Male suicide rate worst since 2001, ONS reveals

Office for National Statistics reveals male suicide rate in UK has ‘increased significantly’ since 2007, while female rates have stayed ‘consistently lower’

The number of people killing themselves in the UK rose in 2013, official figures have revealed, as male suicides hit their highest rate in more than a decade.

A total of 6,233 suicides were recorded among people aged 15 and over, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, up 252 – or four per cent – on the previous year.

The UK suicide rate was 11.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 2013, while the male suicide level was more than three times higher than for females, with 19 male deaths per 100,000 – the highest since 2001.

The male suicide rate in the UK has “increased significantly” since 2007, the ONS said, while female rates have stayed “relatively constant” and been “consistently lower” than in men.

In 1981, 63 per cent of UK suicides were male, compared to 37 per cent who were female.

The UK suicide rate of 11.9 deaths per 100,000 population was last seen in 2004, it added.

Of the total number of suicides in the UK, 78 per cent were male and 22 per cent were female, the ONS said. Some 4,858 male suicides were recorded in 2013, compared to 1,375 female suicides.

The highest UK suicide rate was among men aged 45 to 59, with 25.1 deaths per 100,000 – the highest for that age group since 1981 and the first time that age group has recorded the highest rate.

North East England had the highest suicide rate among the English regions, with 13.8 deaths per 100,000 population, while London had the lowest at 7.9 per 100,000.

Women aged 45 to 59 had the highest female suicide rate with seven deaths per 100,000 population. The female suicide rate across the UK was 5.1 deaths per 100,000.

In England, the suicide rate in 2013 was 10.7 deaths per 100,000 (4,722 deaths), compared with 15.9 in Wales (393 deaths).

Suicide remains the leading cause of death in England and Wales for men aged 20 to 34, accounting for 24 per cent of all deaths in 2013, and for men aged 35 to 49 years, where it accounts for 13 per cent of all deaths.

The suicide rate among men aged 60 to 74 also “rose significantly” from its 2012 level to 14.5 deaths per 100,000 population in 2013. There were 672 suicides among the age group in 2013, up from 562 in 2012 when the suicide rate was 12.3 per 100,000.

In contrast, men aged 15 to 29 were the only age group to record a decrease in the rate of suicides in 2013 to 12.5 deaths per 100,000, compared to 13.6 in 2012.

Moving from success to significance

After leaving a discussion with almost twenty successful doctors, I realize how important my work is to others.  In my early years, I was considered this very successful businessman who looked like everything was perfect.  Big homes, Big cars, Big bank accounts but no peace or joy.

My passion is to go back and find those men who are on that same path and disciple them towards a road of peace, joy and fulfillment.  This new road took me over ten years to accept as gain and not loss.  I thought getting off the road of financial wealth and influence would lead to a road of death.  Not realizing that life and joy was found on the road as a follower of Christ and a fisher of men.

Who are you? Where are you going? Who are you following? Who is following you?

These three questions are what men must be able to answer before they self-destruct in the pit of material gain.  The scriptures speak on the deceitfulness of riches but we seem to ignore those words of wisdom. We follow what is perceived success while trying to heal the wounds on our hearts.

Encourage one another in love and take the time to get away and invest in your heart as well as your manhood.

 

Joel Wiggins

No Measure of Goodness

“Who else but the God of the Bible would come looking for me in a nightclub of all places,” said Derek Kelly. “Who else but the Lord would send a former Jehovah’s Witness to connect me with the gospel when I was lost, broken and had no measure of goodness?

“I knew about my need for the Lord at a very young age. I trusted Christ before I was 13, but I struggled with performing to earn God’s love rather than trusting in His grace. My unbiblical, performance-based understanding of God led me toward some really tragic moments on my journey.

“When I first got to high school, I saw it as my mission field, and I was outspoken about purity and my faith in Christ. But when a dating relationship got the best of me, I tried to hide and control that part of my life. I was desperate to keep that relationship going, but after my senior year it ended in rebellion, heartbreak, and ultimately an abortion. I didn’t want abortion to be part of my story, but it was too late. In many ways, I made that decision months before when I tried to control my sin, manage my life, and serve myself. I was playing with fire.

