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Tim Tebow and Living for God January 31, 2012

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Dr. Curtis Lehmann, Stories.
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by Dr. Curtis Lehmann

Unless you have been living in a cave, you have probably heard about Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos. He has been a polarizing figure because of his forthcoming and conspicuous admission of his faith in Jesus Christ. Some have complimented his public displays of faith, while others, even Christians, have insulted and demeaned him for the same reason. Although his season has come to an end, I thought it would be fun to share what I think are some of Tim Tebow’s best attributes.

  1. Tim plays for an Audience of One. He places the approval of God above the approval of others. When criticized for his passing ability, he has remained committed to playing the best that he is capable, rather than becoming either offended or discouraged.
  2. Tim uses his gifts to bring glory to God. He views his football ability as a gift from God that grants him a platform to share about the love of God. His attitude sets him apart from players who attribute their success only to their hard work or special abilities and allows him to be thankful regardless of his success on the field.
  3. He is committed to service. Tebow invites a child with special needs or life-threatening illness to every game and makes them feel special and valued.
  4. Tim invites God into his workspace. Many people leave God at church or home when they head for work, forgetting about faith and “focusing” on their work. Tebow does not separate God from his job as a football player but instead looks for ways that God is present on the football field and where he can serve Him.

Although Tim Tebow can be a controversial figure, I am sure that we can applaud him for these Godly traits and root for him, even if you are not a fan of the Broncos, to have a positive effect on the lives of others.

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The Romance of Dance January 30, 2012

Posted by occhristiancounseling in attachment, classes, dating, Dr. Debi Smith, emotions, Events, sexuality, understanding men, understanding women.
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by Dr. Debi Smith

The image of a man and a woman dancing together in three-quarter time is the best metaphor for (and experience of) a romantic relationship as it should be.

More specifically, a couple dance provides much of the information we need in order to understand what makes a romantic relationship work well. The man takes the lead, and the woman follows. He guides and protects her. She influences him, even as she admires him … and makes him look good to anyone who’s watching.

Leadership

I’ve included one of my favorite waltz videos here. There are so many couples on the dance floor it’s hard to imagine how they keep twirling around without crashing into one another. That is, unless you realize that each pair has only one leader.

http://youtu.be/vRyU4Jw6uwU

It’s the man’s job to protect his partner from other couples on the floor, and to guide her steps as they swish and swirl in time to the music. If the woman starts criticizing what he’s doing or pulling him in a different direction, it will be impossible for him to take responsibility for the dance.

As Christian women, most of us have been taught that the man is to be the leader in the family. In reality, women have been running the show for a long time now. Let’s face it. We can make it through life without a man. But can we really live the life we desire?

Yes, we can survive. But in taking charge, we miss the beauty of what God intended our relationships to be. We not only make it impossible for our man to lead, but we deny what every girl’s heart longs for.

Every girl wants three things from the man she loves.

She wants him to protect her, to guide her, and to hold her. And as the leader, he was designed by God to do just that!

1. Protect Me

Men are designed to protect us. It’s a fact of life that men are bigger and stronger than women. And they have this wonderful quality about them: much much much high testosterone levels. Women’s bodies produce testosterone, too, but far far less of it than men do … without giving it a thought.

However, this very fact can make us afraid of them. When we feel intimidated or threatened by a man, we use the only surefire weapon we have: our words. And given that men are sensitive to us, our words usually work to “cut him down to size.” Not a bad thing if he’s the enemy. But if he’s our partner in life, we’ve just made it impossible for him to protect us.

2. Guide Me

Okay, this one may be hard for us to admit. But don’t we really wish someone knew the answers? And don’t we wish it was our man who knew? We love it when he solves a problem for us … and he does, too! His brain was made to solve problems, so you’re actually helping him fulfill his purpose in life when you let him guide. It’s very satisfying to a man when he can win in this way … finding a workable solution that makes life better for others.

However, guys get a bump rap for trying to solve our problems for us. Sometimes we just want them to listen (see #3 below). If that’s what we need, all we have to do is tell him that up front. Most guys are happy to provide whatever will make us happy, but we have to be specific about what we want … because guys don’t think like we do … at all!

