Holy and Healthy Sex in Marriage: Part 3

David Wever

Sex was good from the beginning. And it is still good for one reason: Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus Christ, you and I can be redeemed from our sexual sin, and, believe it or not, restored to enjoy sex in a way we have never imagined. We definitely know how sex can be misused. We have seen both its sinful use and the consequences. For men who have been wounded sexually, and who have sexually transgressed for years, to know there is hope for sex renewed and a paradigm to hold onto is vital. This new hope and paradigm is found in Jesus. We talked last month about God’s initial design for sex and some of the effects of sin upon that design. Now let’s look at four basic principles for renewed and reclaimed sexual intimacy for our marriages.

First, due to the Fall, there was no equal-ness between Adam and Eve. Suddenly they were polar opposites. This unequal-ness ushered in an ability to objectify one another. The advent of sexual sin turned compassion and concern for our spouse to objectification. This objectification damages the equality in the relationship ultimately hindering true intimacy. That equality is renewed in the marriage bed through Christ Jesus. In Galatians 3:28 Paul writes, There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.’ It is because of Christ we can see our wives differently. Not in an objectified way but with eyes from our heart that see their true value.

Second, false intimacy often results from our sexual sin. This false intimacy keeps us from truly being known by our spouse. It many respects we stay hidden in the bushes or behind fig leaves due to our shame from our sin. The good news is that Jesus has also taken our fig leaves away. We need not be naked any longer. In Christ Jesus, we have new clothes. Galatians 3:27 says it all, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.’ We have a whole new wardrobe that does not have as some of its acumens: shame, fear and nakedness. Although we may fear this new nakedness of being truly known, we can trust that because of Jesus, we have a whole new wardrobe in our identity in Christ Jesus.

Third, one of the most comforting aspects of our sexuality being restored and reclaimed in Christ Jesus is that we have a restored covenant relationship with God. In Ezekiel 16:8 God says, ‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine.’ This same restoration is needed for healthy sexual intimacy with our wives as well. We have to re-pledge our fidelity to our wives just as God has done the same to us through Jesus Christ.

Fourth, this new paradigm around our sexual intimacy being restored can be held and acknowledged by us. No need to fear that this cannot happen. Now some of this healing may happen over time and our wives may heal at a different rate than we do. But, it can be held by your heart due to Christ’s death and resurrection justifying who you are. The Message says it well, ‘Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.’ Take a few minutes and meditate on this passage. Do you truly believe you are no longer on that ‘list’? In Christ Jesus you are no longer on that list. It is true, and this truth will be foundational to you living in true intimacy within your marriage and marriage bed from a renewed heart.

Jesus has truly changed our lives forever. And because of him our sexual intimacy and marriage bed can be restored as well. 

Finding Ms. Right

Sam Fraser

If you read Bob Parkin’s article, Healthy Dating in Recovery, you will find that he gave some important insight for single guys and dating regarding accountability, boundaries, and intimacy. Continuing along those same lines, I’d like to give you a couple clues to finding Ms. Right.

There is a reason God says wait until marriage for sexual intercourse. Among the myriad of reasons, one sure-fire reason is that it is for our own protection. As men, we are often identified as having two brains, (I think most of you know, and the rest of you can guess, where the second brain is, right?). Not sexualizing a relationship is the absolute best remedy for keeping our judgment clear and our priorities straight. But if that bridge is crossed prematurely, our reasoning gets all discombobulated and our judgment becomes blinded. Guys, sex changes everything. Once sexual activity is introduced into the equation, we lose an important part of our sensibility. Our sexual desire, or lust, can become the primary motivation for pursuing Ms. Right Now instead of Ms. Right! How much you desire her body has nothing to do with her being right as a marital partner for life. Don’t be blinded by that second brain. Just because it feels good, doesn’t make it true.

Let’s face it guys, sex is overrated as the answer to all of our problems. God’s plan for finding Ms. Right is much broader than how she makes us feel sexually. If that becomes the main focus, disappointment will soon follow. Sex was never intended as the be all, cure all. Once sex falls short as the answer to all of a man’s problems, some men will turn to sexual addiction as a cheap alternative to the real deal.

So, then, what is the real deal? How do we find Ms. Right? What is she like and how will we recognize her?

A much better criterion for the long haul is to develop a deep friendship with someone that you find attractive–attractive being the operative word, which is something much better and more noble than mere lust. Over and over I have encountered this common factor in successful marriages. When the husband says that his wife has become his best friend, take it to the bank.

Being married to your best friend will provide the emotional spark that can be fostered and kept alive with time and effort. This will keep the connection strong. If you cannot be vulnerable and share your deepest needs, dreams and fears with your girlfriend now, then seriously ask yourself why not? If it isn’t happening now, marriage will not cure it.

