A little more... Holy Moly!
And the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh
Sex is God's idea. He put the desire for sex into our hearts, into our minds and into our bodies. God's plan is beautiful and without sin. Man, however, changed God’s plan in the garden when Adam and Eve first desired to be equal to God, sinned and realized that they were naked. From that point, the perverseness of this first sin continued, and still continues to grow. But, the God-given desire for sex between a husband and wife is holy! And because it is holy, the devil does his best to pervert this beautiful act and destroy God's plan. One of the ways that the devil attacks God’s plan is through man’s God-given keen sense of sight. Men notice each curvy bit of a woman's body - in the Garden of Eden, Adam burst into poetry when he viewed Eve for the first time (Genesis 2:23-25). Today, Satan uses man’s keen sense of sight to ensnare husbands through what they view on the internet and in what they see when a woman walks down the street with a nice swing or bounce. In this way, Satan uses what God intended as a benefit for man to harm him and cheapen His purpose for His creation. Another example starts with how God made men and women chemically and physically different. The biggest chemical difference between men and women is in the production of hormones. It is widely known today that testosterone, a powerful hormone, a natural aphrodisiac you might say, flows through a man's body. The production of testosterone only lessens by about 1% each year of a man's life. Because of this, a man’s sex drive remains stronger than a woman's sexual drive throughout the course of most marriages. Most women desire sex 1-2 times a month compared to their husband’s daily interest (Dr Harley’s book -His Needs, Her Needs). This is not the perversion. Men are not dirty or base, and they do not chose this interest. Instead, this interest in sex was woven into the fabric of man’s being from the beginning of time. And women, we are not cold with our less sexually-active hormone of estrogen. Rather, this is also how God designed us. God is not surprised by our varying interests in sex. That is why he instructs us how to patiently love each other well (Ephesians 5: 33). But Satan, seeing an opportunity to destroy marriages, whispers lies in our ears. To men Satan says, “You deserve to have your needs met; go to whatever length necessary to meet them." And to women, he whispers that “sex is dirty” and we are "no man's slave.” With these lies Satan distracts us from loving our spouse well – he tries to cause a stumbling block and a trap for one or both spouses that leads to committing adultery, either of the heart or in a physical affair. But God knows that if husbands truly love their wives more than they love themselves and if wives honor their husbands, married life would be grand, sex would be fulfilling and plentiful, all sexual needs would be met, marriages would be strong, and He would have the stable environment we need for Him to work His plan for our spiritual growth! Satan realizes that this grand life would edge him out of the family, and I am sure he hates the thought of marriage being used for sanctification. For this reason, he continues to seek ways in which he can destroy God’s perfect plan for marriage (1 Peter 5:8). It is important for us then, as Christians, to understand our enemy so that we do not fall into any of his traps. The Christian marriage is under attack! If you don't believe me, just look around you. The evidence of this attack can be seen and felt in every church and in many families. So, my purpose for today's blog is to shine some Gospel light on the battlefield – I want to help you prepare for this battle with Satan. Further, I hope to unpack some of the issues facing marriage today. Some are unseemly, but all need the light! Don't be frightened, God is victorious! Open your heart and keep reading, friend!
I remember a skit I once saw at church camp about the trap of sin. In the skit, a man is walking along, minding his own business, when he comes across a bucket filled with a mysterious and wonderful goodness. The bucket is labeled “sin,” but the man can’t see the label – only the audience can see the label. The man is curious about the bucket's contents. He looks around to ensure that he is alone and then peers into the bucket. He then slips off a shoe and puts a toe into the bucket. He giggles and snickers with delight. The man quickly takes his toe out and looks around to see if anyone is looking. Ensuring that the “coast is clear,” he happily plunges his entire foot into the bucket; a second later he puts the other foot in as well. Eventually, however, his happiness is replaced with sadness as he realizes that he is now stuck in a bucket of sin. The man tries to get out, but can't. This is a vivid image of the initial pleasure and secretiveness of sin. It is also “spot on” in showing that though sin is often initially appealing, the separation from God that it leads to is unbearable. I believe a version of this scenario is playing out in our country and in almost every church today. I know this is a sensitive subject, but here I go. Keep reading.
