Petri Dish for Porn

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:2 MSG)

Authors’ Note: This is not a hysterical critique of the culture, far from it. The culture is what it is. Our job is to try and understand how the culture influences Christian married sex. This post is longer than most.

Part 1: CULTURE – Demonization of Masculinity and Femininity (Part 1 of a 3 part series, “3 Enemies of Sex” )

Our culture is a petri dish for porn. Let us explain.

Dissing Men, Shaming Women

Men are labeled “toxic” by the culture. Men have screwed it up so now it’s time for a change according to many women – and men. This logic is hard to argue with considering the horrific #MeToo stories.

However, men and women, have behaved badly since the Garden and are likely to continue to behave badly until they align themselves with God’s purpose in marriage.

Along with dissing men, the culture shames women who show their femininity. It’s no longer acceptable for women to highlight their natural, physical traits. Women who express sensuality, no matter how slight, are considered traitors to the fight against male toxicity.

The net result of dissing men and shaming women is a move toward gender neutrality where the masculine and feminine merge into a gray-brown ideology of androgyny.

The culture projects that men and women are essentially the same and that gender distinctions are artificial, arbitrary, and a legacy of a misinformed past.

Principle of Separation

God “made them male and female”. Same in value and worth, but distinct, especially physically, for the purpose of finding joy in the difference. God says men and women are as different as day and night and that’s a good thing. Ironically, the closer we make men and women, the farther apart we become.

The creation account highlights the importance of God’s Principle of Separation: heaven and earth, light and dark, day and night, morning and evening, clouds and seas, water and dry land, and male and female. (See Genesis 1:27,28 ESV)

The difference between men and women fuels attraction and arousal in a way androgynous sameness cannot. The less unique, or the more sameness, to put it another way, the less sex and the less satisfying sex.

Paradoxically, the difference God has built into us is the foundation of a “one flesh” marriage. God’s math is 1 Male + 1 Female = 1 Flesh; not 1 Person + 1 Person = 2 People living life together.

Petri Dish for Porn

When we are influenced by the androgyny ideology, not only will our sex be less frequent and less satisfying, we will be intuitively attracted to anyone who displays the separation. The heterosexual porn industry exploits the difference and profits from it.

The perfect petri dish for porn is gender neutrality because it leaves a hunger for the difference. We’re built for difference, or separation, between the sexes. When we think and look alike then attraction fades, sex fades, and marriages dry up.

Pornography appeals to our sexuality of separation and shows us that the difference is exciting. It’s no wonder there is an epidemic of porn.

Disclaimer

We’re not saying women can’t wear pants or that they should compete with porn stars! We are simply saying beware of the influence of the culture that implies men and women are essentially the same. We are not; in fact, we are vastly different.

The Culture and the Bible

God emphasizes the separateness of male and female while the culture emphasizes the sameness. God’s way leads to more frequent sex and more satisfying sex because difference is always more exciting than sameness. We need to first recognize there is a difference then we need to embrace the difference. If you’re a wife then embrace your femininity and if you’re a husband then embrace your masculinity. When we concentrate on our separation, we will become closer.

The culture tells us that gender domination is the cause of all our problems. God tells us sin is the cause of all our problems.

The culture tells us gender neutrality is the solution. God tells us redemption, the forgiveness of sins, through faith in Jesus Christ, is the solution.

Bible Thought: When we understand God’s separation of the sexes and emphasize the difference in our marriages, our sex lives will take on new life.

Prayer: Father, help me to discern the negative influences of the culture in my marriage. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Just do it,

Rene & Gloria

3 Enemies of Sex

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So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1,2 MSG)

Maturity in Christ

The Message, a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson, captures the essence of this passage. It tells us to do ordinary life God’s way. Whether sleeping, eating, or going to work, do it in a way that honors God. Don’t be overly influenced by the immaturity of the culture but renew your mind, your thinking, according to God’s Word.

We would say this applies to all areas of life including sex. Since this is a devotional on biblical sex, we’ll concentrate on how the culture, both worldly and religious, effects our sex lives.