3. Hold Me

This one is probably the most important of the three things a woman desires from the man she loves. And it happens while you dance. (Maybe that’s why I love waltzing so much!) Women not only want to be touched, but they want to be held … lovingly, caringly, respectfully. Research shows that being held by someone you love will dramatically reduce anxiety in a matter of minutes! We’ve all seen an anxious toddler benefit from being scooped up and held by a loving parent. As adults, we’re no different. We all need to be held sometimes. And women need it every day!

We’re vulnerable creatures, but we often don’t feel safe enough to admit it. We often get a bump rap by being called “needy” … especially by men. And we hate that. So we’d rather not say how we’re feeling … or ask to be comforted, reassured, held.

And that’s really, really sad. Because a man loves (and receives measurable emotional and psychological benefits) from holding the woman he cares for. If he only knew that’s what you needed … Most of the time, he just thinks he’s screwed something up and that you would like to have him beheaded.

What can you do to assure that your partner will protect you, guide you, and hold you?

First, he needs to know that you are following him, even if he’s not a very seasoned leader. A man can never become a really great leader if no one is willing to follow him. In a word, he needs you to submit to his leadership. Submission really means that you trust and respect him. It does not mean that you follow him blindly and without feedback.

Second, he needs your feedback. Both Scripture and research show that men need to be open to the influence of their wives. Otherwise, they’re doomed to failure. However, your feedback must not be in the form of criticism, attack, blame, or advice. What he desperately needs to know is what he is doing right … what pleases you … what makes you happy. Give him that, and he will pull out all the stops to make you even more pleased and more happy.

Finally, he needs you to help him look good to anyone who’s watching. He’ll stand taller and work harder than you ever thought possible. And he’ll love doing it … for you!

A couple of final thoughts …

Remember that the man you fell in love with is still in there … no matter what you may be going through right now. He longs to be your best friend, your protector, your guide, and your comfort. Let him be those things for you.

And remember to have fun together. That’s what best friends do! Sharing laughter and memories will strengthen your emotional bond and help you make it through the tough times.

Experience the Romance of Ephesians 5

Intimacy in Marriage: On the Frequency of Sex January 27, 2012

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Dr. Curtis Lehmann, sexuality, understanding men, understanding women.
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by Dr. Curtis Lehmann

One question that rarely gets openly posed in marriage goes something like this: who decides how much a married couple should have sex, the husband or the wife? The question may make you blush but it certainly is an important one. Some believe that sex should rarely be withheld, that sexual relations are an essential part of the marriage relationship. Others may find that sex is an inconvenience that has gradually left the marriage.

Consider the following passage from Scripture:

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 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 say this as a concession, not as a command. ~1 Corinthians 7:3-6

Now some might think that this passage justifies the person who believes that sex should never be withheld. The challenge is that such a stance often neglects a fundamental principle of the passage, that sex should be a gift to one another to help one another stay close to God. Sex should not be used as a weapon to control or punish the other partner, either by willfully abstaining or by coercing. Instead, intimacy in marriage ought to respect both desire and lack of desire for sex by either partner.

An attitude towards sex that actively resents the other partner for either wanting sex too often or not wanting it enough is not the attitude that Paul is advocating here. Rather, Paul is trying to promote a healthy sexuality that respects our physical and emotional desires as important, alongside our spiritual nature.

I propose a different stance toward sexuality than simply focusing on whether or not sex is being engaged in. This stance demands that we surrender our selfish perspective toward sex and consider our spouse’s needs and limitations. We should treat our partners with care, taking into account their physical and emotional desires regarding sex, believing that their bodies are connected to our own and sharing in their suffering and discomfort towards sex. Sex should always be requested, never demanded. When this level of love and care is shown, sexual intimacy can begin to flourish and thrive.

Intimacy in Marriage: The Role of Sex January 24, 2012

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Dr. Curtis Lehmann, sexuality.
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by Dr. Curtis Lehmann

Some people struggle with a philosophical question: what is the role of sex in marriage? Historically, sex has been seen as simply the means for procreation and building a family. But in a modern context where contraception is used to prevent procreation, we have to ask whether sex serves another function. So the real question is, other than creating babies, does sex accomplish anything else and, if so, are these things good?