The sin of pornography. I sometimes hear from women that their husband has a decreased interest in sex. Because I understand hormone production and the power of testosterone, I can only think of a couple of plausible reasons for this. First, this could be the result of a medical condition that negatively impacts testosterone production (please see your doctor – a blood test can determine if this is the case). Second, this could be the result of an issue with either repentance or un-forgiveness within the marriage – either or both can stifle lovemaking in a marriage. Third, this could be the result of the husband getting his sexual needs met elsewhere. Often, this elsewhere is pornography. Pornography is running rampant in our culture. And, it has extended its tentacles around the men of the Christian church! The APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology (Volume 2) reports that 50-99% of all men consume pornography on a monthly basis. Though these numbers are staggering and sad, they have emboldened me to speak out. You see, pornography is not a new problem. But because of the ease of the Internet, pornography has become an epidemic. Pornography has been around for generations – it probably started in caves and with rudimentary drawings. In an earlier day, men, if very determined, could buy a magazine depicting scantily-clad or nude women. They would have to find a store outside their city so that no one would see them. They would have to carefully wrap the magazine in a brown paper wrapper to cover it when they brought it home to hide in a dark closet. A negative stigma was attached to this behavior. But contrast that experience to the one many men face today. Any man, in the privacy of his own home, can look at anything he wants with total anonymity. Actually, the smart software built into internet searches seeks men on-line and will hound them with solicitations of beautiful faces of inviting women requesting a second glance. If a man has not had his sexual needs met, this can be very tempting and can eventually become addictive. And just like in the skit I mentioned earlier, men can find themselves trapped in this bucket of sin with no way to get out.
Let’s consider for a minute the ramifications of what is happening with this increase in the viewing of pornography – God’s design that a man be attracted by what he sees has become perverted. It is quicker and less work for a man to watch a tantalizing sight on the Internet and achieve sexual release than it is for him to invest in the foreplay and build-up to sex with a woman. The Internet offers him an easy way to love himself more than he loves his wife. For some husbands, this way to sexual fulfillment is much easier than it is to brush their teeth, take a shower, woo their wives into bed, and say caring things that create a mood conducive for romance. But, these actions are part of the “love your wife more than your own body” commandment. God gave men this commandment because He knows a man’s heart and knows that men need this special instruction. Likewise, God is not surprised by our depravity. God warns us to watch the gates to our heart – our eyes (Matthew 6:22, Matthew 5:28 and Psalms 101:3.) Husbands, if this is an issue for you, confess the sin, accept your forgiveness and do not wear the shame (Romans 8:1). Get some help, talk to someone you respect in the Faith – someone who understands grace! Satan loves secrets, isolating us in our shame and keeping us alone in a bucket of sin. But after you have confessed your sin and accepted God’s forgiveness, forgive yourself too. Walk out of that trap and in a new found freedom! Keep reading – God is bigger than this problem. Rely on the Holy Spirit and find an accountability partner. And, do not give up!
The sin of willful disobedience. Now wives, we have our issues in the bedroom as well. I hate to be told what to do, and I imagine you might as well. It’s crazy, but when I see a silly sign or receive a ridiculous instruction like “pull up to the first window and pay for your order,” I can’t help but want to respond with, “Really, no thank you; I think I’ll just sit here and let you come get my money!” Ugh, don’t tell me to do the obvious! I remember a few years ago when I came across a sign in a ladies room that said, “Do not put X Y Z in the toilet.” Duh, they had to put up a list! I was dumbfounded and aggravated. Instead of feeling sorry for the old plumbing, or the person who would have to fix the toilet, I began to consider what I had in my purse that was not on the list that I could put in that toilet. Lipstick, comb, small mirror, pack of gum – none of these items were on the list. Ha! You can’t control me, I smirked! So what does this have to do with today’s topic? Simply, if you look at sex within your marriage as an “I have to,” you will come up with many excuses to say no. But if you think about sex as an, “I get to,” the whole game is changed! Do not put sex on your “TO DO” list, for if you do, it will become a chore. Instead, see it as a gift; a gift that only you can unwrap and enjoy! You get to have sex with your husband and ROCK HIS WORLD!
When I visit with young couples, the frequency of sex and the lack of the wife’s initiation is on the top of many a husband’s list. Since we, as females, are starting in the “hormone hole,” so to speak, and have less desire chemically, it makes sense why part of God’s instruction for wives is to honor their husbands and their requests. A beautiful thing is that the more you love your man, the more desire you will have for him. That is the truth of why love is a verb, and the biggest reason for my title for this series of blogs. Wives, there are some things that we can do to close the “desire” gap. First, I suggest that you purposely think about sex more often. If you consider that your husband may have thoughts about sex 10-15 times during the day, and it dawns on you only when you see the gleam in his eye after he crawls into bed, then Sister, you are behind! Second, set a reminder on your phone, to chime 3-4 times a day, that says, “T.S.” – Think Sex. And when you see it, think about your husband’s great qualities. Pray for him and remember why you fell in love with him. And in this way, and when your husband gets that gleam at bedtime, you won’t be caught off guard. Instead, you will have already considered the idea of sex yourself and will be more willing to jump in!
