Category Archives: The Bible and Sex

Q&A with J: “Our Marriage Bed is a Mess” Part 1

My inbox is filled with questions from spouses telling me about their hardships regarding sexual intimacy in their marriage. I have maybe 100 such emails, and I often feel bad that I cannot get to each and every one. I imagine these individuals finallypainfully telling the details of their concerns and hoping to find some answer that will set them on the right path.

Yet my time is limited, my own marriage and family require attention, and God doesn’t expect any one person to do it all. I’m just one finger, or maybe just a toe, in the Body of Christ. I take heart that even Jesus sometimes turned away from the demands of people to keep His focus on the primary mission: “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:15-16).

Since I don’t have the time and resources to answer each of those emails, I want to share six responses that come to mind when reading various stories of marriage bed difficulties. These are for the people who write me to essentially say, “Our marriage bed is a mess.”

Blog post title with unhappy couple in bed

I’ll cover three today, and three next week. Perhaps one of these touches on your particular situation.

And, by the way, I’m going to be really candid. No mincing words.

1. You’re married to a selfish jerk.

Sadly, some of you are living with a selfish spouse who dismisses your beliefs, belittles your feelings, and/or thinks your body belongs solely to them to be used as a sexual tool. Perhaps they also pursue sexually sinful practices and expect you to get involved or to look the other way.

If that’s your situation, you have to stand up for you! Set some boundaries. If you don’t know how to do this, go read Boundaries or Boundaries in Marriage by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Then follow through.

If your spouse’s attitude and behavior reaches the level of abuse — verbal, emotional, even physical — you have to stop allowing and enabling that. Even walk away, for your safety and wellbeing. And please no one tell me that suffering through abuse is somehow analogous to Christ suffering on the cross. Jesus allowed Himself to be mistreated then for a specific and higher purpose. But two other times, He escaped people wanting to physically harm Him:

At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds” (John 8:59).

Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp” (John 10:39).

A selfish jerk likely won’t change unless you throw a wrench in the gears, meaning you stop playing your part of the system. Instead, calmly oppose mistreatment wherever occurs, to others and to yourself. That’s biblical.

Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed” (Isaiah 1:17a).

2. You are the selfish jerk.

Sometimes the spouse who writes me is the selfish one. They complain about how they’re not getting everything they want in the marriage bed and explain how they’ve whined and argued with their “beloved” about how they’ve been mistreated without any progress. Wow, I’m sure that makes you a lot of fun to be around. 🙄

If you’ve given your spouse the clear impression your only interest in them is getting exactly what you want sexually, why are you surprised they don’t want to sleep with you? If you’re always complaining, often angry, or only touching them to get sex, you’re not an appealing lover. Kevin A. Thompson wrote a great post about this: I Wouldn’t Sleep with You Either.

Your answer is to remember what you did while you were dating, falling in love, first married. Are you doing those things now? What kind of person are you to be around? Do you need to focus on giving your spouse the gift of happiness? Are you making sex all about you? What about your spouse’s needs and desires? Ask yourself some tough questions, and then pray for God’s help and guidance on what you can do to be less selfish and move loving. (I’ll give you a hint: It looks more like Christ.)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus….” (Philippians 2:3-5).

3. You have a poor theology of sex.

Theology is “the study of the nature of God and religious belief.” More specifically, it can refer to “religious beliefs and theory when systematically developed” (Oxford Dictionaries). One core part of my ministry is correcting erroneous beliefs about sexual intimacy; that is, throwing out our wrong thinking about sex and replacing it with God’s design for sex in marriage.

Unfortunately, too many Christians still have beliefs about sex that aren’t in line with how God our Creator made sex. And those ideas of what sex really means, how it should practiced in our lives, and what to do when we face challenges impact our marriage beds. What plenty of spouses need is an adjustment in their theology.

