This past weekend, our church continued the “Modern Family” series with a lesson that I wasn’t quite sure I’d share today – “The Naked Truth About Sex.” However, I figure that sexual intimacy is a God-given privilege designed for us to enjoy in the context of marriage (at least that was the original plan before society started setting the tone for how we treat sex)…so it should be discussed. With that in mind, I am going to share some of what was mentioned during the message last weekend, but if you’d like to watch or listen to the entire message, click HERE (and I really encourage you to do so).
There are four essential ingredients to every successful marriage. Let’s start with the scripture. Genesis 2:24 says, “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
- Severance: “a man leaves his father and mother.” We were always designed to leave our parents. However, so many times our parents get too involved in mechanics of the relationship we have with our spouses. As a result, we experience a lot of unnecessary conflict.
- Permanence: “a man leaves his father and mother…and is united to his wife.”
- United: “and they become one flesh.” It is completely possible for two people to become so connected that God no longer sees them as two separate entities, but as one. For example, have you ever met a couple and immediately thought, “they look like siblings.” Yep…it happens.
- Intimacy: Genesis 2:25 says, “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Sexual intimacy was never designed to be a shameful subject – we were to be joined as one, naked and shame-free. I guess a lot has changed since Adam and Eve.
While intimacy is not the only essential ingredient to a successful marriage, it certainly is a key component. In fact, God provides us with an entire book devoted to intimacy: Song of Solomon…one of the greatest love stories ever told. Forget “Fifty Shades of Gray,” the story of Solomon and his love are the real deal. In fact, you don’t have to read very far into this book to know that this couple is completely hot for one another. Don’t believe me…just start reading. It almost reminds me of a recent episode of My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding (the bride wrote a poem describing how wonderful her soon-to-be husband was)….Solomon and his love do much the same thing. However, when reading this book of the bible, we’re reminded of how crappy we’ve become as lovers. I’m sure I could give examples, but you know what’s up.
Our minister suggested that there are three huge barriers to sexual intimacy (outside of even bigger barriers like illness, long-term marital conflict, etc). He also brought his wife up to provide a woman’s perspective…thus the reason I suggested you watch the original message.
1. Personal Maintenance
I’ve been married just under 3 years, so I can’t exactly use myself as an example…and I’m pregnant, so it’s probably not the best time to ask me about my weight. However, how many times do you see couples really let themselves go physically after they get married? Apparently, women on average gain 24 lbs within the first five years of marriage…men on average gain 30 lbs. Sure, we’re going to gain a little weight (although I will tell you that my husband and I have kept ourselves in the gym to maintain our weight for as long as we’ve been together – it’s a team effort), but why is it necessary to completely stop taking pride in how we look.
Let’s not forget personal maintenance basics: showering, deodorant, brushing our teeth, filing our nails, etc. – cough cough, men (to my husband, I’m not talking about you). And let’s also put a little more effort into what we’re wearing on a daily basis. I’m well aware that my t-shirt and pajama bottoms are not sexy. Remember how much pride we took in our appearance before getting married? Why should we allow that to stop? Need direction on how to dress or how to wear your hair? Listen to your spouse – although some of those requests can seem a little ridiculous, what harm is really done by wearing your husband’s favorite dress or styling your hair a certain way.
2. Lack of Quality Time
I regularly administer a personality assessment and feedback to what I often describe as “workaholics.” After asking these men (mostly men) to tell me about themselves, I typically ask what they want to get out of the session. More times than not, I am told “I want to better manage my time.” Regardless of any insight I can offer, here’s the reality…you’ll never have quality time unless you have a quantity of time. Granted, we’re all given the same amount of time – 24 hours a day, so much of the problem is self-management.
As it relates to intimacy, men and women are just different when it comes to intimacy (for every one time that a woman thinks about sex, men have thought about it 33 times). Regardless, both men and women have to make time for it. Again, I am not an expert on this subject matter (since I have yet to have my first child), but I’ve heard so many couples (mostly women) talk about putting the kids first. Don’t forget that your spouse and your marriage are your first priority…not your children. If you don’t have a solid and fulfilled marriage, your children will suffer…so it’s absolutely necessary and important to make time for intimacy.
Deuteronomy 24:5 says, “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” Forget a year…what about one night a month for date night. It doesn’t have to be anything fabulous or expensive…a walk, a picnic, etc.
You’ve all heard the old saying “you can’t do the same thing, the same way and expect different results.” We all need to adding a little creativity to our marriages on a regular basis to “spice things up” if you will. Um…a few ideas were shared on how to mix things up…wearing something sexy, trying new positions, doing something together that you’ve never done before (new restaurant, traveling abroad, etc) – I feel like I’m watching an “awkward” movie scene with my parents right now. I think you get the idea. The point being that we may have married our husband or wife X number of years ago with the hope that we’d always be that much in love…but that kind of love takes work. With all of that in mind, I’ll leave you with the ABCs of Love:
Attaining sexual intimacy in your marriage takes commitment.
Becoming a great lover takes time.
Comprehending the different expressions of love takes patience.
So now I’ve gotta ask…what are you doing to keep your marriage hot? I know it’s personal, but I think we could all learn from one another…maybe I’ll even write down a few things to keep top of mind once our little girl arrives.