The goal of God’s will for us is maturity in Christ. We would add that immaturity in Christ makes for a strained sex life. And before we start pointing fingers at our spouse, we need to look at ourselves first.

The opposite is also true though: Maturity in Christ; that is, the ability to understand negative cultural and religious influences, is the beginning of a mature sex life. In other words, grow in Christ and you will experience a more satisfying sex life God’s way.

3 Enemies of Sex

CULTURE – CHURCH – CHARACTER

Paul tells us to recognize the negative influences of the culture, and the church, and that will help us grow in character (or maturity). We’ll summarize the three enemies today and then take a look at each in more detail in subsequent posts.

We will look at the non-biblical ideas from the culture, and the church, that negatively effect our sex lives. We have a choice at this point: Accept the culture or accept God’s Word. Sometimes the culture and the Word fit together but not very often and certainly not when it comes to sex.

Here are the enemies of sex and a quick summary of the negative influences. These influences, if embraced, will kill our sex lives, if we’re not careful. In fact, we would say these wrong ideas are the leading causes of the decline in sex around the world. But that’s for yet another post.

  1. CULTURE – Demonization of masculinity and femininity
  2. CHURCH – Sexual restraint in marriage and the Modesty Movement
  3. CHARACTER – Immaturity embraces wrong thinking

Stay tuned as we dissect the culture, religion, and our character, with the scalpel of the Word. This could be exciting.

Bible Thought: Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.

Prayer: Father, help me to discern the lies of the culture, and religion, and thereby grow in maturity in Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Just do it,

Rene & Gloria

MOSTLY Dead Sex Life

Butterfly

I opened to my beloved,

but my beloved had turned and gone.

My soul failed me when he spoke.

I sought him, but found him not;

I called him, but he gave no answer.

The watchmen found me

as they went about in the city;

they beat me, they bruised me,

they took away my veil,

those watchmen of the walls. (Song of Solomon 5:6,7 ESV)

Our last post declared “The Death of Sex” as we know it. We lamented the place of sex in our new cyber society. However, today we are looking at The Death of Sex in our marriages. Sex in your marriage may look dead but it could be only MOSTLY dead.

Miracle Max in “The Princess Bride” stands over an unconscious Westley and pronounces, “He is only MOSTLY dead. Not ALL dead. You can bring them back to life if they are only MOSTLY dead.”

The same could be said of an ailing sex life: If it is not ALL dead there is hope. A MOSTLY dead sex life, can be brought back to life with our desire to change and God’s help. If there is any trace of passion, no matter how small, then there is always hope for more passion.

We tend to think that the lovers in the Song of Solomon experienced endless marital bliss but nothing could be further from the truth. Our lovers started off on fire but hit a dry spell not long after. Our passage is poetic in language but the author’s point is clear that there will be times of sexual estrangement in the best of marriages.

The beloved bride is distraught that she unintentionally rebuffed the sexual attentions of her lover. Her lover runs into the night anxious over his perceived sexual rejection. They are both angry and frustrated with the other. They have hit a dry spell with emotions overflowing into loathing for one another at the perceived slights.

Our author shows us there are consequences to sexual abstinence in our marriages. The beloved wife goes out into the streets looking for her lover only to be used and abused by the watchmen. The husband is nowhere to be found nursing the wounds of rejection and thinking all kinds of negative thoughts.

The good news is that they return to passion in the next chapter having found one another. They seem to have recovered from the rough patch and go on to even greater passion and love.

There are many forces opposed to frequent and reciprocal sex in marriage. There will be times when circumstances, misunderstandings, and negative emotions overwhelm our sex lives. We may loathe one another for a season but we must remember our covenant relationship in Christ and the commitment we made on our wedding day.

Remember the lovers in our poem, if your love is ALMOST dead and not ALL dead then there is hope. It may seem impossible to reignite your sex life but remember what Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26b) Ask, seek, knock for reconciliation and a revived sex life. God will answer your prayer.

Bible Thought: Even the best of lovers can be derailed for a time but will come back together stronger than ever.

