The Fairest Sex (Sanctity of Marriage, #6)
What’s this? A Christian blog post devoted entirely to sex? Who would have thought? Not me. I know how it is. Walk into a church and mention “That 3-letter ‘S’-Word”, and then watch the reactions you get. Raised eyebrows, scowls, a few gasps, and maybe even a few whispered, “Let’s keep our kids AWAY from that one!” And if you’re really lucky, that whisper just might be combined with a raised eyebrow or two. It’s become a taboo subject in our churches. Sure, we still teach saving sex for marriage. But sometimes we stop at that basic restriction, and that leaves many wondering, “But what about God’s plan FOR sex?” Sadly, those people may not be brave enough to voice the question, so they’re left either harboring secret questions, or seeking out answers from outside the church, which we have to admit isn’t the best option. But when we think about the possible reactions they might get from their congregation, their choice does make sense. God created sex, and it is certainly discussed in His Word–many times over! So why can’t we discuss it? Let’s face it, people get plenty of information (and lies!) about sex while they are out in the world. And if we really are being faithful about teaching God’s Word, then we also need to teach people the truth about sex, which surprisingly enough–is hidden all throughout our Holy Bibles. Below is just one example of the many passages that directly address sex.
I Corinthians 7:1-5:
“Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (NKJV)
Directly from these verses, we see that:
25. Marriage creates an avenue for our lusts to be fulfilled. “…because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.“ So does this mean we should get married, just to satisfy our sex drives? I’d have to agree with Jeff Foxworthy on this one, when he said “Getting married for sex is like buying a 747 for the free peanuts.” It just doesn’t make sense. First of all, you’d run out of those peanuts and then end up paying for more every time you run out. Plus, no matter how ‘nuts’ you are for peanuts, they just aren’t worth the cost of a plane. Sex is great, but the cost of marriage is high. It’s a life-long commitment that you don’t want to leap into JUST for sex. I hope that you’re going to get much more than just sex from your marriage, but we see in the Bible that it is one of the fringe benefits. It’s also nice that once you’re married, those “sinful desires” that you had when you were single, aren’t sinful anymore. They are now pure! Go ahead, imagine your wife in that beautiful piece of lingerie she wore on your wedding night. Think back to the way you felt last Valentine’s Day when you laid in bed, and your husband was holding you in his arms. Oops, did that make you want sex? No biggie. Go ahead and pursue it. After all, she’s your wife. He’s your husband. And sex within marriage is a beautiful gift, given to us by God our Creator. That gift is more than just the gift of sex. It will be with you when you’re tempted to look at another man or woman. It will be with you when you’re tempted to look at sexually explicit material. And it will be with you when another man or woman tries to seduce you into an adulterous relationship. A great sex life with your spouse is deeply satisfying. It will lessen lustful desires and give you strength to withstand sexual temptations. Thank you God, for such a wonderful gift!
26. We are not to sexually withhold ourselves from our spouse. “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.” Paul says here that we are to give our spouse “the affection due” to them. When you said, “I do”, you immediately owed your spouse sexual affection. The marriage commitment isn’t just a promise not to divorce. It’s a commitment that requires daily attention. One ring, one marriage license, and one spoken vow all combine to make a wedding ceremony. The marriage, however, is built each day as we give our spouse the love, service, and affection that we promised them on our wedding day. We owe them the fulfillment of that promise, and the Bible tells us not to withhold sex from our spouses! I’m sure many a husband would LOVE to quote this passage to their wives! But the truth is that they shouldn’t need to. Why? Because they don’t need to do anything to earn that affection; you’ve already promised it to them–with no strings attached. Statements like, “If you do the dishes, I’ll make it worth your while tonight!” may seem sexy or exciting, but they also tell your spouse that they have to earn sexual affection. And not to be harsh, but doesn’t that almost sound like you’re getting paid to have sex? He does the dishes in return for sex? You wouldn’t want your spouse to give you money in return for sex, so please don’t expect acts of service either. If he wants to do the dishes, great! But don’t expect him to do chores just because you gave him some action. This is NOT God’s design for sex. It is to be freely given, out of love. It isn’t earned. And while we’re on it, excuses such as “I’m too tired”, or the infamous “I have a headache,” just don’t hold up against Scripture. Don’t get me wrong. I understand that we really are sometimes too tired or too sick to have sex. But sometimes, we’re just making excuses. Excuses have the power to destroy the sexual intimacy that you do share, as they can leave your spouse feeling undesirable or unworthy. Make sure your spouse knows that you desire them, and only say you’re “too tired” when you literally can’t do another thing. If you still have enough energy to cook dinner, wash dishes, and pick out clothes for work tomorrow; then you aren’t “too tired” for sex. And if you really are too tired, then make sure sex is a priority tomorrow. We all make time for the things that truly matter to us, and trust me–Sex is one of those things!
