Lately, I’ve been taking on the Beatitudes and how they relate to our marriages, specifically our marriage beds. You see, I believe that whatever the Bible says about how we should be outside the bedroom applies to how we should be inside the bedroom.
Let’s review the full passage of the Beatitudes found at the beginning of 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’ve covered Poor in Spirit and Those Who Mourn. This week, let’s talk about the Meek.
I think the word meek is a bit like the word submit in the Bible — hard to define and often misunderstood. Merriam Webster says it means, “having or showing a quiet and gentle nature : not wanting to fight or argue with other people,” and Oxford Dictionaries defines it as, “quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive.” Well, that sounds awful — “easily imposed on.”
But the original Greek word, praus, doesn’t mean being a weakling, a pushover, a doormat. Some have explained it as gentleness or strength under control. But apparently, the word was used secularly to refer to a wild horse that eventually gives in to the bridle. That is, tamed and controlled.
Unbridled sexuality isn’t really the point of God’s design for sexual intimacy. Rather, He wants us to exert some control over our passions. And by “exert some control,” I mean “surrender to His bridle.”
Wild animals can resist bridling by rambunctiously trying to go off in their direction or they stay put like a mule that refuses to budge. I’ve definitely seen both of these scenarios in marriages struggling with sexual intimacy.
Some spouses want to pursue their own pleasures without regard to their mate, or pursue activities that God frowns upon. Others are sexual refusers or gatekeepers, trying to keep control by being the one in charge of the marriage bed.
And both attitudes are not meekness.
Rather, the meek give in to God’s will for their marriage, to His superior plan for intimacy with our spouse, to His gift of sexual delight in the marital bedroom. Maybe they are indeed quiet, gentle, submissive, and easily imposed on — but only by opening themselves up fully to God’s taming. Letting the Creator of sex show us the way.
Meekness is what Christ Himself possessed, as spoken in Matthew 21:5 about Him riding into Jerusalem on a donkey: ” ‘Say to Daughter Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” ‘ ” Jesus was definitely within the will of God, surrendering Himself to His Heavenly Father.
I also find it fascinating that Matthew 5:5 mirrors a scripture from the Old Testament: Psalm 37:11 says, “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.” And this is the very chapter in which the psalmist David tells us to “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (verse 4). We begin with taking delight in the Lord and His vision for our marital intimacy, and once we understand how good He is, it’s far easier to become meek in the marital bedroom. To let God guide our decisions and our attitude toward our husband, or wife.
Have I mastered this? Let’s just confess that no one fully has. We are constantly fighting our own selfishness. Which is why we need to think intentionally about the quality of meekness.
Begin by aligning your desires with His, throwing off anything that is clearly against God’s plan, and letting Him guide you to something better. The Bible says the meek will “inherit the earth.” I won’t try to break down exactly what that means, but the attitude of meekness in the marriage bed can also help to bring an inheritance of healthy sexuality and intimacy.
What other applications for the marriage bed do you see from this verse?
17 thoughts on “The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: The Meek”
Thank you for my spiritual reading this morning! I’ve often said I could spend my life meditating on the beatitudes. So much there.
I don’t think I’ve ever given them enough thought before. I’m learning a lot as I research. Thanks, Lynn!
I love this series; thank you!
Great insight, j! Spotted on a church sign: “if you think meek is weak, try being meek for a week!”
Keep up the good work!
J. writes: “Wild animals can resist bridling by rambunctiously trying to go off in their direction or they stay put like a mule that refuses to budge. I’ve definitely seen both of these scenarios in marriages struggling with sexual intimacy.”
Years ago I heard a pastor say that “meek” means “to know your own place.” This applies equally to husbands as well as to wives, of course. This morning our pastor, who is preaching his way through Ephesians, was on Ephesians 5:20-24, where the wife is called to “submit” (not “obey”). He told of a wife who came to his office (at a former church) and told him, “Pastor, there’s no way I can submit to that man–he’s got so many bad habits.” He told this dear lady that her call is to submit, even as Christ submits Himself to the will of God the Father, and let the Lord deal with her husband. Anything less is sin.
This of course applies to sexual intimacy, and in First Corinthians 7 we are told that the husband’s and wife’s bodies belong to each other. So this issue here is knowing your own place–meekness–and letting God deal with our spouses–in the bedroom or out of it. A person who waits for the other to improve is, IMHO, heading for divorce.
Eric, I agree with the theology here. But I also think that it’s more than reasonable for a wife to speak up about harmful habits that affect her, her kids, and the family. Not only are we husband-wife but brother-sister in Christ, so we can confront one another in love.