“When my child was killed because of fear and convenience, something inside me died. I began to spiral downward and believed that God didn’t want anything to do with me. I had an identity crisis and fell into depression, using every coping mechanism I could find.

“I started working as a bouncer at a night club. I was living a life that some people would say was awesome, getting paid to drink, fight, and meet girls who were just as lost as I was. I worked to foster an image of what other people would say was cool, but I was drowning my pain in the nightmare that was my existence. I felt nausea of the soul. I had almost grown sick of the entire atmosphere that was my life.

“It’s ironic that God used a girl at the night club to point me to Christ. I noticed that there was something different about Debbie the minute I met her. As we got to know each other, she mentioned a local Bible study she was attending and invited me to go with her. It was clear that the way I was run- ning my own world wasn’t doing me much good so, after blowing off the invitations for a while, I went.

“I don’t remember much about the sermon, but when the pastor said that the worth I’d been looking for in myself was put there to be fulfilled by God, I heard it. I learned that God valued me, but not because of my performance. Romans 5:8 says that, ‘God demonstrated His own love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ Through the lens of God’s grace the world looked different.

“Maybe six months later, after an on and off relationship, God brought Debbie back into my life. The Lord moved us both onto a road where we could get married. We are two people with very strong personalities, and marriage hasn’t always been easy. But God has used Debbie to challenge my selfishness and encourage me to be more dedicated to Him.

“God used a ministry called Equipped Disciple at Watermark to change Debbie’s life and mine. It’s almost like God put up a giant neon light that said, ‘I want to know you. This is where life is found.’ I learned how to spend time in Scripture with a God who actually wants to spend time with me. Through God’s Word, the Lord pursued me in a radical way.

“God brought me to a place where I would feel famished if I did not spend time in His Word. Community with other believers became the same thing for me too – an absolute imperative. We’ve been in the same group for several years, and together we’ve learned what biblical community really is. Before our community group, Debbie and I were like sheep separated from the herd. We needed a group to help us grow. Becoming fully known by other believers was a struggle. Community became among the most important things that has happened in my life. We’re all different, but one thing is the same – we all love Christ.

“Debbie and I both want to be effective for Christ in our own community. But we live more than 20 miles north of the Watermark campus in Dallas. It was hard to invite our neighbors to join us at church on Sundays when we were driving 45 minutes each way. Now that we’re part of the Plano campus, it will be easier to serve and engage with people in our neighborhood.

“The beauty of this walk with Christ is that I have not ‘arrived.’ I still choose to wound rather than heal in our marriage. I still have conflict with others. But the difference is that when I’m attacked now, I know where to look for the answers.”

Why Today is a Good Day to Die by Joel Wiggins


Why today is a good day to die.

Being a follower of Christ does not make me immune to the horrors of the world. The hatred and deceit that fills the atmosphere due to current events is all around me. I feel the temptation to hate others, isolate myself and point my finger at everyone. These feelings are all justified by my flesh.I too have a son who could easily have been Mr. Garner or Brown but for Your mercy. The strategy used by Satan to divide and accomplish his goal of killing, stealing and destroying is more apparent than ever. I understand more that Satan works in men to accomplish his will because he is our adversary, not men.

This is why I choose to die today. To die to my feelings of offense and hatred due to my belief that somehow I belong to myself. What is true? I belong to God due to the price paid for me by the blood of Jesus on the cross. Lord, please forgive me for thinking of the sins of men(including myself) instead of choosing to follow You and Your word. Thank you for Gal 5:24, 2 Corinthians 5:15-17.
My Prayer: “Lord, protect the hearts of men who feel despair and hopeless because of sin in the earth. Cleanse us from all unrighteouness and teach me to love my neighbors. Use me to bring Your kingdom to this lost world, today. Teach me to love the unloveable and to forgive my offenders while also forgiving me of all my sins. My trust is in You to protect and serve, not sinful men in a uniform. You are my Hero. Amen.”

