“Not Now” Means “No”

14417183 - art tree beautiful for your designDo not deprive one another (1 Corinthians 7:5a ESV)

The Delay

There are probably many valid reasons for telling your spouse “Not now, dear” from illness to PTO meetings and everything in-between. We are not talking about these moments tough. If the reason for the delay is reasonable then postpone but set a time.

All things being equal, “Not now, honey” means “No”. Paul tells us, as we have seen numerous times in our journey toward a more biblical married sex life, that we have conjugal responsibilities, our bodies are not our own, and in our verse today, “Do not deprive”! “Do not deprive” is about as clear and direct as you can get.

The Request

There are as many ways to request sex as there are marriages. Most marriages have their own unique ways such as a glance or a secret phrase. Other couples are more direct with a kiss or a touch. You know your unique request methods. The temptation is to “accidentally” miss the signal if you’re not “in the mood”.

The Response

“Not in the mood” is not a biblical response. If we wait for both of us to be “in the mood”, at the same time, then it could be long wait. We’re usually not in the mood because we are looking at ourselves and not our spouse. Selfishness kills “the mood”.

The only biblical response to a request is an enthusiastic, “Yes!” This seems unreasonable in so many ways especially in our culture of individualism. How can anyone, realistically, be in the mood all the time? If you go by your feelings then it’s impossible. Trust God. Pray.

God’s Word tells us clearly that we should be ready for sex. This goes beyond feelings to obedience. The Word says be ready for your spouse when they’re in the mood. You have conjugal responsibilities, your body is your spouse’s, and do not deprive them.

How can you be ready?

First, don’t be surprised when your spouse suggests sex! Many are startled when their spouse says the secret phrase and panic, “Now!?” Be ready, don’t be surprised.

Secondly, anticipate when your spouse will be in the mood. If you’ve been married for any length of time then you should know your spouse’s sexual rhythms. Anticipate.

Thirdly, make sex a priority – think about it, talk about it, plan it. Yes, there are many obstacles to the one flesh reality of marriage including illness, aging, and travel and so many more. But make the effort to make sex a priority.

Fourthly, change your mind about sex and align it with God’s Word and not the culture. We like the way JB Phillips puts it, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.” (Romans 12:2)

When we put God’s way into practice then we will know God’s plan is good but not before.

Bible Thought: God’s way has to be practiced in order to discover that it is the best way.

Prayer: Father, help my mind to be transformed from cultural biases to God’s truth about married sex. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Just do it,

Rene & Gloria

How to Talk about You Know What

How to Talk about You Know What

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:3 ESV)

This post is a little different than the others. Our blog is exclusively about what the Bible says about married sex. But as we’re talking more and more about our blog to people we realize that couples simply aren’t talking about sex in their marriage – at all! This is alarming to us so we thought we would suggests a few questions to get the conversation started. Chances are that if you’re not talking about sex, you’re not doing it very often either.

There are many reasons why married couples don’t talk about sex very often.

We imagine for the wife it’s an uncomfortable topic of conversation because they either know, or suspect, their husbands want more sex than they’re getting. They’d rather not take the blame for the infrequency – again. This causes angst and guilt which leads to feeling badly about themselves or their husband or both.

Also, women, especially in our Christian culture, have been taught since childhood that sex is bad before marriage and the implication is that it’s not much better after marriage. In addition, past conversations with their husbands about sex never ended well and this adds to the reluctance to talk. But for whatever reason there seems to be a loud silence in many marriages.

The fact that the most intimate relationship there is in life, wife and husband, can’t talk about their most intimate time together is sad. Heartbreaking really.

We imagine for the husband, he knows that he’ll either come across as oversexed or worse, a predator, always demanding sex. For the Christian man, this also reveals how unspiritual he is being concerned about the things of the “flesh”. And we all know the flesh is evil; therefore, sex becomes a “necessary evil”. A necessary evil is never good.

It’s a shame that more wives and husbands don’t talk about sex. In a recent Pew survey, the number one reason to get married was “love” (88%). When Pew Research Center asked what makes a successful marriage, a close second to “shared interests” (64%), was a “satisfying sex life” (61%). This suggests that we get married for “love” and then after we’re married for a while we realize that a “satisfying sex life” is one of the major reasons we stay together.

As we said, there are many reasons including everything from past abuse to past promiscuity as reasons not to talk about sex. Sex is an uncomfortable topic and it can get emotional quickly. However, we believe that it’s worth the risk.

Below are five open-ended, non-threatening (mostly), questions that are based on 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. Our prayer is that these will be just the beginning of a on-going conversation about sex in your marriage. The more you talk about sex, the easier it will be to talk about sex.

Ask each other:

  1. Before we were married, what role did you think sex would play in our marriage?
  2. Now that we’re married, has your view changed?
  3. Is sexual temptation something you experience? How often? What form does it usually take? How can I help?
  4. What pops out at you from 1 Corinthians 7:1-5? Why?
  5. What does our sex life look like for you in the future? In the next year? In the next 5 years?