Selfishness in Sex. The beauty of lovemaking that God intended for us is the epitome of loving your spouse well. This is founded on the Biblical principle of loving others more than ourselves. There are no real guidelines, but plenty of room for creativity and fun. But, I would suggest a few possible considerations to determine what should or should not happen in your marriage bedroom. First, sex needs to be mutually rewarding. Both spouses should have the pleasing of the other as their primary goal. Second, God should be honored by any and all parts of the experience. By this I mean that God’s design should not perverted – everything done should be done in love and must not be unkind to the other. Third, if either spouse is uncomfortable, stop immediately. Discuss openly any issue that is makes sex uncomfortable. Pray about it and wait until you are in agreement before considering trying it again. What I often hear when meeting privately with wives is their husband’s selfishness in this area. Wives report that husbands make requests that are self-serving and facilitate sexual fulfillment for the husband at the expense or even exclusion of his wife. There is nothing about this kind of love-making found in 1 Corinthians 13 (1 Cor. 13: 5). Husbands, if you are to truly lead your family well, it must begin in your bedroom. When God instructed you to love your wife more than your own body, He was instructing you to have her pleasure as your focus, not your own. Paradoxically, if pleasing your wife is your goal, you will end up with even more pleasure. A possible reason why oral sex is now a preferred sexual activity for so many is because it is showcased in pornography. In pornography, the man is being pleasured with no thought to his partner’s pleasure. This self-serving act is the farthest thing from sacrificial love that I can think of. Now, I am not declaring that oral sex is wrong, but if it is your exclusive act or your overwhelming favorite, you probably need to discuss the reasons, and perhaps examine your heart. Ask yourself, “Is this my favorite because of my self-centeredness?” Or ask yourself, “Is there a part of my heart that needs to be redeemed from an unseemly image or a video that is playing in my head?” I believe that oral sex plays a role in foreplay, but I hurt for the wife who is never cherished and only feels loved if she performs this as the “main event.” And, I am not surprised when I hear her state that she feels unloved and unvalued.
The unforgiven sexual sin. Now some young wives are hindered by un-forgiveness that effects the temperature of the bedroom. If either spouse has had sex before marriage, they may associate sex with sin. My experience in talking with couples leads me to believe that this feeling is more common in women, but it can be an issue for men too. Forgiveness is the solution. Spend time on your knees repenting, and then stand up forgiven, clean and pure in God's sight! God is faithful and just to forgive you; you need to do the same for yourself. Every time that the thought of un-forgiveness comes back up in your mind, plead the blood of Jesus over your thought life. Practice a little Philippians 4:8 and fill your mind with what is pure and good. Don’t let Satan beat you up over something that has already been covered by the precious blood of Jesus. Then get back to your job of loving your spouse well.
The puritanical view of sex, i.e.: SEX IS DIRTY. Now some young Christian wives confide that they grew up thinking that sex is dirty. In part, it is what was preached to them by well-intentioned people who did not want them to experiment with sex outside of marriage. Having raised three children, I understand the temptation to vilify the act in order to “protect” their sweet spirits. But when this happens, these children often have a hard time as adults allowing themselves to have fun during lovemaking and fully appreciate the gift that sex is! My suggestion is always the same – the wife should read a little Song of Solomon (Song of Solomon 7: 6-13). It is obvious in this passage that God created your body for this pleasure. If reading it is not enough to change your heart, read those verses out loud to your spouse, in your bedroom, in candlelight, naked, and while eating a pomegranate 😊! There is great liberty and a world full of enjoyment and possibilities available to you! Enjoy the body that God created for you. I know your spouse will!
This was not an easy post for me to write. But, I believe I have written it in obedience. This is a complex topic, and to cover it in less than 3000 words is truly difficult. If I have over-simplified something, I apologize. There is much more that needs to be written - another day! I appreciate your faithful readership – I love the time we spend together each week! Keep reading, friend! Cling to Jesus!
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a
multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8