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Posts tagged ‘sex’

Marriage: Scheduling Intimacy

Putting sex on the calendar makes it a date to remember!

(by Jill Savage)

The young mom on the other end of the phone poured out her frustrations. She desired sex, but her husband could care less. As the parents of five, all under the age of six, they rarely found time for each other outside the bedroom, let alone inside. She confessed that she felt they were more like roommates than lovers. I listened with understanding. As a mother of five myself, I know the struggle of keeping our family marriage-centered, not child-centered. I know the difficulties in finding time for just the two of us. And I know the challenge of differing sexual drives.

When she finally paused to catch her breath, I explained some of the strategies Mark and I found to keep our marriage a priority. We talked about creative date ideas, inexpensive childcare options, and the importance of connecting on a daily basis. I asked her if she and her husband ever considered scheduling their sex life. She responded with an awkward silence.

Finally, she laughed and said, “You’re kidding, right? Sex is supposed to be spontaneous. Nobody schedules sex.” Pencil it in-in code!

For 22 years of marriage, Mark and I have been at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to our sex drives. Mark thinks about sex once every 17 seconds. I think about it once every 17 days. And this wasn’t our only marital challenge. Eventually, we found ourselves in a marriage counselor’s office.

Our differing sex drives were just one issue of many in our hurting relationship. During that healing season, we learned some new strategies for communication, conflict resolution, and compromise concerning our sexual differences. That’s when we first discovered the concept of scheduling sex.

At first, just like that young mom, we couldn’t get past the misconception that sex isn’t something to be scheduled. Who says sex should always be spontaneous? Movies, television shows, magazine articles, and romance novels, that’s who! If we’re not careful, we begin to use the media to determine what’s “right” or “normal.” But then, we’re using the wrong measuring stick. We can’t allow our culture or the media to set direction for our relationship. Instead, we need to apply our God-given creativity to find the time and set the strategies to make our sex life within marriage work. Once we were able to grasp that scheduling sex wasn’t such a crazy idea, we put it into place within our partnership. Today, we’re still amazed at the transformation it brings to our physical relationship.

How does planned lovemaking benefit a marriage?

Consider these advantages:

It eliminates “The Ask”

In most marriages, one partner possesses a higher desire than the other and requests sex more often, while his or her partner rarely asks for physical intimacy. For the spouse with a higher desire, the fear of rejection often sets in. One becomes weary of having to ask, or even beg, for sex on a regular basis.

When a couple can agree upon a basic schedule for sex in marriage, it takes the guesswork out. While this still leaves room for occasional spontaneity, it reassures the higher-sex-drive mate that it will happen, and not only that-they know when! Usually, the schedule is less often than the partner with a higher desire would want and more frequent than the partner with a lesser desire may want. Instead, it’s meeting on middle ground.

It increases desire

For the partner with a diminished desire, scheduling sex engages the brain, the largest sex organ in the human body. The brain needs to be clued to prepare the body for a sexual response. Most people who have a lower sexual drive simply don’t think about sex very often. Scheduling jumpstarts this process.

Once sex is on the calendar, it provides a reminder to think about sex, prepares us mentally for being together physically, and primes us to “get in the mood.”

When I complained to a friend about having trouble getting in the mood, she said, “Jill, you’re trying to go from making meatloaf to making love in 30 seconds flat? You can’t do that. You have to have a strategy for going from point A to point B.”

Rarely does the partner with an increased desire need to get “in the mood.” In contrast, the partner with a lesser desire may need to work at it. When sex is on the calendar, though, it serves as a prompt to set strategies in motion. Scheduling sex reminds spouses that they’re working together toward the goal of intimacy, valuing their appointed rendezvous, and doing whatever it takes to make it happen.

It increases anticipation

When lovemaking is kept on the front-burner, it builds anticipation. Both husband and wife begin to prepare for their marital recreation.

Have you ever thought of sex as recreation? It is! God gave us the gift of sex as a form of recreation in our marriage. It’s our own private playground where God intends for us to enjoy physical pleasure.

When sex is on the schedule, we enjoy planning our time together, because we both hold the same goal. We can even become a lifelong learner of giving pleasure to each other. Keeping a couple of Christian sexual technique books on the shelf may develop us into connoisseurs of giving physical pleasure to each other, and it builds anticipation as we think about the next time we’ll be together.

