Pam Farrel: We like to think of red-hot monogamy like the diamond ring that many people have for their wedding ring. A diamond has many facets to it and in the same way, intimacy has many facets to it. There is social intimacy, and financial intimacy, and recreational intimacy, and vocational, and parental, and emotional, and spiritual intimacy. If you’re fighting over money, there’s not gonna be a lot of red-hot monogamy going on. And if you’re not on the same page with your kids and your parenting, chances are, those fires are gonna be cooled. And so to fan the flame, to add that spark and that sizzle, we want to look at all sides of intimacy.
End of Excerpt
Jim Daly: Bill and Pam, it’s great to have you back here. We’re talking about Red-Hot Monogamy. And uh, I got a question for you. Should couples keep a TV in their bedroom?
Pam: Oh, yeah. That would be a no.
Jim: That’s a no-no.
Pam: If you can at all get away with not having it in your bedroom. Um, so, it’s actually a qualified no, because if you have restraint and you can put limits on it, you could have it there. But most people can’t and so, a lot of times people think, “Oh, it doesn’t really impact how much red-hot monogamy?” Well, studies say yes, that if you have a TV in your bedroom, your chances of red-hot monogamy go down. And if the TV’s not there - now, a good way to check that is to just check the birthrates in any community where there’s been a blackout. Uh, there tends to be a lot of babies born nine months later. So it does impact um, your quality of time behind bedroom doors.
Jim: Why - one of the things that I’ve heard with younger couples, particularly in their 20s, uh, that the guys in the marriage are so into video gaming still. It’s what they did as teenagers that the wives are really struggling because the guys, the husbands, the young husbands are spending time just with their video games and not doing the normal social stuff that would happen with your wife.
Jim: Have you heard that, too?
Pam: One of the best choices that Bill and I made is when we were newlyweds we didn’t have a television for over a year. It was the best choice that we ever made, because we got used to a pattern of interacting. Then when you add the TV in, you’re stronger than the TV draw. And you always wanna be stronger than the - the media that’s around you. And if you’re a woman and you’re listening and you feel like your husband’s like always tuned in to sports or one of those Xboxes or whatever it might be - his relaxing box - I encourage you to just sit down when he’s not in front of the TV, when he’s not playing that video game and say, “Hon, I really want to talk about how I can best encourage you and best meet this sexual need of yours and some of the things that are on my heart, as well.” If you start it with, “How can I meet your needs?” he will then be more receptive to ask the question back, “Well, how about you? What do you think?”
Jim: I would think if you pose that question, a guy’s attention would uh, come right off...
Jim: ...the TV at that point.
Bill Farrel: Right, as long as he’s not overwhelmed, ‘cause again, like back when we were growin’ up, like we didn’t do any relationship training. It was like, when I got married to Pam, I, you know I suddenly realized, you know, I don’t know what I’m doin’. ‘Cause my friends and I never sat around talkin’ about, “Hey, how do you have a good relationship? How do you interact with girls? And how do you...?” We just didn’t do that.
My dad never sat me down and said, “Hey, here’s what you need to know about women if you’re gonna have a successful marriage.” Even men in the church, like no one was coming to me and saying, “Hey, now that you’re engaged, why don’t we get together for, you know, lunch and let me tell you how it really is.” None of that was going on. So I get married and I’m like, “What do I do?”
And out of desperation, I actually would take us to church, stand in the back and wait for people to sit down. And I would look for couples that looked like they had some experience and were still in love. And I’d sit right behind them. And during the greeting time, I’d say, “You look like you’re in love. Is that real?” And of course, the guy would go, “Oh, yeah.” So, I’d say, “How’d you do it? I - I want the real stuff. How did you do it?” And almost always he’d say, “Well, we don’t have time to talk about it now, but let’s do lunch after church,” which as a young couple was awesome, gettin’ taken out for lunch.
Pam: Free food!
John Fuller: Yeah.
Jim: It’s a great idea.
Bill: And then I just grilled them there. I - I wanted to know the real stuff. And that’s when I started learning about how you love a woman. And we don’t do enough of that for our young men.
Jim: Well, I’ve gotta ask you the question, ‘cause that’s a great way to get real live data.
Jim: What were some of the common themes that you heard when you would ask those questions?
