When it comes to discussing the s-word, for many believers, it seems to be explicit content. I want to change that mode of thinking through a series of blogs. Come with me to rattle or revive your senses in addressing SEX because, if we want to raise sexually healthy kids (the Biblical way) who have sexually healthy marriages, it is worth addressing the issue amongst ourselves as adults.
A week or so ago, I was invited to fellowship with engaged and married women. At the end, we wives who were married for fewer than 10 years joined women who were married for 10+ years in a combined session. It was in this session that an amazing woman of God talked about how to have and sustain spiritual intimacy with our husband. Can you guess what her first point was, of which she thoroughly enjoyed sharing about? Yep…
As many know (some, too young), this activity is grrrrrREAT! It was beautifully designed by God for one man and one woman, in the covenant of marriage, to enjoy. It’s an act that, when done as designed, works wonders in other areas of our lives we can’t explain. Scientifically (because I like science alot), sex has been proven to reduce heart disease, greatly relieve stress, burn calories, be a natural antihistamine (great for colds and even asthmatics – I’m living proof), beautify the skin (hence the “honeymoon glow”), lower blood pressure, balance estrogen & testosterone levels and even combat migraines by relieving pressure (darn… guess I can’t use “I have a headache” as an excuse anymore lol). Most importantly, within the covenant of marriage, it glorifies God, the creator of all… kind of like a “thank you, Jesus!” for this gift, which you may inadvertently scream in the process of doing (LOL). But let me be HONEST…
… sex in marriage has NOT been my most desired activity or even viewed as THAT big of a deal. However, I’ve learned in the almost 8 years of marriage that sex is way more amazing IN marriage than outside of it and to be valued at such a level. With this first blog, I hope to share with you a major concern I have as well as some history we as believers need to know as it has trickled down into present thinking.
Some of you have grown up in a church setting or are familiar with the rules of the Bible concerning sex – that you aren’t supposed to have it until you’re married. I have the same background, understanding the rules of non-engagement – that sex was just an act exclusive to people who were married. There were a few moments when I was taught the “joy” of sex in marriage, but only in a sentence or two. Unfortunately, even though I knew what NOT to do, I did it and overtime lost the value of NOT doing it so it just became… sex. The fear or hesitancy – truly not honor for God or my future husband – that I felt in abstaining was belittled when I didn’t see or sense “immediate repercussions” of having sex outside of marriage (oh how the seeds of sin grow deep & over time). Sex soon became, for me, a power tool to get what I wanted when I wanted it and prove I’m just that good to have it. This is what happens when you are a “hearer” but not a “doer” of God’s Word (James 1:22). Or when you have a “form of godliness but deny the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5).
Unfortunately, my mindset is not special. In my interactions and conversations with young people, middle school to young adult (who are even minimally familiar with Christianity), the only context they know and are even taught about sex in the church is that it’s bad before marriage. While I am a STRONG advocate of this truth, I am also highly disappointed in the body of Christ and how we teach our kids about sex, especially how great it is IN MARRIAGE.
“Many young people… have been given a hundred sermons about the awful consequences of premarital sex but have rarely been fed with solid teaching on the redeeming aspects of marital sex. This unbalanced view has left them confused, hurting and ill-prepared to steward their own sexual desires.” Gary Thomas
Why do we teach and OVERLY emphasize to our kids that sex and the like, created by God, is primarily a BAD thing – to be avoided and receive dire consequences if prematurely engaged in – and then expect them as newlyweds to rehabilitate their thinking for a LIFETIME and sustain healthy, sexual intimacy in their marriage (w/MAYBE a few weeks of premarital counseling)?
Why DON’T we glorify sex in marriage MORE THAN we belittle it before marriage?
