Sexual Ethics Foundation: Marriage

What happens when you’ve said “I do.”? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I took a break yesterday from this series to write a review of a really bad book. Today, I’m going to get back to our look on sexual ethics. I have repeatedly said that for the Christian, it’s chastity for life, or marriage. No middle ground. If you want sex, well you have to sign on the dotted line and say “I do.” If you don’t want to do that, then you live a life of chastity.

That person you marry? Till death do you part, that is the person that you are allowed to enjoy sex with. No one else. This is a serious message indeed and it’s one that the disciples were shocked about when Jesus shared it.

So now you’ve made it to that point. What are you to do now that the two of you are husband and wife.

Well here are some general rules I recommend.

First off, don’t do anything that one person is really unwilling to do. Something could leave someone feeling uncomfortable, but if they’re willing to do it, then they’re willing to do it. Perhaps they want to overcome their discomfort. There should not be any force when it comes to the sexual relationship in marriage.

Second, don’t do anything that would be harmful to your spouse. Suppose a man is married to a woman who has a medical condition at the time and it would be dangerous for her to have sex. If that’s the case, then the loving husband will have to abstain for the time being.

If you’re wondering about other forms of sex, then the best thing I can tell you to do is to do some research on the matters and talk to your doctor. If there’s a serious health risk involved, the loving thing to do is to avoid.

So what else is there after that?

Anything you want.

And if you think that could open you up to some incredible experiences, well that’s kind of the point.

Are there any other mistakes couples make at this point? Yep. Sure are. We’ll usually keep making them and there are many ways I can improve as well, but here are some observations.

Men can have a tendency to treat women as objects to fulfill their sexual desires. Instead, the woman should be viewed as your life partner through all that you go through. If you ask who is the most important person to me in my ministry, it’s going to be Allie immediately. I could not do what I do without her support. I consider her as the person who helped me open up more than anyone else.

A woman needs to be romanced throughout the day and shown how much she’s loved repeatedly. An excellent way to do this is to read the book “The Five Love Languages” with your spouse and work out what your love language is and what your spouse’s is and then learn to speak that language.

A guy should not come home from work, prop his feet up, grab the remote, have his wife personally bring him dinner, and then somehow expect that she’s going to want to be romantic with him when it’s time to go to bed. Try instead sitting down together and watching a movie together or maybe playing a card or board game together.

If men can overemphasize the sexual aspect, the danger for the woman is to downplay that. If a man was having all his desires fulfilled alone, he wouldn’t get married in the first place. The man wants something that he cannot meet on his own and that is best fulfilled in the loving sexual relationship.

Perhaps now just isn’t a good time. Okay. If that’s the case, then why not tease a little bit. Give a little hint of what is to come. Meet a man’s desire immediately and that’s nice for the time. Tell him that he’ll get what he wants in the evening and ladies, he’ll be thinking about you ALL DAY LONG.

Women by and large don’t really realize the power that they have over their men. In a Christian marriage, God is the #1 influence on the man’s life. Who’s #2? The wife. Love the man that way and you’ll empower him to go out and conquer the world for you.

No. Sex is not all that men think about. (Seriously. Give me a few hours and I’ll eventually come up with something else that we think about.) Yet it is something that we do think about a lot and when that desire is fulfilled, it also enables us to better focus on those other areas of our lives.

What needs to be realized in marriage is that marriage works best when each spouse puts the needs of the other above their own. (Yes. I do still stumble on this one.) When you do that, you are trusting in your spouse to meet your desires. Of course, there is nothing wrong with admitting your desires to your spouse. How else are they going to know? There is nothing wrong with you wanting something for yourself. What is important is that you come to your spouse and admit what you desire. Good communication is essential between a husband and a wife.

A great description I’ve seen of marriage is two people sharing one life. My spouse supports me in the ministry that I do and wants to see me succeed at it greatly and expects nothing less. She’s a strong incentive for me to succeed. (We recently won a two-week free membership at a gym. When I saw her going by yesterday while working out with the personal trainer I was assigned to, I did ask him to up the weight some that I was lifting.) Nothing motivates a man like a woman does.

Men can also be that for the women. The woman can be a success at what she does to and she should be. It could be a career, but it could be she wants to be a housewife and/or mother, both of which by the way are divine callings. We have too often said a woman is missing out if she does not have a career outside the house. Balderdash! A woman can be just as fulfilled working at home being a wife and mother. That could be her dream as is.

Note also that much of the change in marriage is not going to be about sex, but about the little day to day things that you don’t always think about. It’s ultimately about sharing and sex is the highest end in this as that is the direct sharing of two persons with one another.

In marriage, you learn to share a bed together not just for sex, but for sleeping and waking up together. You learn to share the food in the kitchen. You learn to share the money. You learn to share the remote control. (Okay. That last one could be stretching it….)

This means sharing as well your hopes and dreams and fears and desires. It means sharing your very self. The sexual aspect is so important because if you can share that, you can share everything else with someone. The exposure of bodies together is meant to mirror the exposure of hearts to one another.

Marriage is a gift from God. It should be treasured as such. Your spouse is also a gift from God. Treasure them. Seek to make the most of your relationship together. Pray together and worship together. Keep in mind a passage like Ephesians 5. The husband is to present his family to Christ one day to speak about how He did. The wife is to support her husband as well. If a man wants to say he’s the king of his castle, he should treat his wife like a queen.

Now in marriage, you do have the place for your desires to be fulfilled together and let that help you grow in love together. Instead of wading in shallow pools of sex with multiple people, you spend the rest of your life diving into the ocean of one with each of your learning to appreciate each other more and more over time.

Enjoy what you have and realize it’s a dream to have for the rest of your life.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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