Pam: Some awesome things like, you know, having that once-a-week date night that we’ve talked about, protecting the bedroom. Um, sometimes for the wife, it was like, make sure the desk is not in there. You know, don’t make it your work space. Laundry on the bed is not an aphrodisiac. You know, those kind of things. Um, so just to protect that bedroom space was a great advice we got.
We got uh, great advice from some couples like, schedule it in. Write it on the calendar so you have something to look forward to, light at the end of the tunnel. Life is so responsible. So, make a game of it. Um, drop hints and make it playful and fun, something to look forward to, not just a chore, especially if you are in those childbearing years.
Bill: Uh, I remember when a guy told me, he said, “Don’t ever forget, intimacy starts in the kitchen.” I went, “What?” And that’s when he explained to me, “Everything in your life is tied to your wife’s interest in you. So, if you show her interest in the kitchen and you show her interest in the yard and you show her interest in her conversations and you show her interest when she’s telling you about all that stuff that she likes that you really don’t care about - when you show her interest in all of those, then when it’s time to be physically intimate, she’s in - interested.
Jim: ‘Cause it’s all connected...
Bill: It’s all connected.
Jim: ...and integrated. You talk about code words in...
Jim: ...Red-Hot Monogamy. What is a code word?
Pam: Well, it really goes back to - Red-Hot Monogamy book has eight chapters in it. The Song of Solomon has eight chapters in it. So, we’re really drawing on the advice of that real couple in the Bible. I mean, God obviously thought sex was important, ‘cause He put a whole book there that talks about red-hot monogamy. And we think that sex was God’s secret a long time before it was Victoria’s secret. So let’s reclaim that gift.
Bill: There you go.
Pam: And that real-life couple, they used codes when they were interested in giving out the clue, “Baby, Imma want you.”
Bill: Right. Because it’s so personal and it’s something that’s so private between the two of you, that if you make it too raw, it loses interest over time. So, you can’t just walk in the house and say, “How about now? I’m interested now. How about now?”
Pam: You can, but it makes it more fun if there’s a little game of it. And that’s really what um, Song of Solomon was talking about. Um, any time you see the words like “garden,” “gardening,” “come into the garden,” that was their clue. I mean, they weren’t talking about going to the gardening club and plantin’ some tulip bulbs there. They were talking about the very private act of intimacy. And so, you hear them use that all the way through the Song of Solomon. And so, it’s fun. I think that as you use your code words, then you get braver and then you do say things like, “Hey, Babe, how about now? We have five minutes.”
Bill: Right, but it’s because it creates the variety that matches the variety of our lives. So like, we really started to discover it during our seminar: Men are like Waffles and Women are like Spaghetti. ‘Cause Pam describes how men relieve stress.
Pam: They like their favorite easy boxes to go to. And their favorite box is that sex box. That free square in the middle of a bingo card that they can get there from every square on their waffle. And anytime in that seminar if we would even come close to talking about sex, the whole audience would yell back...
Bill and Pam: “Bingo!”
Pam: And so one couple...
Bill: And - and at the break - at the break a couple went out and bought us a little plaque for the wall that said, “Born to Bingo.”
Pam: And recently we were on um...
Jim: So they have your code word I guess?
Pam: Exactly. We were on a cruise line doing a seminar and one of the couples hunted down the rec team and bought the shirts of their back that said, “Have you been bingo-ed today?” to give to us. And so that’s our - we just slide a bingo card across the table and that means, “Hi! Hey! Interested!”
Jim: What are some of the code words that you’ve come across?
Bill: Well one that we heard that came from a pastoral couple, um, he began to realize, “You know what? I’ve been working really hard, have spent a lot of time away from my wife and we have gotten disconnected.” So, he talked to his sister and said, “Would you watch our kids? I - I just need to take my wife out for a date.”
And so, they did. They had breakfast together. And then they took a walk and they were talking. And - and he could tell, “Wow. We’ve really - we’re a ways away from each other.” So, he got a picnic lunch and went to a lake and they just sat and ate and fed ducks with...
Pam: And they talked.