Prayer: Father, help me to understand there will be dry spells in our sex life. Help me to hope in renewal depending on you to revive us in passion as we go to you in prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Just do it,

Rene & Gloria

The Death of Sex

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Let your fountain be blessed,

    and rejoice in the wife of your youth,

    a lovely deer, a graceful doe.

Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;

    be intoxicated always in her love. (Proverbs 5:15-19 ESV)

Cyber World

U.S. Marriage Rate Hits New Low and May Continue to Decline

The U.S. Fertility Rate Just Hit a Historic Low. Why Some Demographers are Freaking Out

Americans are Having Sex Less Often, New Study Shows

There’s a connection between fewer marriages, fewer babies, and less sex. We’re not sociologists but you don’t have to be one to see sex is heading in the wrong direction. The good news is we’re still having sex, the bad news is the future of sex, as we know it, does not look bright.

In Japan, the most digitally immersed society on the planet, there is phenomenon called The Celibacy Syndrome where young people are opting out of sex altogether and one of the reasons is the easy access to porn. The limited data is inconclusive but the decline in marriages, births, and sex are not. The government admits this could be catastrophic as the population continues to dwindle.

What’s going on? We don’t pretend to know fully but we suspect the further we get from the physical world the less physical we will get with each other.

Physical World

The verse above, “Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight” is hyperbole for the purpose of making a point. The biblical author understood the physical nature of marriage. He wanted to tell his son the only way to avoid sexual temptation – get physical with your wife. As we saw in a previous post this is for husbands and wives alike.

The original audience, both husbands and wives, got the point because they lived in a physical world devoid of digital technology, social media, sedentary jobs, and the stress of modern life.

Their lives consisted of physical activities: animal husbandry, gardening, craftsmanship, hunting and gathering for their daily sustenance. They housed their goats and sheep during the cold months in stables adjacent to their living spaces.

They witnessed the animals mating, defecating, and dying. Their loved ones died in their homes and not in a sanitized hospital. In other words, they lived in the real world, a physical world, a messy world – imperfect but gloriously physical.

They understood the physical nature of life and marriage. Life was physical, marriage was physical. They didn’t Google how to have a great sex life. They just did it.

The further we get from the real, physical world, the less physical sex becomes. Our screens become the substitute reality. Our relationships become “online” while we still live “offline”.

Bible Thought: The further we get from the physical world, the less physical we will get with each other.

Prayer: Father, help me make our marriage more physical more often, reflecting our spiritual oneness in Christ more fully. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Just do it,

Rene & Gloria

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The Royal Wedding

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The Royal Wedding

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”  (Revelation 19:9 ESV)

The world was captivated by the Royal wedding this past weekend. It was a dazzling event filled with fanfare and celebrities. We all love weddings, admit it. Weddings fill us with hope and joy.

God loves weddings too! How do we know?

God starts the Bible with a wedding. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding. “Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.” (John 2:2) He attended and saved the day by turning water into wine.

God ends the Bible with a wedding, “The Marriage Supper of the Lamb” where the Bride, the church, will be united to Christ forever in Heaven. “These are the true words of God.” By the way, it’s nice to be invited to a Royal wedding but much better to be invited to this wedding!

What is a wedding? It is the public declaration of love and the beginning of a marriage. And what makes a marriage? As we learned in a previous post, it is the consummation.

A wedding is a vow before the world to love another “in good times and in bad”. The consummation after the wedding vows is the private declaration of love and loyalty. And sex each subsequent time in a marriage renews the wedding vows, the vows of love and loyalty.

Love is a verb. Love by definition requires action. We can say “I love you” but it means nothing until we put our words into action. Sex is the act of love in a marriage.

Taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, taking the kids to soccer practice, doing the laundry, and going on a date are all acts of love however, nothing says, “I love you” louder than sex.

Sex in marriage proves you mean it when you say “I love you”. Love is not cheap. There is always a cost for love. The cost of love in marriage is setting priorities and sticking to them. Sex is the number one priority in marriage by God’s very definition of marriage, “one flesh”.

The public declaration of love in a wedding is made once. The private declaration of love is putting our initial vow of love into action – frequently. Sex is declaring our love over and over and over again.

