So very easily we demarcate our lives before God, as regards to what really matters to Him. In doing this we conclude that certain parts of our lives are not of interest to the Lord. One part of our lives which we so easily fail to bring into His presence is that of the intimate life of a husband and wife. To exclude our sex lives from the Lord is folly. The Lord is very much interested in a husband and wife coming together in sexual intimacy. The existence of the book of the Song of Solomon in the Bible with all of its intimate detail surely proves this. So, given the fact that God is interested in the sexual intimacy of a married couple, what instruction can we derive from scripture so that we can have godly sex? Here are some things to think about:-
- Marriage. Godly sex can only be found in the marriage between one man and one woman. Sex in the context of fornication, adultery, besteality or homosexual acts is always ungodly and sinful.
- Prayer. Make sure you pray about the times when you make love together. Stop and pray whilst making love that the Lord would be honoured through you being together.
- No Shame. We are told that Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure (Heb. 13:4a). A husband and wife to share intimacy together is not dirty. It is pure; it is holy.
- Sex in not vital for marriage. Sexual intercourse does not make a marriage. A marriage is made through the commitment of a man and a woman to each other for life to the exclusion of all others. If marriage is dependant on sex then the marriage becomes null and void if one partner is not able to engage in sex. No! Sex is important, but it is not vital to a marriage
- Sex is not an optional extra. In a sense sex is an extra to marriage. This leads us to consider what marriage is. Marriage in its essence, is a couple sharing their lives in companionship and the service of God (see here for more on this). However, sex is the God-given seal to this commitment. It is assumed in scripture, that the bonding together that comes through marriage necessitates that the husband and wife now have a responsibility to give their bodies to each other (see 1 Cor. 7:3-5). So sex is an extra, but it is not an optional extra. It is an extra that God has determined that in the normal course of marital relations should be in place.
- Self-sacrifice. In making love I should be praying that I would bless my wife and please her. I am not there for my own pleasure. However, one of the glories of sex is that when each partner is fixed on satisfying each other then each party is satisfied. Surely this is some tiny measure of outworking the principle of not saving our lives for ourselves and thereby being blessed. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it (Matt. 10:39) is the principle of scripture which even in sex has an outworking.
- Thoughtfulness. For physical or emotional reasons one partner may not be able or inclined to have sexual engagement at a certain time. It is surely Christ-like to not force our desires in such a situation. This is particularly true of the man, and his response in this situation is surely one of the outworkings of 1 Peter 3:7 which indicates that the husband is to dwell with his wife in a considerate way.
- Repentance. If in any way there is something that happens in connection with being close together that leads to a fracturing of the relation then repentance and forgiveness must be worked out.
- Encouragement. It is good to be able to encourage one another particularly in the early stages of marriage when you are getting used to each other.
- Failure. Sex is portrayed to us through the media as always being perfect. It is certainly not like that in practice. When couples discover that their experience of sexual engagement is not perfect they can be led to despair. This can lead to them turning against each other and/or giving up on sex. This should not be. This leads us on to our next point
- Communication. Sometimes in working out the issues of sexual enjoyment a couple must sit down and prayerfully talk together so that they makes sure that they can work through any difficulties. They can seek the counsel of others as necessary.
- Part of life. A couple who are implementing the call of Ephesians 5:21-33 will be well on their way to a healthy sex life. A wife who knows she can trust her husband because he loves her with a self-sacrificing love will be happy to give her body to him. And a husband who is respected by his wife will be happy, even dare I say confident, to give all for the good of his wife.
- Initiative. The husband is the leader and God has constructed us so that the man is to be the initiator in sex. Husbands should not allow their wives to be unnecessarily frustrated through their reluctance to initiate making love. However, the husband should never force himself upon his wife.
- Privacy. A healthy sexual relationship is not for parading in public. Such is completely unseemly. It is a private matter between husband and wife.
- Enjoyment. Our God is not a stingy God. The Word of God says that Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights (James 1:17a). Sex is a gift from God and should be received with thanksgiving and enjoyed.
So let us celebrate the gift of sex into marriage and may we see marriages strengthened as this gift from God is enjoyed to His glory. However, it must be said that things do not always flow smoothly. As mentioned above, I suggest if there are problems in terms of sexual relations in a marriage the couple need to pray about the matter and talk it through. And if necessary to seek others for help.