Bill: ...the bread. And so, they just did that. Got carried away in conversation and all of a sudden, it was time to get home, ‘cause his sister had to get to work. So um, they got to the house. She said, “I’ll get the kids. You go tell your sister that we’re home.” So, he went in to talk to his sister and she said, “Well, how did it go?” He went, “Oh, it was great,” you know. “We just went to the park. We fed ducks.” And she went, “Oh, you fed the ducks. Oh.”
So, he went to his wife and said, “My sister thinks that we were like physical intimate and call it ‘feeding the ducks.’“
Pam: So, now they use it as a code word. Hey, you want to feed some ducks?
Jim: So, you can have some fun with it at this point.
Pam: Oh, it’s really a lot of fun. Like, if you’re kinda shy and you don’t even think you could say something out loud, one woman, she just when her husband was in the shower, you know how the mirror steams up, she would write, one to 10, how interested she was in red-hot monogamy that day. And um, 10 means come right home at lunch and one means, you might as well go golfing after work.
And so, you - you can have a lot of fun with it. When one pastor we know, noticed that um, every time his wife was in the mood, she happened to wear the same red tank top. So, just wearing the color red became their code word for red-hot monogamy. So, it can be anything, as long as you agree upon it ahead of time.
Jim: Pam and Bill, let me ask you this delicate question. Um, some in the Christian community feel that this topic is taboo, maybe even that the Lord isn’t pleased with it although He has created us in this way. What would you say to that couple that may struggle with even within the two of them, this kind of openness about their desire? Is it wrong, biblically, to have a desire for sex?
Pam: I think it’s right, biblically. I mean God said, “Leave and cleave and the two shall become one.” It was like a command right at the very beginning in Genesis. And so before the church was formed, before there was a tabernacle, before there was a temple, God said there was a marriage. And the gift that he gave to solidify that marriage was the gift of intimacy. And so it really is up to us to protect and regain that gift that God so graciously gave.
Bill: And the Bible’s very bold about talking about sexual intimacy, but it’s also very tactful. So, in the Old Testament, um, the Bible talks about knowing your spouse, because he wants to keep it tactful, but at the same time, be open and honest about it.
Um, in Genesis 1, we read they were naked and unashamed. When Adam took his first look at Eve, it appears in Hebrew that he broke out in spontaneous singing, ‘cause he was excited about his wife. And then as Pam mentioned, we have the Song of Solomon, which is all about romance and intimacy within the context of marriage. So, the Bible’s pretty up front about it, but the Bible’s tactful about it.
And one of the struggles we have is the world we live in is so out of control and has so corrupted the conversation, that we tend to think of it as something that’s depraved or that’s dirty or that wasn’t designed for good.
Jim: Well and I think that’s the point, because God has designed it for good...
Jim: ...within the context of marriage. But the culture, especially the Western culture has so debased sexuality, that it’s having a hard time finding its framework. And I think one of the other difficulties - I’d love for you to comment on this - the way that people, both Christian and non-Christian, tend to satisfy that spot in their heart through pornography or other things that again, are a fraud to the real deal.
Pam: Exactly. And you know, really pornography and what Satan has done to sexuality is, “I want to make me happy. It’s all about me.”
Pam: But the biblical frame of intimacy and red-hot monogamy is all about the other person. How can I encourage them and please them and build them up? Um, the Bible calls it “to know” in the Old Testament. So, your goal in intimacy is “to know” your spouse and be able to know what’s going on in their heart, in their life and even in the bedroom. That’s your goal, which is very other-centered, which is more like God. You know, have this attitude in yourself, which was also in Christ Jesus, considering others as more important than your - yourself, even in this area of red-hot monogamy, which is real opposite of the whole porn industry.
Bill: Well, and one of the reasons why we got into this discussion and - and why we wrote the book is, we know that people tend to believe what they hear over and over and over again. So, we’re living in a world that’s getting this sexual message over and over and over again, that’s shortsighted and it’s self-absorbed and that is ruining lives, rather than enhancing lives.
And if we are silent about the area, then we’re turning it over to people who are giving the wrong message. And the reality about physical intimacy is it’s really good for us. You know, people who have satisfying physical intimacy in marriage, they tend to be physically healthier. They’re emotionally healthier. They...
Pam: Live longer.