Because, historically, Christianity or the religion thereof, hasn’t exactly interpreted sex in the most Godly/Biblical way. God knew that what He created in sex would be such a powerful force among men and women that He had to establish boundaries. Commands. Eat all of the ice cream and sweets you want, and you’ll find physical consequences (tummy ache or cavities). So we eat with too much caution or regret versus enjoying the great tasting ice cream or sweet we are do have. Great spiritual leaders took the commands and boundaries and emphasized them so much so that sex became disengaged from the beautiful covenant of marriage it was intended to be glorified in. There was a plethora of unbiblical interpretations in years past that affect many of the doctrine taught and eerily exemplified today, such as…
- Sex is basically a transmittal of original sin (St. Augustine). So sex – period – passes on sin…so if I don’t have sex, I’m more sinless??
- Sex was created ONLY for procreation (for example, where some Jewish sects place high importance on preserving the bloodline). I have issues with this because 1) sex wouldn’t be so gosh darn pleasurable and 2) it excludes a married man and woman who cannot have children due to medical issues. I’m pretty sure their sex in marriage still pleases God. However, sex without producing a child (barrenness) in some Jewish sects is a legitimate reason for divorce. Wow…
- Being sexually pure is more spiritually honorable than sexual activity in marriage… like when the Council of Nicea started suggesting bishops – even married – remain celibate. So… a man-made/church title and its duties take precedence over a God-made covenant and its duties? I’m confused.
I’m in the midst of studying about sex and the church and no, I am not completely knowledgeable about all of the facts. One thing I AM noticing though is that sex in marriage has not been put in its proper, God-glorifying place. That even couples who promoted healthy sexual activity in the church were rarely praised or positively noted as much as those who promoted other spiritual pursuits.
Side Rant: In history and present time, I see a common habit where pursuing faith while married is often esteemed higher by church society than intimacy between spouses… like it is sometimes applauded how much one knows the Word of God, prays and fasts, yet in all of that, individuals are forsaking the marriage bed for weeks while the other spouse longs for them. Let me tell you: THIS HAS BEEN ME!! Even worse, I’ve abstained not for the sake of being Biblically astute, but just because I wasn’t feeling it (don’t act like you haven’t been there). I recognized it and then was awakened/reminded of I Corinthians 7 and hope to remind some of you as well. Prior to this verse, Paul tells men and women to basically remember their bodies are not under their own control to do what they want; conjugal rights of the husband belong to the wife and the wife to the husband. It goes on to say…
“Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:5
So go ahead, abstain for prayer or other duties that may come (ie church leaders who travel). But MAKE SURE you have discussed it with your spouse first and agree on the fact that you both will not be having sex for this LIMITED/SHORT time period. If it’s not going to work, you better get that extra plane ticket! lol Do you know how much stress we can avoid if we just talk to each other- apply this verse?? AND THEN… jump back in the game… or on 🙂 God clearly didn’t make you strong enough to sexually survive in marriage with JUST Him for long periods… Adam couldn’t do it, so neither can you. Side rant over*
Sex in marriage is ALL ABOUT God and intimacy, so how can we not enjoy it as much as reading the Bible or praying or fasting?? Just read Psalms… or Song of Solomon! That book alone has been analyzed so many times and now skipped over or minimalized to JUST an allegory of how Christ feels about the church. Although I do believe that is a theme, I don’t quite agree that particular book of the Bible is SEX-free… sensuality is ALL up in there for husbands and wives to glean from!
On a serious note, and even upon personal experience, it is beginning to make more sense as to why people in the body of Christ may feel uncomfortable discussing the GOODNESS of sex in marriage. You may even see it when people shuffle uncomfortably around married couples who are obviously physically attracted to each other (flirting, hugging, kissing hello/goodbye, hand-holding). In some way or another, our ideals of sex and its related acts have turned from something made by God for our pleasure and His in marriage (as seen in the creation of our reproductive organs and emotional beings, what he called GOOD – Genesis 1:31) into an act or just physical doings with no real understanding or grasp of its original purpose and value. As one who was molested twice as a little girl then so promiscuous later in life, I had to come to a point where my past and what did or did not happen or who was or was not there could no longer be an excuse or justified reason for my present actions. We have to either believe God’s ability to redeem and heal or believe Satan… and you don’t want to be caught in between.