It allows for prime-time planning

He prefers nighttime when he can be romantic. She prefers daytime when she’s not so tired. They decide that twice a week lovemaking is on their calendar-Tuesday at noon (he comes home for lunch and she arranges a sitter for the kids) and Friday at night (after a warm bath and an evening of watching a movie together or going out on a date). This schedule worked well for one couple we mentored.

Most couples not only differ in their desires concerning frequency of sex, but also in the atmosphere that’s conducive to sex. Some struggle with making love anytime children are in the vicinity. Others prefer a certain time of the day. When you put your lovemaking on the calendar, you can work to accommodate those likes/dislikes to meet the needs of both.

It helps couples prepare physically

I used to tease my husband that once we got on a lovemaking schedule, it sure took the pressure off shaving my legs every day! On a serious side, there’s value in preparing yourself physically to make love to your mate. A hot bath or shower, a freshly-shaved body, and some great-smelling lotion often relax us for physical intimacy. It also builds anticipation as you prepare to be with your spouse.

If weariness keeps you from being excited about sex, an early evening nap may be just the key if lovemaking is on the agenda that night. Since some of the guesswork is out of the mix, we can prepare not only mentally, but physically.

It builds trust

If we’re going to commit to lovemaking on a regular basis, we need to honor our word and agreement. When we honor our word, it builds trust and deepens intimacy. On the rare occasion that something prevents your regularly scheduled lovemaking, spouses need to communicate their value of sexual intimacy so they can make alternate plans to meet those physical and emotional needs. This is the key to successfully calendaring your intimacy.

Several weeks after that initial conversation, I spoke with that young mom. Her voice held enthusiasm I hadn’t heard before. I asked her how things were going, and she indicated that she and her husband were working on some new ways to energize and invest in their marriage.

She concluded by saying, “Now don’t bother calling Friday around noon, because no one is going to answer the phone!” I knew that she learned the same secret we learned years ago. While spontaneous sex may have its place in life, scheduling sex always has its place on our calendar!


Jill Savage ( serves as the executive director of Hearts at Home ( She is the author of four books including Is There Really Sex After Kids? (Zondervan)

A Female Perspective: What I Wish I’d Known Before Watching Porn

SOURCE:  Lauren Dubinsky/Huffington Post

Pornography is a charged subject, and it’s a word that rarely crosses the lips of most women. Yes, there are now breeds of the modern woman who watch, talk and joke about it regularly, but most of us still stay farther away from speaking the word than we actually stay away from it.

Over the last couple of years, men have begun to enter the discussion, but women have remained primarily silent. For most of us, it’s still the men’s world, but statistics show that, at least in Australia, more than one-third of pornography viewers are women. Just last week, I received an email from a girl who leads a small women’s group; they’d just discovered that every single one of them were watching porn.

When I was in high school, pornography was on the long list of “bad things” that I didn’t know much about — and unfortunately also on the list of things I had participated in. Nevermind why I was watching it, the how is the same for nearly all of us: We stumbled upon it because of someone else. And none of us knew what to expect, or how to handle it.

Later in life, I caught myself remembering how I used to watch it for a few minutes here or there, and wondered strictly out of boredom if it would fill the big, empty space of loneliness in my late nights. There were no parents around to hide from anymore, and no one checking my Internet history. Pornography was easy, and I never exactly knew why it was bad, particularly since I wasn’t actually having sex. To me, it was just something dirty that you probably shouldn’t have anything to do with. But “probably shouldn’t” never stands up against loneliness and boredom.

I am not one with an addictive personality. Meaning, I binge and then drop things quickly. I knew this about myself, and so I used this as an excuse for watching pornography. (I also used it as an excuse for getting wasted at other times in my life, but that’s besides the point.) I’d watch porn every night for a couple weeks, then not at all for a few weeks. Always off and on. Clearly I wasn’t addicted. Just like I smoked and never became addicted to nicotine and drank, but never became an alcoholic. I was just watching it, and could stop anytime I wanted. No damage done, because I was still in control.


Not really.