Bill: ...tend to have lower stress. They tend to be better communicators in all areas of their life. And they tend to be less frantic about getting all the other needs of their life met. But our world’s loaded with imitations. And that’s the problem with pornography is that it’s an imitation of the real thing.
Jim: I was told there was a men’s conference with a well-known pastor, who right at the beginning of his presentation hit this issue head on. It was a men’s conference, so he said, “You know, a lot of you I know are addicted to pornography and I want you to come down here right now and let’s start by gettin’ that out of the way.” And half the...
Bill: Oh, yeah.
Jim: ...group went down. I think people would be shocked at that, but is that a fair um...
Bill: Oh, it’s an epidemic.
Jim: ...assessment? And what do we do? What do we say as Christian leaders? How do we get people to unshackle themselves from that - that addiction?
Bill: Well, first we need to prepare men with the right mindset. Like it’s an assault. It’s not just a static temptation. Look, I know even when I was growing up, it was sitting over there. And if I wanted to go out of my way to get exposed to it, I could. Well, now it’s an assault. All you have to do is have a computer and it’s aimed at you.
And so, we need to gear men up that, hey, this is a battle that this is not just a simple choice that’s sitting over there. You ought to avoid it. It’s a battle. And we need to have that mindset that we are going to defeat the enemy on this one. And too many men have a passive approach to it. I don’t want to fight it, because well, if I want it, I want it to be there. And so, if I get too aggressive about it, then I can’t really have that option. Well, we have to prepare men, that this is a battle.
Jim: This is something to fight. Don’t give in to it.
Bill: This is something to fight. Be militant about it, because it’s comin’ at you. It’s not just sitting, waiting for you to notice it. It’s coming at you.
Pam: And it’s worth the fight, because pornography is kinda like swimming in a vat of battery acid. I mean...
Jim: It will destroy you.
Pam: That’s right. It...
Pam: ...will destroy you and it’ll destroy everything that you love.
Jim: John, I think it’s a perfect spot to say, if you’re in that position and you feel you are um, absorbed by pornography, call Focus. We have people here that are willing to talk with you and to give you advice and steer you in the right direction. So, I - don’t hesitate. Call. Um, Pam, men struggle with this obviously. I’m not sure to the degree that women struggle with pornography or if their husbands are struggling, what do they do?
Pam: There’s an escalating number of women that are also becoming addicted to pornography, just because of the media saturated world that we live in. But by and large, yes, the way that that will hit a woman’s heart is she will perhaps walk in and discover that her husband’s involved in pornography.
And there’s a couple of things that I want to encourage the women that are out in the audience, if this happens to you, know that it is common. Really good men, really good godly men get ensnared. It’s like Satan is that monster underneath the bed and grabs the ankle of that man and it is just insidious, that he throws a net over him and drags him underneath that bed of darkness.
Jim: It’s man’s weakest spot.
Pam: It is. And so, to know that you’re not alone, there’s many women that have battled this and have come out positive on the other side and their marriages have survived it. So, don’t give up.
The second thing is to say, “Honey, I love you so much, that I’m not gonna put up with this. I want us to team up. Let’s team up. The enemy is not you, sweetheart. The enemy is Satan. He’s trying to rob from us right now. So, I’m gonna hold out the phone. Are you gonna call for help or am I? ‘Cause somebody’s gonna call for help here.”
And um, then decide how many times am I gonna lose? Oftentimes when pornography enters into a marriage relationship, the woman says, “Oh, I must not be sexy enough and I must not be thin enough. It’s all about me.” And when your husband got involved in pornography, that’s one loss. If you turn it on yourself, that’s two losses now. And if you start feeling really bad about yourself and you get angry at your husband for making you feel that way, there’s gonna be a distance in your marriage. That’s three losses. If that distance keeps happening, the marriage is gonna fracture. There’s gonna be a divorce. That’s four losses. If you have kids, they’re gonna lose that intact family; that’s five losses. How many times do you want to let Satan win? I don’t want Satan to win at all in this area. Take it back, girls.
Jim: Oh, it’s good advice, Pam. One of the things that we’ll get mail here at Focus regarding is - is that question, how far do I let my husband go before I do something? There seems to be a variety of responses to that obviously.
Jim: Some women, one time and they’re already wanting a divorce...
Pam: Right, they’re out the door.