So when people write me and say that they heard something was wrong or something was right when it’s really the opposite, I wonder if we shouldn’t simply open our Bibles more and see what our Lord Himself had to say about it all. Of course, some people don’t know where to look, and that’s something I’ve tried to address often. It’s also a problem that our churches and pastors don’t talk enough about sex and marriage. Sometimes what we spread is just off-the-mark, like my recent post for Crosswalk.com on 10 Myths about Sex You Heard in Church.

If this is where you are — not really knowing what part sexual intimacy should play in your marriage — then continue reading my blog and check out other responsible Christian marriage blogs like To Love Honor and Vacuum, OysterBed7, Heaven Made Marriage, The Forgiven Wife, Calm.Healthy.Sexy, Awaken Love, and the like. A part of me would also like to tell you which sources to avoid, but instead I encourage you to study your Bible more so that you will be “be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Also, read books that cover this subject well, like my Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, Sheila Gregoire’s The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, and Julie Sibert and Jeffrey Murphy’s The Pursuit of Passion. And listen to my podcast with three other marriage and sex bloggers, Sex Chat for Christian WivesGet others around you reading and listening these resources so that you have allies. Ask your pastor and/or elders to introduce more resources for married couples. In short, seek truth. I know there are a lot of voices competing for your attention, but truth is out there for those willing to pursue it.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it….” God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day” (Genesis 1:27-28, 31).

I have three more overall answers to many questions I’ve received, which I’ll cover next week.

If you’re one of the readers I haven’t specifically answered, please know that I appreciate you writing me, my heart does go out to you, I wish I could clone myself and do much more, and I’m praying for you and your marriage.

Does God Care about Your Sexual Heartbreak?

In the worst years of my marriage, I cried myself to sleep. Not once or twice, but too many times. Sometimes the conflict was so bad that we’d be in the same bed, turned in different directions, not touching in any way, and both feeling lonely, even though our mate was inches away.

Some of you know what I’m talking about.

My prayer life then was fairly active, because I desperately wanted something from God: I wanted Him to fix my marriage. But in the back of my mind, I had this question: Does God really care about my heartbreak?

Because if He cared, why wasn’t He repairing all of our broken places? Like, yesterday?

blog post title + illustration of broken heart

But when I read stories in the Bible of devoted believers, they often spend time “in the pit” where things are tough and faith is tested. I’m not sure we Christians really understand how to live through hardship and wait on God’s deliverance.

Do we really understand how to live through hardship and wait on God's deliverance? Click To Tweet

Now that I’m on the other side, I can tell you three things for certain:

1. God cares about you and your marriage. He is attuned to your heartache, but He also has a point of view that you and I don’t have. He can see not only today, but tomorrow and the future. God’s willing to let us stew longer than we’re comfortable with, because He has an eternal perspective.

The Lord will allow us to endure emotional pain if it motivates spiritual growth.

Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice” (Psalm 55:17).

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” ( Psalm 34:18).

2. God is answering, but maybe not how and when you want.

I wanted God to fix my marriage, which — to me — mainly meant fixing my husband. Perhaps you can see how this approach would go awry. But it took me years to understand that God was patiently answering my prayer, by pushing me harder and harder to look in the mirror. It was when I realized how unloving I’d been to my husband that I began to put godly principles into practice in my marriage. And that changed everything: my attitude, my behavior, and my husband’s response.

What if God is trying to speak to you, trying to nudge you in the right direction, but you aren’t truly listening? What if you don’t hear His answer because it’s not how and when you expected? What if the answer means you have to change?

For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver” (Psalm 66:10).

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:4).

3. You’ll eventually be glad you remained faithful.

Of course, the problem with that statement is the word eventually. Are we talking next year, when our marriage begins an uphill climb to intimacy in the marriage bed and beyond? Or are we talking on our death-bed, feeling good about being faithful to the end but never really enjoying what God meant us to have? I really want to say that it will be next year or, better yet, next week. Especially since I fervently believe that living according to God’s plan produces positive results not just in the afterlife, but immediately in our lives right here.

