Staying Together Chapter Eleven: Going Under Cover(s)

25 09 2017

Note: This thirteen-week blog series will share a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This book is now available through House to House Publications.

We seemed to have reached a desperate part of our meeting with a middle-aged couple pastoring a small church in New York. In tears, the wife declared, “We’re not intimate!” We asked what she meant by that statement. She said without hesitancy, “We don’t do fun things together; we don’t hold hands; we don’t sit close any longer; we rarely have sex; and our conversations have become predictable, boring, and too infrequent. It’s like we’ve taken a break from closeness, from our friendship…from intimacy.”

During the dating and engagement seasons, intimacy seems almost too easy. We are fooled into believing it will always be this way—easy and natural, without having to try very hard. But that’s simply not true. After we say “I do,” we sometimes stop pursuing or actively admiring our partner as we settle into a routine together. But it’s crucial that we continue to desire and affirm one another and continue to pursue deeper and deeper intimacy.

How does a couple stay sexually active when there are jobs, a family, household responsibilities, and civic commitments, along with children’s sports and school, and then local church involvement? All of these good things can rob us of intimacy as married couples and can even become priority over our sexual thoughts and desires. Sometimes life gets a hold of us, and all too often we’re too exhausted to take a hold of one other.

In this chapter of Staying Together you’ll discover different aspects of sexual intimacy, e.g., what inhibits sexual intimacy? We also look at what builds intimacy along with the benefits of a healthy sex life.

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG

 

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Staying Together Chapter Ten: Staying True

18 09 2017

Note: This thirteen-week blog series will share a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This book is now available through House to House Publications.

On your wedding day, you spoke something called vows that probably sounded something like this: For better or for worse; for richer or for poorer; in sickness and in health; ’til death do us part. Rarely do we imagine having to face such issues. But truth be told, we will face some of these things and, perhaps, already have. If you think about it, these vows prepare us for reality long before reality sets in; they help prepare us for inevitable disappointments in marriage.

An affair occurs when one person in a marriage takes the most sacred expressions of that marriage and gives them to another. Most people assume that there’s only one type of affair—a physical, sexual encounter with someone who is not your spouse. But sex is not the only sacred expression of marriage, and you can have an affair without having sex. By giving away the emotional intimacy that should belong only to your spouse, you can have an emotional affair.

Today, emotional affairs are happening near, such as between coworkers, and far, oceans apart, through the Internet. Social media has become a huge source of marital failure as people rediscover “first loves” or feelings they once felt. In this way, you can have an affair and never meet the person face to face.

Infidelity can affect all of our marriages because we can all be tempted. We are all potential vow-breakers. If we think it can’t happen to us, we can become sloppy and less guarded, not alert to the enemy’s schemes. In this chapter, read about an actual emotional affair up close and personal and how the couple confronted this issue in their marriage.

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG

 





Staying Together Chapter Nine: Rebuilding After Loss

11 09 2017

Note: This thirteen-week blog series will share a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This book is now available through House to House Publications.

We sat down to interview Jon and Amy (names have been changed), a couple we have encountered who have a pain-filled story. With their permission, we are about to share with you their loss, brokenness, hope, and redemption.

Jon was sexually molested as a child. In his teen years, he succumbed to pornography and masturbation for comfort and intimacy. It was the beginning of a lifelong pattern of turning to pornography for the relief of pain, anxiety, and fear. He was addicted to the images on the screen. Eventually the addiction became more and more powerful in his life and he began to act out his fantasies. When he had extra cash available, Jon would visit a local prostitute, all the while hiding his dark and tortured secret life from his wife Amy.

One day, Amy received some pornographic pictures on her phone. She called the phone company and asked how that could happen if she never visited such websites. They told her someone most likely used her phone to access pornographic material. She questioned her sons, and then she questioned her husband. No one confessed. She prayed and asked God for wisdom.

She knew her husband had a “past issue” with pornography but had no idea of how current and active it presently was. She pressed in once again with Jon and he denied any involvement. “I felt so horrible,” Jon said, “but lying seemed like my only alternative.” He just couldn’t believe he was at this point; he had been telling himself it would never get out of his control. That thought was now a past hope, not a present truth.

For more of Jon and Amy’s story and the redemption that followed, see chapter nine in Staying Together.

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG





Staying Together Chapter Eight: Putting Your Money Where Your Value Is

4 09 2017

Note: This thirteen-week blog series will share a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This book is now available through House to House Publications.

