestic partnership based on mutual agreement - it's an indivisible, life-long union based on mutual commitment. A man and woman shouldn't engage in any conduct that could cause either of them to become dependent on the other before they marry one another because both of them need to remain free to decide not to make that commitment right up until the last possible moment - their wedding. This especially applies to premarital sex because sex creates an ever-strengthening bond between them that can never be fully broken - any attempt to break it causes serious emotional scarring and physical distress. Rather than being a loving expression of affinity, therefore, premarital sex is a foolish act of selfish pleasure-seeking and/or a greedy claim of premature ownership.


Equality in Intimacy

The God-ordained arrangement that a husband is the head of his wife (see verses like Ephesians 5:23) and that a wife is to reverence her husband (see verses like Ephesians 5:33) is for family administration and to be an earthly portrait of the spiritual relationship between Christ and His people. When it comes to romance and intimacy (i.e. to sex), however, both spouses are equal - each no longer has authority over him/herself, but must fully surrender him/herself to the authority of the other.

1 Corinthians 7:4

The wife hath not power [authority] of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power [authority] of his own body, but the wife.

Neither spouse is to selfishly use the other in order to try to satisfy his/her own needs. Rather, each spouse is to devote the rest of his/her life to maximizing the other's satisfaction.

Neither spouse should ever withhold sex from the other for any reason. Each spouse must always be readily available to fully meet the other's sexual needs. Whatever worldly stresses may be affecting either or both of them, they should always be able to unconditionally escape from all of that to the safety, comfort, and joy of their sexual relationship.

Each spouse should make his/her body fully available to the other in a completely unhindered and uninhibited way. There should be no such thing as something that either spouse doesn't want the other to see him/her doing. For example, they shouldn't even hide activities like peeing, pooping, bleeding, and changing a pad/tampon from one another. Each should be given every possible opportunity to become thoroughly familiar with every aspect of the other's body. There's no room for any embarrassment because they're one flesh and must, in every aspect of their life together, live exactly that way for the benefit of and for total intimacy with each other.


Minimize Time Apart

A married couple should have sex often. Why? Not for personal satisfaction, but, rather, to help prevent the other from losing self control and falling into extramarital sexual temptations which prolonged lack of sex can almost unmanageably intensify. If either spouse senses that the other is in need of imminent sex then he/she should immediately take the initiative and try to create an opportunity for their bodies to be reunited as soon as possible.

1 Corinthians 7:5

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency [loss of self control].

God only allows for one case wherein a married couple may need to be apart such that they wouldn't be able to have sex with one another - to do a special job for Himself. Even then, they must both consent to their temporary separation, and the period of their separation should be kept as short as possible. Other than this one single scenario, they should be together. This means, for example, that worldly practices like ego-boosting business trips have no place in the life of any married person (unless, of course, they can travel together).

Both spouses should be fully open and honest with one another about how much and/or soon they need sex. For example, each should always feel able to say, without any hesitation or embarrassment, these sorts of things to the other:

Your spouse's need for sex is a huge reason for you to never needlessly risk your life, your health, or your freedom. If you end up spending an extended period of time in a hospital, in prison, etc then your spouse won't be able to have sex with you, and that, in turn, will put him/her into an extremely compromising situation. Of course these things do happen, but to intentionally risk them happening is altogether wrong and the epitome of spousal disregard. You'll still want your spouse to remain faithful, and he/she will surely struggle to remain faithful, but would it even be possible to be more unfair, unreasonable, and selfish toward him/her?

What should you do if your spouse is away and your sexual desire has become so strong that you can hardly think about anything else? My opinion is that you should firmly focus your thoughts on your spouse while you masturbate. God doesn't address masturbation, so we can infer that it'd be okay for you to do so unless you allow yourself to be drawn, by the pleasures and relief that it gives you, into wrong thinking. For example, while it's of course okay for you to be full of desires for your spouse, it'd be wrong for you to be drawn into covetous thoughts about someone else. To help mitigate this, you should consider talking with your spouse over the phone, looking at pictures of him/her, etc while you masturbate. Don't wait until your need for your spouse becomes too intense else you might end up handling your own body far too roughly - possibly causing yourself harm - in your desperation to bring a semblance of calm to your life.

If you masturbate while your spouse is away then try to schedule it so that you won't need to for the last few days before his/her return in order to be sexually ready for an intense and joy-filled reunion.


A Real Man

Proverbs 5:18-19

Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind [doe, female deer] and pleasant roe [gazelle]; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

I've improved the translation because I think that it's important for us to understand exactly what God is commanding, here. The result is not only much clearer but also incredibly beautiful.

Let your fountain be blessed! Rejoice with your childhood wife - the adoring doe and gracious gazelle. Let her nipples satiate you at all times, and be captivated continually by her unconditional love.

As you can see, God has spoken very directly to the issue of how you're to be relating to your wife. Your first wife is to be your only wife, and you aren't to be interested in any other woman - ever! You're to be totally enraptured by all that she is, and to be always treating her in ways that allow her to fully express her love for you to you.

God begins this command with the imperative to let your fountain be blessed. He uses the imagery of a fountain to mean all that flows forth from whatever He's talking about. In this case, your fountain means all that flows forth from your life. In other words, if you want your life to be blessed then treat your wife properly. The corollary to this, of course, is that if you don't treat your wife properly then your fountain won't be blessed - you'll have a problem-filled life.

You wanted a girl - you now have a girl - let her be a girl! Learn all you can about her by watching her, talking with her, listening to her, and sharing her life. Be enthralled, rather than frustrated, as you discover how completely different her ways and approaches are from yours.

Augment your own life by confiding in her, by seeking and considering her advice, and by incorporating her methods. You'll become a much better person for it because all that she is makes up for all that you didn't yet have.

She, just like everyone else (including yourself), is a very imperfect human being. How perfect you may have assumed her to have been at the outset has nothing to do with reality. Always sincerely and unconditionally forgive every single one of her faults, no matter how serious any of them may be. Just love her more because she's even allowed you to clearly see and to learn all about the flaws in the nakedness of her inner being.

Surround her with both physical and emotional safety and security so that she'll always feel able and be willing to helplessly entrust you with her entire being so that she can completely abandon herself to a total loss of self control whenever you gently and lovingly handle her body.

Enjoy and appreciate all of her female ways as you helplessly and eagerly anticipate their ultimate expression when she warmly and tenderly invites you into herself and your sperm into her womb.

Be openly and unashamedly captivated by every single aspect of her nakedness and femininity, and don't ever withhold yourself in any way from any of her desires.

Welcome the ever-present, inescapable possibility that, at any moment, she may start to make a baby for you. She won't ask - she'll just let you know. It's her girl way of saying thank you, and of telling you just how much she loves you.

Attentively listen to every single thing she wants to tell you, but only offer advice when she requests it. More often than not, she simply needs to talk through her issues, and only wishes to do so with the one person whom she knows she can implicitly trust to keep all of her confidences.

She may choose to use some of your most intimate moments to reveal to you her deepest, darkest, and/or most embarrassing secrets. If she does, reassure her with extra-tender, intimate contact and with comforting words that she needn't fear having disclosed these things to you because learning about them has only made you love her more.

Ephesians 5:28-29

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

Forever treasure your most precious possession - the girl who has given herself to you. Bathe her in trust, love, affection, appreciation, and tender care.


No Restrictions

Let's look at a verse that very few people have ever dared to fully address:

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

The most I've ever heard anyone else ever say about this verse is that sex is for marriage alone, and that any kind of sex outside of marriage is wrong. That, however, is only touching the surface of what God is really teaching, here. This verse is revealing that God hasn't placed any restrictions on how a husband and his wife share their bodies. Any way at all that a married couple may choose to unite themselves such that they're functioning together as a helplessly interdependent, love-driven, joy-filled, one flesh body is okay.

Whatever they do must, of course, always be subject to their mutual love and affection for each other. No sexual activity should ever be engaged in if it might cause either person to suffer harm, feel degraded, etc. All sexual activities should be ones that both willingly want to share (or maybe just try).

If there's something that your spouse would like to do or to have you do, but you're finding that you just can't, then you should thoroughly and thoughtfully assess your reaction. If you feel that it's dangerous and/or degrading then openly and honestly discuss this with him/her. If you feel that it's dirty in some way then you're probably just reacting to an unjustifiable hang-up that you've picked up from your culture, from your parents, etc. How, after all, could anything possibly be actually dirty when it's just between you and your spouse, and when it's strictly within the privacy of your marriage? While you must never violate your conscience, you must also never forget that your spouse is helplessly relying on only you to meet his/her innermost needs. You ought never respond to your spouse in a way that might encourage him/her to feel the need to seek satisfaction somewhere else.

If there's something that you'd like to do or to have your spouse do, and you're finding that he/she is resisting it, then be patient. Never force your spouse to violate his/her conscience because that'd create distance rather than encourage even more closeness between the two of you. Give your spouse all the time that he/she needs to consider your request, and, regardless of how disappointed it may make you feel, always graciously respect his/her decision without any bad feelings. You can always try again later, although you must never do so in a way that might make your spouse feel that he/she has failed you in some way. If you feel that your spouse isn't meeting your sexual needs in some way, never look elsewhere to try to have them met. Your only responsibility insofar as sex is concerned, after all, is to meet your spouse's needs.


One Flesh

When a man and a woman marry one another, they become the head of a brand new family. Their parents no longer have any authority over them.

Genesis 2:24

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Marriage is the union of a man and a woman such that they become what God describes as "one flesh". Their wedding isn't merely a cultural ceremony - way more importantly, it's the moment when God indivisibly weds their two individual bodies together such that the two people become a brand new, single entity with just one body. Even though each half of their married body can still function independently so that they can still be in two different places at the same time, neither of them is a whole body in its own right anymore. As much as circumstances permit, therefore, the spouses should endeavour to keep as close together as possible for the rest of their married life because each will have a continual longing for the other that'll grow increasingly stronger the longer they're apart.

God designed sexual union to be the way that a married couple physically connects the two halves of their body together, and it isn't to be used for any other purpose. While connected, their whole body is flooded with intensely powerful and deeply personal feelings that create and maintain an irresistibly strong bond between them such that the longer they're apart the more desperately they need to get back together. Sexual union causes them to lose all of their inhibitions, to appreciate each other, to become more like each other at all levels, to become helplessly dependent on one another, to give each other a deep sense of peacefulness and security, to forget about the rest of the world and all of its problems, and to intensely focus on one another and the beauty of their union. There's a very special thing that their married body can only do when whole - make a new person.