But I’d be lying if I guaranteed something. I don’t know when it will happen, and you can only control your part of the equation. But I believe God’s promises that we will be rewarded for faithfulness.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

He’s listening, He cares, He’s answering, and He’s preparing a reward for righteousness.

In the midst of tearful days, that may be hard to believe. But continue to pray for your sexual intimacy, and then listen for His voice. Take baby steps in the right direction, putting into practice what you have learned through prayer and study.

Intimacy Revealed CoverTo help you focus on this task, pick up my book Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage, which walks you through Bible study, questions to ask yourself, and prayer time to start making the changes you and your marriage bed need.

(Apology: I changed the cover on the ebook, and it messed up the paperback version. So that’s currently not on sale. It will be up next week—promise!—just as soon as my graphic designer gets back from her weekend with hubby and sends me the correct file. 🙂 )

Q&A with J: Sex Isn’t Just for Bunnies

I’m out this week at church camp, where I volunteer one week every summer and teach a writing class as well as Bible content to kids. With my time limited and the internet spotty at my location, I’m re-running a few favorite posts this week. Enjoy!

In my initial post inviting questions from readers (Q&A with J at HHH), I mentioned a few rules. Among them was the following:

No protesters will be allowed the microphone. Yes, that means you in the back there with the big sign that says, “SEX IS FOR BUNNIES ONLY.” I am tired of your Rabbit-Centered Group harassing me day and night. Security will now be escorting you out of the building. Thank you very much.

Paul Byerly of The Generous Husband, entertaining guy that he is, presented this question in the comments:

My bunny is single, but I think she is having inappropriate thoughts about her tennis ball. Any advice?

Blog post title + (tasteful) illustration of two rabbits mating

First, Paul, the secular world is likely to suggest that your bunny do one of two things: (1) find another bunny in short order and set up a rendezvous or (2) take care of business with that tennis ball. In fact, you might see articles in Bunny Babes Magazine such as “Finding Furry Friends with Benefits” or “10 Ways to Make a Buck’s Bunny Ears Curl.” Moreover, the people who brought you and your dog the Hot Doll would probably be happy to design a tennis-ball shaped sex toy for your randy rabbit. But you and your bunny shouldn’t settle for anything less than God’s design for intimacy.

Rabbits mate for reproduction, not to say that they aren’t having a good time. However, God designed your bunny to engage in intimate activity with someone who will be the father of her bunny babies. Don’t let her get talked into some romp in the woods with no possibility of a litter of floppy-eared cuties coming from this act.

That said, the tennis ball isn’t going to do it. It may provide a temporary release of sexual tension, but not the deep satisfying intimacy that a better bunny can have by holding out for the real thing.

The Bible is clear that we should “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). When Joseph found himself tempted by Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39), he literally ran from her. In Matthew 18:9, Jesus says that “if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.” Indeed, that is what you need to do for your bunny.

No! Don’t gouge out her eye. It’s much easier in this case to simply remove the temptation. Get rid of that sultry tennis ball. Whatever is causing her mind to wander into dangerous territory needs to be tossed out the door.

That isn’t the end of it, though. The Apostle Paul gives advice about the unmarried in 1 Corinthians 7:9: “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” It sounds like your bunny is indeed having a hard time controlling her passions. Maybe it’s time to think about getting another bunny? Your doe might need a buck in the house to establish a relationship, get her jollies, and spread their gene pool. Bunnies are particularly good at heeding God’s commandment to “Be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:22).

Be forewarned, however. You might want to know what to expect if you bring a handsome buck into the home to satisfy your tennis-ball-obsessed bunny doe. The mating ritual involves the male mounting the female and wig-wagging quite a bit. It’s not a loud affair; bunnies are quiet. But you will know the male is done when he suddenly stops and falls over. (I kid you not. I looked it up.)

Sounds a little like some human husbands. (Just kidding. Sort of.)