We encourage you to push past your fears and talk about, well, you know what, with your spouse, the one you married and promised to love and cherish.

Bible Thought: God is not afraid to talk about sex. In fact, he dedicates an entire book to it to highlight the importance of sex in marriage.

Prayer: Father, help me not to be embarrassed to talk about sex with my spouse. Help us to open and free to talk with each other about sex. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Just do it,

Rene & Gloria

Get Uncomfortable

And I will lead the blind

in a way that they do not know,

in paths that they have not known

I will guide them.

I will turn the darkness before them into light,

the rough places into level ground.

These are the things I do,

and I do not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16 ESV)

Cultural and Religious Preconceptions Limit Us

Technology is daunting when we first encounter it. Perhaps you had to learn a new software program for your job. We remember our companies preparing us for months in advance for new software. Everyone was in a panic but once it rolled out, and we got used to it, we never gave it a second thought.

Changing our sexual habits is daunting. We’ve grown accustomed to our sexual patterns like an old pair of slippers. It’s safe and comfortable. We have unspoken rules about sex, frequency and reciprocity, in our marriage. So when we understand God’s Word has specific directives for married sex, we tend to deny or ignore them. We fall back on our cultural and religious preconceptions about married sex.

A Disciple of Jesus Expects & Embraces Change

However, being a disciple of Jesus, we know, requires constant reassessment of our habits and patterns. Jesus always calls us out of our comfort zones and into uncomfortable places such as witnessing to our neighbors, feeding the hungry at the homeless shelter, or giving up a long time habit. It’s the same with our marriage and especially our sex lives.

When we understand God’s Word and realize we have to change, it takes us by surprise. But as a disciple we desire to do life God’s way and know there’s always good in obedience. “Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:20) We want to have a marriage that reflects the Word even if it’s uncomfortable.

Changing our sexual habits can be uncomfortable for many reasons but we are called to overcome all obstacles and get out of our comfort zones. There is a cost to following Jesus and marriage God’s way is no exception. Jesus calls us to a place of humility, surrender, and love in marriage and that means frequent and reciprocal sex. (See The Principles of Marriage ESV)

Principles of Marriage

God wants us to understand the Principles of Marriage and practice them regularly. It requires us to get out of our comfort zones and into God’s place of obedience. The good news is that he will guide us and “turn the darkness before (us) into light, the rough places into level ground.” The Holy Spirit will comfort us when we get uncomfortable in the places he sends us. Trust him.

Bible Thought: God wants us to get uncomfortable for our good and his glory.

Prayer: Father, help me to get out of my usual areas of comfort. Help me to put my spouse first even when it’s uncomfortable. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Just do it,

Rene & Gloria

Have Sex to Forget about Sex

26470436 - peerless decorative feather  vectorHave Sex to Forget about Sex

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5 ESV)

God is a Jealous God

John Piper says that idolatry today is not usually worshipping a carved image but rather it is an activity of the human heart. It’s essentially craving something more than God. Anything, but more often than not, usually some comfort like food, wine, exercise, recognition, or sex.

One way we can know we have an idol is by examining our thoughts. What do we think about the most? What do we want the most? If it’s anything more than God’s grace, it could be an idol. God is a jealous God and wants our attention.

Comfort Calls Our Name

Comfort permeates the Colossians passage above, “Sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness”. Sex certainly comes to mind when we read this passage but it could be anything from craving the best garden in the neighborhood to lusting after a pepperoni pizza night after night.

Human beings, men and women, have a lust problem. Lust is an inordinate craving. It could be sex or food, and the lusting can come and go, but usually there’s a pattern of obsession in us that repeats itself over and over.

Sex quickly becomes an idol if we haven’t had sex in a while and there is no prospect for sex in the near future

Our passage says clearly that sexual immorality is idolatry. Paul tells us to “put it to death”.

How do we “put to death” sexual immorality? God’s Word in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 tells us the only way to put to death sexual immorality – get married.

Sex quickly becomes an idol if we haven’t had sex in a while and there is no prospect for sex in the near future. God created us with a very strong sex drive, men and women, and he has made a provision to overcome our strong sex drive. He doesn’t leave us on our own. He provides a way. The way is a sex-soaked marriage.

When we have had sex recently and know we will have sex soon then sexual tension dissipates and sex is then less likely to become an idol.

Have Sex to Forget about Sex

Frequent and reciprocal sex with your spouse puts sex in it’s proper place in our life.

If our sexual desires are fulfilled, we won’t be constantly thinking about it. God tells us to have sex frequently so we won’t be overcome and lose self-control. (See 1 Corinthians 7:5)

Have sex to forget about sex so that you can move on with the rest of your life. A sex-soaked marriage is the only antidote for sexual idolatry. It’s only when we don’t have enough sex do we make it an idol.

Bible Thought: Sex becomes an idol when we don’t have frequent and reciprocal sex with our spouse.

Prayer: Father, help me from making sex an idol. Show me the many benefits of sex with my spouse including staying away from idolatry. Amen.

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Just do it,

Rene & Gloria

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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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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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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