Tag Archives: sex in the bible

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Peacemakers

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.”

Matthew 5:3-10

We’ve covered Poor in SpiritThose Who Mourn, The Meek, Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness, The Merciful, and Pure in Heart. Which brings us to peacemakers.The Beatitudes in the Bedroom - Peacemakers verse

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.

Eirene

2. peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
3. security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)

Poieo

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

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Those Who Mourn

Last week, I explained that I’d recently gone to church camp where we studied the Beatitudes. Since I believe that whatever the Bible says about how we should be outside the bedroom applies to how we should be inside the bedroom, I wondered if these principles had any application to the marriage bed. I then covered my take on “poor in spirit.”

Here’s the 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.”

Matthew 5:3-10

Marriage Memory Verse 7-30-16

Remembering that the Greek word for blessed, makarios, carries the connotation of being happy, fortunate, or favored, it seems odd that the second Beatitude talks about mourning. Isn’t that the opposite of being happy?

Perhaps in this case, blessed or fortunate really is a better perspective. Because mourning is bad enough, but doing so without comfort?

I’ve often thought what a struggle it must be for atheists to lose a loved one, believing that’s the last time they’ll ever see that person. But I have the comfort of believing that this isn’t the end — so despite my sadness, I’m blessed to have this confidence in God.

I’m not sure how mourning could apply to our marital intimacy, but I’ll take a stab about some options in which divine comfort could play a role.

For those who mourn that sex in marriage has not produced the children they desired. One of the reasons for sexual intimacy in marriage is procreation, and those who’ve had the challenge of infertility know how that pain affects their marriage bed. What was once viewed as an act of intimacy can begin to feel like a chore and the bedroom a reminder of unfulfilled dreams.

I truly believe that God is there with you in those times, and that husband and wife can do so much to comfort one another. Including through sexual intimacy, just for the sake of that connection and closeness. I haven’t been through this, so I’m not going to pretend to know what it feels like. But it’s important to find comfort, in God and in your spouse. Continue to remember that sexual intimacy blesses you in other ways.

And I sincerely pray that the child you long for becomes part of your family someday. As Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

For those who mourn that sex isn’t all they expected it to be. It’s okay to grieve that things didn’t go the way you anticipated. Perhaps you have pain during intercourse or your husband turned out to be the lower-drive spouse or simply finding time to engage is a challenge. Let’s get past the anger and frustration that we sometimes show outwardly and realize that we’re actually mourning the loss of the smooth sex life we desired and expected.

But there is comfort. Many of us authors and speakers do what we do in hopes of giving you answers and practical advice on how to proceed. Christian support organizations and counselors can help you work through issues. Mentors and friends can provide a private ear, a warm hug, and a heartfelt prayer for you as you struggle forward.

There’s also comfort in knowing that God wants so much more for you. He is in your corner and longs for you to take hold of His blessings in the marriage bed. Let His tenderness and hope infuse you with the comfort you need.

For those who mourn their sexual sin. If you’ve committed sexual sin in the past, or you’re engaging currently in practices you know are against God’s will, you need to fess up and admit your wrongdoing. When you really feel the depth of your sin, there is mourning.

Just read Psalm 51, written by David after his sexual sin with Bathsheba. Here are the first four verses:

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.

That’s a guy mourning about what he did, feeling true remorse.

But indeed, there is comfort. When David and Bathsheba’s son died, 2 Samuel 12:24 says, “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her.” And the rest of the verse says, “She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved him.” God did not hold that sin against David forever. By no means! Mourn the past, repent in the present, and let God give you comfort.

 “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”

What other applications for the marriage bed do you see from this verse?

Hot, Holy, and Humorous Book Footer

Is Christian Sex in Marriage a Threesome?

I was at a fiction writers’ workshop recently in which the speaker tentatively mentioned his belief that the inspirational romance genre was basically ménage à trois: you, me, and Jesus. He wasn’t attempting to be offensive, and actually I wasn’t offended. I sort of agree.

By no means am I being gross about this. Please bear with me. Because of course sex happens merely between husband and wife in the marriage bed. Jesus is not literally hanging out in the middle of the experience. Don’t get that image stuck in your head and freak out the next time you’re starting to get intimate with your hubby in the bedroom.