Unlike human hubbies, however, male bunnies only need a minute or so, and then they can go back at it. When the female bunny is “done,” I don’t know. I think she simply hops away.

I hope my answer helps you and your bunny in the quest for godly intimacy for all species. We could learn a little ourselves from this post, I think.

In short, for all the bunnies and non-bunnies out there:

  • If something is causing you sexual temptation, get some distance from it.
  • Your desire for sex is natural and God-given. It just needs to be in the right context — a committed marriage.
  • If you are married, get busy like a bunny. But try not to fall over when you’re done.

Sources: Successful Rabbit Breeding video on YouTube – be prepared to laugh; Bible Gateway – my go-to place for scripture searches; How Do Rabbits Mate? from ehow – where I learned about the falling phenomenon

Post first run May 3, 2012.

Q&A with J: Abstaining from Sex to Pray

Ever since I got this question, I’ve been mulling over my treatment of 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, which I’ve cited a lot on this blog. Here’s the question, and I’ll share the passage soon after:

Have you ever written a blog post on I Corinthians 7:5? In particular about abstaining from sex for the purposes of fasting and praying? … what that would look like (and if you your husband have ever done this) and of course the benefits of doing so….

Couple sitting on a couch, holding hands, and praying together

1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NIV) says:

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

You’ll notice in this translation that fasting isn’t included. Among major Bible translations, the only one that includes fasting is the King James Version. Why is that? Have we just chucked out fasting as an unimportant spiritual discipline? Nope.

Between the time that the KJV was published in 1611 and current day, our access to Greek manuscripts of the New Testament has increased. Manuscripts earlier than the one used by the King James Version translators do not have the word fasting. So later translators, wanting to reflect the original text, removed the word.

Thus, what the Apostle Paul likely said is that married couples can abstain from sex for the sake of prayer.

Now a great deal of my focus in using this passage has been on the words Do not deprive each other! Because that’s where a lot of marriages are failing: One spouse withholds sex for any and all kinds of reasons, effectively becoming the gatekeeper or, in some marriages, fortress guard of physical intimacy. Which is clearly not God’s intention in giving us the gift of sex.

So I and other bloggers spend time talking about how we have a command to fulfill our marital duty of having sex with our spouse. Of course it’s far more than a duty; rather it’s a mutual privilege. I could easily point you to a whole bunch of other verses showing that God wants this to be a pleasure for both spouses.

When sex is how God intended it to be, having sex with your spouse doesn’t feel like a duty. Rather, it’s a privilege that promotes intimacy for the whole relationship.

Sex in marriage is a privilege that promotes intimacy for the whole relationship. Click To Tweet

My favorite post, however, about this duty to one another isn’t one I wrote. It’s Sheila Gregoire’s excellent What Does 1 Corinthians 7:5–Do Not Deprive Each Other–Really Mean? She makes it clear that depriving your spouse isn’t about saying no at times, or rather not now, but mutually pursuing healthy sexual intimacy in your marriage as a whole.

That said, in an effort to focus on the part of this passage most directly tied to issues I see in marriage, I really have glossed over the part this questioner asked about, because the whole verse is “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.”

Okay, so you can stop having sex for a while to pray.

Two important caveats are these:

1. It has to be mutual.

The verse says by mutual consent. So a spouse who isn’t as into sex can’t say, “Hey, I’ve decided to go without sex this month so I can grow closer to God. See you in thirty days!” You don’t get to use God as an excuse for withholding sex.

But maybe you’d really like to take a break from more physical concerns for the pure motives of devoting yourself to spiritual growth, yet your husband isn’t on board. Shouldn’t you get to do that? Sorry, but the Bible says no. That might make you feel cheated, but God prioritizes how we treat each other — “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21) — and He takes delight in us loving each other. Moreover, there’s nothing in the Bible that says you cannot pursue God and a great sex life at the same time. That’s pretty much my whole mission — to convince you that those two go together just fine.

