“I Do” Means “I Will”

26470436 - peerless decorative feather  vector“I Do!” Means “I Will!”

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Corinthians 7:3,4 ESV)

Remember saying, “I do”?

Did any of us understand the sexual implications of that promise on our wedding day? Certainly not many, and not fully, we suspect. We didn’t.

The moment you said “I do” you gave up a lot of your rights and took on a lot of responsibilities by your own free will. Your conjugal rights became your spouse’s responsibility and your spouse’s conjugal rights became your responsibility.

When you get married, in effect, you lay aside many of your rights and take up many responsibilities for your spouse. Primarily, you became responsible for your spouse’s sex life when you said “I do”. Whoa, I didn’t plan on that!

For example, the moment you are brought into the Kingdom by God, you are no longer your own but bought with a price by the shed blood of Jesus. (See 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 ESV) In a similar way, the moment you said “I do”, you are no longer your own.

“For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” You are now part of a unique union called “one flesh” by God.

At the moment of your vow, and subsequent consummation, your body was united to our spouse’s body in “one flesh”. This is your new status.

Your status was “single” but now your status is “one flesh” from God’s perspective.

Each spouse is now responsible, not only for their own body, but for their lover’s body as well. On the other side, each spouse now freely surrenders their body to their spouse in fulfillment of their wedding vow, “I do!”.

The responsibility now is to nourish and encourage each other, never to put down or abuse.

Giving control of your body to someone else is not natural, it is supernatural! We can’t do this on our own. We need Jesus and his gospel. Be patient, pray and trust God.

Bible Thought: The moment you said, “I do”, you gave up many rights and took on many responsibilities.

Prayer: Father, help me to fulfill my responsibilities toward my spouse with kindness and love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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The Sex Bus

36661549 - bus rides on the roadThe Sex Bus

This is Part 5 of a five part series based on the “5 False Assumptions about Married Sex”.

False Assumption #5: We say we overcome sexual temptation through spiritual warfare: prayer, fasting, self control, anti-porn software, accountability partners, expensive DVD’s, and will power. God says the best way to overcome sexual temptation is frequent and reciprocal married sex.

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5 ESV)

The Sex Bus

Who gets to drive the sex bus?

We are encouraged to negotiate the frequency of sex by both Christian and secular marriage counselors. This is a self evident truth. What could be more obvious than a compromise on the frequency of sex in a loving marriage. Each marriage has it’s own rhythm after all, and we all know that negotiation and compromise are at the heart of a healthy marriage. This sounds reasonable, of course, until you realize intense sexual desire is neither reasonable nor negotiable.

What ends up happening, more often than not, is the one with the lower sex drive gets to set the frequency of sex in a marriage. God says clearly in today’s passage that, in a biblical marriage, the one with the higher sex drive gets to drive the sex bus.

Husbands usually have the higher sex drive, but not always, and it varies in different seasons of marriage and from day to day especially as you get older. This is why Paul speaks to both husbands and wives, “Do not deprive one another.”

So what happens is that the other spouse, the one with the higher sex drive, tries to mitigate temptation with all kinds of spiritual self-help techniques. Entire ministries are built around the “other spouse” and their plight. Prayer, Bible study, anti-porn software, accountability partners, expensive DVD series are set in place to overcome sexual temptation for the spouse with the higher sex drive but relegated to the passenger seat.

We are all for prayer, Bible study, and accountability but not for overcoming sexual temptation in marriage.

Do these spiritual self-help methods work? They could be of some benefit in the short term, or if you’re single, but God has a better way of overcoming sexual temptation for those of us who are married – frequent and reciprocal sex in a loving covenant relationship.

Pauls says, “Do not deprive one another.”

Why does he say this?

Because he knows we tend to deprive one another.

Bible Thought: The spouse with the higher sex drive gets to drive the sex bus in a biblical marriage.

Prayer: Father, help me fight sexual temptation your way. Help me to help my spouse in their battle with sexual sin. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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SOS & SEX

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SOS & SEX

This is Part 3 of a five part series based on the “5 False Assumptions about Married Sex”. Part 1, can be found here The Only Reason to Get Married. Part 2 is here Sex & Sanctification.

False Assumption #3: We say sex is primarily for men and secondarily for women. God says sex is for both husband and wife equally.

The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.

The Bride Confesses Her Love

She

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is better than wine;

    your anointing oils are fragrant;
your name is oil poured out;
therefore virgins love you. 