To answer the first part of the question, we simply need to pay attention to the experiences of people who have sex. The most obvious experience in sex is pleasure – sex feels good for many people. On this note, it is hard to argue that there would be anything wrong with having sex for pleasure, except in the case where the sexual experience is worshipped and given too much importance. In that extreme situation, people place sexuality before developing a deep relationship with God and pursuing growth in their character. Although we worship God with our bodies, sex does not constitute the full scope of a spiritual experience.

The second experience, sometimes less obvious, is that sex is capable of creating a bond between two people. Sex involves a shared vulnerability between two people that results in feeling connected. Particularly for women, the hormone oxytocin, also called the cuddle hormone, can be released during orgasm leading to this feeling. In the case of a non-committed relationship, a break in this bond can be incredibly painful, as if actually severing a limb, and is a major factor in why God discourages sex outside of marriage. Within a marriage, however, sex can be a protective factor in the relationship that helps two people feel close to one another even when emotionally they may feel occasionally distant.

As I see it, the role of sex in marriage is threefold: to build a family, to bring forth enjoyment, and to form a strong bond. Sex is a magnificent gift from God that we ought to enjoy!

The Romance of Dance January 22, 2012

Posted by occhristiancounseling in classes, dating, Events, understanding men, understanding women.
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A note about our Dance from Mr. Fredric Judkins

A guy can’t help but be a hero to his sweetie as he glides her around our Valentine’s dance floor. It’s essential that couples keep the fun in their friendship, and vintage dance is the perfect place!

The Victorian ballroom glows with great melodies and easy to learn dance steps. And you don’t have to drop a fortune to enjoy an evening of style, and the elegance that comes with two hearts beating (and dancing) in three quarter time!

Victorian Dance Lessons | Feb 4th | 2-6 pm
casual | $15/couple online or $20 at the door

Valentine’s Dance | Feb 11th | 7-11 pm
dressy | $45/couple online or $60 at the door

Victorian Dance Lessons + Valentine’s Dance
$60/couple online

Introducing Our Dance Instructor . . .

Fred waltzing with Dr. Debi

Fred Judkins is gifted in many ways. His love for all things Victorian began with a passion for Gilbert & Sullivan when he was a boy. He is an accomplished Victorian dancer and teacher, and through his love for the manners, dances, and fashions of a bygone era, he hopes to promote a more genteel society today.

Hurray for Hollywood! Growing up at a time when films were fun and wholesome, Fred carries a deep and abiding love for this uniquely American art form. As a 12th-grader, he produced his own film festival at his high school. His senior English teacher sponsored him in Kodak’s national film-making contest. Kodak promised that the winner could “Film Your Way to Hollywood.” And that’s just what Fred did!

On his way to The Big Time, Fred stopped off for two years at Biola University, where he produced Biola’s first film festival – his second – Fred’s Frenetic Film Festival. After graduating from San Diego State University, he ended up as a sound effects editor in the major Hollywood studios, and a member of the Editor’s Guild, the Television Academy, and the international Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE).

Emmy AwardFred is now an Emmy-Winning Sound Supervisor at Technicolor Sound Services in Burbank. His sound work for movies includes Mystery Men, All the Pretty Horses, Spiderman, Ghostbusters 2, Twins, Anna Karenina, Starship Troupers, Charlie’s Angels, Joni, Out of Africa, Hook, The Recuers Down Under, Jimmy Neutron, Fievel Goes West, Adventures of Huck Finn, Iron Will, and Straight Talk. And he’s had the privilege to work with great talents such as Dolly Parton, Whoopi Goldberg, and Steve Martin.

Along with songwriter Eric Rainwater, Fred is the co-creator of the popular series of Christian Kid-Choir musical comedies that began with The Mission Connection, and includes Check Out That Star, The Not-So-Silent Night, The Perils of Paul, and Samson: The Day God Brought Down the House.

What Every Man Needs January 20, 2012

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Dr. Debi Smith, Events, understanding men.
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by Dr. Debi Smith

A couple of years ago, my 3-year-old grandson moved to California (with his parents, of course), and he loved to go for walks around my neighborhood with me. He was always drawn to the flowers and had to stop and smell each one along the way. I told him that we mustn’t pick the flowers because they belonged to my neighbors. So he would always remind me, as he admired their bright colors and imagined fragrance, that “those are your neighbor’s flowers, right?”