However, as Christians we believe that sex in marriage has a higher purpose. That it is a gift from God and blessed by our Heavenly Father. We can imagine the approval of our Creator as we revel in His beautiful creation of sexual intimacy.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” James 1:17

We believe in the omniscience and omnipresence of God — that He knows all and exists everywhere.

” ‘Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” – Jeremiah 23:24

God sees what’s going on in your bedroom and He’s there. Not gawking and trying to make you uncomfortable — more like giving you a thumbs up for investing in your marriage through physical intimacy.

I also think that when we invite God, He shows up in an even more discernible way.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:10

As believers in Christ, I encourage couples to invite the Lord into their marriage. We need His help in every facet of our relationship, including sexual intimacy. You can see the beauty of this by hearing from couples who pray before and after they make love. Even praying at other times as a couple appears to have a positive effect on your sexual intimacy.

God’s involvement also protects our marriage bed.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Woven together with God, your marriage has even greater strength and perseverance. As does your marriage bed.

So is Christian sex in marriage a threesome? I think it kind of is. Of course, God is opposed to actual third parties, but He wants us to invite Him into our hearts and lives in all areas. Why not the marriage bed?

Besides, I wouldn’t even know what deep, abiding love looked like without knowing the Father. My own marriage is still alive and kicking because we (finally) aimed for deep, godly love for one another. This verse says it well:

Marriage Memory Verse 2-20-16

This scripture is this week’s marriage memory verse. Because if you want to love your husband intimately, learn more about God’s love. Starting with the fact that love itself is from God. Then put that love into practice in the bedroom. Let God into your sex life.

Once again, not in the creepy way. But the God-made-sex-and-blesses-you way.

Maybe you can even practice this verse by looking right into your husband’s eyes and saying those words, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God.” Because that’s where great marriages and satisfying sexual intimacy begins — by recognizing the source of true love.

Memory Verse Help

Chunking is a memorization technique we often use without realizing we’re doing it. For instance, social security and telephone numbers are broken up into chunks, with digits separated by hyphens. When you memorize those digits and repeat them to others, you say the number back in chunks. Like a telephone number might be 800-555-5555.

We also memorize poetry in chunks, even if it’s something like:

I’m a poet
And I didn’t know it
But my feet show it
‘Cause they’re Longfellows.

That’s a passed-around poem, origin unknown, that uses word play to refer to large feet and the famous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. But each of those lines is a chunk we memorize, and then we put the poem together.

You can use chunking for memory verses too. Break the scripture into pieces, then memorize each piece until you feel comfortable with it. Move onto the next and the next. And eventually, you’ve got the whole thing.

Visually, it might look like this:

Beloved
Let us love one another
Because love is from God
Everyone who loves is born of God
And knows God.
1 John 4:7

Married, Consenting Adults: Whose Okay Really Matters?

Have you noticed that in our current culture a number of historically problematic sexual activities have become No Big Deal or even encouraged? Most often, the reason I hear is that it’s between “consenting adults.”

We also hear this about marriage. After all, whose business is it if a married couple mutually agrees to engage in whatever sexual act they choose? They’re adults, they consented. Surely, then, everything’s okay.

Couple Lying On Bed Holding Question Marks & blog post title

I am disturbed by this trend in the larger culture, but among Christians, it’s particularly distressing. Even if husband and wife consent, there’s yet another vote that matters! Do you have the consent of your Lord and Father, the One who created sex?

So, what if you decide in your marriage that you want your husband to get his sexual needs met elsewhere? Or you’re both willing to couple swap, or “swing”? Our Lord says:

“You must not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18).

“You must not covet your neighbor’s wife” (Exodus 20:17).

“But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32, NLT).

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).

How about watching porn, reading erotica, going to strip joints together? After all, you’re consenting to do it together. And what if it’s “just want to spice up [your] marriage”?

“I made a covenant with my eyes
not to look lustfully at a young woman.
For what is our lot from God above,
our heritage from the Almighty on high?
Is it not ruin for the wicked,
disaster for those who do wrong?
Does he not see my ways
and count my every step?” (Job 31:1-4).