Jim: ...because they’re - they’re feeling that pressure that you so well described. What would you say to a couple where the woman’s just discovered that her husband’s addicted or at least looking at pornography? What - how should that woman respond biblically?
Pam: One is, don’t panic. It is not over. Um, it’s a battle. That doesn’t mean that Satan has won the battle. Get in there and fight for your man. He’s worth it. I mean, you married him for a reason, so now battle on his behalf. Call up your girlfriends, say, “Let’s prayer walk together.” You just - she doesn’t even have to know all the details. She doesn’t even have to know that - what you’re praying about specifically. She can just pray strength into your husband’s life. But the two of you can agree together to pray.
Call for a counselor, so you do have a safe place to let everything be known and you can get some good wisdom and insight. And that’s why I love Focus on the Family, is they for years uh, been a great safe place for women to find help and hope.
And um, then surround yourself by older mature women. Chances are, some of those girls have gone through this and they have made it to the other side and lean on their hope and believe on their ability to see that your marriage can make it. Because sometimes you just need to borrow faith and need to borrow hope and it’s okay to do that.
Jim: The one thing I’ve noticed with couples, who have gone through that, is oftentimes the trust bond after that is stronger. They actually can get through this and really have even a greater relationship because of the openness and the...
Pam: Right. Honesty.
Bill: Well, especially - especially if the man deals with what got him involved. Because men primarily get involved in pornography because their skill level is low. They don’t know how to handle stress. They don’t know how to handle the responsibility of intimacy. They don’t know how to handle the responsibility level of their life.
Pam: There’s some pain in their life...
Bill: And so...
Pam: ...they want numbed.
Bill: ...so they escape. Well, if a man comes out of this, if it gets his attention and he raises his skill level and now he’s a better spouse; he’s a better dad; he’s a better man. Now it’s all been redeemed and there’s this sense of victory together that they experience.
Pam: And it is powerful. When you win a battle, it’s like, “Woo-hoo! We’re teammates! Yeah, yeah!” And that adds that spark and that sizzle. It’s like, “We won; we took back this ground.” One of the chapters in Red-Hot Monogamy deals with when love is not red-hot, what do you do? And I like to say, “Let’s just...” - no matter what the reason is, pornography’s just one reason that it might not be red-hot; there’s lots of different reasons um, in our society. Look at it from all sides. Say, “Is this a physical problem? Do I need to talk to the doctor about what’s goin’ on? Is this hormones? Is it...”
Pam: “Depression, is it our age, medical issues? Um, is it some of the medications that are being taken?” And then look at it also from the emotional side. “Do I need to talk to a counselor, because of something in my past that I’ve gone through?” A lot of women have been um, molested and hurt and raped and all that kind of things are in the hearts of some of girls that are carrying pain. So, maybe they need that addressed as well as the men’s issue we’ve just talked about.
And then um, sometimes it is a spiritual issue. Maybe you’re a very powerful couple and Satan doesn’t like that. And so, he wants to try to rob from this very important area. And what we’ve seen is that couples that take it serious, that we want our marriage to count and they get down at the end of their bed and they just get on their knees and say, “God, this bed is Yours. And this area of red-hot monogamy is Yours. We invite You in to lead us, to um, encourage us, to heal us, whatever it takes, God. Rebuild and fan the flame. Give us all the hope and help that we need. It’s amazing the resources that God will start sending your way to help you have the red-hot relationship that He designed.
Jim: Bill, scripturally there is some debate within Christian circles about uh, the appropriate reasons for a divorce. It’s fairly narrow, but could you help us better understand what God’s Word has to say about grounds for divorce?
Bill: Well, the - the first thing that should be said is, there’s never a mandate for a divorce. You know, that there is a clear statement Jesus made about in the - in the case of unrepentant adultery; there is this statement Jesus made that - that the spouse can leave. But never says he or she has to.
Jim: In fact, that God hates divorce.
Bill: Right. And when you look in the Old Testament, God referred to Israel as an unfaithful spouse. And God sent His Son to redeem that unfaithful spouse and is unconditionally committed to that spouse. And so, God can give a lot of grace, that when we say, you know, we’re in it for life, there’s a grace that God can give. And so, again, there is that one instance in the unrepentant adultery, where in the Old Testament, there was a provision that those people would have been stoned to death. And so, of course, the spouse would’ve been free. And because God didn’t want to just kill off a whole bunch of people, He made this provision. But there’s never a mandate that we should be divorced. And so, our advice is always, move as slow as you possibly can.
