Last week I started a new series about physical intimacy called “The most important 0.625% of your marriage.” One of my hopes for this series is that you and your spouse would either begin having conversations about intimacy, or you would grow in your ability and effectiveness in your communication about intimacy.
The primary direction of this series points towards the common barriers couples face in marriage and life that prevent sexual intimacy from becoming what God intends. Before we dive into the barriers, we need to think rightly about the gift of intimacy in marriage. Here is the 411 (4 foundational truths) about physical intimacy:
1. The body is good.
We start with the premise that the body is good.
Genesis 1:27,31 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Psalm 139:13-14a For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
We are physical beings with physical bodies, created by God in His image and likeness. He is the One who formed us, and He declared it “very good.” While God called the other aspects of creation “good,” He called the creation of human beings “very good” (see the creation account in Genesis 1).
Despite what God’s Word says, I know many of us struggle with believing our bodies are good. If I’m honest, there are times when I strongly dislike my body. I am overweight and have hair in all the wrong places. I constantly compare how I look with the bodies of others around me.
And I know I am not alone. We either worship and idolize our bodies with obsession over self-image or strict food restrictions or we neglect and abuse them with over-eating, substance abuse, or passivity. A correct understanding of intimacy begins with a proper view of the body. We are to honor God with our bodies and view them rightly (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Philippians 1:20).
2. Sex is good (within marriage).
Sex is good and is part of God’s creation and design for the husband and wife. God designed physical intimacy for procreation, for fun and as a means to renew and be reminded of the marriage covenant.
In Genesis 1:28 and 2:24 and Song of Solomon 5:1, we see God telling His people to enjoy the gift of physical intimacy with one another in marriage. Physical intimacy is central to the idea of the husband and wife being one flesh with each other.
Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Song of Solomon 5:1b Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!
For many of us, sex is anything but good. We associate intimacy with abuse, pornography, infidelity, guilt, shame and much more. However, at its core design and intention, sex is a great gift from a good God.
3. Sex is an opportunity to glorify God.
I love the fact that we can bring glory to the Lord, in the midst of physical intimacy.
1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
We typically understand how we can bring glory to God by praying, reading the Bible, serving others and giving resources to those in need. We can even comprehend honoring God by the ways we eat and drink. However, the idea of bringing God glory by having sex is probably new to many of us.
One of the challenges many couples face is not fully comprehending the fact that sex is good and right within marriage. God could have made physical intimacy something like rubbing elbows or even as mildly pleasing as a good sneeze. Yet, He made physical intimacy something immensely pleasurable. He designed it and it is His invention and gift to us. In the midst of (or right after) great sex, the right response is glory to God.
4. Sex is designed for marriage.
I will highlight more on this topic later, but God created and designed sex for marriage. Hebrews 13:4 establishes the fact that sex is intended for married couples only.
Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
In addition, many passages challenge us to avoid/flee sexual immorality (see Ephesians 5:3, 1 Corinthians 6:18, Proverbs 6:27-28, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8). Sex outside of marriage in any form is not God’s best and is sin (premarital sex, adultery, pornography, among others). If you want to know “How far is too far?,” check out this Real Truth Real Quick video from Todd Wagner and Rick Smith.
For the premarried couple reading this, you need to know God is NOT trying to rip you off or steal your joy. He wants you to trust Him with His design for sexual intimacy.
Much of our pain, disappointment and unmet expectations in marriage, largely stem from a poor understanding of who God is and the ways He has designed physical intimacy in marriage for our good and His glory.
How do you view your body? Do your see your body as a gift from God? Do you worship or abuse your body?
How do you view sex?
What would it look like in your marriage to glorify God through sexual intimacy?
Also in this Series:
- Part 1 – The Most Important 0.625% of Your Marriage
- Part 3 – The Law of the Farm: Will you Work Hard to Make the 0.625% of Your Marriage Great?
- Part 4 – Unmet Expectations: The Second Barrier to Intimacy as God Intends
- Part 5 – Let’s Talk about Sex: The Most Important Skill Needed for Great Intimacy
- Part 6 – Crazy Busy: The Fourth Barrier to Sexual Intimacy as God Intends
- Part 7 – How to Live in Freedom: Working Through Your Unresolved Sexual Pain or Sin