God loves weddings, the ones on earth between a man and a woman, and the one in the future between Christ and his church. Everyone is invited to the one in Heaven. Have you accepted the invitation?

Bible Thought: A wedding is a public vow of love. Sex is the action behind the vow.

Prayer: Father, help me to remember my public declaration of love with a continual private declaration of love with my spouse. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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7 Lessons from Numbers 25

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7 Lessons from Numbers 25

While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. (Numbers 25:1-3 ESV)

We’re reading through the Bible in a year, something we recommend for everyone. Our first passage today was Numbers 25. It paints a horrific scene where Israel commits sexual immorality with Moabite women who then lead Israel to run after the Moabite god, Baal of Peor. God in his jealousy kills 24,000 Hebrews with a plague and the execution of the guilty leaders. The plague ends when Phinehas, Aaron’s grandson, drives a spear through a Hebrew man and a Midianite woman while engaged in the sex act.

Paul tells us this event is an example for us in 1 Corinthians 10 and Jesus chastises the church at Pergamum for succumbing to the same temptation as the Hebrews at Shittim in Revelation 2. Both suggest that sexual temptation is a primary strategy of the enemy and a doorway to idolatry.

What was the attraction of the Moabite women? What was wrong with the Hebrew women? The Israelite men apparently were mesmerized by the exotic cult sex of Baal of Peor. These foreign women seemed more exciting and enthusiastic than the familiar Hebrew women. The Moabite women promised exotic sexual practices the Hebrew men could not resist.

The modern application is too obvious even to mention. There is nothing new under the sun. Sexual temptation is everywhere and ready to seduce the strongest of us.

What can we learn from this event?

  1. Sexual temptation is more powerful than we are.
  2. Sexual temptation is one of Satan’s main strategies.
  3. The threat of God’s punishment is not enough to keep us from sexual sin.
  4. Exotic, strange sexual partners promise one thing but deliver something else.
  5. Sexual sin often leads to idolatry.
  6. It’s probably good to run from sexual temptation.
  7. Stay at home and rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Paul eases our anxiety by telling us that God has provided a way of escape from every temptation and he will not tempt us beyond our ability to resist. Whew! (See 1 Corinthians 10:13)

God has provided a way of escape from every temptation including sexual temptation.

God’s Word tells us clearly that the only escape from sexual temptation is married sex in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 and then not occasional sex but frequent and reciprocal sex.

Bible Thought: Lots of married sex is God’s way of escape from sexual temptation.

Prayer: Father, help me to overcome sexual temptation by delighting in the the spouse of my youth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Intoxication

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Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,

    a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
(Proverbs 5:18,19 ESV Emphasis added)

There’s is nothing more intoxicating in this life than the anticipation of sex with the one you love. The only thing better is the actual sex. Before you object, think about it. This is just like the God we love and serve. He gave us one another to enjoy and “delight” in. He established marriage to fulfill our longing for excitement, adventure, and intoxication.

Yes, God built into us a need to be “intoxicated”, to get out of the mundane and into a special place, away from it all. His idea was that this place of intoxication would be married sex, a reprieve from the numbing ordinariness of life.

We, of course, like every other gift of God, twist it, turn it, and make it into something else. We fill the need for intoxication with drink, diamonds, pizza, video games, and so much more. God says sex is the best intoxicating experience of your life.

If you look up “intoxicated” or “drunk” in the Bible, the only good references are to sex. Those drunk with anything else, like wine, do not fare well.

You might look at our passage and say that it’s only for the husband. What about the wife? The wife is to get intoxicated also, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine;” (Song of Solomon 1:2 ESV) or “Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!” (5:1b)

God wants your spouse to be the most exciting person in the world to you. We understand that “familiarity breeds contempt” and the spouse of your youth may have faded over the years. But God tells us that this does not need to be the case. The Bible tells us to be intoxicated with the wife or husband of our youth. Our intoxicating love does not need to fade. It’s our choice.

Bible Thought: Married sex with the spouse of your youth should continue to be intoxicating as the years go by.