Premarital Sex

Since marriage is a life-long, unbreakable commitment, the time that a man and woman spend together before marrying one another - their courtship - should ideally be entirely devoted to thoroughly assessing each other with brutal honesty in order to make as informed a decision as possible regarding whether or not committing to a life-time of inseparable, intimate togetherness would actually work. Each should be completely honest with the other, right from the outset, that he/she is interested in pursuing the possibility of marriage.

They should only marry if both of them really do want to commit to the complete, interdependent, union of the rest of their lives. Their courtship should be immediately ended as soon as either of them concludes that marrying one another isn't what he/she really wants. Neither of them owes the other his/her reasons for having come to this conclusion. Giving the reasons is actually a bad idea because all that'd ultimately achieve is giving the other person suggestions regarding how to make him/herself look more desirable to his/her next potential spouse.

Since, until they actually do marry one another, there's always a possibility that they won't, they're not yet in a position to establish a stable home for their children. This is a huge reason why they oughtn't engage in even one sexual union before their wedding. If they do begin a premarital sexual relationship that yields children then they'll have a serious problem if they eventually conclude that they'd rather not marry. They could decide to do the honourable thing by marrying anyway and then trying to make the best of it, but, if that doesn't work out very well then the result will probably be an unpleasant, and perhaps divided, home. If they decide to go their separate ways then their children would suffer from not being able to grow up within a single home that includes both of their parents. Growing up in a home wherein their parents don't really love one another isn't good for the children, and either having to move back and forth between their parents' separate homes or only being raised by one of their parents also isn't good for them.

Another huge reason that premarital sex is a very bad idea is that the nature of even their very first sexual union is such that it'll immediately create an overwhelmingly powerful physical attraction between them. The intensity of the feelings associated with this attraction will completely cloud the honest assessment of one another that they should be endeavouring to make. If they eventually do decide to marry, they won't be able to know for sure if that decision was a good one because the reality may well be that it was actually arrived at in order to justify their desire to continue having sex.

Premarital sex creates even more problems. If either of them ends their courtship without marrying then both of them will endure the agonies of withdrawal as their bodies undergo the extreme physical stress and as their hearts undergo the incredible emotional pain that invariably accompanies the termination of a sexual relationship. Also, since they both do know that their sexual relationship may not be permanent, they'll (usually subconsciously) engage in it in ways that keep them at a distance from one another so that, should they ultimately decide to do so, it'll hopefully be a lot easier for them to try to go their separate ways. If, however, they eventually do marry, they'll be wanting their sexual relationship to be drawing them ever closer together but will find it to be almost impossible to eliminate their former, distance-keeping practices. In fact, they may not even realize why it is that, after marrying, they're unable to achieve the degree of intimacy that they want and truly should have. In other words, if they engage in premarital sex then they're introducing a very high risk that their marriage will end up being a major disappointment.

Regardless of how tempting it may become, and of how ecstatic it really will feel, sex really does have no place outside of marriage. In order to help ensure this, any conduct that might end up irresistibly drawing them into a sexual union, such as romantic touching, also has no place outside of marriage. While restricting their courtship to the serious task of assessing each other may seem boring, it really is the wisest course to take. There'll be plenty of time for them to be overcome by the joys of unconstrained intimacy after their wedding.


Becoming Married

God designed marriage to be a life-long union between one man and one woman.

1 Corinthians 7:2

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

God doesn't define a minimum age that a man or woman must be before he/she may marry. Since He insists that sex is an essential part of marriage, though, we can infer that a person shouldn't marry until his/her body has sexually matured enough such that he/she can safely have children.

God has remain silent regarding how a wedding is to be performed. We can infer, therefore, that He simply honours the rules and/or customs of the jurisdiction wherein the wedding is taking place that define how a man and woman are to be married to one another.

God doesn't tell us how the two spouses for a marriage are to be chosen. One extreme would be the parents (or maybe even someone else) prearranging the whole thing. The other extreme would be the man and woman finding each other and deciding to marry without anyone else's influence. Both of these, as well as anything in between, is okay. The one thing God does insist on, though, is that the man and the woman must each separately confirm, without being forced to, that they really do want to proceed with their marriage. God actually makes a special point about ensuring that the woman's opinion must be clearly sought and unconditionally honoured.

Genesis 24:8a

And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath:

Genesis 24:57-58

And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.

God established the rule that close relatives may not marry one another (see Leviticus 18:6-18). in order to prevent diseases that can be caused by in-breeding. A close relative, for the purpose of marriage eligibility, is one of the following:

Any spouse of a close relative is considered to be related to you in the very same way as that close relative because their marriage made them one flesh with each other. Marriage between cousins is okay.

A saved person shouldn't knowingly marry an unsaved person.

2 Corinthians 6:14

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

A marriage ends when one of its spouses dies. A person is free to marry someone new only if he/she no longer has any living spouses.

Romans 7:2-3

For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

Polygamy and Divorce

God designed sexual desire to be so irresistibly over-powering that it would be able to hold a married couple together during even the most stress-filled periods of their life. This also necessarily means that anyone who isn't wholly committed to trustingly obeying Him will all-too-easily give up on self control and allow him/herself to give in to the pleasures of illicit sexual temptations. Being well aware of this, He even established a set of laws for how a person is to proceed when his/her marital state has become unlawful.

If a person marries more than one other person, then, even though He doesn't like it, God does recognize those additional marriages and does unite the bodies of that person and his/her additional spouses.

Genesis 4:19

And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.

A person with more than one spouse may not pick favourites - he/she must fulfill all of the basic needs of every single one of his/her spouses.

Exodus 21:10

If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment [clothing], and her duty of marriage [conjugal rights], shall he not diminish.

This is a rare case where the translators didn't do as good of a job as they could have. It looks, to me, like they didn't quite understand what God is commanding, here. I'm saying this because they chose words that identify a wife's outer (physical) needs whereas God has actually used words that identify a wife's inner (emotional, spiritual) needs. I've improved the translation so that we can see what God is actually commanding:

If he take him another, her communion, her security, and her conjugal rights shall he not diminish.

God doesn't recognize a divorce. If two spouses divorce, God still considers them to be married to one another, and they remain physically united.

Mark 10:11-12

And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

They really should remarry one another as soon as possible, and, as far as God is concerned, neither of them has become free to marry someone else.

1 Corinthians 7:10b-11

Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

God doesn't permit a divorced couple to remarry one another, however, if either of them has already married someone else.

Deuteronomy 24:3-4

And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

If a saved person discovers, after the wedding, that his/her spouse actually isn't saved after all, he/she is still to continue in that marriage because divorce is never permitted and because their united body can't be nondestructively severed into two.

1 Corinthians 7:12b-13

If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

If, however, the unsaved spouse eventually does want a divorce, then, while the saved spouse should still try to rescue their marriage, he/she is ultimately called to peace and is permitted to allow the divorce to proceed.

1Corinthians 7:15

But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

Even then, however, as with any other divorce, God still considers them to be married to one another, and their bodies are still united - remarriage, other than to one another, is still not permitted.


Courtship

You want your marriage to be a good one, right? Of course you do, so let's chat about it.

If you haven't married yet then you should do all that you can ahead of time to try to ensure that your marriage will be a peaceful one. Avoid any sexual activity before you marry so that your thoughts will remain clear. Determine what, for you, are things that you feel you'll never be able to put up with, and reject any potential spouse who exhibits even one of them. Likewise, try to figure out what, for him/her, are things that he/she feels unable to ever put up with, and don't proceed if you exhibit even one of them.

Don't fall into the trap of believing that love will somehow mysteriously help you to learn to overlook some unbearable fault in the person you're courting. It won't! This is because you're shining the best possible light on that fault while courting since you so want to win the prize. After you marry, however, when you finally have to actually live with him/her and there's no more escape, that fault will become increasingly annoying to you. Also, he/she has probably figured out that you don't like that aspect of him/herself and has been trying to minimize it during your courtship. Again, after the two of you become married, there'll be no more need for him/her to pretend so that fault will finally flare up into its true fullness. If it makes you feel so uncomfortable during courtship then that's an alarm which you shouldn't be attempting to ignore - don't proceed with marriage!

Here's a basic checklist of things to consider while courting. Think long and hard about more topics to add to it. Discuss them with total openness and brutal honesty.

Divorce
Is it ever okay? If so, when and why? What about its impact on your children?
Past Sexual Behaviour
Can both of you openly share all of it? If not, why? Is any of it difficult to accept? If so, why?
Future Sexual Temptations
How will each of you handle them? What would each of you be unable to forgive? What would make either of you feel betrayed? What should each of you do whenever it occurs? What if one of you brings home a sexual disease?
Flirting with Others
Is it ever acceptable? If so, by whom? Is it safe or dangerous?
Sex on Demand
Should a spouse always be available whenever the other needs sex? Are there any reasons that justify sex being withheld? Is rape within marriage possible? If so, when?
Birth Control
Is it okay to try to control when your children will be born and/or how many of them you'll have? If so, who should take the responsibility for it, and which kinds are acceptable? What if an unexpected pregnancy occurs? What about abortion?
Child Discipline
Which methods are acceptable? What if either of you ever feels the need to resort to a method that the two of you previously agreed was unacceptable? What if either of you ever feels tempted to interfere with discipline being undertaken by the other? What if the two of you disagree about how a situation should be handled?
Disagreements
How should they be settled? When should they be settled in private and when should they be settled in front of your children? What if you simply can't agree about something?
Anger
What sorts of things cause each of you to become angry? How do each of you behave when angry? How do each of you deal with it?
Religion
Which of your religious beliefs and/or practices conflict? If any do, how will the two of you deal with it? How will you share the religious training of your children, especially if there are conflicts?
Finances
Do you prefer to judiciously save or to freely spend? Do you agree on the types of things (charities, necessities, entertainment, etc) that money can be spent on? Should you share your bank accounts or maintain separate ones? Who should be responsible for earning the household income? Who should be responsible for paying the bills? Is it okay for either or both of you to have private savings or should all of your money be shared?
Parental Interference
What if any of your parents insists on interfering with the running of your home? Since both of you can't be together in more than one place at a time, what if your decision to visit one family for some common special occasion hurts the other family?

Deciding for sure whom you'd like to be married to is very serious business because he/she is the one person whom you'll be spending the entire rest of your life with in intimate togetherness. You should, therefore, be putting way more effort and diligence into this decision than you would when, for example, making a major purchase (house, car, etc). Proceed wisely because, once you finally commit to it, there'll be no going back.

A spouse is a person, not an object. Either discarding him/her or trading him/her in for another one is vicious cruelty. True love is unconditional, and that means always forgiving and never rejecting.

