Monogamy doesn’t need to result in monotony. I firmly believe that, even if the world tries to tell us otherwise. Too often we see in movies, hear from comedians, and even from other Christians, that marriage gets stale after decades of being with one sexual partner. But I think the opposite is true: that a monogamous, deep, intimate relationship is the only context where you can really experience the depth and breadth of sexuality as it was intended to be experienced.
So, we decided we’d try another way to help our readers achieve that goal in their own marriages.
For the next 52 weeks, we’re going to be hosting weekly challenges to help you stretch your marriage. A great many of them will be sexual in nature, because, after all, that is the focus in this ministry. But, some will be designed to make you communicate more, or to spend more time together, or to increase other areas of intimacy.
Now, I know not all of our readers will participate. Some of you have spouses who aren’t willing to grow this area of your marriage yet, and that’s difficult to deal with, and I empathize with you. Some may be separated due to work, or marital problems making doing challenges together impractical if not impossible. Some may just not like the idea of challenges. Whatever your reasoning, if you’re not interested or can’t, then don’t participate. It’s okay, we understand.
For the rest of you, I hope those spouses will challenge each other with these, that they will join together and encourage each other to accomplish the challenges, to work together to enhance their marriage. What I don’t want is for people to feel undue pressure, or any sense of failure for not completing the challenges. These are meant to be fun and exciting. If you miss a challenge, that’s not a loss, it’s just a miss. If you manage to complete only a few during the year, hopefully you will have tried something new, in the interim, had some fun, and learned something about each other, even if its just a big list of things you aren’t comfortable doing yet, if ever.
I’ve tried to compile a list of challenges that everyone would be okay with theologically, but still feel challenged on a comfort level. After all, if its comfortable, it’s not really a challenge, is it? That said, I’m sure some of these won’t be challenging to be everyone, but I think everyone will find at least one challenging week through the year. I know we will. Creating this list together, I was sometimes surprised at the suggestions Christina would come up with. She’s offer a challenge and I’d look at her “Really? You want to challenge us to do that?” and she’d shrug, smile and say “Well, it would be a challenge.” So don’t think these all will be easy for us either. I’m sure we’ll have some misses through the year, but I’m going to do my best to ensure we don’t.
Each week I’ll have a space for those brave enough to commit to the challenge and indicate whether they managed to complete last week’s or not. For those who want a very quick way to interact completely anonymously, there are two reaction buttons at the bottom of each post labelled “I’m in” or “Count me out” that you can use to indicate your intentions. And for those in our forum, there will be a private space to talk about the challenges, to encourage, support and hold each other accountable, as well as brainstorm ways to complete them and celebrate when accomplished.
I’m also considering hosting anonymous group chats, open to everyone, at regular intervals to discuss how the challenges are going, common obstacles people are facing and ways to get around them, and generally try to help those who are participating. I’m not sure what the frequency will be yet, perhaps as often as monthly, or as infrequently as quarterly, but I’ll be sure to announce them well ahead of time.
So, if you’re interested in participating in our year of marriage challenges, check back each Monday for the latest challenge, or subscribe to our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss any of them, and click the “I’m in” button below to let us know your intention to join us in this exciting endeavor.
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We're currently planning our next year of marriage challenges with a bit of a twist. This time we're going to make it more interactive and community driven. Just sign up to the right to the be notified about it when it starts.