However, the same rules didn’t seem apply to the flowers at the bank or park or Carl’s Jr. He’d race over and pick one as soon as he saw them, then present it to me with a gigantic smile on his little face.

“Here! This is for you, Gramma!” he’d announce with great pleasure, fully expecting my reflected joy for the gift he so proudly offered. Of course, I was always delighted. And I refrained from shaming him for picking the flower.

How often have you responded to your guy’s gift with some sort of critique?

He “wasted” money on flowers. You’d rather have such-and-such. Why didn’t he … [you fill in the blank].

When we do that to them very often, it makes them want to give up. To not even try anymore.

Men really don’t change all that much over the years.

They still love to make us smile. When you smile, you brighten his day … and his life!

This is the third thing men need from women: Acceptance and Appreciation

You don’t have to pretend that he’s perfect, or that his gifts are perfect. But when you accept what he brings to your life, you are accepting him. And that’s a good thing.

Note: A woman’s job is to love her man and pray for him. It’s God’s job to make her man grow … according to His plan, not hers.

The best response is very simple: Say “thank you” with a smile on your face. You’ll make his day.

Would you like to know more about the Psychology of Men?

Join me live this Saturday for Frogs & Princes: Understanding the Psychology of Men. If you have specific questions, email me now.

Encouraging Him to Be a Better Man January 17, 2012

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Dr. Debi Smith.
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by Dr. Debi Smith

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I have three grown sons. They’re amazing men, and I’m so proud of them all. As most moms do of their sons, I still think of them as my boys. Even typing that now brings a smile to my face … and a bazillion memories of their growing-up years.

I remember my oldest son at swim lessons the year he learned to jump off the diving board. No matter how many times he did it, he always checked to see if I was watching before he’d take the plunge. And as his head bobbed up out of the water, he again looked in my direction, waiting for my smile or, better yet, a cheer for his success.

Men don’t ever change in this regard. They still want their moms’ approval. But what becomes even more important to a man is his wife’s approval. He desperately needs to know he has the ability to make you smile.

However, another need must be fulfilled beforehand.

He needs your attention. That means that you look at him when he speaks. And you listen with an open heart and mind to what he’s saying, without adding your critique. He needs you to listen with the goal of understanding him. Nothing more. Certainly nothing less.

Women are multitaskers, but he craves and deserves our undivided attention. If we don’t give him that, someone somewhere someday will. Believe it or not, that’s actually how most affairs get started.

So need Number 2 is actually two needs: (a) his need for your attention and (b) his need for your approval.

One more important word on the subject …

Women are always asking me if they’re just supposed to approve of everything a man does, even when he’s “way off base.” Here’s the best and simplest answer: If you want him to be a better man, notice what he’s doing well and affirm him for it. Pray about the areas where you believe he needs improvement. And if you want to give him feedback, ask him if he’d like to know how you feel about such-and-such. When he says yes, say it once in as few words as possible, then let it go.

Nagging and complaining will shut him down. What works for him? Your approval of what he’s doing well will serve as his motivator to do better on other things, too.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you the third thing men need from women …

Would you like to know more about the Psychology of Men?

Join me live this Saturday for Frogs & Princes: Understanding the Psychology of Men. If you have specific questions, email me now.

What Do Men Need? January 16, 2012

Posted by occhristiancounseling in classes, Dr. Debi Smith, emotions, Events, sexuality, understanding men.
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by Dr. Debi Smith

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord. ~ Proverbs 18:22

Men always say they are simple, and I always argue that they’re not. What makes men complicated – at least in part – is that they never ask for what they need. Well, almost never.

Most men assume that women know what they need and are disappointed when we don’t respond well to them. They forget we think like a girl.

Women assume that men think like women and need the same things as women. We do have similar needs, but there are some very important differences. And men think like boys. They always will.

The first thing a man needs from a woman is affection. And if he’s married, he needs sex. Sex and physical affection tell a man that he is loved and wanted in ways that words could never express.

Women believe men only want “one thing.” However, one of the most common complaints I hear from men is that “she never touches me anymore.” They’re not talking about sex. They’re talking about touch. Incidental non-sexual touch. It’s a sign of affection, and we all need it. But men don’t get that sort of affection from women because women often misunderstand how much it means to them … and that it’s not all about sex for men. It’s about love.

