>Celebrating Marital Love: Theology of the Body Principles for Resolving Conflict & Enhancing Sexual Communication in Marriage

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Workshop: Marriage and Family
“Celebrating Marital Love: Theology of the Body Principles for Resolving Conflict & Enhancing Sexual Communication in Marriage”
Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak
Book: “Holy Sex”
Misunderstandings:
  • Anything sexual is a Sin
  • Church is backward, patriarchal
  • Church doesn’t want you to have sex, unless a baby is made every single time
  • And you should feel guilty every time you do it
  • There are very little teachings about sex, and don’t listen to Priests
Wrong Schools of Thought:
  • Keep God out of my bedroom: as long as I pray and give money to my Church; I can do whatever I want with my body
  • Sex is holy, in a dangerous way. Don’t touch it unless we have to: body and pleasure is bad: Leave it all alone
What is the truth?
  • Marriage is the Sacrament of sexuality
  • A path to sanctification and purification for husband and wife
People confuse Holy Sex with eroticism
  • Eroticism is Fool’s Gold. Holy Sex is the real deal.
  1. Both feel good.
    1. Holy Sex brings the sensual feeling to a greater experience of Spirituality
    2. But Eroticism sees that feeling as an end in itself
  2. Holy Sex is fueled by intimacy. Eroticism is fueled by arousal.
    1. Holy Sex: being there for each other the whole day. Real love.Falling into each others arms
    2. Eroticism: if you’re hot, do it
  3. Holy Sex inspires greater intimacy. Eroticism fuels shame.
    1. Holy Sex: Love: Doing good for the betterment of the other person. Willful commitment to work for your good.
    2. Eroticism: I feel used. Shame: a response to an emotional wound
  4. Holy Sex unites. Eroticism is selfish.
    1. Holy Sex unites 2 people into one.
    2. Eroticism alienates people from themselves and others.
      1. There are effects to the brain when we get physically involved with people / or even social relationships
      2. When we break up with someone, certain parts of brain are activated = which are the same brain parts that are activated when people are recovering from cocaine addiction
        1. That’s why it is so painful
        2. And why you want to go back to the relationship, even if it is not a good relationship
      3. More breakups we have, the more our brains get damaged: and we have a harder time making long term bonds
      4. More sexual partners before marriage = less stable marriage. Make and breaking bonds = make us have a harder time making bonds in the future
  5. Holy Sex is open to life. Eroticism fear kids.
    1. Holy Sex: Creates more beings to love! FAMILY. The love is so much that it takes 9 months to be given its own name
    2. Eroticism: Not about expansiveness, it is all about me! Children create competition. Narcissistic.
  6. Holy Sex looks after your health and well being. Eroticism brings disease and death.
    1. People are made to be loved, and when we are loved, we flourish
      1. Live longer, have better health
    2. If we are used, then we break down
      1. Causes major health problems all over the world
      2. 19 Million new STDs / infections yearly in the USA alone: AND NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING?
  7. Holy Sex becomes vital and passionate with time. Eroticism fades and dies with time.
    1. Eroticism dies in the presence of Marital Grace
      1. Because Eroticism is all about ME. Selfish.
      2. Holy Sex is about the other
    2. Holy Sex flourishes when the couple knows each other more.
5 Powers of Holy Sex
  1. Holy
    1. [Song of Songs / Ephesians 5]
    2. To make love incarnate (the only other Sacrament that does this is the Eucharist)
    3. Sign of Christ’s union with the Church
    4. Physical sign that points to deeper realities
  2. Sacramental and Sanctifying
    1. Make us everything God wants us to be
    2. Helps us get to Heaven
    3. Love your spouse so well that all their fears melt away
    4. Aids in our perfection by encouraging the development of virtues
  3. Physical Sign of God’s Own Passion for the Husband and Wife
    1. Ephesians 5: 32 – Christ’s union with the Church
    2. Look at my spouse and never doubt God’s love for me
    3. Wholeness! Experience the same as the eternal wedding feast
  4. Uniting Husband and Wife
    1. Sex creates hormones: You view the other person as part of your own self
    2. You end up looking more and more like the other person over time (attitudes, etc)
    3. The connection is addictive
  5. Power to Create Life
    1. Rejoices in creative power of love
    2. Commitment to a life that will outlive the couple themselves
    3. Value of marriage: Not that adults create children; but that children create adults.
    4. Children: a miraculous symbol of unity between husband and wife
Pregnancy, physiologically makes the woman more nurturing. But it does the same to the man as well! Causes them to be men and women; and not boys and girls.
The world sees pregnancy as a disease; the Church sees it as a gift.
Responsible Parenthood: Not only forming people; but creating Saints
We need to prepare to bring up our kids through every stage of their lives
Better to be childless, than to have Godless children (Sirach)
NFP: Is our love so powerful already that we are ready to bring a new child into the world?
And bringing that love into the FAMILY
Negotiating Sexual Conflict in Marriage
  • Being down on Eroticism does not mean we are down on Pleasure
  • Pleasure isn’t bad!
    • 1 Cor. 8: 1-4 = eat the meat, don’t praise their gods
    • The context is important
    • MUST NOT BE DIVORCED from Meaningfulness, Intimacy and Virtue
  • Real sex requires the integrity of the unitive and procreative act: Man must climax in the woman
  1. There needs to be continuity between daily relationship and physical relationship
  2. Always respect the dignity of each other as persons
    1. We cannot expect to be “paid” for services rendered
    2. “I pushed all the right buttons and now I deserve sex”
  3. Any sexual position, clothing, speech: Should be used to bring the couple to each other – not to that thing
  4. Lovers’ discomfort is reason enough to delay sex
    1. Feelings need to be respected, but they are not the be-all and end-all of the whole relationship
    2. “I am not comfortable to that” – start of an opportunity to reflect, communicate.
    3. What does that say about our relationship? Why am I not comfortable? What is missing? What does it take to be comfortable?
Objective criteria:
  1. Is it moral?
  2. Is there continuity? Living it out in our daily life
  3. What is the generous, self giving way?
When spouse asks me for something, that is God’s way of asking me to do something that I would normally not do if I was by myself.
  • Challenges me to be a better man of God
  • Grow in intimacy and unity
Song of Songs!

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