That’s right− I’m doing it. I’m taking the plunge and writing about sex. I’ve been tossing the idea back and forth for a few weeks now, but couldn’t decide if I really wanted to cross that line. Finally, I decided to go for it. After all, it’s one of the biggest differences between married life and single life (at least for Christians), and practically everybody’s interested in it. Did I mention that I have relatives who read this? Well, no worries. I won’t make this overly personal or go into too much detail. Instead, I’ll approach this fascinating topic from a generalized point of view. That way, there’s no danger of sharing too much. Thank goodness!
To start off, I want to talk about the importance of intimacy in marriage. As Christians, we believe that marriage is the process of two people becoming one; this means being united emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and in many other ways, including physically. The physical union between a husband and wife is something that God thought up when He first created us as humans. He molded our bodies in such a way that we can physically be united with each other, and he planned that union to occur only in fully committed, permanent relationships such as marriage.
Why did He do this? While we can’t know for sure until we meet Him face to face, we can definitely hypothesize using the Bible. For one, we can see that God made our bodies with sexual pleasure in mind; after all, we don’t enjoy sex for no reason! We also see the effect it has on us, making us feel closer to our partners emotionally. Last, we can see that God made our bodies in such a way that we can create new life when we engage in sexual intimacy. So what’s the point of this shared pleasure, emotional closeness, and life-creation in a marriage? They all lead to unity!
A husband and wife are united both physically and spiritually when they share this gift. The after-effects of emotional closeness lead to unity in the relationship by resealing the bond that they share. And when a couple uses physical intimacy as a way to grow their family, they are then united in a common life purpose as parents. Clearly, sex is not just fun and games. It is a tool for marriage and an experience that God wants us to enjoy in that context. Well great! But what happens when sex doesn’t work the way you want it to?
Let’s face it. Sex is not exactly easy. It’s a skill that takes time to learn, and in a marriage, this is one of the most beautiful new skills you can learn together. But it does take time! Nobody is born as a sex-god (thank goodness), and starting this new adventure together doesn’t always go smoothly. In fact, there are many unexpected problems that can arise as far as the sexual relationship in a marriage goes.
One potential issue is that, well, sometimes you just don’t want to. A couple, no matter how united they may be, is composed of two individuals. Each individual has different moods, desires, and patterns when it comes to sex. This is one reason why it’s important to be selfless in your marriage. There will most likely be times when you want sex, but your spouse doesn’t (and vice versa). But if you refuse to have sex with your spouse simply because you don’t feel like it, you may end up doing it… never. Because what are the chances of you both wanting it at the exact same time? Not nearly as often as you might think. So take Nike’s advice, and Just Do It. If you are both others-centered in the bedroom, then your partner should have no problem making it worth your while.
Another potential issue is that sex is messy. Even in one-partner-for-life situations, there can be health issues that result from sexual activity. Plus, almost all couples have to deal with the reality that once a month, us girls are pretty much “out of service.” So sometimes, it simply may not be an option. In the case of sex-related health issues, it may take a while to get everything sorted out, and this time without intimacy can be difficult for couples. Either way though, I think the best solution during these times is to remember that sex isn’t the only way to be physically intimate with your spouse. Never underestimate the power of hugs, kisses, caresses, and midnight spooning sessions! (In case you didn’t know, “spooning” just means cuddling).
Another potential problem is less physical and much more mental and emotional. Sometimes, especially for Christian women who have been taught all of their lives that “sex is wrong,” trying to switch from that mindset to the mindset of a marriage, where “sex is good,” can be very difficult. Or perhaps the wife (or husband) has experienced sexually traumatic events in the past, making it difficult to enjoy this type of intimacy in the marriage. In both cases, sex can end up being much less fun, and much more frightening or even repulsive. What can you do in this situation? Honestly, I’d suggest seeking counseling. Many churches offer counseling for free or little cost, and a counselor with the same Christian background as you might be extremely helpful. Or, if you aren’t comfortable with that, then why not seek counseling elsewhere? The most important thing is that you are able to work through your old thought pattern or trauma. Sex is not supposed to be scary or gross, and seeking help is not shameful. It is a brave and loving decision to make that will help you improve intimacy and unity in your marriage.
The last thing I want to talk about is one of the well-known results of having sexual relationships; babies! Now, I was careful not to say “issues” or “problems” for this one, because I firmly believe that no baby is a mistake. God plans each life that he brings into this world! It’s just that sometimes, we aren’t on the same page. In many marriages, the couple doesn’t plan on having children right away, and in others, they don’t want to have children at all. There’s nothing wrong with that! God still created sex for unity in marriage, whether or not you plan to use it for bringing new life into the world. The “problem” results when you didn’t plan on having kids, and you get pregnant anyway. Of course, birth control is a perfectly acceptable option, but nothing is perfect and things can happen. So what do you do when you carefully mapped out your plans, but God had something else in mind? Here’s a hint; go with God’s version.
As a full-time college student also working 10 hours per week, I understand the desire to wait to have kids. It would be financially irresponsible for us right now, and we have about enough extra time in our schedules to take care of a plant. So no, taking on the responsibility of a baby anytime soon is definitely not in our plans. Plus, we’d like to enjoy at least a few years of our marriage without a third person involved. And while we are doing our part to be cautious and mindful, as I mentioned before, things can happen. Nothing has happened to us, but my husband and I are always prepared for this type of situation. We knew this fact of life before we got married, and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to honor God’s plan for our lives.
If you are married and you don’t want to start a family (yet or ever), that’s ok. You should still enjoy physical intimacy in your relationship. However, it is a fact of life that sex often makes babies, and as a married couple engaging in such an activity, you have to be okay with this possibility. Remember, God has a plan in mind for you and He will never put you into a situation that you can’t handle! Trust His wisdom and submit yourself to His plans for you; I promise, the rewards will be amazing.
So there you have it! Those are my Bible-based beliefs about the purpose of sex, why it is important in a marriage, and what you can do when it gets messy.
I sincerely hope that every marriage can experience the joys of physical intimacy, for they are great. And for those of you who are not yet married, I pray that you look to God for the strength to resist sexual temptation. It’s definitely worth the wait, and things will be so much easier when the time comes!