Aug 5, 2013

Intimacy in Marriage part 5: Sex vs Honoring each other

 It's been NEARLY A MONTH since my last post in this series!  I have been having such a blessed summer, and have opted to spend time with my husband in the evenings rather than disappearing into my computer... and with the kids home all day it's been a challenge to write as much as I would like.  My kids are going back to school this week, and I believe I will have all sorts of time to get this stuff done (we shall see).

If you are new to this series here is the run-down:  Part one defined intimacy.
Part two discussed intimacy as interdependence rather than co-dependency.
Part three discussed love-at-first-sight vs slow and steady as true intimacy.
Part four discussed intimacy in terms of commitment vs. romance.

Here we are! Part 5!  An honest look at S-E-X from a married Christian's perspective.

It took me long enough to get here! Sometimes, when some people hear the word "intimacy" sexual intimacy is the first place their mind goes.  This is part of why I took so much time to get here, because intimacy is really not about sex.  Sex is one of the most intimate physical acts you can engage in, but you can have intimacy in marriage without sex, and you can have sex without much intimacy (people do it all the time.) Recently several of my favorite bloggers have been writing about this very topic, and very in depth.  At the end of this post, I will give you some resources if you want to read more.

When thinking about intimacy in marriage, and specifically about sex, where does your mind go?  Are you a reticent participant?  Are you a high drive girl who wants it more than the husband?  Are you somewhere in between, you like it, but rarely want it? 

Before you are married, sex is something that is covered in layers of mystery, temptation, curiosity and perhaps fear.  If you are a believer and had sex outside of marriage, there may also be guilt, shame, justification or (for some believers and all the world) the belief that it's no big deal to do it, "as long as you love each other".   Movies today make it out to be something magical, powerful, an inevitable force or at times completely meaningless and casual.

The consequences of treating sex casually can be long-lasting and painful, but it's not something most teens think about when they are full of hormones and feelings and want to follow through on what their body wants to do.   Song of Songs 8:4 charges young women to "not to awaken love until the time is right", which is a good way to avoid having pre-marital sex.  

So, what if you didn't have pre-marital sex and what if you did?  What if you are plagued by shame and guilt?  What if you aren't?  What if your husband waited for you? What if he didn't?  The answers are all the same.  For once some movies have it right, sex is magical and powerful, and more than that... it's important.

So, why sex?  What is it for?  According to Genesis 2:24-25, sex is part of the married relationship, we are to become "one flesh" with our spouse.  Genesis 1:28 says that sex is for procreation.  Proverbs 5:18-20 tells us that it's for enjoyment.  (The fact that women have a clitoris is a sign as well).  1 Corinthians 7:1-2, 5, 9 tell us that sex in marriage is meant as a way to help us resist temptation. 1 Corinthians 7:3-4 tells us that sex is a way to show mutual ownership.

God made sex for us to enjoy within the confines of a safe, secure, forever relationship (I like to call it marriage).  It's meant to be something that we enjoy. So many women do not enjoy it, or see it as something that must be endured as opposed to enjoyed.  Friends, this is not why God made it!  It's meant to bring us closer to our husbands!

Couples who view making love as a way to honor and build up their spouse will undoubtedly have a healthier and more enjoyable sex life.  If sex is not all about "getting yours", but rather pleasing the other person, and your pleasure is more tied up in your spouse's pleasure than your own, then you have discovered the true intimacy in making love.  

Sex is a physical act, and for some people, they can have sex while watching t.v. or creating a to-do list for the next week.  Making love is an intimate act, it is considerate and engaged, it is intentional about building intimacy through the act of physically pleasing your spouse.   Women who are intentional about being present throughout will be more responsive, and will more likely achieve orgasm than a woman who is distracted and distant.

Making love is not to be treated lightly, ignored or avoided.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19

The above scripture challenges us to honor God with our bodies.  Prior to marriage, that means staying pure.  Within the context of marriage, that means staying faithful and being responsive.  When you connect with your husband physically, you will more easily connect with him emotionally.   The hormones that are released when you make love create bonding that give you a higher sense of connection... so why not give your heart a little boost?

When you begin to change your approach to sex from a "have to" to a "want to", because you desire to honor your husband by meeting this important need for him, the NEED for him to have a responsive and sexually enthusiastic wife, you will begin to feel more connected to him after you make love.  The more you show your enthusiasm, the more motivated he will be to please you because he is having fun watching you have fun.  {Are you blushing yet?}  Oddly enough, being fully engaged and involved, responsive and enthusiastic while making love can be an act of worship.  It pleases God to see you enjoy making love the way He intended.

So, how do you get there?  What if a low self-esteem keeps you from being uninhibited?  What if you struggle with distraction, a low libido, or resentment from an affair or your husband's addiction to pornography?  There are steps to take and healing that may need to take place, but I believe that no marriage should be sex-less.  

Start small, begin talking about what you want.  Pray about it...  God wants this for you too.  Try telling him what feels good when you are making love.  Start thinking about sex early in the day to "prime the pump", so you can get ready.  If need be, move the kids to their own rooms, or send them away over night.  Light some candles and kiss him a little more passionately.  

There are blog posts you can read and bloggers who love to write about this topic in a no-holds-barred sort of way.

Like I promised, some additional resources: Tonya from 4 Little Fergusons recently posted a whole series on "Sex God's way" and Shiela Wary Gregorie's blog To Love Honor and Vacuum has a ton of great posts about spicing things up in the bedroom.

Linking up with all sorts of places, listed on the bottom right hand of this blog!!

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