Will those words that you'll eventually be speaking as you take your marriage vow be sincere? Your spouse will be counting on you!


Couples

At the very moment that the two of you became a married couple, God joined you into what He refers to as a one flesh union. Though this was an invisible transaction, it's had a profound impact on your life. No matter how much you may theorize to the contrary, you'll never again be able to live as two truly independent people. If you ever try, you'll discover an inescapable, deep longing to be back together. No matter how well you may manage to hide this from others, in order to try to justify your decision to divorce, it'll never leave you. Marrying someone else won't even make it go away - it''ll just leave you feeling dirty and with a confused sense of mixed loyalties.

Before you were married, even if you were pretending to be by living in a domestic relationship, you were two completely separate people. Each of you had your own individual set of faults, but they didn't have much of an impact on the other. He/she didn't feel more imperfect due to your faults, and no one else assessed him/her in the light of your conduct.

Now that you've become a one flesh union, all of this has changed. Each of you has become thoroughly impacted by each other's set of faults. He/she now feels deeply and personally offended each and every time you do something that his/her character can't tolerate, and everyone else is now assessing him/her in the light of your conduct, too.

This change, which all married people do feel but which few understand, is what causes some to conclude that marriage can actually ruin a relationship. It can't, of course, but what it does do is invisibly draw a man and woman inseparably close together. Before marrying, you and your spouse were on opposite sides of a barricade that kept you apart. After marrying, however, the two of you became firmly wrapped together into a single, exquisitely beautiful, impenetrable parcel of love.

The real problem is that very few people in our day, and perhaps throughout the past as well, have ever anticipated or been taught about this irreversible change. Rather than expecting and welcoming it, therefore, they often begin to wonder what's gone wrong and to panic when it finally happens to them. When searching for an explanation, they usually get very poor guesses from others who are just as ill-informed.

Regardless of whatever our culture may teach, and regardless of how much anyone else may ridicule you, both of you should eliminate the word "divorce" from your vocabularies. Allowing escape to be a viable path is setting yourselves up for failure. It's not what you wanted, and it's not what you vowed to one another, so why ever even consider it? Instead, make it impossible for anything to become a barrier between the two of you, and insist on the necessity to work through each of your problems with the full restoration of your love always being the goal.

If you notice a fault in your spouse then, no matter how serious it may be, forgive it. Sure, he/she is far from perfect, but the same is just as true of yourself - marriage is no place for self righteousness. You know how much you crave his/her forgiveness each and every time you mess up, so do the same for your spouse. Don't wait for him/her to be first - just do it!

Any attempt you make to try to correct any of your spouse's faults will fail, anyway, because none of us is ever able to fix someone else unless that person recognizes his/her problem and asks for our help. We're only ever able to make changes in our own lives, and that's the only way that you might be able to initiate a change in your spouse's life. Silently encourage him/her to move in the desired direction by making appropriate changes in your own life. Always express the kind of love for your spouse that invites trusting confession and helpful guidance. Always be the kind of person whom your spouse will want to flee to for safety and comfort, to wrap his/her love around, and to please.

Your sex life should, as much as possible, be one of loving submission and willing service rather than one of selfish use and forceful imposition. Let your spouse know, with uninhibited openness and simple honesty, whenever you feel any kind of sexual need growing within you, and then wait, with helpless longing and eager anticipation, for him/her to respond. Be alert to your spouse's loving gestures, respond to his/her inviting seductions, and meet his/her sexual needs.

Don't withhold sex for any reason - let your body be always available and your heart be always welcoming. Immediately surrender yourself, with warm devotion, on those occasions when your spouse's sexual needs have become so desperate that he/she just can't wait any longer. Ensure that it's only you, and never anyone else, to whom your spouse will always go.

You'll feel sexually attracted to others at times - so will your spouse - it's unavoidable and just happens. Immediately turn away from it, no matter how pleasant it may feel, and flee to your spouse for relief. Don't be embarrassed to tell him/her exactly why your sexual need has become so unexpectedly desperate because doing so will help him/her know how best to help you.

Do everything you can to remain faithful to your spouse. Don't ever become involved in any situation that could cause you to develop a sexual attraction to someone else. Never forget that your spouse, too, encounters the very same kinds of extramarital temptations. Whenever he/she does succumb, respond with empathetic understanding and unconditional forgiveness.

Don't allow bitterness to creep into your relationship by getting into squabbles over things like how the household chores should be divided up. If you really do love your spouse then show it by quietly doing things that need to be done, without even caring about getting any credit for your efforts, even if, for whatever reason, you really do feel that he/she should be doing it. If your spouse is doing something and there's nothing else that you need to be doing, go join him/her - doing jobs together is a wonderful way to show and share your love.

God's command is to love the one you're married to - it absolutely isn't to marry the one you think you love. Openly appreciate your spouse's qualities and contributions to your home while silently overlooking and forgiving each of his/her faults. Help and support one another rather than fight and/or oppose each other.

As the head of your family, the two of you must ensure that your home remains an island of peace and safety within which all of you will always be able to relax and feel secure.


Husbands

There are a few special tasks that only your wife is able to perform: making your babies, delivering your babies, and feeding your babies. She'll need plenty of your help and understanding whenever she's lovingly taking care of them for you because none of them is ever easy for her. Cradle her within a haven of deep appreciation and awe-filled wonder as you learn so much more about what it really is to be a girl.

Pregnancies are times during which your wife will be instinctively listening to her body for instructions, and will be wanting to obey whatever it needs her to be doing, so that she'll be able to devote her entire self to your babies' care. There may be times, for example, when she'll be feeling quite sick and/or extremely tired. Give your baby's mother all the loving care and support that she needs. There may even be special things that she'll be wanting you to do for her while she, in the most special way possible, is being a wife to you.

If a pregnancy fails, i.e. if your wife miscarries or has a still birth, she'll feel the loss just as intensely as if your baby had died after having been born. This is because she knows, regardless of whatever anyone else may claim to believe, that each and every one of your babies begins his/her life deep within her body, as a love gift from her to you, and remains under her highly specialized, direct, personal care until his/her birth.

She'll need plenty of time to grieve your loss. She may go over and over and over everything that preceded the event in order to try to determine if she herself was in any way at fault for having caused it. She may also feel that she's been a failure of a wife to you. You'll need to spend as much time as possible with her for however long it may take, rearranging the rest of your life as needed, to comfort her, to help her to understand that it wasn't her fault and that there was nothing she could've done to prevent it, and to show her that your love for her hasn't diminished in the slightest and that she still is, and always will be, your very own, irreplaceable, precious wife.

Never challenge any of her feelings - every single one of them has arisen from the depths of her female being and is very real. Do way more listening than talking. When you do speak, do so thoughtfully. Try not to say anything that she might interpret as being hurtful. For example, don't try to encourage her by reminding her that the two of you can always have another baby. For one thing, there'll be no way to know for sure if that'll actually happen. For another, even if it does, he/she will be a brand new person, and won't in any way be a replacement for the one who was lost.

In addition to all of the fun that the two of you will have as you choose names for your baby, you should, early on, also learn everything you can about pregnancy and childbirth. This is because your wife is wanting the whole experience - especially that of the actual birth - to be among the most wonderful memories of her entire life. You'll need to ensure that she clearly understands all of the medical jargon. She'll also be counting on you to steadfastly advocate for whatever the two of you have decided in spite of whatever the professionals may try to push.

In my opinion, you should accompany your wife to every prenatal checkup and be present for every midwife visit. What you think and how you feel matter, too, so actively participate rather than just silently observe. Both of you should ensure that whatever's on your collective mind and within your collective heart is openly and thoroughly discussed with the experts. Make lists ahead of time, and bring all of them with you, in order to ensure that nothing is forgotten.

Here's a checklist of some of the things that the two of you should discuss. Remember that these are your decisions alone to make. Even though others may try to pressure you into doing what they think is best, only ever make your final decisions based on what the two of you really want. It's your marriage and your experience, so don't allow anyone else to exercise any control over it.

Some doctors insist on doing an internal exam (inserting their gloved fingers into your wife's vagina) as part of each prenatal checkup. Others only do this when they feel it's absolutely necessary, and, at other times, use equally effective, external means. This is something that the two of you should probably seriously consider when choosing your doctor. We feel so strongly about it that we consider any unnecessary internal exams to be no less than medical rape.

As labour progresses, your wife will experience contractions that'll gradually increase in strength, length, frequency, and depth. She'll become increasingly less capable of doing anything other than giving herself wholly over to delivering your baby. This is when you become critically important. She needs to have total trust in your ability to manage her, the medical staff, etc so that she can just let go of it all and allow the natural instincts of her female body to take over full control.

As she helplessly surrenders herself to all of the uncontrollably powerful forces that are emanating from deep within her which invariably accompany childbirth, she may (probably will) begin to do things that'll catch you completely by surprise. She may scream, she may yell, she may say things that are rather uncharacteristic of her otherwise gracious nature, and she may even physically push you away from her. Don't even consider taking any of these things personally because she won't be meaning to be doing any of those sorts of things.

She won't be able to help it. Her body will just be doing whatever it needs to do for reasons that even she won't understand. Just give her whatever momentary space she seems to be needing, with a tender look but without saying a word, and then quietly return to her because she really does need and want you right by her side.

In my opinion, you, as husband and father, should be given the honoured roles of caretaker of your wife's vagina and receiver of your baby, and they should be teaching you how to do routine monitoring of your wife's labour, so that, for the most part, it'll be your hands, rather than theirs, that are on and in your wife. Unfortunately, we never did meet any medical staff who were willing to relinquish these roles. The most they'd ever grant was allowing me to cut the umbilical cord and then telling me what a great job I did. Really? Squeezing together the two handles of a special pair of scissors isn't all that complicated. I'd much rather have been handling my wife's genitalia with the kind of tender, intimate care that a doctor or nurse would (and should) never dare to use.

The medical establishment seems incapable of understanding that childbirth is actually an intense sexual experience. A mother feels entirely violated as they continually walk in on her, stare at her, and monitor her, and especially whenever they manhandle her as though she were merely a patient in distress. A lot of her distress is, in fact, directly caused by their invasions of her privacy and violations of her body. What she really desperately wants and needs is to be alone with her husband so that the two of them can be freely sharing close intimacy and expressing tender love.