Draw me after you; let us run.
The king has brought me into his chambers.
(Song of Solomon 1:1-4 ESV)

S.O.S is an international signal of distress. S.O.S, or Song of Solomon, is God’s remedy for marital distress. This fascinating book of the Bible may not be easy to understand but it’s Principles of Sexual Love are loud and clear. Married sex is for both men and women – equally. However, this book also makes it clear that men and women view sex differently but that’s for another post.

The Word never even hints that sex is primarily for men and secondarily for women. Leah and Rachel fought over Jacob’s sexual attentions. Sarah laughed after being told she would have “pleasure” in her old age, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” (Genesis 18:12 ESV) The woman in the Song of Solomon is “intoxicated” with sexual desire for her husband (v2).

Today many, both men and women, see sex as primarily for the husband and a duty for the wife.

So what happened?

Here are a few wrong ideas about married sex that have undermined God’s intended purpose.

  • The culture demonizes men’s natural sexual aggression and calls it “toxic”. (It is toxic if misused but joyful if used with love in marriage.)
  • The church agrees with the culture and promotes a “toxic” view of a strong sex drive often calling it “lust”. (A strong sex drive is a wonderful gift from God.)
  • The church promotes sexual restraint in marriage as a sign of greater holiness. (The opposite is true: sexual restraint in marriage promotes sexual sin, not holiness. See 1 Cor 7:1-5 ESV)
  • Christian wives are encouraged to “help” their husbands control their unwieldy sex drive by suppressing all sensuality. (Again, the opposite is true: Wives are to encourage their husband’s strong sex drive and fan it into flames to the delight of them both. See SOS 4:9-10 She “captivates” his heart with her sexual love.)
  • Men and women don’t see sex as a primary reason for marriage. (Sex is the only reason to get married in the first place according to the Bible.)

As we are influenced by these non-biblical ideas, we will correspondingly think sex is primarily for men. The closer we get to God’s model for sexual love in the Song of Solomon, we will see that sex is a fountain of joy for both men and women.

As we mentioned in the last post, a biblical view of married sex has to be learned, it is not naturally acquired as we may think. The first step in learning about married sex is to unlearn our false cultural and religious assumptions.

Bible Thought: God loves passion and encourages husbands and wives to fan it into flames.

Prayer: Father, help me to get closer to the sexual love model in the Song of Solomon. I turn to you, and your grace, to help me to understand you are for sex and not against sex in marriage. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Sex & Sanctification

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Sex & Sanctification

This is Part 2 of a five part series based on the “5 False Assumptions about Married Sex”. Part 1, can be found here “The Only Reason to Get Married”.

False Assumption #2: We say sex is for procreation first and then pleasure. God says sex is for our sanctification first.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor … (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 ESV)

God’s will is that we overcome sexual temptation by acquiring a wife or by learning to live with our wife. What happens when we acquire a wife or learn to live with our wife? God says we can then move forward in a life pleasing to him (v1), for our “sanctification”.

Sanctification simply means to be “set apart for God’s purpose”. It also has the idea of “growing in grace” or maturing in Christ. Paul says the first step in “walking in the Spirit”, another way of describing sanctification, is to deal with the 800 pound animal in the room – sexual temptation.

“That each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.”

Paul lays out the only two options for overcoming sexual temptation. He uses a common idiom that covers both single and married persons, literally “possess your own vessel”. Paul is saying that if you are single then “learn to acquire a wife” (alternate reading); and if you are married then, “learn to live with your own wife”, (alternate reading). see 1 Thess 4:4 notes.

Paul is addressing men but the principles are the same for women – marriage and only marriage is God’s solution to overcoming sexual temptation. We saw in our last post that Paul addresses both men and women. In our passage today, Paul includes the idea that overcoming sexual temptation is the first, and perhaps the hardest, of all temptations.

Why is Paul addressing men primarily? Men are more inclined to make a mess of things as we’ve seen in the news lately although women are not immune.

This answer raises additional questions.

What does it mean to “acquire a wife”? This is the easy one: If you’re single and struggling with sexual temptation then get married. We understand that it’s easier said than done. So pray and get started!

What does Paul mean by “learn to live with your own wife”? This is a little more complicated. We will get into this in our next post. Stay tuned!

But the clear indication is that husbands and wives do not automatically know how to live with one another to help each other overcome sexual temptation. It has to be learned and that’s exactly why we wrote our book, “Radical Sex: God’s Manna for a Holy Marriage”. We pray God will use it to help couples learn to live with each other in a life pleasing to God.

Bible Thought: God’s wants us to learn how to help one another overcome sexual temptation.

Prayer: Father, sex is amazing but complicated. You made it simple but we complicate it. Help me to grow in your grace in my marriage. Amen.

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