I promise this won’t be an inappropriate post but I will be talking about [gasp] sex…so brace yourself! Now that I have your attention don’t worry I won’t be dishing TMI (too much information) about me personally…but it is a very relevant and important topic to any married couple. And to my mother if you’re reading…just remember…this is how you get grandchildren! 😉
This has been a hot topic of discussion lately because we have a speaker coming to our small group at church for the next few Sundays and the theme is “Intimacy in Marriage”. Intimacy means different things to different people. For men being wired the way they are typically intimacy translates as “sex”. Women being designed the way we are it typically relates more as “closeness”. It’s no secret that most men stereotypically “need” sex more than women. But what does that really mean? Why is there such a gap between the two? It’s almost as if polar opposites from one another, generally speaking, women need to feel good to have sex and men need to have sex to feel good. So…what’s the solution?
In this modern age sex is viewed as such a casual, unsacred thing to many people…and I mean more than just the idea being faithful to your spouse. I’m talking about the general idea of what sex is supposed to be. The concept of sanctity sometimes makes sense for a time, though the typical moral compass labels it “monogamy” and it exists for the most part on an emotional level, but not on a committment and friendship level…all three to which make up a successful marriage. Emotional love is based on feelings alone…which are fleeting and fickle…that’s why we need the other two types of love to remain together ’til death do us part. And let’s face it…sex for many people exists outside of marriage and society think this is “okay” as long as they aren’t “cheating” on someone. I’ll give you an example of how “harmless” our society views casual sex. I used to be a fanatic of the show Friends and began watching it in college. I’ve seen every episode, and truth be told I’m still be tempted to watch re-runs. The one thing I always overlooked was that the characters didn’t have a sacred belief when it came to sex…the immorality was rampant. I would sluff it off as “funny” or say… “that’s just Joey” or “that’s just Phoebe” but in reality…it was all of them and it’s unfortunately the view our society as a whole. Turn on the TV to any primetime sitcom or drama or put in any movie rated above a PG and it enters our minds without us even giving it a second thought. We need to defend our marriages against these seemingly “harmless” ideals that sex is a meaningless, flippant thing…because it isn’t…it was designed to be between 1 man and 1 woman to enjoy together as a blessing from God.
So what does God have to say about all of this? Paul says in I Corinthians 7:3-5 ” The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” I once heard this passage described in this way in a sermon…that’s right…from the pulpit!…sex is the “super glue” that holds a marriage together. Basically “have sex as much as physically possible” as “one in the flesh”. Why? So we desire each other, so we aren’t tempted, and so we remain “stuck” together.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not always in the “mood” and it has nothing to do with my husband…he is wonderful. The biggest reason is because God made him for me and me for him. But after chasing three small children all day, everyday not to mention cooking, cleaning, laundry, running here, there and everywhere I’m beyond tired at the end of the day, exhausted most of the time. But the blessings that come from a complete and balanced relationship, including sex, are immeasurable. I had a mentor mom in bible study once say that the proper balance for any mother is “God First, Husband Second, Children Third”. In this season of life it is very difficult, sometimes it even seems impossible, but it IS do-able and necessary! Someone I really admire told me at one of my bridal showers her best advice is that of empathy…always put yourself in your husband’s shoes. That may be hard to do when it comes to sex…but we can certainly try. Marriage is a two-way street and while we all struggle in a sea of selfishness fighting to come out on top when it comes to our needs, we should really be fighting for the bottom and putting the other person first.
Something that put things into perspective for us a few weeks ago was a simple exercise. We were on a date night and each wrote out a list of 7 things that the other did that made us feel “loved”….an idea I got from a girlfriend at girls night. No surprise most of the portion of Nathan’s list were from a physical aspect where mine were mostly of sentimental nature…we too fit the stereotype. I kept his list taped to my bathroom mirror and mine is in his wallet as a reminder. Above all of those items, as important as they are, was the communication between the two of us. That is true intimacy.
So set aside the “Love Languages” and “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” and start really communicating intimatly…and above all…JUST DO IT…GET GLUED! God will bless your marriage!