Joel

Part Two: Mothers are You Raising Someone’s Spouse or Someone’s Burden? BY: LaDawn Elliott

In part one of my article titled “Mothers Are You Raising Someone’s Spouse or Someone’s Burden,” I addressed essential life skills that a young man should be taught to become a fully functioning, independent, self-sufficient adult. Basic life skills and values should be instilled in the very early stages of a young man’s development to give him a multitude of opportunities to consistently practice and implement them so they become routine thoughts and actions in his daily life.

Employing this knowledge and core set of values will allow him to be an asset in his relationships rather than a burden. Having the ability to contribute to a relationship by helping to complete chores, prepare food, manage money, make minor home and car repairs, and being a gentleman are basic hard skills that all adult men should bring to a relationship. However, being a good spouse requires soft skills as well. Mothers, again we can’t teach our sons to how to be men, but we can share valuable information with our sons on what women need and expect from them to be viewed as a good spouse and not a burden.

Mothers please teach your sons that there is a big difference between being the “Man of the House” and the “Head of Household.”

Head of Household

Mothers please teach your sons that there is a big difference between being the “Man of the House” and the “Head of Household.” Being born a man and being the adult male in the relationship makes him the undisputed winner of the “Man of the House” title. However, earning the title as “Head of Household” requires much more than having a penis. Mothers please share with your sons that understanding the importance of their role as husband and father, having the ability to lead, being loving, committed, honest, trustworthy, vulnerable, and consistently dependable are all required to earn the title of “Head of Household.”

Mothers your sons need to know that the title “Head of Household” is not a default title that is automatically issued with their marriage license and represents more than the box they check off when completing their income tax forms. It is a title that is bestowed upon them by their spouse and children based on their respect for and trust in him. Mothers communicate to your sons that men that hold the title of “Head of Household” are not perfect, are allowed to make mistakes, are allowed to have fears, are allowed to ask for help and are not expected to be superheroes that ALWAYS save the day. Explain to them that the title “Head of Household” is simply reflective of a man that willfully and willingly shows up to the game each and every day ready to play to the best of his ability.

Mothers teach your sons that they must be leaders in their homes. Share with them that they must set the tone and lead by example. The most independent, head strong, liberated woman and belligerent child will follow a man that they admire and respect.

How to Lead Your Home

Mothers explain to your sons that a woman must feel secure, protected, and loved in order for her to follow his lead. She must trust that he has sound judgment, will consider the well-being of others when making decisions, will honor and protect his family, and will be consistently dependable. Furthermore, explain to him that he must be comfortable enough with himself to understand that at times he must lead by following.

Mothers share with your sons that he must be vulnerable enough to ask his spouse for help when needed, and secure enough to step back and accept the help. Explain to your sons that this does not make him any less of a man or show a lack of leadership. Convey to him that it does show that he understands his limitations and is willing to place the needs of his family ahead of his ego. It also shows that he is secure in his role as a man and leader of his family.

He must recognize his role as leader does not negate his spouse’s role as a strong and viable partner. Teach him that he must be very instrumental in creating and implementing his family’s spiritual plan. Share with him that it is critical that his family knows that he is faithful and spiritually sound. Tell him that a family that prays together, stays together. Let him know that it is indeed a good thing for his family to see him openly worship, pray, praise and to be a blessing to others. Share with him that he must lead his family in prayer and teach his children to pray and give thanks.

Lead by Example

Mothers share with your sons that if they want their children to value education, that they must show an interest and take an active role in their education. Tell them that if they want their children to value hard work and be an upstanding contributing members of society, that they themselves must be the example and model what that looks like. Mothers express to your sons that if they want to be viewed as the leaders in their home they must not make excuses, shy away from their responsibilities, or blame others for their failed choices. Tell them they must instead consistently and courageously show up and do the work daily even when they don’t want to.

Why Leaders Can Be Flexible

Mothers please teach your sons that being a good spouse means being flexible. We all are defined by and locked into the way that we were raised. This can be especially true of men as it relates to roles and responsibilities the sexes play in relationships. For instance, if a man grew up in a two parent home in which the mother prepared all of the meals or a single parent home in which the male children were not given the responsibility of cooking, he may very well hold the belief that cooking is solely the woman’s responsibility.

