When my husband and I were newlyweds, we were in a community group at our church with five young married couples. The leaders of our group were a mentor couple who’d been married for 20 years. They always encouraged our group to be open and accountable in all areas of our marriage including sex.
One evening the wives sat around the table and one of my friends expressed her concern with her sexual relationship with her husband. It’d been several weeks since they made love. Most evenings she was exhausted from work, being a mom, and just didn’t feel in the mood. She was frustrated and knew he was too. She was also anxious about his purity.
We acknowledged right away that her situation wasn’t extraordinary. We’d been there as wives before and probably would be again.
How God Intended Sex to Be
When you’re single and dating sex is so incredibly enticing and it’s easy to think that it will be smooth sailing in marriage. Besides, you love each other so much. How could something so delightful take so much work?
But you quickly realize after the honeymoon’s over that you have to be diligent at cultivating your sexual relationship with your spouse. Keeping it alive and exciting doesn’t always come naturally. Sex can become common. And arguments and conflict often surface when sexual intimacy is lacking.
God designed sex between a husband and wife to be enjoyable, even in the midst of life’s demands, as well as our own insecurities and imperfections. He designed sex to be delightful, vibrant, intoxicating, pleasing, fun, adventurous, and bonding. But I can’t promise that you’ll see the marriage relationship portrayed like that on your flat screen.
The Reality of Sexual Brokenness
If sexual brokenness or victimization has been a reality for you prior to marriage, no pain is too great for God to heal and restore. It’s never too late to seek biblical counsel with your spouse and bring to light the hurt and abuse. Talking about your sexual past can help spare you from a lot of pain down the road and can even save your marriage.
Past or present misuses of sexuality like adultery, fornication, masturbation, pornography, and so on that have entered the marriage bed are never beyond God’s forgiveness and grace. God is in the redemption business. Our deep struggles in sin are why we so desperately need the cross. In our unfaithfulness, Jesus already paid our debt. And He is always calling us back to him.
The Secret of the Joy of Sex
In Song of Solomon, Chapter 4, King Solomon and the Shulamite woman have consummated their marriage. Their sexual desires and passions are no longer restrained. They’re diving into all the delights they’ve been waiting for with wild passion:
I have entered my garden, O my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my balsam spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk! (Song of Solomon 5:1).
His legs are alabaster columns, set on bases of gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem (5:15-17).
May your mouth be like the best wine, flowing smoothly for my beloved, gliding gently over our lips as we sleep together (7:9).
I am my beloved’s, and he desires me! (7:10).
Those are just a few words out of lines of descriptive Hebrew poetry that reveal the beauty of the sexual union between Solomon and his bride. Who needs romance novels and movies when you can just pick up the Bible! God cares deeply about the sexual relationship because he created it as a very good thing.
In marriage, God has given us the incredible blessing of enjoying our husband’s body, mind, soul, and spirit to its absolute fullest. And it’s a pleasure we get to enjoy for however many years God gives us together.
In the book Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, contributor Ben Patterson says,
The gigantic secret of the joy of sex is this: Sex is good because the God who created sex is good. And God is glorified greatly when we receive his gift with thanksgiving and enjoy it the way he meant for it to be enjoyed.
If we don’t accept the gift of our sexual relationship with thanksgiving and joy, then we’re being disobedient to God’s word and doing a huge disfavor to our husband’s needs and to their purity. But when we enjoy the gift of sex with a joyful and selfless heart as God intended, there’s no greater pleasure and oneness in the world.
Committed to Your Sexual Relationship
Over the years, the friend in my small group has grown in her intimacy with her husband. She started making changes when it came to the time of day they were intimate—she bought new lingerie, and made sure she was taking care of herself physically in the midst of being a busy mom and working. She made sexual intimacy a priority. She was able to confess her past sexual struggles and find healing in Christ.
That was ten years ago and four kids later! To this day their story continues to be a huge encouragement to my husband and I and the other couples from our group. We’ve all stayed committed to keeping our sexual relationship with our husbands the best it can be, while still recognizing there will be seasons of life that are harder than others and the demands of life just don’t get any easier!
Cultivating a vibrant, sexual relationship with your husband isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the hard work of striving for complete oneness and unity with the one you said “I do” too and the one you love most in life.
Blessings & Happy Valentine’s Day!!