The two births we had at home, without a doctor or even a midwife, proved this to us. Both of them were fast, relatively painless, and stress free. We just loved each other, and, almost before we realized it, the final moment came. I helped my wife get into a safe position, she pushed, and our youngest child was lovingly delivered into my waiting arms. That safe position, by the way, was up and leaning somewhat forward so that her vagina was pointing straight down. This way, gravity fully helped her push, and there was no needless friction between our baby's body and her vagina.

The typical hospital way - the mother lying on her back on a bed with her legs spread apart (something she really only ever wants to be doing for her husband) so that the intrusive staff can most easily manage things - requires her to push so much harder, against the pull of gravity, with her baby's whole weight fully resting on the back of her vagina. Their ways actually cause needless problems, and then they abuse those statistics to try to prove how necessary they are. My recommendation is for all births to be at home, and to notify the local emergency services that an idle ambulance, which has to be waiting somewhere anyway, might as well be doing so close to where it just might be needed.

When you bring your baby home, (or, of course, as of right away if it was a home birth), your wife will need to be spending almost all of her time feeding your baby, and also getting lots of sleep in order to regain her energy. You should be doing all the things that she usually takes care of. If you have other children who are old enough, delegate tasks to them as appropriate. Maybe some things will simply have to remain undone for a while, and you may need to reassure her, from time to time, that that's fine with you. The important thing is that your wife must be freed from feeling any obligation to take care of anything other than herself and your baby unless it's something that she really would like to be doing.

Your wife will also want to be spending lots of time holding your baby, gazing at his/her adorable little features, getting to know his/her personality, learning how to wordlessly communicate with him/her, and changing his/her diaper. These are all things that you can, and should, be doing, too. Do them on your own while your wife is asleep, and, better yet, sit or lie right beside her and join her in doing them. Maybe you can't feed your baby, but you can certainly help your wife cradle him/her while she does. You can also bring your baby from his/her crib, and take him/her back again, so that your wife won't need to get up.

You may (probably will) feel frustrated because your wife won't be meeting your sexual needs in her usual ways while she's so busy taking care of your baby and sleeping. My recommendation is that the two of you find gentle ways to be intimate with one another while she's awake and feeding your baby. In addition to this being a very special time for the two of you to maintain your closeness, it'll also be a very special time for your baby because he/she will be right in the middle of it all, being tenderly cared for and spoken to by both of his/her parents. It'll also give your wife opportunities to doze because she'll know that you're still awake to watch over your baby while he/she feeds. Don't worry - sexual activity between you and your wife won't bother or harm your baby in any way.

When your wife allowed herself to become married to you, she committed, not only to being the willing object of all of your sexual desires, but also to the unknowable number of times that she, without warning, would become wholly consumed by the enormous tasks of making, delivering, and caring for each of your babies. How very special a girl she must be to have unconditionally given herself so completely over to all of that - just for you!


Parents

Your life together will change in a huge way, once again, as soon as your first child is added to your family. You'll no longer have one another's undivided attention because your child will require lots of both of your attentions. Your love for one another made him/her, he/she is the ultimate fruition of your love for one another, and the time will have finally come for the two of you, in sharing love, to raise him/her to be a responsible, independent member of society and to be able to eventually become a selflessly loving spouse in a brand new one flesh union.

Raising children is never easy. Even though they've already heard the two of you talking together from within their mother's womb, they still won't have learned all that much on their own when so young. You'll need to care for them as you teach them how to care for themselves, and you'll need to teach them how to talk, how to behave, how to think, how to learn, how to interact with others, how to relate to others, and how to always assume full, personal responsibility for every single thing that they'll ever say or do.

While you always start off doing everything for your child, your goal should be his/her full independence. As your child grows, therefore, gradually entrust him/her with increased responsibilities and allow him/her to make more of his/her own decisions. Your child will make mistakes, as you increase his/her freedom, due to his/her lack of actual experience - that's okay. Don't judge - show some empathy by recounting examples of your own childhood (and even adult) lacks of better judgement.

Your children will be learning far more by observing the two of you than by listening to your lectures. Your conduct, therefore, should be such that they, without a word being spoken, will learn what a real man or woman is, what true love is, what a real husband or wife is, and how to be a good parent.

You should teach your children to be impeccably honest at all times and in all situations, even when it hurts. One way to do so is to model honesty by never making a promise that you're not sure you'll be able to keep, and to try as hard as you possibly can to keep all of those promises that you have made. Another way to do so is to always respond positively to honesty but negatively to dishonesty. Your children should know that being caught in a lie guarantees severe discipline but that telling the truth, no matter how bad that truth may be, won't result in any negative repercussions. They also need not only to understand, but also to believe, that you absolutely do need to know the truth because that's the only way that you'll be able to try to properly help them recover from whatever problems they may have either caused or been drawn into.

You'll need to become a pair of excellent detectives because children tend to very quickly learn the art of plausible deniability. It'd be so simple if a guilty child were always honest, but the usual case is that he/she will either invent a scenario that makes his/her own involvement seem impossible or find a way to transfer the blame to a sibling. You may not have enough time to thoroughly investigate the matter because, for it to be effective, discipline usually needs to take place relatively soon. This means that, even with the best of intentions, you'll often make mistakes, and, once in a while, will discipline the wrong child.

If you ever do discipline the wrong child, you can still make the best of it by taking advantage of yet another opportunity to model honesty. Sincerely apologize to the wronged child as soon as you become aware of your error. You may even consider giving him/her some sort of special treat in order to make up, at least a bit, for his/her mistreatment. And then, of course, you absolutely must discipline the actual culprit. This delayed discipline should be more severe than it would've originally been for two reasons: he/she didn't own up to the crime right away, and he/she silently allowed a sibling to be blamed.

A child should only be disciplined for deliberately disobeying a rule that he/she knows and understands. If he/she didn't know the rule yet then teach it. If it turns out that he/she didn't understand the rule correctly then clarify it. If it was an accident then reassure him/her that you understand this, and then let it go.

There'll be times when your spouse will discipline one (or more) of your children in a way or for a reason that you disagree with. You should still support his/her action as much as you can - for all you know, after all, there may be information that you aren't aware of yet which justifies his/her action. Resist the temptation to interfere unless you feel that it's absolutely necessary to do so. This is a situation wherein the two of you should be discussing your differences in private, rather than in front of your children, so that the intended effects of the discipline won't be undone.

Discipline is for correction - not for punishment - so do it thoughtfully, and, to the best of your ability, try to ensure that it's constructive. Even if a child does need to be disciplined, never do it when you're angry or upset, or out of frustration, else you might accidentally be too severe. Try not to ever decree a consequence that you don't intend to carry through with, or that you suspect you might back away from, because all that'll ultimately teach your child is that he/she can get away with anything by simply being bad enough for long enough.

If a child asks one of his/her parents for permission to do something and is told "no", then, especially if he/she really wants to do it, he/she may go to his/her other parent and, hoping for a "yes", ask again without disclosing his/her former attempt. You'll need to be alert for this because it's essential that the two of you speak to your children with one voice. If you ever suspect that one of your children is doing this then one thing you might try is to first ask if he/she has already asked your spouse, and, if so, what was his/her answer. You should probably check with your spouse later, too, just in case your child lied to you.

It's best to train your child's heart rather than to coerce his/her behaviour. If all you ever do is tell your child to do this or to not do that then you'll probably end up with a hypocrite who knows how to behave while you're around but who'll freely misbehave when you're not. It's far better to give your child clear and easy-to-understand reasons why whatever he/she did was wrong than to simply order him/her to never do it again. Corrective discipline should, whenever possible, reinforce those reasons.

Because your goal is to train your child's heart, you'll need to maintain an open window into his/her heart so that you'll be able to assess your progress. The only such window available to you is his/her conduct, so, while you're getting about the longer and more difficult business of training his/her heart, you'll need to quietly allow bad behaviours, as long as they aren't too serious, to persist. As you train his/her heart, those bad behaviours should, slowly but surely, disappear.

The longer you wait before you start to discipline your child, the harder it'll become to do so because, more and more, you'll also need to be tackling bad behaviours that've already been well-learned as well as his/her attitude that you don't seem to have cared all that much so far so it can't really be all that bad. A common mistake is to wait until your child is able to talk, so that issues can be discussed, but that's far too late as plenty of bad habits will already have been formed by then. Children learn to understand long before they figure out how to talk, and can understand simple words like "no", as well as how to interpret your looks, gestures, and the tone of your voice long before then.

The best time to start to discipline your child is as soon as he/she is born. Of course he/she won't be committing any disciplinable infractions for a while, but it's the principle that's important. Each and every time your child does something that he/she shouldn't be doing is a learning opportunity for him/her so don't waste it. Also, don't make another common mistake - talking about how cute it looks for a baby to be doing it - as all that'll do is further encourage the wrong behaviour.

Disciplining a baby may sound kind of ominous, and maybe even cruel, but nothing could be farther from the truth. It's actually the easiest time to establish the fact that you and your spouse have authority, and that your child must obey you. Your child won't have learned any bad habits yet, and you'll be able to make your points using not much more than simple instruction. Start, for example, by declaring a firm, and somewhat scary, "no" while interrupting your child's bad or risky behaviour. As he/she begins to understand what the word "no" means, especially when it's declared using your "I'm your parent" tone of voice, just the command alone should eventually suffice.

Your children will, just as you yourself surely did, push back from time to time, but it's usually only to discover where the limits are. As long as you're consistent, they'll learn. While they may never say it, they do expect and want you to be showing how much you care about them by faithfully establishing and enforcing safe boundaries. Your goal should never be to try to hang onto them as friends. Do things with them as friends for sure, and always invite them up into your adult world, but you're their parents and that's exactly what they're expecting you to remain. If you keep this in mind then your children will usually end up among your closest friends when they're finally grown up.

Finding sufficient time to be alone with one another may become difficult to schedule so don't risk the death of your own relationship by putting it on hold while you're raising your children. Never hesitate, therefore, to express your love for one another, and to show affection to one another, right in front of your children. It won't bother either you or them while they're young, and if that's just the way your family has always been then it won't even begin to bother them as they grow older either.

Your children will encounter plenty of bad marriages, pretend marriages, broken homes, etc out there in the world so why not counter all of that by being the one living model of a good marriage that they may ever be able to learn from? You'll also be tangibly proving to each of them just how much he/she was really wanted, was warmly welcomed, and truly belongs.

A man and woman who are clearly very deeply in married love, encircled by all of those whom their union has created, is the most beautiful family portrait that there could ever be. Why not allow this to be the living reality within your home rather than just the scripted scene within a staged photograph?


