Welcome back to our “Confessions of a Marriage Blogger” series. I recognize with a title about sex, we’ll probably have load of hits from two types of people: 1. Those with authentic interest, and 2. Those that are really nervous about clicking on link with the word “sex” in it but are curious to what a pastor has to say on the subject.
Know this…Anne and I are transparent for a reason: The enemy works in isolation; God works in community. We are open with our lives. We have no problem sharing struggles and victories and let the testimony of what God has done in us help bring freedom and joy into other lives. We believe we overcome by Jesus and the word of our testimony.
We started a series of “Confession” marriage blogs a couple of weeks ago. If you missed the last three parts, check out Part 1 “We irritate each other”, Part 2: “Our kids are for sale”, and Part 3 “This is Not Who I Married!”.
The Ken and Barbie facade is starting to break. Hopefully, you’ve noticed that you are not perfect and that you’re recognizing that the perfect marriage does not exist. You may think you are perfect. But I’ll clue you in to something: You’re marriage can’t handle a perfect person. You’ll annoy the crap out of your spouse because he/she isn’t perfect.
The marriage marathon is tough enough without comparing yourself to others. It’s what our society thrives on. We have commercials designed to show what either you are lacking and/or how sub par the product you already own is severely deficient to what the advertisement wants you to buy. If that’s the way you’re living in your marriage, comparing to others, it’s kinda hard to move forward in the marathon of marriage when you’re too busy paying attention to the others in the lanes next to you. It’s just like our walk with Christ. Hebrews 12 say, “toss of sin and the things that entangle” and to “fix your eyes on Jesus.” You’ve got to get your focus and throw away the distracting “stuff” that wants to slow you down and/or keep you from being a finisher.
Part 4 – Sex is not what we thought it was
Anne and I were quite young when we got married (She had turned 20 the month before and I was 22). We were in love (we still are) and we wanted to live our lives together in the covenant of marriage. Had I a position right out of college, we would have gotten married earlier. I want to say we were ready. But there was so much we thought we knew that, well, wasn’t the case. We came from two loving homes that approached affection and intimacy very different. There wasn’t anything wrong with either way. It was just different. Side note: In marriage, you CANNOT overestimate what you bring into marriage. Don’t overlook the differences in the way you and your spouse were mentored in marriage and the examples that you grew up seeing. You bring those mentoring times into your union…but we’ll save that for another blog.
If there’s anything I can say about sex in our marriage is this: It is not what we thought it was. IT’S SO MUCH BETTER! I’ll explain.
We both had no idea what to expect. That statement may make it sound like Anne and I had been living under a rock and didn’t know how sex worked. But it’s much deeper than that. Our 3 year dating relationship was so open that we could talk about anything. I loved how fearless my Anne is with her communication even though I’m more apt to bring this subject up than her. When the subject did come up, we both carried concerns for each other.
My concern: Was her fear going to steal away her joy in the moment? Was she going to be so nervous that she wouldn’t be able to enjoy what God has given as a gift?
Her concern: Was my past of pornography going to steal the joy from my life? Where there images that would remove innocence and mystery and create comparison? (I wish men understood the price of pornography. The momentary pleasure has life-long ramifications. I never thought that an action as a teenager would ricochet back and effect my marriage).
Both were very valid concerns.
The culture that we live in is so saturated in sex. What we see and hear has made sex all about our physical bodies and the sensations that sex gives us. Everything from music on the radio, commercials for during the Super Bowl, to the movies in the theater, it is all about the physicality. What it is teaching us AND our children about sex is such a hollow view of this tremendous gift that God has given. (Yes you read that right, sex is a God-given gift.) But the problem is our culture is teaching that more physical pleasure means it is great sex. To have too little physical pleasure means it is sub par sex. It’s from that perspective that I can say: If that’s your approach to sex…then sex is not what you think it is.
DON’T GET ME WRONG!!! I am in no way (nor is God) opposed to the physical pleasures of sex. Personally, I enjoy it immensely. Men and women’s bodies were created for each other. You are fearfully and wonderfully made by God which includes physical pleasure from sex. I’ve known couples who have been taught some heretical teaching about sex and felt guilty they were enjoying it so much. I love to set them at liberty to enjoy each other and to indulge themselves in the blessing of intimacy that God designed.
What caught me off guard was sex not what I thought it was. It wasn’t what pornography said it was. It wasn’t what my friends told me it was. It wasn’t simply physical pleasure. There was so much more.
There is a lot more to sex than what the physical body feels. It you look past the surface of physical pleasure, you’ll see that there’s a lot more to enjoy about sex. The sexual act connects both husband and wife in a way that nothing else can. Genesis 2:24 uses the word “cleave” which means “to connect, cling, glue, overtake.”
Sex is meant to…
…Bring us close on multiple levels
…Guide us through minor issues
…And takes our affection deeper
Now catch this: This is the beauty of how God designed it…we can have all of that AND the physical pleasure. Pleasure doesn’t get sacrificed. It get’s enhanced. When you embrace the entirety of what sex is about, you experience something that will blow away the feeble thought of what some people experience in what I call “shallow sexuality.” This is why we can’t get too focused on the physical side of sex. We’ll end up missing and/or forfeiting the whole bundle (that’s my term I got from American Pickers). You may think I’m going taken this too far past the physical. If that’s you, then perhaps there’s more to sex than what you have experienced.
I know what you’re thinking: was this the revelation you experienced on your wedding night? Well…no. I can’t say that after 22 years of virginity, I was in the mood to dissect the sexuality of our wedding night and journal it so that I could blog on it later. But years of mistakes, communication, prayer, laughter, reading, studying, mentoring, and a whole lot of practice has helped take our shallow view of sexuality and has broadened it to be more than we could ever have realized.
Anne and I are pretty normal. We have different libidos. Some seasons in our sexuality were tougher than others. Life changes (kids, jobs, finances, etc) added more difficulties. But we’ve both chosen to make sex a priority and to keep it healthy. It is easy? For some people it is. For others…not so much. But let me encourage you and your spouse to make this a priority in your marriage. Why? It’s so much more than physical pleasure. It’s a multi-layer gift from the Lord. Don’t believe me, turn on the TV, go to a movie, or click on the computer. The devil is after your sexuality. He wants you to indulge in it before your married and keep you from it after your married.
Singles: Don’t give Satan the platform to taint your sexuality.
Whether it’s porn or other sexual experiences, Satan wants to keep you from enjoying the fullness of this gift from God. If you have, from my own experience, Psalm 130:3-4 gave me so much hope and peace. “Lord, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you.” There’s grace, forgiveness, and restoration that can be received from Christ.
Couples: Don’t give the enemy a platform to taint your marriage bed with silence and inactivity.
Paul knew that inactivity could lead to temptation (1 Corinthians 7:5). Be practical about this:
– Talk to each other. It’s not dirty to talk about with your spouse. Just think, he/she may like that.
– Pray with and for each other.
– Date each other.
– Put your kids to bed early AND get a lock on your bedroom door.
– Enjoy each other. If you feel, you didn’t do it right…well…try again. 🙂
Looking back, I thought I knew what sex was all about. Anne had her own thoughts on what to expect. I can say after 15 1/2 years, unequivocally, sex is not what we thought it was. It’s been so much better.
Thanks for letting me ramble…