The Sticker Book
"Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:5 (NIV 1984)
It took creative measures to potty train our daughter. No sweet treat was good enough to get her ready for big-girl pants. It was going to take something she really loved to lure her into this next phase of life.
Suddenly, it came to me. My daughter loves stickers. This gave me a great idea. I hung a large poster board on the bathroom wall. With colorful markers, I divided the poster into weekly sections. In a basket on the floor, I placed an assortment of sparkly stickers.
Peyton's eyes widened with excitement when I showed her the newly decorated bathroom. "Each time you go to the potty, I will give you a sticker to place on the poster board," I explained. "When you get a certain amount of stickers, I'll take you to the store where you can pick out a prize."
I've never seen a diaper come off so quickly before in my life. The stickers were working!
My husband also noticed how well the training was going. One day, he came in from work and tossed a sticker book on the kitchen counter where I was preparing dinner. "What's that?" I questioned.
"I noticed how the stickers were working for Peyton, and I thought maybe they'd work for you, too," he answered. I narrowed my eyes at him and thought, What is he up to?
"Every time you and I have a romantic night, I'll give you a sticker to put in your sticker book. When you fill it up, I'll take you anywhere in the world you want to go," he continued with a huge grin on his face.
It's not that I didn't want to have romantic evenings with my husband, but most of the time tiredness trumped romance. You know what I mean?
As women, we wear a lot of hats that require much responsibility. We constantly pour ourselves out for others. At the end of the day, all I want is a soothing bath and a warm bed. I suppose my husband could interpret that the wrong way. He probably feels like he gets my leftovers. This is not God's plan and it's why He gave married couples this passage:
"The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control" (I Corinthians 7:4-5).
God knew both women and men would struggle in this area. Whatever the reason, withholding should be mutual, short-lived and discussed openly and privately between husband and wife. This helps both of you avoid temptation. Communication also helps your spouse hold on to his confidence when he knows the reason behind the struggle.
After I shared with my husband the cause for my tiredness, he started pitching in around the house. Nothing is more appealing than a man running the vacuum!
Working together can bring about great results. On the other hand, buying your spouse a sticker book might also move things in the right direction. The best reward, however, isn't a big vacation. The best reward is sticking it out with my husband as we learn to communicate, work together and trust each other through the struggles of everyday life.
Dear Lord, my spouse is a gift from You. Give me the courage to talk honestly and openly with him. Use communication to deepen and strengthen our relationship in all areas. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Is intimacy difficult for you? Sometimes talking to your spouse is all you need. Other times, seeking medical care is the answer. Start by being open about the issue. You'll be glad you did.
Practice being open with your spouse, and ask God for courage to discuss any topic that is difficult for you.
Ephesians 5:21, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." (NIV)
Hebrews 13:4, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure ..." (NIV)
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