Nicotine still seared my lungs, and alcohol still did some decent damage to my liver and personal life. Just because we aren’t addicted doesn’t mean it does no harm. Even while I wasn’t “addicted” to watching pornography, I always wanted more. It existed as a guaranteed time-filler and pleasure-bringer, and when you get an hour to yourself, that’s an easy default. An easy default activity that establishes a heavy precedence in what you do with your next bad night.

I wish that 10 years ago someone had educated me on pornography. What it is, what it does and what it reaches in and destroys in the hearts, minds and bodies of men and women.

I wish that someone would have told me that researchers have suggested it sabotages your sex life.

I wish someone would have explained how dopamine, the chemical that is released every time you experience pleasure, drives you to return to what provided that feeling before.

I wish someone would have told me that the kind of pornography you’re most turned on by is usually linked to a corresponding hurtful event in your life, further injuring your brokenness.

I wish someone would have told me pornography would normalize things I wasn’t emotionally or physically ready to handle in my relationships with men, making me feel like I had no options or control over my sex life, filling me with much regret and physical pain.

I wish someone would have told me I would begin to objectify men, build up images in my mind and think of sex day in and day out, to the point where I couldn’t remain focused on anything else.

I wish someone would have told me it would make me feel less valuable to men and bring up insecurities for years in the bedroom.

I wish someone would have pointed out pornography can establish your sexuality completely apart from real-life relationships, causing huge problems in your intimacy with real significant others.

I wish someone would have explained what “sexual anorexia” was and that countless young men are unable to get erections because they’ve been watching porn since they were around 14 years old.

I wish someone would have told all the men I’ve dated that the porn they are watching is keeping them from being turned on by me, ultimately destroying our relationship.

I wish someone would have told me that the dopamine and oxytocin being released from my watching certain types of pornography would cause me to question my sexual orientation, which in turn cost me relationships with friends.

I wish someone would have told me it would subtly create a “victim” mentality in my mind, causing me to be even more sensitive than I already was to catcalls, whistles, and even sincere compliments.

I wish someone had talked about how women watch it too, so I wouldn’t have had to spend years living under the shame that comes with being “the only one” and thinking there was something wrong with me.

My “I wish” list is nowhere near complete, either. In the end, I simply wish someone would have told me why it was so harmful, instead of simply putting it on a list of things we don’t talk about. We all know our rights and wrongs, but seldom do we know what makes them so. Had I known how much it would have harmed me, I would have left it alone.

If you’re a woman who has watched pornography, or is watching pornography, studies are now showing that we make up more than one-third of pornography viewers. It’s no longer a taboo topic, and I would personally like to give you permission to speak openly about it. I guarantee you that you have friends who watch it, and are desperate to talk. Even in your church. Especially in your church.


Lauren Dubinsky

Lauren is a 50/50 left-brained/right-brained extroverted introvert, and is an awkward clash between a Southern Belle and a West Coast mover and shaker. She’s a tech and arts girl, adores photography, and is slowly learning that she lives to love and loves to write. She writes & blogs on living life well, sex & relationships, dealing with pain, becoming a good woman, and being the kind of Christian that people don’t hate. She also runs

Pornography and the Integrity of Marriage

Rightly understood and rightly ordered, marriage is a picture of God’s own covenantal faithfulness. Marriage is to display God’s glory, reveal God’s good gifts to His creatures, and protect human beings from the inevitable disaster that follows when sexual passions are divorced from their rightful place.

The physicality of the male and female bodies cries out for fulfillment in the other. The sex drive calls both men and women out of themselves and toward a covenantal relationship that is consummated in a one-flesh union. By definition, sex within marriage is not merely the accomplishment of sexual fulfillment on the part of two individuals who happen to share the same bed. Rather, it is mutual self-giving that reaches pleasures both physical and spiritual.

Consider these two pictures. The first picture is of a man who has set himself toward a commitment to sexual purity and is living in sexual integrity with his wife. In order to fulfill his wife’s rightful expectations and to maximize their mutual pleasure in the marriage bed, he is careful to live, talk, lead, and love in such a way that his wife finds her fulfillment in giving herself to him in love.

The sex act then becomes a fulfillment of their entire relationship, not an isolated physical act that is merely incidental to their love for each other. Neither uses sex as a means of manipulation, neither is inordinately focused merely on self-centered personal pleasure, and both give themselves to each other in unapologetic and unhindered sexual passion.