The Talk

A lot of parents seem to have a lot of concerns regarding discussing sex with their children. The fact that doing so has been given a rather silly name - "the talk" - shows just how prevalent this must be. My position on this issue is based on what we can glean from the Bible. Even though God doesn't directly address it, we can still discern His answer by applying some basic principles:

In other words, God sees nothing wrong with any aspect of sex being discussed with the youngest of children. If that's His position then it's also mine! I've included a list of Bible verses, at the end of this section, which shows just how openly God does discuss sex.

Adults, for whatever reason, seem to have a very difficult time talking about sex. In addition to referring to discussing it with their children as "the talk" - which more or less implies that they work up a huge amount of courage and then give it all they got, just once - they can't even refer to external sexual organs by their correct names when talking with other adults. For example, they use terms like "cock" or "dick" for penis, "pussy" or "snatch" for vagina, and "boob" for breast. This is actually super childish.

The best time to teach children the names of genitalia is when changing diapers. It's always a good practice to be talking to your baby about whatever you're currently doing because it's a simple way to be teaching him/her all kinds of new words. It's just the same when changing a diaper. Just tell your baby that you're now cleaning his/her penis/vagina. Doing it this way makes it a completely natural thing to be talking about. If you have older children then involve them when changing your baby's diaper. In addition to it being a skill that they should be learning anyway, so that any of them will be able to do it whenever you can't, it's also a completely natural way to be teaching boys and girls about each other's genitalia.

In fact, just start telling your baby all about sex - yes, everything - right from birth. He/she won't be understanding you yet anyway, but doing so will help you get over your own embarrassment. It's also a way for you to slowly work out how to get it right. From time to time, just pick some aspect of sex and tell your baby all about it. He/she will love the attention, and you'll be becoming more comfortable with the subject. As your baby grows, he/she may even start to learn little bits here and there, but that's okay. Your baby is wanting to learn all about life, and these "talks" will just be teaching him/her a few more facts to that end. By then, you'll have become totally open to discussing the subject with your child, and he/she will just know this.

Some parents worry that telling their children anything at all about sex before they're old enough will get them interested in experimenting with it. This isn't true at all! It's actually far better to discuss sex with them long before their bodies have matured to the point where the subject will indeed stimulate them because, earlier than then, it's just additional knowledge that helps them to understand themselves, other people, and the world around them. It also gives them plenty of much needed time to think through all of the issues so that they'll be well-prepared, by the time that a sexual feeling finally does arise within them, to recognize it for what it is and to know how to manage it.

Sexual feelings are so deep and personal that your children will be thoroughly embarrassed to ask you about them unless they're absolutely sure that you'll understand and that you won't judge them. The fact that you surely must understand because it was your own sexual relationship, after all, that brought them into existence won't occur to them. It's crucial that you ensure, well ahead of time, that it's completely safe for them to come to you for advice about sexual matters at absolutely any time - day or night. This includes answering every single one of their little questions when they're toddlers because, if you're ever dismissive about any of those, they'll reason that if you can't even handle the little questions then you surely won't be able to handle the big ones.

There's another extremely important thing to consider. You've absolutely no idea when your daughter will have her first menstrual period - some girls start very early. It's essential that you explain menstruation to her before then so that she won't panic, and so that she'll know what to do, when she finally does have it. She must understand that, rather than being a symptom of some kind of major health problem, it's actually a sign of excellent health because it means that her body has become ready to make babies! You should be ensuring that it's something she's looking forward to rather than fearing. She'll also need to know what to do, so her mother and already-menstruating sisters should be allowing her to see them bleeding as well as showing her how to deal with it.

In a similar way, you need to be explaining to your son, well before it could possibly start happening to him, that a time will come when he'll start to occasionally ejaculate semen while he's asleep. Rather than assuming that, for some reason, he's started peeing in his sleep, he, too, needs to know that it'll actually be a sign of excellent health. Again, you should be ensuring that it's something he's looking forward to, rather than fearing, because it'll mean that his body has become ready to make babies!

A common bit of expert-provided wisdom for parents is that they should always give as little of an answer as absolutely necessary in order to deal with a child's curiosity whenever he/she asks a question about sex. I completely disagree with this as that approach also teaches your child that you'd really rather not be talking about it. My position is to always answer a sex question in the very same way that I think all questions should be answered - with just a little bit extra in order to invite yet another question. Doing it this way teaches your child that you're totally open to further discussion about whatever the subject is - in this case, sex.

Whenever you finally do start to teach your children about sex, don't turn it into some kind of boring and complicated medical lesson. Lots of parents start with the facts that boys have sperm and that girls have eggs, and then spend plenty of time on each gender's biology. When they eventually do get around to quickly mentioning that a sperm needs to fertilize an egg, after however many hours it finally took them to get that far, they're still desperately hoping that their children won't ask that dreaded question: If the sperm is in the boy then how can it ever find the egg since that's in the girl?

Start with what your children already know, continue with what they need to know, and finish with the low-level details. Here's more or less how we did it:

Every child has two parents - a husband who is the father, and a wife who is the mother. It's kind of obvious why the wife is the mother, because she's the one who was pregnant, but why is the husband the father?

No, it's not just because he's married to his wife. There's something that they need to do together. That's why a woman doesn't have babies until she's married.

There's something very special inside the husband that needs to get together with something very special inside the wife, and, when this happens, a brand new baby is made and starts to grow inside the wife.

The special thing inside the husband is called a sperm, and the special thing inside the wife is called an egg. The place inside the wife where their baby is growing is called a womb.

A husband puts his sperm into his wife by putting his penis into her vagina. Doing this is called having sex. It may seem strange to you, but all married people want to do it just because they're married.

Yes, of course we have sex too, because we're married and that makes us want to do it. That's how we made you and each of your brothers and sisters.

That's why we're always naked when we're in bed together - to make it easy for us to have sex whenever we want to. If you've ever seen our naked bodies together like that, then that's what we were doing.

Yes, a man and a woman don't need to be married to have sex, but they shouldn't. It really is something that only married people should be doing.

It was a bit different for each of our children because we never used any kind of script - it was always just an informal chat. At times it was just me, at others it was just my wife, and at yet others it was both of us together. From time to time, as opportunities arose, each of us would reexplain things in our own unique ways. By the time that any of our children was fully grown, he/she had been taught about every single possible aspect of sex in all kinds of different ways by both of us.

You should be able to tell, from the kind of wording used above, that we were indeed openly discussing these issues with our children when they were very young. You'll also have surely noticed our consistent emphasis on the parents being a husband and his wife and on sex being a marriage-only thing - that's just what we ourselves believe. We do, of course, get around to discussing sex outside of marriage, and everything else for that matter, but we always do it from our moral perspective. You, too, should always be explaining sex to your children from your moral perspective.

Always being sure to explain sex to our children within the framework of our own moral values is crucial because - and we must be brutally honest, even with them, about this - sexual desires can, without warning, become so intense that any of us can easily come ever-so-close to totally abandoning our values if we aren't sufficiently committed to them. Don't try to act in some kind of morally superior way toward your children. Let them know that the two of you, too, are just as susceptible to these temptations except that you have a single, huge advantage - access to one another for relief.

If you're up to, and open to it, you should actually be teaching your children that there's a harmless way for them to gain sexual relief, too - masturbation. You should be completely honest with them by, for example, letting them know that the two of you, especially when apart for too long, also masturbate in order to gain sexual relief. It really is the best way as its the one way to achieve sexual relief without looking for someone else just for sex, risking pregnancy, risking the acquisition of a sexually transmitted disease, etc. If this were better understood and more practiced then, just maybe, there'd be a lot less rape!

Something else we need to be brutally honest about is just how many temptations there are, out there, that try to draw us into immoral sexual conduct. Sexual desire is coopted to sell products. Sex is misrepresented all-too-often on television, in movies, in magazines, and even in books. The media frequently promotes our culture's permissive sexual values. Sex is typically taught outside of any value system within the public schools of our anything goes, pluralistic societies. It's far too easy to accidentally trip over bad sexual advice or pornography when browsing the web. And, of course, they're "friends" will be trying to involve them in conversations about sex that are less than wholesome.

Talking about sex doesn't always need to be one-on-one. It's best, actually, for your family to be so open about the subject that it can be freely discussed, say, around the dinner table. If your older children raise an issue then your younger children will be able to listen and learn - and can even ask questions - as it's being discussed. If your younger children ask a question then let your older children answer it so that you can assess how well they're doing. Don't immediately interrupt if they don't have everything quite right yet. Wait for an opportunity to make the correction as if it were just regular contribution to the discussion.

When teaching your children about sex, always be an opportunist. Don't hesitate to use any real life example that you stumble over. If you're ever at a zoo and you spot a pair of animals mating, draw your child's attention to them right away - before it's all over - and explain exactly what's going on. Do this very same thing if, for example, you happen to come across dogs, cats, etc mating while you're out for a walk. Never pass up an opportunity, and always show genuine interest and excitement. This approach actually applies to anything that you'd like to teach your children - not just to sex.

Don't be afraid to allow you and your spouse to become an example. While the two of you should never put on some kind of sex performance for your children, there's nothing wrong with them seeing the two of you engaged in any kind of genuine expression of affection - no matter how close. Lots of people believe that a couple should lock their door while they're being intimate, but, in our opinion, that's stupid. If a child happens to walk in on the two of you, don't panic and try to stop - just keep right on doing whatever you're doing. Then, later, you should make a point of going to that child, observing that he/she may have been wondering what the two of you were doing, and then tell him/her. It's actually a wonderful teaching opportunity.

You'll need to decide what your own limits are with respect to nakedness within your family. Our position is that no one should ever be made to feel ashamed in any way of his/her body, of his/her private parts, or of his/her sexual feelings. We gently explained to our children that lots of other people do get upset by things like naked bodies so, even though there really is nothing at all wrong with being naked, they should still always be wearing clothes when outside and while we have visitors. Within our home while we don't have visitors, however, is a totally safe place to just be themselves. If he/she feels like being naked then that's just fine with us. We ourselves enjoy being naked, especially when we're together - even when our children are around.

Your children will learn, soon enough, just how nice it makes them feel whenever they touch or manipulate their own genitals. That's normal, and there's nothing wrong with it. Whenever any of our children masturbated, we'd just continue on, not mentioning or paying any obvious attention to it, effectively giving them total privacy even if they were doing it right in front of us. We of course told them that if they ever feel the need to masturbate while we have visitors then it'd be best if they'd quietly go to their room to do it. If any of our babies ever began to play with his/her genitals during a diaper change then we'd just patiently wait for him/her to finish, perhaps saying something like "that's your penis/vagina" (in order to teach the word), before putting on the clean diaper.