Mothers you have to teach your sons that their future spouse will come with her own set of expectations based on her rearing and life’s experiences. Teach him that he must be flexible enough to collaborate with his spouse and collectively define what is right for their relationship. Teach him to be strong and secure enough to not blindly defer to and be confined by his family history nor defined by societal norms as the only way to do things. Teach him that he has to be receptive to creating the relationship fabric that works for his family and not succumb to peer pressure or dated thinking. As it could be very possible that his future spouse was raised in a family in which her father was a great cook and prepared all of the meals, and her mother enjoyed doing all of the yard work from mowing the lawn to maintaining the landscape.

As mothers raise our sons to be someone’s spouse and not someone’s burden, it is not an easy task. In order to do this we must cease doing things for them that will hinder their growth. We must raise them knowing that one day they will be first responsible for themselves and then a family. Mothers, ours sons are not puppets created just for our joy and entertainment. Nor are they created to fill our empty spaces. It is our job to teach and guide them and then release them into the world to stand on their own and soar. Mothers, we have great influence over our sons so be sure to use your power in a manner that best serves him and sets him up for success.

About the author
LaDawn Elliott wrote 6 articles on this blog.
LaDawn Elliott is a Relationship Life Coach, Relationship Advice Columnist, Speaker, Author of the life changing book “Through The Looking Glass: Love Deconstructed,” and the creator of Atlanta’s Premier Love, Sex, and Relationship website Lip Service Lounge. She has affectionately been dubbed the “Relationship Rescuer” because of her personal approach and the honest, practical, real-world advice she offers to couples. She enlightens couples in crisis by awakening their self-awareness; thereby empowering them to be conscious decision makers that are accountable for their thoughts, words, and actions. She is a highly sought after Relationship Coach, dynamic Speaker, and powerful Facilitator. GOD’s vision to strengthen and save the family unit one relationship at a time is her daily mission. Follow her on twitter: @LipSvcLounge, LIKE her Lip Service Lounge Facebook page, and Subscribe to her on YouTube.

How to Avoid Raising a Stuff Monster by Rich Bennett

It starts innocent enough. Begging for things in the grocery checkout aisle. A Christmas wish list that gets a little longer each year. Pleading for the latest video game, fashionable clothing item, or electronic thingee. And, as parents, we like to give good gifts to our children so we oblige — and maybe a little too frequently.

But before you know it, you have a home of Stuff Monsters, kids who value stuff as much — or maybe even more — than the people and relationships around them. In our stuff-obsessed culture where we are repeatedly told we must have the latest and greatest, it can be a huge challenge to raise a child who isn’t overly stuff centered.

And children who grow up obsessing over the next ‘stuff fix’ become the narcissistic, self-absorbed, deep-in-debt adults of tomorrow. How can you have healthy relationships in your life — let alone a close relationship with the One who died for our sins — if you’re perpetually focused on the next bit of stuff you ‘need’?

I’ll be honest, we’ve had seasons where one of our kids has struggled with a bit of an obsession over stuff. Times when my wife and I have had to pause and ask ourselves: Are we raising kids who care too much about their stuff? In our culture today, I suspect my wife and I aren’t alone.

Recently, I wrote about a trip our family took right here in the US of A to engage with the homeless and others in need. It was a fresh reminder of the reality that many — even here in our country — struggle daily to have their basic needs met. But you don’t have to leave the country, your city, or even your living room to help take your kids’ focus off themselves, and bring their attention to the needs of others.

One Antidote to Stuff Centeredness

Operation Christmas Child shoeboxesNext week is the official collection week for Operation Christmas Child. It presents you and your family with a great opportunity to fill a shoebox with very basic items — things we take for granted like toothpaste, a hair brush, a small simple toy or maybe some crayons — and give them to a child in need thousands of miles away. These are kiddos with so few things, that many keep the box itself to store things in — just to have one more thing they can call their own.

OCC presents every box to a child as a simple expression of God’s love, and as an opportunity to tell children who have little that the God of the universe loves them deeply.

Our family is packing our shoeboxes this week. This year, we’re also sending a stuffed toy lamb as just one more way to bring a child joy who may not have much, but receives a shoebox full of simple reminders of God’s love for them.

