We live in an overly sexualized culture. Sexual messages are all around us everyday on billboards, TVs, and the Internet. As a Christian I believe that sex was designed specifically for the marital relationship. The best analogy I’ve ever heard compared sex to a class five rapid. A class five rapid is a powerful force in nature and because of that you won’t find a class five rapid in a bathtub or a fishbowl. You find class five rapids in gorges and in canyons because gorges and canyons are designed to contain the power of a class five rapid. Sex is a powerful force in human relationships and marriage was designed to contain that power just like gorges and canyons are designed to contain class five rapids. The power of sex brings together and creates a strong bond between a husband and a wife.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.~Genesis 2:24 (NIV)
Honestly I think we read too much into the above scripture and make it say things that it doesn’t. Things that may sound good but aren’t actually meant by the verse. A big part of what I think the verse talks about is sexual intercourse. That powerful, bonding experience shared between a man and a woman. I’ve seen this verse used as a weapon to suggest that anything that promotes individuality within the marriage is an affront to the “one flesh” marriage as if the definition of “one flesh” is “two people actually becoming like one person.” Personally I reject that definition of “one flesh” first, because I don’t believe that that is what scripture teaches and secondly, because I don’t think it is practical. I think that it’s a lie that we have bought because it sounds so magical. Perhaps there are people that would like to ignore the obvious sexual aspect of the verse as well. I believe that marriage is more like two whole people coming together to create something new and wonderful. Remaining individuals but also belonging to something greater that changes and grows them.
If sex is supposed to be this powerful bonding experience within marriage, then why in so many marriages is it just the opposite? Why is sex or sexual matters always on the list of the top marital issues? Of the seven issues listed in About.com’s list of Top Marriage Issues of 2008 three of them were related to sex (pornography, lack of sex and infidelity). Why? I think scripture gives us a clue as to why.
Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.~1 Corinthians 7:1-5 (NASB)
Frankly, it’s because couples aren’t having enough sex or that the sex they are having is unfulfilling sex. I am certain that sexual refusal is the secret sin in many failing marriages. Sexual temptation in our society is real. If I know that a lack of sex makes my spouse more vulnerable to the sexual temptations out there, what is the grown up thing for me to do? What is the right and good thing to do? What is the moral thing to do? What is the scriptural thing to do?
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.~James 4:17 (NIV)
I am amazed that there are spouses out there, depending on your source 25-33 percent of them male, that claim to love their spouse but refuse to make love to them. Making love is more than just doing your sexual duty. That’s like following the letter of the law and missing the Spirit of it. Making love is fulfilling the sexual needs of your spouse and your marriage.
Sex is a powerful force in marriage. I believe that it was created by God to be a wonderfully bonding experience but has been misused and been allowed to become just the opposite, a point of contention in marriage. Sex should not be a reward for good behavior. Sex should not be withheld as a punishment. Sex should never be used as manipulation. Using sex as a reward, a punishment or as a tool of manipulation all lessen the bonding experience sex in marriage is supposed to be.
As mature people let us determine to do the good we know we ought to do and use the power of sex in our marriage as it was designed to be used, as a meaningful, bonding experience between a husband and a wife.