A Conversation with Bill & Pam Farrel

With their trademark insight, humor, and candid personal perspectives, the Farrels reveal the truths about the sexual relationship in marriage and what husbands and wives need to know to keep the embers burning.

In the book you mention research that says, if a couple has a thriving God connection, they will have a better sex connection. Why do you think that is?

(Bill)I think it’s because they are really connected. God doesn’t want to be just an add-on to our lives, he wants to be connected in every area of our life. So when you engage your heart in worship, when you engage your heart in bible study, when you engage your heart in a small group of people that believe in long-term marriage — your heart tends to get set that way. And all the skills you need to be a good lover God produces in your life when you seek Him.

(Pam) The bible is clear that our love is a light to the world. In the New Testament, our intimate life is compared to Christ’s love for the church.

(Bill) Right. It’s very clear one of the most powerful evangelistic tools we have is our love for one another. And when we are unified spiritually, emotionally, socially, and sexually, there’s a picture put out there for people to see exactly how Jesus loves the church. So, in many real and tangible ways, when you are in love with each other and it’s being expressed in all ways, people take notice and get more interested in a relationship with God.

What made you tackle this topic? Not exactly an easy Christian subject…

(Pam) We have this huge need to know how to fan the flame on our love life, but nobody’s talking about it. We think that God has the best information about sexuality because he designed it.  The Song of Solomon is a whole book in the bible dedicated to marital love. God made it a priority in his word — we think it should be a priority too.

The physical relationship can be a source of pain and frustration. How would you encourage those couples?

(Pam) It is possible for one person to affect change by choosing to focus on the positive. By looking for that positive trait in their spouse, taking the high road and going over the top by blessing, encouraging, and affirming — that will warm up an ice-cold relationship.

We saw the power of encouragement on our honeymoon. I had stepped out of the shower and while blow-drying my hair, I looked in the mirror and criticized every imperfection I saw in my twenty-year-old frame.

(Bill) And I got frustrated. Here I am on my honeymoon and Pam is criticizing herself. All of a sudden a brilliant thought hit me: Instead of getting mad at Pam, I had her look at me and I said, “Pam, let me be your mirror. If you need to know how beautiful you are, and what a great woman you are, come see me and I’ll tell you. And if I have to break every mirror in our house for you to believe me, I will. Because from now on I will be your mirror.”

I saw such a fast change in Pam that I know she believes what I say. If I express her value, she will know she’s beautiful; she will be confident; and she will believe she can do what God has called her to do. But if I become critical of her, she will believe that also.

Get more — Free! e-book — Les & Leslie Parrott's, The Good Fight

(Pam) You really do help create the spouse you’re married to by your words of affirmation.

(Bill) For couples that are hurting, I think it starts with recognition that this whole intimate, sexual side of life is complicated. We’re emotionally sensitive to it, we get hurt easier in this area, it requires us to be confident, it requires us to be healthy, and it requires us to give of ourselves to other people. That’s why great marriages tend to have supportive environments with men who try to reach their wife’s hearts on a regular basis. And those marriages tend to have good sexual relationships.

The place to start is learning your part, taking steps to do things a little different. Trusting God that he will use your efforts to change your spouse.

Couples need to be intentional about romance, don’t they?

(Pam) Absolutely. I think you need to be intentional about your whole intimate life. We use the acronym TIME to help describe a healthy love life.

Talk together and connect emotionally for 10-20 minutes daily.

Invest in a weekly date night, an oasis where you can be each other’s lover. And on this date night, you shouldn’t be talking about problems with the kids or finances; those are mood killers. Bill and I have two separate times during the week, one of those times is a calendar business meeting and the other night is when we can be just be us — that’s our date night.

Take a Monthly day away. What are the things you did when you were dating? Take 8-10 hours away to have fun. Spend time together and re-connect.

Escape Quarterly (or at least bi-annually) for 48 hours so you have one time during the year that is just about you.

(Bill) The general rule is, the more mature your relationship is, the more deliberate you can be. And the more responsible your relationship is, the more deliberate you must be.

Copyright © 2006 Growthtrac.

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About Jim Mueller

bio-jim-muellerJim is the founder, with wife, Sheri, of Growthtrac Ministries as well as Program Director of GrowthtracRadio and the architect behind growthtrac.com. Jim holds a B.S. in business management and is a facilitator for PREPARE/ENRICH, the most widely used customized couple assessment tool. He has authored numerous articles, interviewed leading relationship authors and Christian artists, and has contributed to Dr. Les Parrott’s book, The Complete Guide to Marriage Mentoring. Jim has worked for more than 15 years to help premarital couples and married couples build and maintain healthy relationships.

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