In this picture, there is no shame. Before God, this man can be confident that he is fulfilling his responsibilities both as a male and as a man. He is directing his sexuality, his sex drive, and his physical embodiment toward the one-flesh relationship that is the perfect paradigm of God’s intention in creation.

By contrast, consider another man. Directed inwardly rather than outwardly, his sex drive has become an engine for lust and self-gratification. Pornography is the essence of his sexual interest and arousal. Rather than taking satisfaction in a wife, he looks at dirty pictures in order to be rewarded with sexual arousal that comes without responsibility, expectation, or demand. Arrayed before him are a seemingly endless variety of naked women, sexual images of explicit carnality, and a cornucopia of perversions intended to seduce the imagination and corrupt the soul.

These two pictures of male sexuality are deliberately intended to drive home the point that every man must decide who he will be, whom he will serve, and how he will love. In the end, a man’s decision about pornography is a decision about his soul, a decision about his marriage, a decision about his wife, and a decision about God.

Pornography is a slander against the goodness of God’s creation and a corruption of this good gift God has given His creatures out of His own self-giving love. The deliberate use of pornography is nothing less than the willful invitation of illicit lovers, objectified sex objects, and forbidden knowledge into a man’s heart, mind, and soul. The damage to the man’s heart is beyond measure, and the cost in human misery will only be made clear on the Day of Judgment.

Adapted from Desire and Deceit 2008 by R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Related Ministries

Our Best Sex Advice

For 20 years Marriage Partnership has offered real, biblical, practical insight for bedroom issues. Here are 20 of the best.

Planning It’s funny-a wife will put great effort and planning into meal preparation, but we think sex should be spontaneous. It’s as if you were to go into the kitchen blindfolded and start taking things off the shelf and say, “Okay, we’re going to have a spontaneous meal.” It doesn’t work that way. You have to plan for it, set an attitude for it. The same is true of sex, but we don’t do it. We think that, without energy or planning, we can get into bed when we’re the most tired and have wonderfully fulfilled sex. If we want wonderful sex, we have to plan for it-and then communicate to our spouse what we think is wonderful.
-Mary Ann Mayo, Fall 1990

Evaluate priorities
We need to be careful we aren’t always putting something else ahead of sex: Nightline, paying the bills, getting our child her third drink of water. It’s too easy to think, Oh, well, there’s always tomorrow. Sometimes we need to heed the feelings-follow-actions dictum and decide to have sex.
-Elizabeth Cody Newenhuyse, Summer 1991

Men and aging
As a man ages he will require direct penile stiumation to get an erection, rather than responding to visual stimuli or thought stimulus. This may actually enhance lovemaking for the couple, because the man and the woman will become more similar in their arousal responses.
-Cliff and Joyce Penner, Fall 1992

Giving pointers
Expressing positive messages during sex enhances the experience for both spouses. In contrast, criticism and sexual arousal just don’t mix. When we’re aroused, we are open and vulnerable. So avoid making negative comment about your husband’s approach while the two of you are making love. If there are times when you feel you must take “corrective action” during sex, state your desires positively. For example, instead of saying, “You’re pressing too hard,” try saying, “A lighter, whispery touch would feel wonderful.”
-Cliff and Joyce Penner, Spring 1993

Nonverbal cues
Consider the importance of nonverbal communication during your sexual times together. Once you’ve taught each other what is most effective and enjoyable for each of you, then you can incorporate that knowledge into your lovemaking by using nonverbal signals. You can lovingly move each other’s hands to the place where your body hungers touch. You can move your own body to get the stimulation you desire. You can also decide to use prearranged signals to let each other know when some activity has become negative, or when some other touching would be more positive.
-Cliff and Joyce Penner, Spring 1993

Simultaneous orgasm
The myth that simultaneous orgasm is the epitome of sexual fulfillment is based on a number of false assumptions. First, it assumes that two people get aroused and then respond at the same pace. That is highly unlikely. Second, it assumes that goal-oriented sex is more fulfilling than pleasure-oriented sex. On the contrary, goal-oriented sex can interfere with fulfillment by introducing demand, anxiety, and often a feeling of failure, all of which hinder the body’s natural response mechanism.
-Cliff and Joyce Penner, Winter 1994