While it's none of my business to try to tell you what your values should be, I'm still shamelessly recommending that you try to make as strong a link as you possibly can between sex and pregnancy. Even if you believe in the use of birth control (we don't), the fact is that none of those methods is 100% reliable. Since your children already know how much they want the two of you to be providing a stable home for them, why not take advantage of this opportunity to teach them that, in like manner, they should abstain from sex until they're married so as to minimize the probability of providing an unstable home for their children.

You should also be teaching your children about the pressures and politics of dating well before that'll become a realistic possibility. When pressured for sex, to go somewhere unsavory, to drink or use drugs, etc they must understand that they have an absolute right to refuse, and you should let them know that you'll always be willing to be used as their excuse. They should also be taught to be on the lookout for all of those liars whose only real purpose is to coerce sex and whose only real skill is to use emotional blackmail to that end. Here are just a few of those dating lies that you should be preparing your children for:

Our culture has been (wrongly) accepting poor behaviour by men for quite a while, and, these days, is pushing women to behave just as poorly. It's telling them that they, too, have the right to go out and get drunk, and to show off as much of their bodies as they want to because that, too, is their right. Its message to women essentially is that they should do as they please because the real issue is that men are the ones who need to learn how to control themselves. While this is entirely true, of course, do we leave our doors unlocked because the real issue is that its the thieves who need to learn how to behave?

How many of its women is our culture willing to sacrifice while it waits for its men to finally stop assaulting them? How many of your daughters are you willing to sacrifice while you wait for men to finally stop assaulting women? Maybe feminists care way more about their idealistic causes than they care about the actual safety of those whom they claim to be representing, but parents ought to have much more sense and love than that! In my opinion, you should at least be teaching:

Sadly, especially since our culture is so messed up, you should be teaching your children about the reality and risks of sexual abuse even when they're very young. You must do this in a way that casts the abuser in the worst possible light but that doesn't make your own children feel guilty. You must also do it in a way that encourages your children to come for help as soon as absolutely possible should such a thing happen.

This is more or less how we did it. Remember that we, of course, did it in a way that's consistent with our own moral values. You'll need to figure out the best way to do it that's consistent with yours.

Your naked body, and especially all of your sex parts - penis/vagina, breasts, bum, lips, etc - are all very special gifts for you to give to the person you marry. They aren't for anyone else to touch, or even to stare at. You can touch yourself anywhere and whenever you want to, of course, but no one else should ever be doing that except your spouse. We had to clean you when you were a baby, and we also had to teach you how to keep yourself clean, but, now that you're doing all of that by yourself, even we shouldn't be touching you like that anymore. If anyone ever does, then, even if it's someone you think we like a lot, you must come and tell us right away because that person is being very bad and we need to stop him/her from doing those things to you.

Now here's that list of verses which show just how openly God discusses sex within the Bible. If He discusses it this openly, and if we're not to be skipping over any parts of the Bible when reading it to and/or discussing it with our children, then we'd better be prepared to discuss all aspects of sex with them right from birth. If this is what God is expecting of us then we can be certain that doing so isn't harmful.


Spanking

I feel a pressing need to directly address a particular form of child discipline - spanking, corporal punishment, etc - because, in my opinion, it's grossly misunderstood and is being seriously abused. For the record, yes, I myself do believe that, when properly used, spanking is an entirely legitimate form of child discipline.

Here are some facts that ought to be self-evident but, as is being proven by far too many news reports, they apparently aren't:

Never spank when angry and/or frustrated because emotional states such as these can cause you to all-too-easily lose control of yourself and end up unintentionally abusing your child. Only ever use the bare palm of an open hand on a clothed bum - this ensures that you'll feel more pain than your child will. Spanking should be a rare occurrence that's only ever used as a last resort. In my opinion, there are only a few reasons that justify finally resorting to it:

It should be obvious to anyone who's been reading this document that I'm a Bible person. You may be wondering, therefore, why I'm insisting that spanking should only ever be done with the bare palm of an open hand. After all, doesn't the Bible itself command that a stick should be used? Surely it must because isn't this exactly what so many churches are teaching?

Yes, many churches do teach this, and, sadly, even more children have unnecessarily suffered far too much because of it. Child protection workers are extremely aware of this but aren't sure how to handle it because they find themselves up against priests, pastors, ministers, etc who all claim to be experts in knowing about what no less than God Himself, who's surely far superior to any mere child protection worker, has commanded.

The truth on this matter is that the Bible itself doesn't actually command anything of this kind. Yes, God indeed is far superior to any mere child protection worker, and that's exactly why they absolutely must be reassured that their instincts have been right, and that the theologians have been wrong, all along. I think, therefore, that I should take some time, here, to confront this problem and to explain this apparent contradiction.

I'll start, in fairness to all of those theologians, by showing you some of their favourite verses on the topic so that you can see for yourself exactly why, as wrong as they may be, they believe that God has actually commanded frequent spanking with a stick.

Proverbs 13:24

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes [early, soon, speedily].

Proverbs 22:15

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13-14

Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 29:15

The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

A surface reading of these verses - which is what you yourself probably just did - may well cause us to suspect that the theologians have been right after all. Don't they indeed seem to be teaching the following things?

The answer to this mystery is actually hidden right within the name of the book of the Bible within which all of these verses occur - Proverbs. The name of this book is taken from its very first verse:

Proverbs 1:1

The proverbs [4912] of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;

4912 is a reference into the Hebrew dictionary of a Strong's Concordance. Using it, we learn that the actual word that God originally used is the Hebrew word (transliterated into English spelling) "soonecho". God used this Hebrew word - "soonecho" - 39 times within the Bible. It's been translated into English as four different (albeit similar) words:

So we can see that an equally valid English translation of the Hebrew word "soonecho" is "parable". Now we're able to learn what God actually means whenever He uses it by having a look at some passages wherein He defines it:

Psalm 49:3-4

My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. I will incline mine ear to a parable [4912]: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.

Psalm 78:2

I will open my mouth in a parable [4912]: I will utter dark sayings of old:

Ezekiel 17:2

Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable [4912] unto the house of Israel;

God is explaining to us, within passages such as these, that whenever He chose to use the Hebrew word "soonecho" he meant a dark (or hidden) saying, a riddle, etc - in other words, something that absolutely isn't to be understood literally. If we check out all of His 39 uses of this Hebrew word, it turns out that it actually could've been consistently translated as "parable" ("parabolically" in the case of "like").

It seems that the translators chose the word "proverb" when the interpretation seemed obvious to them, and that they chose the word "parable" when it didn't. This was a mistake on their part, but, in fairness to them, they didn't have computers to help them out way back around 1600AD when they did their usually excellent work. They didn't yet have written aids such as the Strong's and Young's concordances, either, which would've helped them more thoroughly cross-check their work.

The theologians of our day, however, who do have access to these written aids as well as to computers, don't really have any excuses. Sadly, instead of actually doing any serious studying of the Bible that they claim to be experts in understanding, they tend to simply trust the work of the translators as well as the writings of earlier theologians.

Now that we know that the correct English translation of the Hebrew word "soonecho" should always be "parable", we also now know that the correct name of this book of the Bible should be "The Parables of Solomon". So God, as it turns out, has been very up front with us by having clearly warned us that what theologians have so carelessly assumed to merely be a collection of "proverbs" (wise sayings) is really a collection of "parables" (hidden teachings).

A good working definition of a parable, insofar as the Bible is concerned, is an earthly picture that's describing a spiritual reality. God has used this method a lot because it's the only way that He can describe spiritual realities to us since there simply aren't any earthly frames of reference that we can relate them to. Whenever we attempt to interpret a parable within the Bible, one thing we absolutely must do is to search to rest of the Bible in order to figure out what God means by each symbol that He's used within that parable.

So now that we know that all of those "beat your child with a rod" commands are parables, we need to figure out what God is actually commanding us to be doing. To keep it short, let's just have a look at what seems to be the most important word - "rod". Since each use of this English word within these verses has been assigned the Strong's dictionary reference 7626 (the Hebrew word "shebet"), we can, as before, easily search the rest of the Bible for an answer. When we do this, we discover a well known verse that gives us a clue.

Psalm 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod [7626] and thy staff they comfort me.

The imagery is of a shepherd comforting his sheep. Since all theologians would readily agree that the shepherd is picturing Jesus and that the sheep are picturing His people, I don't feel the need to prove these, here. How does Jesus comfort His people? He does so as He speaks to them through the pages of the Bible. Here's another verse that, somewhat more directly, confirms this understanding.

Isaiah 11:4

But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod [7626] of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

Yes, this verse is difficult to understand. Nevertheless, you can still easily pick out the phrase "rod of His mouth". What comes out of God's mouth isn't a physical rod - it's His words. This verifies that what we're to "beat" our children with is God's words, and they're found within the Bible. We could have a closer look at the word "beat", of course, but I suspect that you're already understanding how God is commanding us to discipline our children. We aren't to be frequently beating them with rod-like objects - we're to be frequently teaching them biblical truths!

2 Timothy 3:16

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

With this in mind, let's rewrite the list, above, that summarizes all of those verses that seem, on the surface, to be commanding us to frequently beat sense into our children with a rod because it won't kill them:

Now doesn't this look a lot better - maybe, dare I say, even entirely correct? Well, maybe you're not willing to go quite that far, but that may be because you've already decided, for other reasons, that God didn't write the Bible, that God doesn't even exist, etc. Perhaps you've developed a distrust for the Bible because, as described above, you've been the recipient of a lot of bad Bible teaching by those who boasted themselves to be experts on the subject.

This whole business of so-called christian parents severely abusing their children simply because they're foolishly trusting the extremely misguided teaching of their church leaders is a tragedy! In addition to all of the physical and emotional harm that it's done to children, it's also brought undeserved shame on God's holy character!


Abortion

See also: God's Perspective on Abortion

Abortion is the premeditated murder of a womb-resident human being whose only crime is that he/she hasn't been born yet. Why, then, is our culture, which so absolutely rightly decries any form of child abuse, so forcefully and shamelessly endorsing it? Isn't killing a child - especially a helpless, little baby - the ultimate form of child abuse?

I agree with our culture that there should be an equal degree of sexual freedom for both men and women. There are two ways to achieve this. The one that our culture has chosen is to be increasing sexual freedom for women such that they can behave just as immorally as men traditionally have been. The other one - my preference - is to be decreasing sexual freedom for men such that they must behave just as morally as women traditionally have been expected to.