Now please forgive me as I use words to express how words are not enough in the words of song writers Nuno Bettancourt and Gary Cherone:

Saying I love you
Is not the words I want to hear from you
It’s not that I want you
Not to say, but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel
More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me
‘Cause I’d already know
What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real
What would you say if I took those words away
Then you couldn’t make things new
Just by saying I love you

More than words

Now that I’ve tried to talk to you and make you understand
All you have to do is close your eyes
And just reach out your hands and touch me
Hold me close don’t ever let me go
More than words is all I ever needed you to show
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me
‘Cause I’d already know

What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real
What would you say if I took those words away
Then you couldn’t make things new
Just by saying I love you

More than words

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you the second thing men need from women …

Would you like to know more about the Psychology of Men?

Join me live this Saturday for Frogs & Princes: Understanding the Psychology of Men. If you have specific questions, email me now.

Intimacy in Marriage: What’s Your Sexual Type? January 12, 2012

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Dr. Curtis Lehmann, sexuality.
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by Dr. Curtis Lehmann, Psych Assistant @ OC Christian Counseling

Sexual intimacy in marriage is an important component in developing a secure relationship bond between a man and a woman. But there are a number of ways that sexuality can go wrong in a marriage. In general, people can go in two directions: sexual compulsion and sexual restriction. Sexual compulsion simply means someone who pursues sexual activities, ranging from forcing a partner to have sex to simply being the one who tends to ask for sex. On the other hand, sexual restriction can range from complete abstinence from any form of sexual expression to a lack of desire in sexuality. It helps to simply identify where you and your spouse might be on the continuum from sexual restriction to sexual compulsion. In some cases, the distance might be far off and in other cases you might both find yourselves at the same spot.

The next step is to gain a better understanding of how each of your attitudes toward sex developed. Of course, sexual compulsion can be the result of a biological predisposition towards having sex, but other influences include the media, past experiences with sex or sexual abuse, and addiction to sexual behavior. The precursors of being sexual restricted can also be biological, but often are heavily influenced by body image issues, a history of sexual abuse, and emotional or relational problems. If you take some time to reflect, individually and/or as a couple, you may find yourself having a better idea why you and your spouse have the attitudes toward sex that you do.

Finally, this knowledge needs to be applied to your marriage. In a healthy marriage, both spouses should know how the other partner feels about sexuality and how it relates to their feeling connected. Each should care deeply about how the other person has been hurt by their families, so-called friends, and by society in their sexual development. One primary goal in the marriage must be to develop the ability to feel how the other person feels, to be deeply empathic about the other person’s emotions. As a side note, although sexual compromise is nice, a focus on “meeting half-way” can be destructive when one person has a greater amount of pain than the other. Rather, forming a deep desire to surrender one’s desires for the sake of loving the other ought to be the aim. If done whole-heartedly, this attitude is so much more rewarding than sexual intimacy.

Some questions to consider:

How far separated are we on our attitudes towards sexual intimacy? If we are far apart, have I grown resentful towards my partner or have I loved him or her the way they are? If we are close together, do we both still need to have healing in our sexuality? How can I build intimacy in our relationship through non-sexual means? How can I build intimacy through sexual means?

If sexuality is a concern in your marriage, consider speaking with a couple’s therapist. Although it may sometime be an embarrassing issue to discuss, couple’s therapists are trained to help partners work together to bring healing to the relationship, which often leads to a more satisfying sexual experience.

Slaves to Porn January 6, 2012

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Events, pornography, sexuality.
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Internet porn has become an epidemic that has taken hold of Christian and non-Christian alike. In this informative presentation designed to be helpful for those who know someone who struggles with pornography, as well as those who themselves struggle, Dr. Curtis Lehmann addresses how people become enslaved to pornography and offers real suggestions about how to break the chains. Looking at both psychological and spiritual factors, he paints a picture that allows you to feel greater compassion for those who get tangled up in pornography, while also reflecting on the tremendous toil that addiction to pornography can cause on spouses, families, and the community. Through it all, Dr. Lehmann suggests there is hope and healing for those who are affected by bondage to pornography.

Dr. Curtis Lehmann is available to speak to your church or group on this very timely topic. You may contact him at 800.705.6223, Ext. 102, or via email.