Don’t underestimate kissing!
Keep kissing, passionately, every day. Kissing is the barometer of the state of your sexual relationship.
-Cliff and Joyce Penner, Summer 1997

Not interested?
Sometimes I wonder if women really understand how intense the male sex drive is or how intrinsic a man’s sexual fulfillment is to his self-acceptance. Remember men and women are different. If our wives had our testosterone levels, they’d be a lot more interested in sex. Of course they’d also have beards and hair on their chests. It could also cause liver damage-so don’t slip testosterone into your wife’s coffee.
-Louis McBurney, Spring 1998

Get some rest
Sleep-deprived spouses are not sexy, so before you can revitalize your love life you’ll need to get some rest. Take a nap. Go to bed tonight when you get the kids to sleep. We actually have advised parents to have a sleep date. Get away for 24 hours, but spend the first part of it sleeping. Until you overcome some of your sleep deprivation, you won’t be alert enough to concentrate on loving each other.
-David and Claudia Arp, Spring 2000

What’s Okay?
In marriage a couple may do anything in their sexual play that meets five specific criteria: (1) It’s just the two of you. (2) You allow mutual respect and agreement to guide your choices of sexual play. (3) It causes no pain physically, emotionally, or spiritually. (4) You keep the focus on your relationship. When having sexual release becomes an addiction driven to levels of compulsive behavior, replacing the connection to your spouse with various stimuli that are essentially fantasy based, you rob your marriage of the most crucial part of intimacy-the blend of relational and sexual connectedness. (5) It doesn’t always take the place of genital union.
-Louis and Melissa McBurney, Spring 2001

How often is normal?
It’s as if there’s some grand scale of “normalcy” that everyone wants to fit in. Just because you don’t have the same libido as your wife’s friends’ husbands doesn’t indicate an “abnormality.” This isn’t a competition. There’s no normal frequency of intercourse. It’s whatever is right for you as a couple.
-Louis and Melissa McBurney, Spring 2004

Crockpots vs. microwaves
Men can become aroused in 2 to 3 minutes (and sometimes 30 seconds!)-but women take 10 times a long. That’s 20 to 30 minutes to become as aroused as her man. Marriage won’t turn a Crock-Pot into a microwave! Remember, the first description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 is, “Love is patient.”
-Shay and Robert Roop, Spring 2005

Not now
A woman may say, “I don’t want to have sex,” but her husband hears, “I don’t want to have sex with you.” Saying, “Not now” instead of, “No” lets a husband grasp it will happen, just not at that moment. But be sure to make time for intimacy within the next 24-48 hours or hubby will start to believe that “not now” is the same as “no.”
-Shay and Robert Roop, Spring 2005

Sexual zones
Become a student of your spouse’s sexual zones. A woman has more erogenous zones that just her breasts and vagina. Explore with her, and discover where she’s most responsive. Kiss, stroke, or caress each body part. Ask, “How does this feel? Does it make you tingle? What would make you feel even more tingly-if I caressed less or more?” Remember that although it’s good to work toward climax, the journey is pretty unbelievable too.
-Gary and Barbara Rosberg, Winter 2006

Different kinds of sex
So often couples feel the pressure to have “perfect” sex-complete with earthquake, fireworks, and multiple orgasms. Not every time you have sex will be a “bell ringer.” And that’s okay, because you’re both connecting. Sometimes sex will be a quickie to meet the need of the moment. Sometimes it will be functional sex, or just because sex, when you think, I’m not in the mood, but my spouse needs me right now. Sometimes it may be comfort sex, when life has brought devastation and the only comfort and security is to be found in the arms of your spouse as a lover. You’ll be ahead when you understand that the different kinds of sex point to the ultimate reason for sex: the relationship. The goal is not whether you end with a climax. The goal is that you’re connecting as a couple.
-Gary and Barbara Rosberg, Winter 2006

Say “Why not?”
What if you started to say, “Why not” to your spouse? Let’s say your husband calls you and announces, “I’ll meet you at home; we’ll enjoy some lunch-and each other.” Instead of lamenting the lost opportunity to run an errand, respond, “Why not?” Or when your wife e-mails you and announces, “The kids are going to be at sports practice for two hours. If you come home early, I’ll make it worth your while,” don’t think of that backlog of paperwork on your desk. Respond, “Why not?”
-Gary and Barbara Rosberg, Winter 2006