But certainly, you can’t change your spouse, so it’s better to work on ourselves and what we can influence. Blessings!
I realize I sometimes write with a superfluity of verbiage and a paucity of thought. I do agree with you that confrontation is both good and scriptural. My point (I think!) was that denying a man sex (or refusing to cook his dinner or giving him the silent treatment) until he changes has several things wrong with it. Loving confrontation is another issue entirely.
For one, if a wife becomes a manipulator (or a nag), it only creates resentment.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit, not the wife, must decide how long a wife must wait for him to come around. In the case of Leah, this took more than 20 years and the death of her sister (Rachel, Jacob’s other wife) before Jake apparently caught on and began treating Leah with the love and respect she needed. Meanwhile, Leah took pleasure in her children.
I’m pretty sure you agree with me, but others need to understand.
BTW, this morning (dated Aug. 7) Ngina Otiende posted “Silent Treatment: Why it doesn’t Word in Marriage” in INTENTIONAL TODAY, which speaks to this issue.
Thanks, Eric! I haven’t read Ngina’s post yet! But her blog is wonderful.
I like what you’ve written here:
“the psalmist David tells us to “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (verse 4). We begin with taking delight in the Lord and His vision for our marital intimacy, and once we understand how good He is, it’s far easier to become meek in the marital bedroom. To let God guide our decisions and our attitude toward our husband, or wife.”
I’m wondering if perhaps I’m trying too hard. I’ve definitely not been meek. I’m sure feeling upset and unworthy is not the same as meekness. My husband seems to get genuinely upset when I lament about how unattractive I am to him, and how he can’t possibly love me like a wife, if he has little to no interest. I have begged him to tell me what is wrong and I will do my best to change, but he acts like he likes me to be me. Which makes no sense. He sometimes acts like he’s interested during the day (at the most inopportune times, of course, which allows him to say he “was” interested, when he knows there’s no feasible way it can happen and therefore he gets out of it) – but in the evenings he’s usually too “tired”. (Although I think if a woman he was genuinely attracted to showed up that he would all of a sudden find the energy). Even if I’m not unattractive to him, I’m probably too familiar. I have read how men prefer novelty and lose interest in the familiar.
And I’ve tried all of the suggestions and then some. I used to initiate most of the time. I work out and stay in relatively good shape. I’ve tried date night, lingerie, etc. Most of the time these things all backfire, not ending the way they’re “supposed” to, and making me feel all the more repulsive to my husband.
So now I’m wondering if the problem is me. Not necessarily what I look like, but my attitude. Maybe I’ve been too focused on how I wish things were, rather than having a spirit of meekness. I’m really not sure what God’s vision for my marital intimacy is, but perhaps it isn’t anything like what I wish it was. And I need to learn to accept that, because God’s ways are always better than our ways.
I do find myself having very negative thoughts, wondering why God would want what seems so good for one couple, and not for us, but I need to learn not to question, but just to accept. I think it’s even deeper than that. I need to somehow find an answer to all of this in His word, and I need to stop talking about praying about it, and actually pray about it.
Good series, J. A lot to ponder.
I think godly, confident, happy wives are more attractive to men. #justsayin
Maybe. And the godly thing I’d have to work towards myself.
However, you say “confident, happy wives are more attractive to men.”
And I’d reply, “I’d be happier and more confident if he found me attractive.”
PS, I think this is hard for most women to comprehend, because their husbands DO find them very attractive, pursue them, and are very interested in them sexually. I can understand how difficult this may be to understand when your husband loves you and finds you sexually appealing.
By the way, you do know I’m the higher-drive spouse, right? And have been for a while.
I did not know that. If you’ve said it, I must’ve missed it. I’m sorry.
Oh, don’t apologize! I only wanted to let you know that my husband and I had have matched drives, I’ve been the low-drive spouse, and I’ve been the high-drive spouse. (I sometimes wonder if God did that on purpose so I could speak to all sides.) But I do understand what it feels like to want your husband to pursue you sexually more than he’s doing. And I don’t think my husband’s lower drive has anything to do with his love for me, but other issues — which is most often the case.
I seriously wonder if “B’s” husband doesn’t have other issues (porn, masturbation, affairs). I find it hard to believe that he isn’t interested. Maybe I am stuck in a hole, but I find her comments make me wonder if there isn’t something more to the story.
I get it. But I also know that stress and depression and low testosterone and all kinds of other not-so-disconcerting issues could be going on.
I know for sure that stress and unspoken expectations can kill the lust for each other. It doesnt have to do with porn all the time.
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