It’s an easy way to give out of the plenty we have to those who have much less. And to serve as a simple reminder that people made in God’s image matter far, far more than shiny, fancy stuff.

Rich Bennett (@coloradorich) is a contributing writer for Dad Matters and the Vice President of Ministry & Marketing Strategy for Focus on the Family.

Equipping Your Teen with Character By Tiffany Stuart

Why do today’s teens answer the question, “What is character?” with good looking? Since when did physical appearance become a character trait?

Society and pop culture send unchristian messages like:

It’s all about me.
Sex outside of marriage is the norm.
Girls must dress sexy to be attractive.
What’s at stake with this kind of thinking? Our culture’s moral compass — and our sons and daughters’ future.

Can we help our teens reclaim Christian values so their lives make an impact for Christ? Yes. Our influence still matters.

The cliché is true: Values are more often caught than taught. Jesus’ followers learned to be like him by modeling his behavior. “Follow me,” Christ told his disciples. They did, but not without questions, doubts and some resistance.

Sound familiar?

Actions speak louder than words. St. Francis of Assisi put it this way: “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching” (emphasis mine). For years, your teens have followed you — sometimes resisting, sometimes not. They determine what is important based on observing you. If this thought makes you cringe, don’t let your past failures stop you from showing love and patience today. Continue to grow in your relationship with God, so that your teens will see your faith and want to know more.

Faith. Hope. Love. So many positive character traits are reflected in the meaning behind these three simple words. If we want our teens to emulate these character traits, we need to live them out at home. Here are just a few to start with:

Humility

As parents, let’s make our wrongs right by saying, “I’m sorry.” Our sons and daughters will more easily forgive others when they’ve experienced forgiveness at home.

Gratitude

Teens need to hear us say, “Thank you,” when they watch their younger brother or load the dishwasher. Especially thank them if they confide in you. Teens tend to share their secrets and struggles with their friends, so if they pick you to talk to — stop and listen. Let them vent and cry if they need to. Offer understanding and a prayer instead of a long lecture. Ask them if they want your advice.

Self-restraint

When you do give advice, talk about how to handle temptation before your teen attends a party or a game. Encourage firm boundaries. Talk about the consequences of premarital sex. Share your testimony if it relates. To promote modesty, buy a fun and trendy — but modest — prom dress. When your teen is walking out the door, say, “I believe you’ll make wise choices tonight.”

Preach the Gospel

Who’s following your teen? Chances are, someone or some group is observing your son or daughter, whether it’s a classmate, teammate or coworker. Teenagers already have the opportunity to spread the light of the gospel. Most of their opportunities for talking about their faith in Jesus will come from first living their faith. This is what St. Francis of Assisi meant when he exhorted, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” Encourage your teen to live a life that emulates the faith, hope and love of Christ so anyone who’s watching will be attracted to Jesus.

Mercy

Are you showing your teen mercy when they need it?

I don’t always. For example, Justin got in trouble for laughing in class so I gave him the cold shoulder. My message? Shape up, buddy, if you want my love! A bad mom moment, I know. Whenever issues arise between me and my son, I try to remember that God’s unconditional love for us isn’t based on our behavior.

Next time your son or daughter disappoints you, shake things up a bit. Think of Jesus’ example with the woman caught in adultery. Offer a hug and forgiveness instead of a hard word and see what happens. There are times when that treatment isn’t the best option. But there are also times our kids desperately need grace. The Bible says mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13).

By offering mercy, my friend Beth saw results in how her teens responded to one another. Once when Beth disciplined her daughter, her oldest son interrupted and asked, “Mom, can you show mercy to her this time”

Compassion

If we show our teens compassion, they learn to be compassionate, which carries into their jobs, college campuses, relationships, and into their marriages. When people are hurting, they need a safe place and understanding — not judgment. Inspire your teens to be that place for someone in need.

Service

In a me-focused world, we need to challenge our youth to see beyond themselves. We start by serving our teen and others in need. Simple gestures go a long way.

Beth served her two teen girls by making their beds for them after they left for school. She helped them when they were drowning in classes and activities.