One thing that is a common theme for Every Man’s Battle participants is they have a secret life. Having a secret life is the opposite of having marital intimacy. A man who gets married without having the skill or courage to disclose important feelings and thoughts is sure to feel very lonely and isolated. So it is crucial to develop an openness during dating. If you can’t open up now, openness just won’t magically occur once you are married. Therefore, don’t underestimate the importance of having a woman with whom you can develop an intimate friendship. With that said, here are a couple of key factors for evaluating potential Ms. Rights:

1) How well do you share your feelings with her now? Is she safe and trustworthy or does she bring out your dirty laundry and shame you with it already? It needs to be discussed and resolved. If she can’t be a person who is safe and trustworthy then it is better to find that out now rather than later. Most women desire that kind of connection, and nine times out of ten, she will be accepting of our fear and shame, and will reject or humiliate us when we disclose them to her.

2) Take some risks and share feelings that are painful. Women respect men who have feelings and share them, particularly feelings that are hard to share, or that have previously been kept secret. From a male’s perspective, we don’t place such a premium upon that need; so if you can develop that with her in intimate friendship, then you are well on the way.

The interesting thing is that developing that intimate emotional bond with your future wife now will naturally translate into greater romantic intimacy later. Then sexual fulfillment will take care of itself.

The greatest testimony to this is that older couples with secure relationships are far more likely to have highly gratifying sex lives. That is because those couples have special bonds of deep friendship and devoted love for one another, bonds that have been built and strengthened because they have become best friends to one another. Think about it…

Holy and Healthy Sex in Marriage: Part 2

David Wever

As we begin the journey of examining holy and healthy sex in marriage and we allow for our perspectives about sexual intimacy in marriage to be challenged, one of the key places to start is to study what was God’s true design and intent for sex. A healthy understanding of His design and intent is crucial to the healing of our minds and hearts around sexuality.

An understanding of His initial design gives us a platform by which to move safely and confidently towards holy and healthy sexual intimacy in marriage. You are probably familiar with two common understandings for God’s purpose for sex: procreation and pleasure. These are the most common reasons we often give for God’s purpose for sex. And they are valid and worthy reasons. However, within these general reasons lie, I believe, further tenets of God’s design and intention for sexual intimacy.

One of the prime tenets of sexuality and sexual intimacy is that He created you and me to be sexual. This was no mistake. You may feel at times like it was a mistake due to the difficulty we have in our sexual sin condition. But God was intentional when he created us to be sexual. Biblically we see evidence of this in two prime ways. First sexual oneness began as two. Two individuals: male and female. Genesis 1:27, ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.’ Not only was God intentional in designing us to be sexual but his fingerprint on this is found inherently in his design of male and female. We don’t have the space to go into a full anatomy lesson on the differences between men and women, I will trust you have some knowledge; we are made uniquely different by gender. But, He had in mind that sexual oneness would begin and end with two people uniquely designed to be connected.

Second, it is that connection that would ultimately be celebrated in sexual intimacy. We see this in Genesis 2:24‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.’ God’s idea of emotional, spiritual, and relational connection is captured in the sexual union. Not that the sexual union is the connection (though I often thought it was this way from my old, hyperstimulated perspective) but rather that the relational oneness is ultimately celebrated in that physical union. This sexual union is further blessed by God for procreation in Genesis 1:28‘God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” There is no denying the sexual union was meant to occur and to be celebrated and enjoyed.

Another tenet of God’s design for sexual intimacy is that in that oneness we could be fully naked with our spouse. Genesis 2:25‘The man and his wife were both naked.’ The biblical translation refers literally to their physical nakedness. However, their nakedness also suggests other aspects of their connection. One aspect is that nakedness suggests sinlessness. Their sinlessness prior to the Fall allowed nothing to stand between them. Sin distorts how we see ourselves and others. They literally had no blemishes or flaws to hinder or impede their connection. Eve didn’t have to worry about that ugly mole on her belly or a slight deviation in her nose, and Adam didn’t have to worry about his love handles or his penis size and performance. Their sinlessness allowed for them to be naked and connect spiritually, emotionally and sexually without worry or fear. Boy, did they have it made! This is where the concept of oneness really takes its form. Oneness basically means to be fully known by our spouse in spite of our blemishes and flaws. To be fully known ultimately means to be naked.

Lastly there was no shame in sex. In Genesis 2:25 we see that not only were Adam and Eve one flesh and naked with one another, but they also felt no shame. Without flaws and blemishes due to sin they didn’t feel a sense of something being wrong with themselves and one another. They ultimately felt safe with one another and it felt right and good just the way God intended. They were equal and together and that left no room for shame. Sex was not created to be one-sided but rather an equal partnership in union. Unfortunately due to sin this is one of the shortfalls to healthy sexual intimacy. You can see it in the way a man may objectify or deify a woman, especially sexually. When we do this we do not put her as our equal nor do we then enter into a partnership where true intimacy in sexual intimacy can develop. Due to shame out of our sin we push one another away rather than accept and feel safe in that union.

As we walk along this journey of recovery and healing it is comforting to know God truly had a great plan in mind around our sexuality and sexual intimacy. Although we live and interact within a fallen state that includes sin leading to shame and isolation, we do have hope in experiencing God’s initial design for sexual intimacy because of Christ Jesus. We will look next at how sex is reclaimed in Jesus Christ setting the stage for healthy sexual intimacy in marriage.

Would you and your spouse benefit from a small group weekend? Join one of our couples groups at our next New Life Weekend.