Are we taking the proper steps to win the battle for marriage? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I have a friend who is very interested in the marriage debate. Now I watch this subject to, though it is not my main theme, and I have my own opinions on it, but I tend to try not to argue about it. Still, I am quite interested in sexual ethics because like many men, I have an interest in sex. That has only increased since I’ve got married. I see more and more every day why it is that this is so important to a marriage. I also sadly see that many marriages are ending in divorce. Now to be fair, people like Shaunti Feldhahn have made convincing arguments that the divorce rate is not as bad as we think it is, but I think she would agree that it is still bad and it is especially tragic when Christian marriages end in divorce.
Another sad aspect is some of you are hearing me talk about divorce and wondering what this has to do with the modern marriage debate.
Christians have had a time fighting for things that they want if they think that they benefit from them. Sure. We’ll fight to keep Duck Dynasty on the air. We like that show. Sure. We’ll go to support Chick-Fil-A because we like Chick-Fil-A. Now of course, I’m not saying all who participated in these events were Christians and I am not saying all Christians participated in them, but Christians no doubt made up a sizable number of the people who did that. You would think that if Christians claimed they got any benefit out of anything, that it would be marriage, and that marriage would be worth fighting for.
Sadly, it doesn’t look like it is. As soon as Christians win a battle, off they go to do their own thing and don’t carry any of the momentum to the next battle. We have our chicken sandwich and we have our TV show. Why should we trouble ourselves more? Dare I say it, but the reason the marriage debate has gone downhill on the Christian side in our time is because the Christians have not been honoring marriage like they should.
To do this, we must start with what most of us already agree with the culture on. Sex is awesome. Let’s start there.
Sex is indeed awesome, but frankly, the Christian church does not do a good job of talking about it. To this day, I remember being at a Silver Ring Thing service at a church and the associate pastor got up to talk to the teenagers there about waiting until marriage for sex. Good point. I agree. From there on, the pastor went on to talk about the topic and I was listening as a young college man.
And I was bored.
Pastor. If you are talking about sex, and a college guy is in the audience and getting bored, you are doing something wrong. I could just as easily say if anyone is getting bored, you are doing something wrong.
Here’s in fact what was said. It was said that if you have sex before marriage, you will be doing it for selfish reasons. I can agree with this. In fact, for even sex within marriage, I think we often have mixed motives. There is usually some self-interest involved with all that we do. I’d like to think that my motives are always pure when I do something nice for my wife, but I’d be lying if I said that they were. The problem was the pastor then gave us reasons to not have sex before marriage, such as getting an STD, an unplanned pregnancy, or the shame one might have on a future wedding night.
Sorry, but those sound like selfish reasons also.
There was hardly anything said about the joys of sex in marriage. Lip service was paid to it. That was all.
Excuse me, but I think the joy of sex deserves more than a quick blurb of lip service.
One would especially think the men among us would be wanting to celebrate this just as much. Of course, we all know that it takes two to tango, so I would advise women to keep in mind that if you want your husband to celebrate your marriage, it’s good to make sure that he knows that you are celebrating him. Please a man here and chances are you will find he is bending over backwards more often than not to make you happy. Men are really very easy to please.
Unfortunately, the world looks at what they see in movies and TV and says “It looks like this way of sex is a lot more fun.” On the face of it, one can understand it. You have variety and you don’t have to rely on one person forever and you can have whole new experiences. Marriage often is depicted in negative terms and from that point on, you’re stuck with just one person for life so you’d better make the most of it and if that person doesn’t want to do anything with you, you’re sunk.
If we are going to show the reality, we will have to show that sex in marriage is the greatest path to joy in reality.
For starters, we need more sermons in churches on sex. Once a year is not cutting it because the world is getting its message out there every day and it’s accepted as the norm. Even in the church, you can find people who are living together before marriage and engaging in pre-marital sex and it’s seen as acceptable. They’ve fully received the message of the world. What we want to show is that a sexual relationship built on a promise of mutual trust and continuously learning about how to love one person is far better than anything else. It is better to dive into the ocean of one instead of the many shallow pools of many. It is better to be in a relationship where trust is the foundation and there is already acceptance rather than earning it.
For instance, too often in cohabitation, it can be a test for marriage. Each person thinks they have to measure up in order to get a lifelong commitment. Our old adage is that you wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive. That sounds reasonable. It does until you ask one question.
Which person is the driver and which person is the car?
You see, if you take a car for a spin and it doesn’t please you enough, you take it back to the lot. The car does not have hurt feelings. The car does not feel unworthy. The car doesn’t care one way or another. A person is not like that. This is especially so with women who are really the ones making themselves the most vulnerable. They are the ones who are the most emotionally connected on average to the sex act.
Do you really think it’s proper to treat a person like a car? If you enter the sexual relationship that nervous thinking you’re being tested, you really aren’t going to be doing your best. In fact, most couples would tell you that even if you do wait, which you should, your first time is not going to be the best time you’ve ever had. Why should it be? It should be a memorable and special time, but it won’t be the best. You’re just learning. You’re just now starting to get used to how each other’s bodies work and just starting to explore them for the first time. Things can be good, but you should expect that they will get better.
And with trust, you know there is no pressure. This person is not going to reject you. Honor marriage right and you’ll know they won’t because they have a covenant. When I meet couples who are struggling in their marriage, I tend to talk to the guys because it’s much easier for me to counsel a fellow man. I always point them to the covenant. You made a lifelong promise to that woman when you married her. You are to honor it.
Do you get one person? Yes. That is a person you know will be there. You don’t have to go to sleep wondering if the person will still be there when you wake up. You don’t have to be worried about the sexual history of that person. It is someone you know. Love builds up sex and sex builds up love. It is a beautiful circle and it extends in marriage. Your marriage will build up your sex life if you do it right and if you do your sex life right, it will build up your marriage. This is a circle where you two keep blessing and celebrating one another and things get better and better.
And then, marriage is the ultimate place for when children come along. Should you have a child, the child is in an environment built on love where there is a mother and a father waiting. It does not have to be a disaster if a woman gets pregnant. It can instead be something to celebrate. The love you two share can then be passed on so the child can grow up in love. While the love you and your spouse have is sexual, you can be sure that if that love is consistently being shared, that love will pour out and reach beyond itself. Ladies. For the most part, if you want to fill up your husband’s love tank, there is never a return receipt on sex. Your husband will be overflowing if you are consistent. Remember that it is said that just like pizza, bad sex is good sex. You won’t go wrong affirming a man like this.
Why does this matter? Because the ultimate way to win the marriage battle is for us to celebrate our marriages ourselves. The world should be looking at the Christian church with envy wondering how it is we have such good sex lives. It should not be something we’re hesitant to talk about. Of course, some matters should be private, but that you have joy in your marriage should not be private. That should be something worth sharing and let the rest of the world draw its own conclusions about why the two of you are so happy.
Also, this is not to say sex is the only important part of marriage. It certainly is not, but it is an important part and one the Bible speaks about often, which means we should speak about it often as well. Those wanting good sex should also be doing as much as they can good in a marriage and again, like the circle, good sex will help make that easier. When we find that marriage is something worth honoring for ourselves, we’ll give the rest of the world reason to honor it as well.