After driving past a homeless man, Scoti turned around and bought the best meal at McDonalds. Her teenage sons handed the meal to this man and said, “Take this in the name of Jesus.”

Our Christ-like examples are the most powerful influence to persuade our teens to be Christ’s disciples. We can equip our teens to offer the world something better — something of eternal value. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV).

Helping families thrive with the support of friends like you.
Copyright 2008, Tiffany Stuart. Used by permission

When Our Past Affects Our Parenting by Roy Baldwin

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:24-25

Shame is a very powerful emotion. It can live quietly in the shadows of our heart rearing its ugly head in moments we least expect. It recites a script we often lament, yet reinforces the very core of who we are…and the why behind why we might “hate ourselves so much.”

My script sounds like this:

“You are not worthy. How many times do I have to remind you?”

“See, you failed again.”

“Your best isn’t good enough!”

What does shame have to do with “the talk” you ask? It has everything to do with it.

You see, what you and I believe about marriage will ultimately show up in one of the most critical aspects of being a parent. You see “the talk” is not just talking about puberty, or the mechanics of “making love” and “where babies come from.” You see those mechanics are birthed out of the belief we have about ourselves and our view of marriage.

How “high” is your view of yourself and marriage? If not high…you could be leading yourself and your kids towards disaster.

Two Worlds Collided

Roy – My View

When Karen and I married in 1995 we were in our late 20’s and had been dating off and on for about 5 years. During that time we had experienced a long distance relationship, a broken engagement and many other significant challenges and trials. At one point, a pastor told Karen that we were not right for each other.

You see Karen and I had forged a pretty amazing friendship and for the most part we knew each other’s junk. We kind of knew what we were walking into when we said, “I do.” At least that is what we thought.

Our first few of years of marriage were tough…actually our 18 years of marriage have been tough but so much of our struggle rested in our “becoming one flesh…”

One of the BIG challenges for me as a young man was my identity. In my blog post, Hello My Name Is… I shared about my struggle with pornography.

Here is a portion of what I wrote and why it is so applicable to this post:

“I have always struggled to find those things that are good and loveable about me. I lived a life that I thought God and my parents would be proud of. I didn’t drink or party. I didn’t sleep around or have sex with girls. I remained a virgin until I was married. I didn’t smoke or do drugs. I followed all the rules…why did I feel so empty. I felt my performance (striving and fighting for my identity) would eventually win over the poor way I looked at myself.

Oh how I struggled internally. On the outside, I looked squeaky clean. On the inside I was a mess.”

You see so much of my identity was based on performance. I still struggle with the fear of failure and rejection. I need to know what I do matters.

Karen – Her View

I, too, grew up living a pretty wholesome life. The temptations of drinking, drugs or sex never entered my thoughts. The greatest deterrent from doing wrong was the thought of disappointing my parents. When it came to intimacy, I didn’t get it. The word ‘love’ was seldom spoken or displayed. We just knew it existed because of commitment and loyalty to family. Every once in a while ‘the talk’ would come up, which I interpreted as sex was not good. Though that was meant in the context of being unmarried, it was the only thing that had been shared with me.

In my teens and early 20’s, I experienced some traumatic “physical” acts that continued to send the message that physical intimacy was bad. So imagine laying all of my dark moments out there before I would consider marriage, thinking these things might make him run! I figured if he could accept me knowing the darkest of my secrets, our love could survive anything…and I would have an excuse for the things I feared.

Two Worlds Become One

Why is this important? Because our identity and our view of marriage is wrapped in our ability to love and be loved. The healthier that is the greater emphasis Karen and I will place on our children to be healthy individuals especially when it comes to determining who they want to spend the rest of their lives with, if they so choose that. Honestly, they need to know the mechanics of emotional wholeness as much as staying sexually pure.

Despite the fact we both came into our marriage with our sexual purity intact our emotional purity and our identities were broken and damaged.

So what do you do with your past? What if your shame is your identity?

You see “becoming one flesh” is not just a picture of physical intimacy. It is the joining of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual worldviews. Dr. Brene Brown writes,

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.

Karen and I have definitely had our share of struggles. Shame has crippled us in many ways based on bringing “our stuff” into our marriage. Our longing for wholeness in our marriage led to some of the most painful yet most rewarding aspects of our marriage.