If you've been reading the rest of this document then you'll already know what I believe - that there should be no sexual relations of any kind unless they're between a husband and his wife, that their marriage should be strictly monogamous, and that it should last for life. This, too, is an equal degree of sexual freedom for both men and women. Achieving it this way would result in stable families, and would also eliminate sexually transmitted diseases. Achieving it our culture's way, on the other hand, has surely proven the exact opposite as we now have lots of unstable families and an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases.

When will we ever figure out that it's high time that we put an end to our failed social experiment? Our culture has become so bad in our day that girlfriends are now even using abortion as a way to hurt their boyfriends. If it weren't for the fact that it really is happening, one would think such a heinous act to be altogether unbelievable.

Our culture has a rather interesting double standard when it comes to abortion. If a mother is pregnant with a child whom she doesn't want then she's allowed to have him/her aborted even if the father does want to keep and raise him/her. If the situation is reversed, though - the mother does want to keep and raise their child but the father wants him/her to be aborted - then she's allowed to insist on keeping their child, to force the father to pay her child support, and even to charge him criminally if he makes any attempt to try to coerce her into having an abortion. It seems that, at least in this barbaric case, feminists have fought for, and been given, far more than equality.

The language associated with abortion is interesting. It seems that supposedly enlightened people are finding the need to resort to euphemisms in an attempt to try to hide from the brutality of the act that they're discussing. If a mother wants her child then she refers to him/her as "my baby", but if she doesn't then she refers to him/her using doctor-speak ("the fetus", "the "embryo", etc). Doctors use an even more benign euphemism - "termination of pregnancy". And then, of course, there's our culture's practice of referring to the deliberate taking of a womb-resident baby's life as "reproductive health care".

The predominant use of abortion, by far, is as after-the-event birth control. What this really means is that a woman should have the right to engage in all the sex she wants without ever having to suffer any consequences. Is it really right for us to be endorsing a mother's desire to kill her womb-resident babies just so that she can freely experience all the orgasms she wants, feel illusions of being loved, etc? This is the epitome of selfishness!

We talk about a woman's "right to choose". Her "right to choose" was earlier when she chose to have sex. She knew that pregnancy could be the result, and still proceeded with her further choice to risk it. If she does become pregnant then what she really then has is the responsibility to care for the child who was so carelessly conceived as the consequence of her earlier, selfish choice. All choices come with responsibilities. Once any choice has been made, it's associated responsibilities must then be borne. This isn't optional - it's a moral duty!

We talk about "safe abortions". Isn't it really better, after all, in the name of harm reduction, for a doctor to "safely" remove a baby from his/her mother's womb so that she won't go out and get one of those barbaric, backstreet abortions that might put her own health, and even her own life, at significant risk? The fact is that there's no such thing as a "safe abortion" because, when a doctor does it "safely", it's guaranteed that the baby will die.

That may be exactly what the mother wants, but since when is wanting someone else to be dead for ones own personal convenience ever right? Why are we ascribing so much value to the life of a mother but so little to the life of her baby? Aren't they both people? In any other situation, isn't self-sacrifice always considered to be the honourable alternative?

Some people argue that it's better to abort a baby than to allow him/her to be born and not wanted. What if their child becomes so bad, after having been born, that they, at that time, end up not wanting him/her anymore? Of course, were this to actually happen, they'd still love and want him/her, and they'd do all they possibly could to try to redirect his/her life.

Now that's when a child is being truly bad. Has their as yet unborn baby been anywhere near that bad? In fact, has he/she even been bad at all? Of course not, so just why are they claiming that they don't want him/her? What they're really wanting is to get rid of their baby before they become too attached to him/her so that they can get on with their own, selfish pursuits.

Some people argue that it's better to abort their baby because they simply aren't yet ready to raise him/her. They give reasons like not having a proper place to live, not having enough money, not having enough time, not having finished school, too busy with a career, etc. This, too, is nothing less than unbridled selfishness. After all, couldn't any of these very same conditions arise after their baby is born? Why should the single fact that their baby is still within his/her mother's womb make it okay? They had sex and now they have a baby. Do they or don't they love him/her?

Some people believe that a baby is an actual part or extension of his/her mother's body from conception until just after birth because his/her body is attached to hers via the umbilical cord. They reason, therefore, that an abortion is actually the amputation of part of the mother's own body, which she should of course be allowed to request. The truth is that their two bodies are completely independent from one another, and that the umbilical cord is part of an exquisitely designed, highly intricate, life support system.

Some people argue that abortion is okay because what's in a woman's womb doesn't actually become a human being until some poorly defined amount of time after conception. They consider "it" to be a mere organism before then, and use impersonal medical terminology like "the fetus", rather than "my baby", in order to try to avoid facing the truth. Others use the rather heartless phrase "product of conception", and yet others consider "it" to be a parasite that's free-loading off a woman's body right up until the umbilical cord is cut.

What event - other than the union of a man's sperm with a woman's egg - could there possibly be that'd make a baby fully human? If it's independent survival then what about those on medical life support systems? If it's awareness or consciousness then what about those in a coma or under general anesthetic? If it's looking like a person then what about those who've suffered massive disfigurement as the result of an accident? The fact is that even a freshly fertilized egg already does look like a person - a very young one! In the end, the actual deciding factor seems to simply be where a person is living - whether inside or outside of his/her own mother's body.

What about that vicious abuse of sex - rape - that, as traumatic as it already is in and of itself, can additionally result in pregnancy being forcibly imposed on a woman wholly against her own will? Does it justify abortion? Since when does a second wrong ever undo the damages inflicted by the first one? All a second wrong ever does is inflict yet more damages! Maybe, for the moment, abortion may seem to be the only way to try to get over the tremendous emotional pain inflicted by the sexual intrusion, but, some time later when that pain has sufficiently subsided, the initially unwilling mother will begin to realize what a truly horrible thing she did when she had her baby killed, and will forever deeply regret that desperate action.

Does incest justify abortion? It's really just a special case of being aware that there's a significantly higher than normal risk of the baby developing certain types of serious diseases. In the case of incest, these would be those diseases known to be associated with in-breeding. Genetic testing of the parents can also lead to this kind of awareness. Yet another way is to invasively check for problems via amniocentesis.

So, in general, does advance knowledge that there's a significantly higher than normal probability that a baby will develop some disease that's deemed to be serious justify abortion? Would we ever kill an already-born person who actually does develop just such a disease? Of course not! Why, then, would we even consider killing a person who hasn't been born yet just because we think that he/she might develop one?

Does an ectopic (or tubal) pregnancy justify abortion? This occurs when a baby starts to grow within a fallopian tube instead of within the womb. While we ourselves will never need to make this decision (since we're now well beyond our child-bearing years), it's probably the single case where I suspect that, as much as we're against abortion for any reason, we'd reluctantly give in. This is because there's simply no medical ability to deal with it, and, if not dealt with, it guarantees the death of both the mother and her baby.

Is abortion justified if a young girl - one whom we'd still consider to be a child - has become pregnant? Just who are we to dare to assume that she isn't up to the challenge of being a good mother? What she really needs, rather than our criticism, is plenty of our encouragement and emotional support. Since we wouldn't dare to tell a very small adult woman that her body isn't large enough for pregnancy, the smaller body of a child is also a bogus issue. What she really needs is plenty of prenatal care. Her teachers will probably need to make some accommodations (letting her do some of her work at home, working with her outside of regular school hours, etc), but this, too, is just the right thing to be doing. This may need to continue after her baby is born in order to allow her to breastfeed frequently enough.

Getting upset about what has happened to her, and worrying about what needs to be done now, are burdens that we shouldn't be dumping on her. What she needs is our level-headed support and advice - not our frenzied panic, selfish embarrassment, or any other such thing. In the end, there really is only one decision that we need to make - should we be taking advantage of this opportunity to teach her how to hate or how to love? I hope, when put this way, that the correct choice is obvious.

The circumstances regarding why she became pregnant were probably altogether wrong, but that's the past. Her pregnancy isn't in and of itself wrong - it's actually a sign of her good health since her body responded in the very way that it was designed to. Something very beautiful is now taking place within her, and, especially as this starts to become visible to others, you should be ensuring that she feels special rather than ashamed. Just as with any other pregnancy, hers is an occasion for rejoicing!

Don't ever try to take over. You're the grandparent, not the parent, in this case so involve yourself accordingly. She's her child's mother, and you should be ensuring that this is always recognized and respected by everyone. While you should be advising her, let her be the one who makes all of the decisions. Also, ensure that she's the one who's caring for her child as much as possible. Don't ever baby her - if anything, treat her like she's just a little more grown up now. Doing anything at all that'd deny her the joys and lessons of motherhood would be a tragic mistake.

Shouldn't deep within his/her mother's body, well-protected from the cruelty and dangers of the world, be the safest place that a person will ever live? Why, then, do we kill our womb-resident babies just because their own mothers don't want and/or refuse to love them?


Birth Control

Given how many children we've been blessed with [13], you may have guessed that, or at least have been wondering if, we don't believe in the use of birth control (contraception). We indeed don't! This position may seem odd to you, especially since the purpose of birth control is to prevent the creation of an unwanted baby rather than to destroy one who already exists. Is it really wrong for a couple to try to keep their sperm and egg from coming together if they don't feel that it's the best time for them to have a baby?

Since you probably haven't ever been given a properly articulated explanation for why one would believe that using birth control is wrong, I'll explain our reason. The general biblical principle that applies, here, is that deliberately trying to resist God's will is no less than an act of rebellion!

Psalm 104:29-30

Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

God, in this passage, is revealing to us that He Himself takes full responsibility for every single conception and death. This applies to mankind as well as to every other form of life. He uses natural events to cause them, of course, but the fact is that no conception or death would ever occur if He Himself didn't want it to.

Let's deal with how we're allowed to treat animals, first, so that we can then get back to how we're to relate to our fellow man. Are we allowed to exercise any kind of control over animal conception and death? Are we allowed to kill them? Are we allowed to selectively breed them? The answer is yes, we are, and the reason is that God has given mankind dominion over all of the animals.

Genesis 1:26

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl [birds] of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

When it comes to people, however, the situation is entirely different. Let's have a look at killing people, first, so that the only issue that'll be left is what we really want to be discussing - birth control. God's command regarding the deliberate killing of a person is very strong! Any person or animal who kills a person is to be put to death. Yes, God is indeed commanding capital punishment for murder, and this even extends to animals.

Genesis 9:5-6

And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

In case you've noticed something that looks like it might be a contradiction, it actually isn't. While His general rule is that we aren't to be deliberately killing one another, God has made a special exception for government. His general rule for government is that it's to be rewarding good and to be punishing evil. Since God has commanded capital punishment for murder, our governments are, therefore, clearly allowed to do, and really should be doing, exactly that.