Pam: Give God time to work.
Bill: Don’t - don’t ever rush to divorce, because all it takes to heal it is one breakthrough. And too often, people quit right before the breakthrough, because they for some reason, think it’ll never happen.
Jim: It’s a tragedy really.
Bill: It is.
Jim: People will write and say, “We’re getting a divorce because we don’t like each other anymore.”
Jim: Uh, that is not a scriptural...
Bill: Well, that could change quickly, very...
Pam: Yeah, very quickly, like um, you could have red-hot monogamy. You can go from really not liking your spouse, being on the verge of divorce, having divorce papers in your hand, to we’ve had couples that within months, “We’ve never been more in love.”
Pam: Because they looked squarely in the face of whatever it was, that obstacle. They got the help that they needed. They put the time in. They rekindled that romance and now they have a stronger relationship than they ever had in the past. And so, they have a love to look forward to. And I think that when you look at what God says is okay in the bedroom, I think that some of those parameters help protect red-hot monogamy. And we like to use the acrostic YES.
Bill: Right. ‘Cause you would think, with as much pain as this area has caused the human race, God would’ve given a long list. But He didn’t. He gave a few principles, because He wants it to be a relational decision. So, couples when they’re making sexual decisions together, I mean, if they’re yielded to one another, which takes the selfishness out of it, that I’m pursuing this in a way that meets your need rather than mine.
Pam: If it’s extended in love, no one should ever feel forced behind bedroom doors.
Bill: And the S is secure with privacy.
Pam: Just the two of you.
Bill: Should just be the two of you. And under those three things, God seems to give couples freedom to say, “You choose for yourself how you want to express your love to one another and keep it your secret.”
Jim: You’ve given us some incredible things to think about in this area, often taboo, uh, sexual intimacy within marriage. And uh, Bill and Pam Farrel, thank you for being with us here on Focus on the Family. Your book, Red-Hot Monogamy, love the title. And I would just challenge all of us in - in our relationships with our spouses, let’s be a witness to this world. Let’s have the best marriages we can have. And uh, if you can and you should, pick up Red-Hot Monogamy. Thanks for being with us.
Pam: Thank you.
Bill: Thank you so much.
Pam: Thanks for letting people have a love that a light to the world.
John: Bill and Pam Farrel are so good at bringing wisdom and encouragement for every aspect of relationships and they’ve done a terrific job today.
Jim: Right and that’s what makes them particularly such popular guests here on Focus on the Family. They offer strong insight and practical ways you can start reconnecting with your spouse each and every day.
And as we close out today, I want to remind you that we’re here for you. We want your marriage to be the best it can be. That’s why we do programs like this one - to give your relationship the boost it needs so that it can be a strong witness for God to the world around you. And when you need more help, if you’re struggling, call us. We have many resources available to you, including counseling and even our Hope Restored marriage intensive program. We also have the book we talked about today, Red-Hot Monogamy by Bill and Pam Farrel.
And you know these resources and this broadcast are all listener- supported. Your prayer and financial contributions are what fuels Focus on the Family. The Lord certainly guides and directs this. But you add the rocket fuel to make it go. And it allows us to minister to couples and families.
Right now, we have some generous friends of Focus who will match your donation dollar-for-dollar. Which means your donation will help twice as many families today. So join us in standing for marriage and helping families in the name of Christ!
John: And if you’ve thought about contributing to the work here at Focus on the Family but you haven’t done so yet, now is a great time in light of that limited time matching grant opportunity. So please, donate generously today and when you do, your gift is doubled and we’ll send a complimentary copy of the Farrels’ book, Red-Hot-Monogamy, as our way of saying thank you for joining the support team.
Donate and find resources at focusonthefamily.com/radio. Or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459.
Well next time you’re going to hear from Pastor Ted Cunningham as he talks about the impact anger has on your relationships, especially your marriage.
Ted Cunningham: How has my family paid the price? I would say my anger has been the greatest distraction in my life.
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