27. Your spouse has authority over your body. “‘The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” I stumbled across a blog post that addressed the changes the sexual revolution has had on women. Though the author didn’t explicitly address this issue, one statement she made fit this issue perfectly. She wrote, “The sacrificial message of Jesus is, ‘This is my body to be given up for you.’ The world’s message is, ‘It’s MY body and I’ll do whatever I want with it.’” She hits the nail on the head. Marriage symbolizes Christ and the church, and Christ gave Himself up for the church. In the same way, we are to give ourselves up for our spouse. You freely give yourself to your spouse, withholding nothing. It comes down to our focus really. Are we being selfish, or self-less? Unless you chose the latter, your marriage can never be its very best. Being self-less, of course, doesn’t mean being a doormat, and it doesn’t mean giving up all of your hopes and dreams. But it does mean that you’re willing to change your dreams out for his, if the need arises. In regards to feminism today, this is seen as a cruel, harsh, discriminatory, old-fashioned message. And even though I do believe that woman deserve equality, “the sexual revolution swung the pendulum too far in an effort to achieve justice. It got rid of God’s design for sex and the relationship of husband and wife.” Granted, not all feminism is bad, but a woman should be cautioned that hanging onto “female empowerment” could possibly destroy her marriage. Giving yourself up for your husband isn’t admitting that women aren’t as good as men. It’s simply embracing the marriage you’ve already committed to, and loving the man who’s chosen to love you (even on the days he fails to follow through). Marriage IS giving yourself completely to someone else. It is mutual submission: Men and women giving themselves up completely, for the sake of their spouses.
28. Mutual separation should only be for the purpose of prayer and fasting. “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer.” In a previous post, I looked at divorce and the question “Is divorce ever okay?” Here we are not looking at the concept of divorce, but of separation. Today separation seems to be a stepping stone for divorce, or even a waiting period until the divorce is final. It can be a dangerous thing. A husband and wife begin by sleeping in separate beds, but before long they are in separate houses. He’s camping with his buddies fairly often. She’s going home to visit Mom every weekend. And the divorce papers are soon to follow. I’ve seen it happen in the best of marriages. So if it’s so dangerous, why do it? Here’s the rule: “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer.” Or in today’s language: ‘Don’t do it, except when it is (A) a mutual decision, and (B) for the purpose of devoting yourselves fully to fasting & prayer.’ The reason separation is such a slippery slope today is that this rule isn’t followed. Separation should NEVER be used simply to spend time apart from your spouse. Distance leads to more distance, and many times bitterness has time to take root during these times. The old saying “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” only holds true if the heart is already “fond” before the distance comes. Putting distance between you and your spouse during times of tension will not bring the two of you closer. The purpose of separation isn’t separation. It is for another purpose all-together: “that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer.” So separation should only be for the purpose of fully seeking God. If you have marital troubles, you may simply want to get away from your spouse, have time to yourself, or seek the desires/dreams/hopes that you may have given up in the busy-ness of married life. But if that is the case, separation is NOT a Biblical answer, because those personal motives of separation are NOT the Biblical goals of separation. Instead, take some time to seek God and His Word. Dive into your relationship with the Lord. Seek counsel from Godly, wise people. Any other motive for separation is not of God, and is not led by God.
29. Mutual separation should only be for a limited duration. “…come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” “…except with consent for a time…” Separation can be dangerous in many ways. It can lead to distance in your marriage, and can be a slippery slope toward divorce. But it can also be a slippery slope toward sexual immorality. This goes back to the beginning of the chapter: “…because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.” We were created with a desire for sex, and marriage provides the means for that desire to be fulfilled. That desire is not sinful, but Holy and God-ordained. However, a mutual separation in which a husband and wife choose to focus themselves fully on God is also a Holy and God-ordained thing. Spouses who do so will come away from the experience both renewed in their faith, and better equipped to love and serve each other. But their sexual desires don’t go away when they choose to abstain, and that abstention will lead to temptation. This could manifest itself in the form of an affair, pornography, or even just lustful thoughts. For the sake of your marriage, consider these temptations when beginning a separation, and don’t assume you are strong enough to withstand them. Instead, agree with your spouse on a time to come back together, and then seek the Lord in prayer. If you begin to feel tempted, go to your spouse and end the separation. There is no shame in ending a separation earlier than intended. On the other hand, sexual immorality–in the name of prayer and fasting–is not God’s plan. And doing all you can to avoid that temptation is honoring both to God and to your spouse.
To women reading this post, check out one of my favorite blogs, “Loving Life at Home” by Jennifer Flanders. And if you like it (and I know you will!), then consider buying her book: Love Your Husband, Love Yourself: Embracing God’s Purpose for Passion in Marriage. The Kindle edition is than $5 on Amazon, and it’s worth MUCH more if you ask me!