Sex is one of the quickest indicators to find out how a couple is doing in their marriage. Why? Because it is the most intimate thing they will ever physically do together. It’s different from talking, dating, going to dinner, or watching a ballgame.
Sex requires more. Sex demands more from two people. You can do many things as a married couple and still not get along, but sex is the litmus test. It’s not unusual for a couple to attend church together for 30 years and be miserable in their marriage.
You can get away with it and people can be faked out. But when it comes time to be physically intimate with each other, there is no fakery. Though a wife may do her “duty sex” and the man may possibly be oblivious, the fact is the marriage is on hard times.
You can pretend by doing fake sex, but it’s still fake. It’s either right and your marriage is good or it’s not right and your marriage needs help. If your sexual life is bad, there is only one reason for this. The biblical word is sin. Sin separates and the bedroom is the most obvious place to discern if a marriage is right or wrong.
A good counseling question is, “How is your sex life?” or “Talk to me about your sex life.” You’ll know quickly, unless they lie by not revealing the whole truth.
Fortunately the Bible speaks to everything, so we don’t have to go elsewhere to figure out what’s wrong with our marriages or our physical intimacy.
You can’t have sex with layers on
When sin comes into the picture and is not dealt with biblically, the tectonic plates of your sex life will shift and your marriage will be off kilter. You will be out-of-harmony with each other, no matter what kind of front you put on.
The first time this happened was with our first sexual couple. When sin entered the picture in Genesis the division of two people happened. They felt the shame of their sin and begin hiding the truth.
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. – Genesis 3:7 (ESV)
This one verse explains eloquently, powerfully, and sadly why sex can be such a problem in marriage and how sex is an indicator of the deeper problems a couple can experience.
Sex is as transparent as two people can become and if the marriage is not right, one or both partners will begin layering themselves with “fig leaves.” A typical response to sin is to hide. It may surprise you to know the amount of “hiding” a spouse will do in marriage.
When sin enters into the picture, the fig leaves come on, people begin hiding from each other, and there is no more willingness to be fully vulnerable, exposed, open, transparent, and honest with the other person. Sin divides.
You can’t have biblical intimacy with these kinds of layers on. If there is unresolved bitterness, anger, frustration, guilt, disrespect, un-forgiveness, hurts, malice, or insensitivity in a marriage, then one or both partners will be hesitant to get completely naked and fully enjoy the other person sexually.
It’s impossible if we’re talking about biblical sex. I’m aware a man can abuse a woman and demand sex from her. I’m also aware a woman can despise a man and have sex with him. That’s not biblical sex.
That’s just a notch up from what animals do, except they do it instinctively. In my illustrations, it’s done instinctively, but sinfully.
Biblical sex is uninhibited willingness to physically unite with another person and God is part of this biblical unity. Adam and Eve were intimate and God was there. There was no shame (sin) in their experience.
True biblical sex is two people coming together as one. This is the most intimate picture of Christ and His church–fully and completely united as husband and wife.
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. – Ephesians 5:28-30 (ESV)
Biblical sex begins with the Gospel
Biblical sex is the height of physical/spiritual unity. Sin will not only altar this kind of intimacy, but it will reduce sex to a person’s cravings to be self-centered, self-satisfying, and self-serving.
Paul understood the Gospel and he was able to bring the Gospel to bear on all of life. This is why it’s not surprising he had so much clarity on how the Gospel should shape and form our minds when it comes to sex.
The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. – 1 Corinthians 7:3-4 (ESV)
You can’t read this passage without seeing the Gospel orientation of what Paul was saying. The Gospel–Jesus Christ–was all about going, giving, serving, and helping.
The Savior was clear on His purpose and role on earth (Mark 10:45). His point was to pour His life out as a ransom because we needed help. The word Christian means Christ follower–we imitate Him (1 Corinthians 11:1).
This isn’t rocket science. We are to follow Christ in all things. Therefore, when it comes to sex, we are to implement and fulfill the Gospel’s perspective on the physical relationship between a man and a woman. Sex is not for me, but for my wife. It’s pretty plain to understand.
The real question is whether I want to adulterate the Gospel and turn sexual love in on myself. Porn is one of the worst manifestations of this kind of self-serving sex–man satisfying man, also called masturbation.
The non-evangelizing Christian is adulterating the Gospel. So is the man or woman who sees sex primarily for personal pleasure.
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Intimacy is born outside the bedroom
A poor sexual relationship is a symptom, not a cause. The cause is outside your bedroom and if the cause is not fixed, then your sexual experience with your spouse will never be right.
Let me say it another way: if you are having sexual issues in the bedroom, then sin is the culprit and the first place you will have to look is outside your bedroom, where the sin is happening.
Sex is an extension of who you are as a couple. If your intimacy is not right, then there are things in your marriage that are not right. Your sexual life cannot be wrong and that be the only thing wrong with you and your spouse.
Let me illustrate with a wild illustration: suppose Alan slapped Joyce, his wife, across the face at 5 PM. It’s now 10 PM and Alan wants to have sex. Do you think Joyce can freely give herself to Alan?
The answer is self-evident and I trust this illustration has never happened to you. There is no way Joyce can freely give herself to her husband, in the vulnerable way in which physical intimacy requires.
Though you may have never slapped your wife, it is possible you could have done things that have caused her to put layers on, which has restricted your sexual experience.
Some have said sex is a 24/7 experience for a wife and then jokingly said it’s about 5 minutes for a man. That’s ignorant and not funny. Physical intimacy is a 24/7, lifetime experience between a man and a woman.
In order to understand this, you must understand what is involved for a woman to be truly free to give herself up to a man.
Working without a net
In order for a woman to be free to give herself up to a man there needs to be conditions in place. Think about this with me.
If you would like to read the rest of this article, click Sex for a woman and head over to our Member Site.
For further reading
- Sexual Distortions – from bad to best sex
- Relationship Competency: Do you qualify to have a spouse?
- Yes we did have premarital sex, but why did he commit adultery?
- Sex before marriage is the beginning of a trail of tears
- Men are tempted to lust – Women are tempted to be lusted after
- Dear Diary, Safe sex nearly destroyed my marriage
- Porn: the drug that shrinks the soul