2. It has to be time-limited.

The verse also says for a time. How long? I don’t know. But in the next sentence, Paul warns against going too long: “Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” You shouldn’t go so long that one or both of you feels like you’re losing your self-control.

Sex gets compared to food so often (because it often works), and I’m going to do it again: It’s fine to be hungry; it’s not good to be so starved that your libido is a ravenous beast that cannot be contained. Hyperbole maybe, but you get the point. And yeah, that happens for some people after a month and others after four days. Respect your spouse’s true makeup on that one; see point above on mutuality.

But those of you with higher drives, you don’t get to claim you’re actually starved when you’re just a bit peckish. Get over it. Got that? Good.

Now have I done it in my marriage? Have Spock and I abstained from sex for prayer? Not in a formal way, though we have certainly postponed lovemaking to finish a Bible study we were doing together or attend a prayer service at church. In such moments, we felt inclined to have sex and mutually chose to wait until we finished our focused time with God.

But yeah, I admit that’s not likely what this scripture is talking about. And now I’m wondering if we should be doing this. It’s in there, right after do not deprive. Prayer is certainly a worthy priority for your marriage.

What would that look like?

First, you have to talk about it. Are you both on board with the idea overall? If so, how long will you go without sex — a few days? a week? When do you each believe you need to come back together so that your prayer time is focused and effective, and not undermined by a pestering hunger for physical intimacy?

Second, what will your prayer time involve? I’d suggest both individual times of prayer and time praying together. And while you’re focused covering all kinds of topics in prayer, how about praying for your sexual intimacy? You might find that by stepping away from the bedroom, you gain some clarity about the sexual challenges you have in your marriage. Do you need to pray for less busyness in your life? physical ailments? unity in pursuing intimacy? Use this time to pray together and share your heart openly with both your Heavenly Father and your spouse.

Third, pursuing other forms of intimacy. Abstaining from sex doesn’t mean abstaining from time together, nonsexual affection, and communication. Indeed, you might focus this time growing your emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy (as you discuss what you’re learning), and spiritual intimacy.

Fourth, encourage one another. I can see this exercise being more difficult for one spouse than the other. So be there for each other with positive words of encouragement.

Finally, when the agreed-upon time has expired, have sex. But don’t just tell yourselves that’s going to happen. Set aside the time and clear out the obstacles that might interfere. Schedule the babysitter, plan a date night, even take time off work if you need to. Come back together in the marriage bed and celebrate that God, your gracious Heavenly Father, has gifted you with this intimate act in covenant marriage.

I’m motivated to give this a shot. How about you?

And if anyone has formally abstained from sex in marriage for the sake of prayer, tell us about your experience. What did you gain from it?

Research: Bible.org – Sex and the Spiritual Christian (1 Cor. 7:1-7); GeorgePWood.com – Sex, Prayer, and Holiness (1 Corinthians 7:5-6); Bill Mounce – Prayer and Fasting (1 Cor 7:5); Bible.org – A Touchy Issue (1 Corinthians 7:1-5); Bible Study Tools – 1 Corinthians 7:5; To Love Honor and Vacuum – What Does 1 Corinthians 7:5–Do Not Deprive Each Other–Really Mean?

Are You (Too) Content with “Better Than It Used to Be”?

I recently wrote a pretty unfiltered post about the problem many of us wives have with being contentious in our homes. Sometimes I think God has me write things so that I’ll pay attention to where I need to grow in my marriage.

Because after that post, I had a couple of different conversations in my home on that topic. One of them involved my older son, an adult man now, and how his personality and mine differ in expressing emotions. Now, if you’ve been around Hot, Holy & Humorous a while, you know that I’ve compared my husband to Spock, in how logical and non-expressive he can be.

Well, our elder spawn has taken on more personality traits from his father and could well be Spock Jr. So you can imagine when emotionally expressive mom gets frustrated (as all normal moms periodically do), she can take on a “tone” which doesn’t play well with the Vulcan species in her family.