Robin Weidner writes:

What a tremendous gift I can offer to my husband when I despise the shame, reminding him that his battle with addiction does not define him. And what a gift Dave gives me when he tenderly reminds me that my insecurities don’t mark me either, but rather make what I have accomplished more inspirational.

By making our marriage a shame-free zone, we’ve both found the grace and strength to make difficult changes. We do this through:

Talking about shame. One will share, “I’m feeling ashamed right now.” Or the other will ask, “Do you think there’s something bigger than this bothering you?”
Avoiding the language of shame. We make a concerted effort to share our own needs and feelings, rather than pointing fingers at each other.
Scorning the shame.As we come into the light with our battles, we put our trust in Jesus’ deadly blow to the shaming power of the accuser.
By routinely draining “pockets of shame,” Dave and I are learning that together we can be victorious, no matter what the struggle – as long as we engage the battle together.

As Karen and I look at our own children we want to set them up for success in some of the most important decisions they will make, most importantly marriage and family. Our desire is that they will see in their mom and dad, who are far from perfect, that vulnerability, authenticity mixed with love and grace can be the foundation in which shame has no foothold in their lives or the world of the one in which they will collide with someday.

About Roy Baldwin
Roy Baldwin (@baldwin_roy) is a contributing writer for Dad Matters and the Director of Parenting & Youth at Focus on the Family.

Husbands, 5 Phrases That Will Turn Your Wife On

What man doesn’t desire more intimate time with his wife? Sex is a healthy and necessary part of marriage. Without it, some marriages greatly suffer and frequently fail. Your goal, as a couple, should be not to ever allow that to happen.

Women, your husbands desire to touch you, kiss you, feel you. They’re men and the need for their sexual appetite to be filled is great. However, I recognize there are quite a few factors that affect intimacy in a relationship. It could range from health issues to simply being too drained or unfortunately not interested enough to make sex happen on a consistent basis. Husbands, with that being said, you have a responsibility as well. It’s not enough to simply desire intimacy with your wife, you’ll have to take a few positive actions in order for it to become more of a constant reality. Women have to feel desired, relaxed and excited about making love to their husbands. Men, you actually have more control over that than you think.

A loving kiss, gentle touch (in all the right places) are the easy turn ons for both women and men. However husbands, there are also a few simple phrases that could create the type of stimulation your wife needs. Here are 5:

“I’ll do those dishes”

One of the biggest reasons a wife isn’t always excited about intimacy is because she is too tired. Working a job or working in the home, raising a family and managing a household can be tiring. Anytime a husband can relieve his wife of one of her many responsibilities, the better. If you free her up with one of her tasks, she can make room for something a little more exciting, like sex with her husband.

“Dorn you fine!”


Husbands, sometimes your wife doesn’t feel as sexy as she should. Compliments from you that remind her of just how beautiful, sexy and desired she is, usually results in her wanting to demonstrate just how sexy she really is. The way you look at her should show how much you desire her.

“I’ll take the kids out for a little while so you can have some time to yourself.”

Wives need “me time” but won’t always ask for it. If you notice your wife seems a little frazzled, step up and give her some time alone. Her ability to regroup increases your chances of getting some.

“Can I rub your feet, your back, or wash your hair, etc.,”

Basically asking what can I do to help you relax will mean so much to your wife. Your being attentive and taking action will be sexy to your wife. When she sees you as sexy, it’s a turn on big time.

“Get dressed. I’ve planned a surprise date night.”

Telling your wife you’ve planned a night out, handled the babysitter and all she has to do is get dressed will turn her on in a way you can’t even imagine.

Husbands, the bottom line is that wives want to be considered. We want our husbands to recognize what we need and take action. Surprises are nice, touch feels awesome but you taking notice and relieving some of the daily pressures your wife feels is extremely sexy and could definitely lead you to that bedroom quicker than you ever thought.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter
Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and a Career Coach/Trainer. She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Ebony Magazine, Essence.com and on the Michael Baisden Show. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two children. For more of Tiya’s fearless life and love wisdom, visit her blog at www.theboldersister.com