I hope you’ve been memorizing some scripture with me this year! I’ve been choosing verses that we can apply to our marriage and sexual intimacy. The past couple of scriptures have been gender-focused, and today’s is as well.
When we look at the roles of gender in marriage, often people turn to Ephesians 5:25-33. This passage is an excellent resource, and I’m particularly drawn to the way the apostle Paul compares the one-flesh experience of husband and wife to the intimacy of Christ and His church (v. 31-32). However, Paul also goes through family roles in Colossians and sums things up very well for husbands with this gem: “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (3:19).
In light of some recent posts It’s True. Porn Can Kill Your Sex Life. and When Should You Stop Battling Porn?), when I saw this verse I saw an immediate link. The Greek word translated in the NIV as “harsh” is pikraino, and it appears two other time in the New Testament — in Revelation in references to bitter waters and a sour stomach (see Revelation 8:11 and 10:9-10).
I don’t know of any Christian wife who, upon finding out that her husband has been consuming a steady diet of pornography, doesn’t feel that she has been treated sourly, bitterly, harshly. I know that may seem to add only another pile of guilt to a man who already feels shame for his actions, but my statement isn’t intended that way.
Like Colossians 3:19, I’m making a plea to husbands to love their wives and do not be harsh. To aim for something better and higher and deeper and lovelier. To pursue the best for themselves and their marriage. To take whatever steps they need to take to live out the love they have for their wife.
But, by the way, it’s not just porn. Having read many stories of people’s sexual struggles by now, I know there are husbands out there who are harsh with their wives in the bedroom — in demanding sexual acts that make their beloved cringe, in putting their own sexual satisfaction far above their wives’, in insulting her physical appearance when she has been beautifully crafted by God. Thankfully, this is not the majority the men, and — if you’re here at my blog much at all — you know I feel very positive about men.
It’s true that some men are harsh because they want to be, but some have just been misled by wrong messages in our society and do not understand how their actions grieve their wives. They don’t perceive the damage they’re doing.
Which is why I pray my readers constantly turn to the Scriptures for guidance. Because it’s laid out clearly and unequivocally: “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19). Men, pursue that goal day in and day out. And I can tell you on the wife end of things, that when I feel my husband’s love and gentleness, I grow more and more desirous of being intimate with him — in all kinds of ways.
I pray that your wife can revel in the loving, gentle husband you are, or will become, with God’s glorious help.