Prayer: Father, help me to overcome my familiarity with my spouse and once again become intoxicated with their love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Casual Sex

BlueFCasual Sex

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 7:5 ESV emphasis added)

Everything seems to come before sex even Netflix or should we say especially Netflix. Today’s headline is “Netflix is Killing Couple’s Sex Lives: Study”. It goes on to describe the disturbing trend that couples are turning off the TV and going to bed with their iPads. Apparently, a decline in sex is corresponding with increased Netflix viewing in bed according to a university study.

Sex has become casual for married couples. We take it as something we’ll get around to eventually unless there’s something more pressing like a good movie. The Bible takes a less casual view of married sex.

We understand there are hindrances to frequent sex such as aging, illness, and travel as well as many other circumstances. But the Bible gives only one reason not to have frequent sex and then only for a short time – prayer.

A special time of prayer is the only reason for a break in frequent sex, and then only if both the husband and wife agree to abstain from sex, “except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer”.

We are way too casual about sex; we can take it or leave it. If something comes up then we say that sex can wait. Life is always crowding out sex.

God’s Word makes sex a marital priority in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. If you struggle with sexual immorality then get married, once married you must give your spouse conjugal rights and, oh by the way, you don’t have authority over your body, your spouse does. Paul goes on to warn spouses not to “deprive” one another because he knows we tend to deprive one another of sex.

Paul is telling us that sex is not to be taken lightly; in other words, stop being so casual about sex. It is a big deal. If you are casual about sex in your marriage the devil notices and will “tempt you because of your lack of self-control”.

In addition, Paul explains to us that any interruption of frequent sex needs to be mutually agreed upon; that is, both spouses must sign off on the abstinence from sex and then only “for a limited time”.

The next time anything could possibly interfere with frequent sex then there needs to be a conversation between you and your spouse. It could be the next annual retreat or church conference. Paul says to talk to your spouse and come to a mutual agreement about abstaining from sex.

Bible Thought: A married couple should make sex a priority and talk about any potential interference in their sexual frequency.

Prayer: Father, help me understand that any break in frequent sex must be mutually agreed upon. Renew my mind according to your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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An Inconvenient Truth

BlFeatherAn Inconvenient Truth

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)

A refugee coming to America after escaping a war torn country observed that Americans’ greatest fear is being inconvenienced. God’s Word is more often than not going to be inconvenient. “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Inconvenient, Lord!

Paul tells married people in these verses to prepare to be inconvenienced. He leaves no wiggle room to get out of sex. Your spouse has the right to sex whenever they want it and, oh, by the way you don’t have authority over your body, your spouse does. Later in the passage he tells us the only time not to have sex is for a special time of prayer. Paul triple downs on frequent sex in marriage. He boxes us in with no way out. How inconvenient, Paul.

We love sex on cruises, in hotel rooms while on vacation, and sex when we want it. But sex whenever my spouse wants it, in everyday life, well, it’s inconvenient and unreasonable.

What about negotiations? What if I’m not in the mood? Or exhausted? Or had a bad day? Paul says too bad so sad. Sex is sometimes going to be inconvenient.

Wait a minute! Hold on! This sounds like sex on-demand.

“Sex on-demand” is like the sound of finger nails dragging across a chalk board to our postmodern ears. We are free, autonomous people after all. God says you were free and autonomous; that is, before you got married.

Paul’s not talking about bullying, coercion, or abuse. It’s estimated that 25% of married Christians are in abusive situations. If this is you then get help. Be safe. We’re talking to the other 75% of Christian marriages who want their marriages to reflect God’s will.

Biblical married sex is not natural, it is supernatural. We need God’s help to do married sex his way. God wants to bring us out of our self-focused world of sin and into an other-focused world of love. Marriage apparently is one of the best way to learn how to really love. Applying the truth of married sex will be inconvenient but full of blessings.

Bible Thought: Our spouse’s conjugal right is God’s way of turning us from ourselves to another, our spouse, in married love.

Prayer: Father, help me to respect and love my spouse in Christ. I acknowledge I need your help in this. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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“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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