If your goal was to tear apart your marriage, money arguments would certainly help. But marriage is not about me and mine; it’s about us and ours.

Mary and I already confessed to you that our biggest disagreements early on in our marriage had to do with money. We talked about our differences in how we valued and viewed finances. But what we didn’t discuss was how to make those distinct differences a point of strength rather than a point of weakness within our relationship. Often, right down to the demise of a marriage relationship, we can experience deeply heated and contested issues over money and co-owned possessions.

If God provides for us and shares this wealth with us, then our position before Him is that it is all His, and we simply steward that which He shares with us.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (Prov. 3:9-10). This is the first step in our own financial discipline. It is a step that says Jesus is Lord of our finances.

We will ask you to complete a budget in this chapter so that you can “see” what’s coming in and what’s going out, along with many other financial values questions to consider as a couple.

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG





Staying Together Chapter Seven: Fighting and Arguing or Praying and Agreeing

28 08 2017

Note: This thirteen-week blog series will share a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This book is now available through House to House Publications.

We made a major discovery early in our marriage. When it came to conflict, we could choose to “fight and argue,” or we could “pray and agree.” Disagreement is powerful, but agreement is even more powerful.

Our most frequent disagreements focused on the fact that Mary was a “spender” and I (Steve) was a “saver” when it came to our personal view of finances. Those two opposing values would often clash.

At the core of disagreement is the attainment of a need, and sometimes it’s the attainment of a mere want. Either way, we want to be sure that you receive this profound message: it is not disagreement itself that is the problem. Rather, it’s the inability to resolve disagreement.

In this chapter you’ll discover how to bring a resolve to conflict through a very specific biblical pattern. Ever since God has given us these steps we have been faithfully using them and enjoying the fruit of agreement found within resolve.

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG





Staying Together Chapter Six: Marriage Has A Mission

21 08 2017

Note: This thirteen-week blog series will share a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This, our latest book, is now available through House to House Publications.

It astounds us to discover how many couples do not know why they are married. This is the question this chapter will probe—what is your mission together as a couple? For what reason(s) has God called you together into this union? Those who once were two have been called to move as one.

Businesses, civic organizations, churches, and the military all have mission statements. If they understand this statement and what goals are to be accomplished, all of the members or employees of these organizations know why they belong. Mission statements are composed of descriptive terms like “to serve the homeless of our city,” “to build a better and more efficient home,” or “to protect our nation’s borders.” When God created man, He also created a mission for man. God gave Adam and Eve an assignment from heaven—to tend the Garden of Eden and to rule over creation.

Life can get busy and pass us by rather quickly. Before we know it, we’ve been married for five or even ten years. We can begin to myopically focus on the stuff of life that has no real or eternal value or lasting effect upon our lives and the lives of others. It’s important to remember why God called you together in matrimony, and writing your mission statement as a couple can help to refocus your marriage on the things that truly matter.

Chapter six of Staying Together will guide you through writing this all-important marriage mission statement and provide you with the qualities of a successful marriage.

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG





Staying Together Chapter Five: Moving Beyond Our Histories

14 08 2017

Note: This thirteen-week blog series will share a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This, our latest book, is now available through Destiny Image Publishers or presently with House to House Publications.

Prior to marriage, we spend hours communicating face to face and, when apart, by phone, text message, e-mail, and Facebook. We study one another and practice our listening skills to really hear each other’s hearts. We attempt to win the other through our attentiveness, our affirmation, our words of love, and our body language of acceptance. One couple told us communication was so easy and came so naturally to them that they could not understand what the big deal was about the subject of communication within marriage.

Nothing magical happens when we say, “I do.” There are no internal switches that turn on or off to inhibit the flow of communication. However, in many ways the pursuit is over. The other-focus can begin to return to self-focus and our own particular needs now that our partner has officially and publicly committed to being ours, “until death do us part.” The areas that you had the patience to overlook prior to marriage often become stumbling blocks in the first year of marriage. That which you once shrugged off as cute is now irritating.

What happened? Were we faking it? Were we trying to expose only our good side? It was fun having our heads in the clouds and not needing to worry about all that could go wrong. Reality during engagement is different from reality during marriage, neither of which is necessarily good or bad. So, what’s the issue?

God created us for relationship with Him and others, but at times we personally long for independence from both. How do we move beyond that natural bent toward independence? Are there memories that are hindering our healing? Read about “memory minefields” in this chapter and how to be free of them.

Order your copy Staying Together today here.

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG








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