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5, emphasis added).

And maybe you get aroused by striking your mate in the bedroom, by introducing intense S&M practices, by pushing your pain-pleasure limits? Isn’t it okay if you’re both consenting?

“The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion” (Psalm 11:5).

“From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence” (Proverbs 13:2).

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT, emphasis added).

Today, I am simply letting the Bible speak for itself. Soak in God’s Word and reflect on it.

When you consider what sexual intimacy in your marriage should look like, think not only about the husband’s consent and the wife’s consent, but the consent of the third partner in your marriage — God Himself. Indeed, I would argue God’s consent matters the most.

3 More Great Bible Stories about Sex

In my last post, I talked about 4 great Bible stories involving sex. Specifically, I discussed Adam and Eve, Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Hannah and Elkanah, and David and Bathsheba (not the adulterous part, the better part).

There are many Bible stories about sexual sin, some of them quite awful indeed. However, the above four and the following three are my favorite ones that teach us something important about God’s gift of sexuality to marriage.

Bible with light glowing from it

1. The Lover and the Beloved. You had to know this one would make the list! But what’s the story exactly? Beyond all those flowery passages, like how her “navel is a rounded goblet” (Song of Songs 7:2) and his “arms are rods of gold” (5:14)?

Well, there’s an interesting story in Chapter 5, in which the husband comes home late and wants some nookie. (Okay, it’s worded more sophisticated than that, but you get the gist.) And what does the wife do? Yeah, she does what a lot of us wives have done at least one time or another: “I have taken off my robe—must I put it on again? I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?” In other words, “You want me disrupt my sleep and make some big effort for sex? Come on! Not tonight!”

But what’s inspiring about the rest of the story is this wise wife realizes pretty quickly she’s missed a golden opportunity. She gets up and searches for her husband, desiring him to return to bed with her.

Why? Because they love each other, and sexual intimacy is worth some effort. Once you make the decision to engage, you may find yourself saying, as the Beloved wife says, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies” (6:3). Translation? We’re in love and gettin’ it on. (More or less.)

2. Hosea and Gomer. So Gomer’s not really my favorite person, what with all the running away and adultery. But God commands Hosea to marry her, to pursue her, to make love to her, and to bring her back when she wanders.

I don’t believe this story suggests a spouse should put up with a callous pattern of adultery, because God had His own purposes and points to make with this story. However, it’s enlightening how far God is willing to have a husband pursue a wayward wife.

If your marriage has been struck by pornography or adultery or emotional unfaithfulness, you need to do all you can reasonably do to heal the relationship and create a safe space for holy intimacy in your marriage. Yes, you can leave, biblically, and some situations indeed call for that step. But our culture now leans the other way — walking out as soon as infidelity has occurred. Maybe we could use a little more Hosea in our hearts.

3. Joseph and Mary. So Joseph was betrothed to Mary and found out she was pregnant. Yikes! Thankfully, an angel appeared to him and explained: “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. . . . When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus” (Matthew 1:20-21, 24-25).

When I was halfway through one of my pregnancies, I was diagnosed with a condition that required my husband and I to abstain from sex for four months. I think those four months are like dog years to a husband, because it felt like a reeeally loooong time before he could be intimate with his wife.

While I’m all over the have-sex-often plan, sometimes you can’t. Military couples separated by tours of duty, spouses going through health issues, long-term work separations, etc. can cause an absence in sexual intimacy. And yeah, it’s tough. But you know what, Joseph did it. He waited until Mary had delivered God’s son, Jesus, and then made love to his wife.

Do I think they avoided affection or even arousal? I don’t know. I suspect not. He’d waited for a long time for Mary, loved her, and wanted her as his wife. Yet he was patient when he needed to be, sexually intimate when he could be.

So there are three more stories in the Bible that involve sexuality in some way. Maybe I shed a different perspective on one of them. Maybe I didn’t draw the same conclusions you did. Maybe we can gather in Heaven someday and hear these stories straight from the people who experienced them.

In the meantime, what are some of your favorite Bible stories? What have you learned about marriage or sexuality from them? What is your take on any of the stories I’ve shared?