On Saturdays, we’ve been (slowly) working through how the Beatitudes impact our marriage and our marriage beds. Here’s that passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
I once again sought out the meaning of the primary word here — peacemakers — in the original New Testament Greek. As it turns out, this is the only time that word, eirenopoios, is used. But since it’s a compound word, you can break it down into two words just as you can in English — eirene for peace, and poieo for make. When I realized that, I thought, Now we’re getting somewhere! Only eirene (peace) is used 86 times in the New Testament and poieo (make) is used a whopping 519 times.
Look, I love y’all but this post isn’t my doctoral dissertation, so there is no way I’m researching all of those verses. Instead, let’s look at a few of the definitions of these words from the New Testament Greek Lexicon provided by BibleStudyTools.com.
2. peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
3. security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)
1. to make: a) to be the authors of, the cause; b) to make ready, to prepare; c) to produce, bear, shoot forth
At this point, you’re probably thinking as I did: So it means exactly what it says — to make peace.
Only, I have to admit that the word for make includes a definition I like a whole lot, given what I do — “to be the authors of.” Think about that. When you’re the author, you get to say whatever you want, however you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. You decide what gets made. It sounds really powerful and marvelous when I put it like that, but the best writers do not take that freedom lightly. With that freedom, they recognize deep responsibility and the need to create something they can be proud of, others will gravitate to, and in line with their values.
Considering that, what does it mean to be a peacemaker in your marriage bed? I recognize that you are not the only “author” there — or shouldn’t be. It’s like you’re co-writing this epic called Marital Intimacy. But what do you bring to the page? Are your actions promoting “peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord”? Do you help to make your marriage bed a place of “security, safety, prosperity, felicity”?
If you’re honest, some of you recognize that no, you’re not a peacemaker when it comes to sexual intimacy in your marriage. Rather, you’re adding to the tension, conflict, and even hostility in your marriage regarding this topic. Or maybe it’s not that bad, but you do things that make your spouse feel uncertain of your love in this area, resulting in him (or her) feeling insecure, unsafe, and unhappy (the opposite of felicity).
How can you be a peacemaker? What gives you the right to call yourself a child of God when it comes to how you approach your spouse’s sexuality?
How about asking some questions?
- What makes my spouse feel unsafe in the bedroom? Have I requested or demanded sexual acts that make my spouse feel disgusted, degraded, or simply not enough?
- Do I know my spouse’s sexual history and how it impacts them? Do I recognize what sensitivities they have and where their trigger points are, and feel compassion accordingly? Am I working toward a healthier and holier approach in our marriage bed?
- Do I make an effort to help my spouse feel good about their body and their sexuality? Do I honor the way God made them, in terms of their gender, personality, appearance, and uniqueness?
- Do I try to communicate clearly what I want in our marriage bed, and then listen to what my spouse desires? Do I really consider and try to understand their point of view, avoiding defensiveness and counterattack?
- Do I take all rejections personally or try to see the woundedness behind the walled-off parts of their sexuality and deal with that? Am I safe place for my spouse to share their concerns, worries, and hurts? Can I be counted on to work toward a more sexually intimate marriage while treating my spouse’s heart with tender care?
- Do I appreciate the difference between a cease-fire and unity? Do I reject the status quo of contention or stalemate and pursue true harmony and concord between us? Even if that involves difficult conversations, rethinking my positions, and/or pursuing marriage counseling?
- Do I confront our issues with the goal of sexual “prosperity” and satisfaction for both of us? Do I take the words “one flesh” earnestly, looking for ways to make the two of us as one in Christ (see Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:6, Ephesians 5:31, and John 17:20-22)?
If we’re all being real, you know from that list that we are not perfect peacemakers. We have failed in some way to pursue perfect peace in our marriage beds. Thankfully, we have the grace of Christ, the opportunity for second chances (or 67th chances, if that’s where you are), the ability to change direction, and the promise of the Holy Spirit to guide us to a better path.
Start right here — with asking yourself what you can do today and tomorrow to promise true peace in your marriage bed. How can you pursue the harmony and unity God wants us to have, especially in this most vulnerable, beautiful, and bonding of experiences?
Let’s make love in our bedrooms, but let’s also make peace.Let's make love in our bedrooms, but let's also make peace. Click To Tweet