But as we calmly talked about this issue, I pointed out how much better I am than I used to be. I wanted major credit for having lowered my volume a few dial settings and holding back on the contemptuous body language (such as eye rolling) that I used to display. I felt like it was unfair to say that I needed to improve a lot because “Hey, this is way better than it used to be!”

Guess who shows up then? Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was the Holy Spirit, poking me in the ribs to tell me that better ain’t good enough. Better does not meet “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Jeez, Jesus, that’s a really high standard to aim for!

My conclusion was that I still have some issues to work on.

Blog post title with illustrated couple giving "okay" hand gesture

However, I thought about this with the sexual intimacy in our marriages as well. I periodically hear from couples say that things are better than they used to be. Now I’m 100% sure we should celebrate that progress, those victories, those shifts in our marriage that strengthen our bond and honor God’s design for sex.

But are you setting down Ebenezers to mark progress along your path, or settling in for good with the attitude of “good enough”?

If you don’t know what an Ebenezer is, it comes from the story of the judge Samuel who sought God’s help in fighting the Philistines. After Israel’s army defeated their attackers, 1 Samuel 7:12 says, “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” Since then Ebenezer has come to mean “a commemoration of divine assistance” (Merriam-Webster).

Samuel’s use of “thus far” is apt, because by 1 Samuel 12, the Israelites are back to fighting with the Philistines. It’s many years before King David finally defeats the Philistines for good, and in between are many battles in which the Israelites seek God’s help to win. Every hard-fought battle is a step toward eventual victory, but along the way were many moments that called for Ebenezers.

Like the Israelites versus the Philistines, I suspect many marriages are in a constant battle, fighting to reach God’s design for sex. But it’s easy to become complacent, to settle in and say, “Okay, that’s good enough.”

Do any of these describe your marriage?

  • “We used to have sex once a month, but now I give it to him twice a month, which is enough.”
  • “She never had orgasms before, but now she has one every few times we make love.”
  • “I show up regularly — what more does he want?”
  • “I’ve only looked at porn a few times this month.”
  • “I tried communicating about our improving our sexual intimacy, but he didn’t want to talk about it, so I gave up and decided our sex life was fine.”

God’s not a fan of good-enough in the marriage bed.

God's not a fan of good-enough in the marriage bed. Click To Tweet

Two of my favorite Bible verses about sex are:

A loving doe, a graceful deer — may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love” (Proverbs 5:19).

Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!” (Song of Songs 5:1, ESV)

There are many warnings in the Bible against gluttony and drunkenness, but sexual love in a marriage is one place where God throws out the concept of “enough” and tells us to go overboard — to get intoxicated.

Isn’t that amazing?

Now of course, you can make sex itself into an idol. You should ask whether you’re seeking a truly better, more intimate sex life with your spouse or merely seeking your own pleasure or some unrealistic fantasy.

But I stand by the idea that we can continue to make progress throughout our married lives. And like Samuel, we can ask for divine help.

Indeed, if we ask for God’s design for sex in our marriage, that’s where our Lord is generous. What that looks like might not be what you think (e.g., lots more sex), and He usually expects us to start with ourselves, but He wants our physical intimacy to deepen so that our whole marriage can be strengthened.

We shouldn’t stop pursuing godly sex in our marriage. We shouldn’t cease improving our own attitudes and theology about this beautiful act of love. We shouldn’t settle for “better than it used to be.”

Thinking back to the Ebenezer story, what’s particularly interesting is that the constant battle with the Philistines came from the Israelites saying “good enough” long before Samuel was around. After the Israelites moved into Canaan, there is this passage:

When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, ‘You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over. This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites, from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite though held by the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron…‘” (Joshua 13:1-3). 

God told Joshua there were still places to be conquered. But the Israelites didn’t follow through. What places regarding our marriage have yet to be conquered? Will we follow through?