On Thursdays, you get to ask those questions and get answers from Joe Beam. Over 100,000 people have enrolled in Joe's courses, seminars, and workshops. He's appeared on national programs such as NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America, The Montel Williams Show, and Focus on the Family. You may have seen him in People magazine or Better Homes and Gardens or read one of his books or articles. Joe is also a Christian minister who will answer questions about love and relationships. Send him your questions: ask@JoeBeam.com.
So let's start with two frequently asked questions.
How can we fall more deeply in love?
The good news is that you CAN! No matter how much you love each other now — or how much you DON'T love each other now — you can find increasingly deep and wonderful love. When you think about it, love must be something we can make grow or God wouldn't have commanded it (Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19; John 13:34-35)! But how can you do that in your marriage?
No matter how much you love each other now — or how much you DON'T love each other now — you can find increasingly deep and wonderful love. However, you may want to decide which type love you want to increase. Romantic? Infatuation? Fatuous? Companionate? Friendship? Empty? Consummate? According to the research of Robert Sternberg, PhD, all seven of those are a type of love that may exist in a relationship. You can learn more about those in my book Your LovePath.
Right now let's narrow it down to two broader kinds of love — passion and bonding. If you want to replicate the type of passion you had in the first years of your courtship, sorry. That's called limerence and it won't be coming back — except possible brief spurts — no matter what you do. The other kind, bonding, can and will get deeper, more fulfilling, and more important each year of your life together. It doesn't have the same type of thrill early romance does, but it has a depth romance that courtship by itself can never achieve.
To bond deeper with each other, do the following — and there is strong medical, scientific, and Biblical evidence for everything listed. Treat each other with warmth and kindness. Hug and kiss often. Hold hands. Talk about intimate matters while accepting the other as s/he truly is. And bless each other with sexual fulfillment ... which leads us to our next question!
How often should a married couple make love?
My PhD work is in Biomedical Science at the University of Sydney. More specifically, my research is in marital and sexual satisfaction. In essence, my doctoral work is in sexology. That means I read thousands of pages of the latest research every year. Much of this research intersects God's principles in Scripture in powerful ways.
The psalmist proclaims that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). You see, God made us to share in a "one flesh" union as husband and wife (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). He makes clear in Scripture that we are to bless and fulfill our spouses sexually (1 Corinthians 7:2-5; Proverbs 5:1-23). Medical research has helped us better understand just how wonderfully we are made in this regard.
We used to tell a couple that they should work out a lovemaking schedule best for them. We now know better. Medical science is discovering just how often God designed our bodies to be sexually fulfilled. An Israeli study showed that the more often a woman has sexual fulfillment (orgasm), the less likelihood she has of having a heart attack. (No, I didn't make that up, nor did I make up any of the following.) A British study showed that the more often men reach sexual fulfillment, the less likely they are to have a fatal heart attack. Regular sexual fulfillment for a man also reduces his chances of getting prostate cancer. If the husband's issue regularly enters the wife's body (no barrier such as certain birth control devices), then she has less likelihood of having breast cancer. That works even if he's had a vasectomy. The list goes on and on, even to the point of pain control. Achieving sexual fulfillment has an analgesic effect. One famous sexologist has a lecture titled, "Please, tonight, I have a headache."
So how often should this "regular fulfillment" occur to get all these benefits? Two to three times a week. Most of the studies cited above found that frequency to be important to the medical benefits. Interestingly, a man's body makes a new batch of millions of sperm every seventy-two hours, which is more evidence that God made us to have sexual fulfillment two to three times a week. And in addition to the medicinal benefits, making love that frequently also releases oxytocin, which helps bond the couple to each other. That's fascinating in light of our command to fulfill each other found in 1 Corinthians 7, isn't it?
If you have a question about love and relationships, send them to me at ask@JoeBeam.com. I'll answer 1 or 2 questions each week, using my counselor's experience, academic research, and a deep respect for God's Word.
And if your marriage is in trouble, we can help. Go to http://www.JoeBeam.com. Our success rate, even if one partner comes reluctantly, is three out of four marriages.