I’m reminded of the recent episode of Beleaf in Fatherhood, an authentic stay-at-home dad who vlogs about parenting. He did a cupcake challenge with his kids who are about 2 and 4 years old. Vivacious…Fun-loving… Cool kids. He placed one cupcake between them and explained to them this was their cupcake. However, if they waited 6 MINUTES, they could each have their OWN cupcake. You could hear his emphasis on the latter as the boys responded with wide eyes and big smiles. With the one, yummy cupcake in front of them, you would think these little boys would get so excited and just dig in, especially since daddy wasn’t right there in front of them. But guess what? THEY DIDN’T. They understood fully the reward of one cupcake to themselves later was better than eating the cupcake in front of them now. These kids waited, played, argued and talked WITHOUT eating the cupcake!!! Why? Because their dad explained to them WITH EXCITEMENT the GREAT REWARD they would receive if they waited.
What if we as adults explained WITH EXCITEMENT the great reward and value of waiting to have sex IN MARRIAGE more than we emphasized the consequences of sex outside of marriage? (both still must be addressed)
What if our excitement, knowledge and love for sex in OUR marriage had the ability to empower them to wait for it in THEIR marriage… because SEX IN MARRIAGE IS SO GOOD? It’s like the scene in Love & Basketball, when young Quincy hears his mom and dad in their bedroom loving on each other. He lays in bed and smiles. I don’t know the exact reason why he’s smiling, but I can assume from later events it is because he loves the way his parents love each other, even in that physical way. I’m not sure if I want our kids to actually hear us having sex (being honest), but if they do, I pray to God it leads them to find its goodness in Christ IN MARRIAGE.
Views, perceptions, opinions, attitudes and even dispositions when the simple topic of SEX or related discussions can often be a reflection of its value in our marriages (which, right now, seem to have the same if not worse statistics as the unchurched). We can change that now. No, we don’t want to teach our children that sex is THE goal in marriage. However, we can teach them that it is INTIMATE, PERSONAL and such a BEAUTIFUL and BLESSED gift that the world is trying SO HARD to demoralize, hence God needing to set it apart in marriage with consequences outside of that design.
Pursuing intimacy via sex won’t just impact your marriage – it will impact your entire being. It will also inadvertently impact your children in ways, spiritually and emotionally, we may never understand. However, in God’s perfect design, He does and always planned it that way. I challenge you in this moment or before the week is over to write down your thoughts when someone says the words SEX and MARRIAGE together. Write down everything, INCLUDING past experiences related to sex in marriage. Then pray and allow God to show you where you’ve got it right and where He needs to lead you from wrong. Next week, I’ll blog more about this topic, sharing how a lack of zeal for sex may boil down to a lack of discipline and selfishness.
In the meantime, thank and praise God for the freedom you have in marriage with sex. Press past the lies of the enemy concerning sex in marriage and go ahead…jump on it! 😉
** Important Notice: If there is an extensive history of sex before marriage, sexual abuse or trafficking, homosexual exploration or activity, oral sex, molestation, pornography, sexual addiction, etc., please understand that there is healing individually that must take place, best under Biblical counseling and the shepherding of a pastor, to restore the pure purpose of sex. This will most likely also include raw accountability with trusted brothers and/or sisters of the Jesus-faith. Sex in marriage will NOT absolve the affects these things have in your life; it may often amplify the reality that help is needed. I highly encourage you, 1) if you’re not a believer, to seek God now while He may be found. Although the sin nature of man has always existed, it is NOT greater than the blood-stained love, mercy and forgiveness of God. A God who is not waiting for you to be perfect and get yourself together, but simply desires your confession of faith from your mouth and in your heart that He is Lord and wanting of you to be united with other believers in community, or 2) if you are a believer, first pray then seek counsel at the church you attend. They may recommend you to someone within the ministry or someone/organization elsewhere (every church is different). If in dire need at this moment, you can call Focus on the Family at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).