Romans 13:3-4

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power [authority]? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he [the ruler] is the minister [servant] of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he [the ruler] beareth not the sword in vain: for he [the ruler] is the minister [servant] of God, a revenger to {execute} wrath upon him that doeth evil.

So, now, there's only one issue left for us to consider. Does God condone or condemn the use of birth control? While He doesn't directly address the subject of birth control, He has commanded us to procreate.

Genesis 1:28

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [fill] the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl [birds] of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Does God give us any further assurance that our babies aren't conceived by the mere physical fertilization of an egg by a sperm, but that it indeed does require Him to do something extra? Yes, He surely does!

Psalm 127:3

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Since God has commanded us to procreate, and since no conception could possibly ever actually occur without His personal involvement, there's no doubt of any kind that using any form of birth control would absolutely be an attempt to resist His will, and, therefore, an act of rebellion! Our self-centered perspectives all-too-often lead us to wrong conclusions. Have a look at what God thinks about children being added to a family.

Psalm 128:3-4

Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.

So, if God has the final say on whether or not a baby will be conceived, and if it's ultimately impossible for us to over-rule Him, why does birth control seem to work? There are two answers to this question. The first is that He allows a couple to use birth control if, for the time being, He doesn't want to give them a child. The second is that, as is already recognized, no birth control method is 100% effective. If you've ever wondered why even a vasectomy or tubal ligation doesn't always work, now you know the answer - God is well able to over-rule even such drastic attempts to refuse to let Him have His way.

What about babies conceived as a consequence of rape, incest, adultery, etc? While we may not want to believe it, the answer is obvious. Yes, even under these kinds of circumstances, it's God who causes those babies to be created. He hasn't promised that we'd always be able to understand His reasons, but He does expect us to trust that He always knows what's best for us. Our choice is simply this: Shall we trustingly accept His will for our lives or do we dare to think that we actually know better, and, therefore, will fight against Him?

For women:

If you do believe that birth control is okay but don't believe that abortion is okay, then you should have a serious look into whichever method of birth control you're using or considering. Most of them either actually are or secondarily include abortion methods. Beware of the lie that pregnancy doesn't begin until your egg implants within your womb because the truth is that, by then, it will have already been fertilized - that happened earlier while it was still within one of your fallopian tubes.

What they do is alter the state of your womb such that a fertilized egg won't be able to successfully implant. This means that, if the main purpose of the birth control method fails and one of your eggs does become fertilized, you'll then effectively have an unnoticed miscarriage. All intrauterine devices do this very directly. Even the birth control pill, which most people think just prevents ovulation, actually has a secondary agent that's specifically designed to abort your baby just in case a conception has still occurred.

What about condoms? They don't do anything that could abort a baby. What a condom does do, however, is prevent direct sexual contact between you and your husband. This direct sexual contact is essential for at least two reasons. One is that it feels much better and provides far deeper fulfillment for both of you. The other is that it allows all of the other components within his semen (in addition to his sperm), that are highly beneficial to your well-being, to get into your vagina where they're then absorbed into your body.

While I can't know for sure - because we ourselves have never used birth control and have always been looking forward to our next pregnancy - I do find myself wondering something about those who are using it. Since they do know that no birth control method is 100% effective, are they, to some degree, always living in fear of each other? Their attraction to one another is, after all, irresistibly drawing them into sexual union. They must, therefore, at some level, be helplessly concerned that, just maybe, this time will be that dreaded occasion when their attempt at birth control will fail. This constant worry must be keeping them from being able to freely become fully engulfed within each other's affections.


Portraits in Song

There are some songs that I'm wanting to share with you because, in my opinion, they do an excellent job of portraying the essence of a good marital relationship. I sure hope that I'm not violating any copyrights. If I am then I also sure hope that their holders will understand and forgive me.

Lyrics A boyfriend proposing.
Lyrics How a girlfriend should accept a proposal.
Lyrics The tenderness of a good wedding.
Lyrics A bride's wedding pledge.
Lyrics A husband's commitment to his wife.
Lyrics A wife's commitment to her husband.
Lyrics Wise counsel for husbands.
Lyrics What a wife needs.
Lyrics An appreciative husband.
Lyrics A wife who values being her husband's girl.
Lyrics A devoted husband.
Lyrics A devoted wife.
Lyrics A sexually fulfilled husband.
Lyrics A mother welcoming her newborn.
Lyrics A grieving widower fondly reminiscing.
Lyrics A grieving widow seeing her husband in their children.

Biblical Quotes

This document contains several quotes from the Bible. They've all been taken from what's known as the KJV [King James Version] - an English translation of the Bible that was published in 1611AD. It uses an older variant of English, of course, but that's not usually too much of a problem. It's the same variant of English, in fact, as was used by Shakespeare because he lived at that very same time.

Some of the quotes contain a word or phrase in bold followed by an explanation enclosed within [brackets]. This was done by me in order to give the modern English meaning of an obscure older English term.

Some words are in italics. This was done by the translators as their way of making it obvious to us where they felt the need to add their own words in order to clarify the meaning of a passage.

We like to trust translators, especially when they're as dedicated to their task as we know the ones who translated the Bible were, but we still should be forgiving them whenever they make a mistake because translating from one language to another isn't easy. There are simple problems like the grammatical structure being different. There are complicated problems like there being a word within the original language that the target language has no word for. There are near impossible problems like there being a thought that can be expressed within the original language but not within the target language. And then there are synonyms and homographs!

Synonyms are words which have different spellings but which have the same meaning. For example, the English words "also" and "too" mean the same thing. When translating a word into English, the translators had to decide which synonym to use. This wasn't a big problem for them, but it sure is a big problem for us when we're trying to cross-check their work. I'm sure they'd have done a much better job at being consistent if they'd had access to computers and to the kinds of Bible study aids that we have today - but, of course, they didn't.

Homographs are words that are spelled the exact same way but have different meanings. For example, the English word "right" can mean "correct" (right or wrong), a direction (right or left), "continue" (right through, right on going), or "precisely" (right now, right on). The original Bible languages - predominantly Hebrew and Greek, but a few others as well - also have homographs. Whenever the translators encountered a homograph in any of them, they had to decide which of its meanings to translate into English. That wasn't always obvious, and, yes, sometimes they did pick the wrong one.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance is an excellent Bible study aid for helping any of us, even those of us who don't know any of the Bible's original languages, to resolve translation problems. It has three main sections:

An English Dictionary
This section contains an alphabetical listing of all of the words that occur within our English translation. The entry for each word contains a list of the verses where it occurs, and, for each occurrence, there's a number that tells us which original language word it was translated into English from. If the number is in bold then it's a reference into the Hebrew dictionary, and if it's in italics then it's a reference into the Greek dictionary.
A Hebrew Dictionary
This section contains an alphabetical listing of all of the Hebrew words that God originally used when writing the Bible. The entry for each word contains its bold reference number as well as a list of the verses where God used that word.
A Greek Dictionary
This section contains an alphabetical listing of all of the Greek words that God originally used when writing the Bible. The entry for each word contains its italicized reference number as well as a list of the verses where God used that word.

The Hebrew and Greek dictionaries within the concordance also contain its author's best guesses regarding the meanings of the words. We mustn't trust those guesses, and should be ignoring them. What we should be doing instead is the very same thing that a child does when learning his/her parents' language - carefully analyzing every single case wherein a given word has been used, and looking for the common threads.

This, for example, is how I go about improving the translation of a biblical quote:

  1. Look up the word I'm wanting to improve within the English dictionary.
  2. Find the verse that I'm studying.
  3. Use the associated reference number - bold for Hebrew or italics for Greek - as the way to know which original language word I need to be analyzing.
  4. Look the word up, by its reference number, in the appropriate original language dictionary in order to find every place within the Bible where God used it.
  5. Look at each of God's uses of the original language word in order to figure out what He was really meaning by it.

Improving Exodus 21:10

English Strong's Hebrew
KJV Improved Number Masoretic Transliterated Pronounced
food nearness 7607 שׁארה sh'er sheh-ayr'
raiment covering 3682 כסותה kcuwth kes-ooth'
duty of marriage conjugal rights 5772 וענתה `ownah o-naw'
covering -> security

The figure is that which completely covers each of God's people - the robe of Christ's righteousness - such that the imperfections of his/her spiritual nakedness - his/her sins - can no longer be seen. In other words, it's what gives God's people the eternal security of knowing that they've been irrevocably adopted into God's family. Marriage vows should be providing the same kind of security between spouses.

nearness -> communion

The sense is to be right next to, i.e. such that it's impossible for anyone to get in between. For example, God uses this word to describe the nearness of an immediate family member (parent, sibling, child).

We need a term that expresses spousal interactions that are just as inseparably close because this passage is dealing with how a husband is to be treating his wife. I believe that a good word for this is communion - the intimate sharing of thoughts, possessions, and activities.


Improving Proverbs 5:18-19

English Strong's Hebrew
KJV Improved Number Masoretic Transliterated Pronounced
youth childhood 5271 נעורך na`uwr naw-oor'
loving adoring 158 אהבים 'ahab ah'-hab
hind doe 365 אילת 'ayeleth ah-yeh'-leth
pleasant gracious 2580 חן chen khane
roe gazelle 3280 ויעלת ya`alah yah-al-aw'
breasts nipples 1717 דדיה dad dad
satisfy satiate 7301 ירוך ravah raw-vaw'
ravished captivated 7686 תשׁגה shagah shaw-gaw'
always continually 8548 תמיד tamiyd taw-meed'
love unconditional love 160 באהבתה 'ahabah a-hab-aw
adoring

God has used this word in only one other place to describe the kind of self-serving love that those who teach false gospels want from others.

captivated

God has used this word several times to describe sinning through ignorance. What He's literally saying is that a husband should be so attracted to his wife that he can't resist helplessly succumbing to any of her seductions. He reinforces this understanding by using the very same word in the very next verse to describe how wrong it is for a man to be succumbing to the seductions of a strange woman. Since we know that God has placed no restrictions on how a husband and his wife may interact sexually, we also know that whatever he's succumbing to, as long as it's with his wife, can't actually be sinful.

unconditional love

God has used this word many times to describe the kind of love He Himself has for each of His people.


Index

Abortion, Justifications for
Choice Contraception Defect Ectopic Extension Incest Organism Pubescent Rape Safe Unprepared Unwanted
Feminism
Abortion Immodesty
Masturbation
Children Singles Spouses
Medical Practices
Birth Prenatal
Rape
Abortion Conception Medical