Sexual problems
Every couple except maybe one or two in the entire universe will have sexual problems at some point in their marriage. Anyone who tells you otherwise is misleading you. Every man is going to suffer from three major issues at some point: impotence, premature ejaculation, and delayed ejaculation. The good news is there are ways to work through those, so don’t spend so much time fretting over them.
-Debra Taylor and Doug Rosenau, Spring 2007

The big O
The big O is not orgasm. The big O is oneness. It’s not how great the bodies, how great the orgasm. It’s, Was that a loving experience where we shared with each other? Was it contributing to our oneness?
-Christopher McCluskey, Spring 2007

Initiating sex isn’t the only way to express sexual desire
Most of us typically think of sexual desire as a hunger for sex-often with sexual thoughts or fantasies-that prompts us to initiate sex. It turns out, however, that most women experience a receptive type of sexual desire. For many women desire is “triggered” by thoughts and emotions arising during sexual excitement, not before. So when a husband becomes frustrated because he wants his wife to pursue him sexually and he believes that she has no interest in sex because she doesn’t do that, he’s actually not giving her enough credit! Most women will respond positively to sexual advances-they just don’t initiate them because that’s not the way they were designed. By recognizing that most men are proactive with sex and most women are reactive, and then by accepting and respecting those differences, we can allow a woman’s type of sexual desire to “count.”
-Debra Taylor and Michael Sytsma, Summer 2007

Good in bed?
We have to fight against taking our sexual responsibilities for granted. On the day we marry, we gain a monopoly. Our spouse commits to have sexual relations with no one else. Regardless of whether we act thoughtfully, creatively, or selfishly in bed, they receive only what we provide. Without any competitions, some of us, quite frankly, simply stop making an effort. Do I want to reward my wife’s commitment to me, or do I want to make her regret it? Do I want to bless her, or take her for granted? Do I want to be a generous, enthusiastic lover, or a miser reluctantly doling out occasional “favors”? When the Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:4 to keep the marriage bed “pure,” the application goes far beyond avoiding physical acts of immorality to include inner virtue.
-Gary Thomas, Winter 2007

Copyright  2008 by the author or Christianity Today International/Marriage Partnership magazine. Spring 2008, Vol. 25, No. 1, Page 46

Men and Sex

(by Barbara Rainey-Family Life Ministries)

May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine.

Song of Solomon 1:2

A sphere in which we wives, for the most part, do not really understand our husbands is in how their identities as men are vitally linked to their sexuality. Sometimes we women judge our husbands’ sexual needs by our own.

Many wives express that they are offended because their husbands are such sexual creatures. This attitude communicates rejection to a man. To ignore his sexual needs, to resist his initiation of sex, or merely to tolerate his advances, is to tear at the heart of his self-esteem.

In her book To Have and To Hold, Jill Renich states, “Sex is the most meaningful demonstration of love and self-worth. It is a part of his own deepest person.” And Dr. Joyce Brothers writes, “By and large, men are far more apprehensive when it comes to sex than a woman might believe.”

Those statements seem contrary to popular belief, don’t they? Modern men are portrayed via the media as always being confident and assertive sexually.

George Gilder said in Men and Marriage:

The truth is, the typical man worries a lot. He worries about his sexual performance, his wife’s enjoyment, and his ability to satisfy her. A man who feels like a failure in the marriage bed will seldom have the deep, abiding self-respect for which he longs.

But, as Jill Renich writes, “To receive him with joy, and to share sexual pleasure builds into him a sense of being worthy, desirable and acceptable.” To please your husband sexually is to build his sense of value as a man.

As you spend time together physically, be sure to reassure your husband verbally of your unconditional acceptance of him, especially if he is insecure in this area. Tell him that you like his body and that his imperfections and mistakes don’t matter to you. His confidence will grow if you allow him the freedom to be himself and to be imperfect.

Discuss: Have you understood how your husband’s sexual need is linked to his identity as a man? Is he confident in this area? Discuss this together as a couple. Pray: That God would give you the ability and the desire to meet your husband’s needs while also experiencing fulfillment in this area.

Excerpted from “Moments Together for Couples” by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.
Used with permission. Copyright 1995 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

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