Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve started to take a look at the topic of love as found in 1 Cor. 13 and tonight, I’m going to be talking about eros. Why am I doing so in this order? Storge love is familiar love. Phileo is a higher form of that in friendship. I consider eros a deeper form of friendship and thus a sexual form.
Note that eros is not sex however. Sex is a part of eros and when eros is fully shared, it is an important part, but it is not the whole. A mistake of our society is to confuse sex with eros where if a couple has sex, then it can be seen as automatically having eros.
Sex can in fact be just a physical action between two people. Now I have actually heard a guy tell me before that he thought I was making too big a deal since I did not believe in having sex before marriage. After all, I was told, it’s just orgasm. Such a person however does not understand what is going on.
Sex is a physical activity, no doubt, but it is not just physical. It transcends the physical and while it certainly has great physical sensations, the greater joy of sexual love between two people in a married relationship is the bond of intimacy that they are building with one another.
For a woman, she has to be totally open with her body. She reveals herself entirely to her man. There is nothing for her to hide behind. She has to give total trust to him and open up to him a very vulnerable part of her body and give him the freedom to come and enjoy her.
For the man, he also has to have a high degree of trust. Many men do suffer from insecurities that they will not share, as do women, and for most men it has to do with their bodies. They have to trust that their wives will accept them and put a lot on the line when they engage in a relationship with the woman, particularly the sexual one. Am I really a man? Do I have what it takes to please this woman?
And for both, because they are different sexes, there has to be trust in what is being experienced. A man can never know firsthand what sex is like for a woman. He can study all about the female body all he wants and understand all the physical aspects, but he can never know what it is like the same way a woman can. The same goes that a woman cannot know what it is like for a man.
Thus, in the act itself, the husband and wife have to give total trust to each other in what is liked and what isn’t liked. If the wife says that she likes something, the man has to trust that she really is liking it and she is not just saying it in order to please her husband. The same goes the other way. The woman has to trust that the way she is acting with her husband is bringing him joy or not bringing him joy.
We’re often told that for men the act is physical and for women it is emotional and relational. There’s some truth to that I think, but we need to realize that really, the act is both for both. A man can be incredibly fortified by the act and have an affirmation from his wife that, yes, he is a man. That bond that he feels with his wife is incredibly strong.
This is something many women can seem to forget, hence that there can be marriages where the man feels he is sexually neglected. For women, I’d say if you think your marriage needs some work, try starting in the bedroom. “Well he doesn’t do what I want him to do!” Okay. Are you doing what he wants you to do? A woman can clean the house all day and take care of the kids and the man can appreciate that and she should be doing that, but what the man will really want is to know that his wife can affirm him sexually. Women need to realize that this is a deep need for a man.
Men on the other hand need to realize that because their wife isn’t interested at the time does not point to a lack of love necessarily on her part. A man can be ready for sex in a moment’s notice. A woman is not that way. It has been said that women are stoves and men are microwaves. If men want to be have times of romance from their wives, they need to do their part. Are the men cleaning up around the house? Are the men helping with the kids? Are they forming dates? Men. Don’t expect to come home, prop your feet up on the footstool while sitting on the couch, expect your wife to bring you dinner while you watch your favorite TV show, and then have her be in a mood to please you when the day comes to an end. Go the other way. Why not wait till she has to go out one day while you’re home alone? Clean up the house, take care of the kids (And send them to their grandparents then or someone else’s house) and when she comes home, have dinner ready and let her hold the remote control. Or better yet, go without the remote and try a candlelight dinner where you just talk. Such actions will build up desire in your wife for you.
Our society has made sex an idol and fails to realize eros has many more components to it. Eros is found when the man is being a man for his woman and the woman is being a woman for her man. It does not have to be necessarily sexual, but there is such an aspect. It is when the woman fixes her hubby dinner, or when the man holds open the door for his wife.
To limit sex to just the physical is to cheapen the activity entirely. You might be able to get a good time out of it, but you wouldn’t be getting the best time that you could get. This happens in the bond of marriage where the two are already committed to each other. Neither one of them needs to think that they are on trial. They have already been accepted and can then give themselves with abandon.
To which also men need to make sure that their women know that they are more than just objects of sexual pleasure to them. Women, on the other hand need to know that the sexual pleasure they give their husbands is important. Sex should not be seen as everything in marriage. The other temptation to be avoided is seeing it as nothing.
In sex in marriage, there is a unique bond in that you two are the only people that can satisfy that desire for the other. If the man wants to go watch a movie, he can call a guy friend up and go watch a movie. If he has to, he can go watch one by himself. If he wants to have sex however, he can’t (Or he shouldn’t at least!) call up another female and ask if they want to get together for sex. The same goes for a woman. She cannot call up just anyone to get that unique closeness she should only have for her husband.
Another mistake we make with eros is that we make eros a feeling. Eros can and certainly often does result in feelings, but strong feelings are not the sign of eros either. When you marry, you do not make a commitment to a psychological state of feelings where you say you will have those feelings for the rest of your life. You make a commitment to a person and that commitment is before God and men and lasts until death do you part. When the feelings are there, enjoy them. They’re great! When they’re not, then oh well. You’re still called to be a great spouse anyway. As one in ministry, I can attest that if I only served Jesus when I had strong feelings for serving Jesus, I would not be serving Him that much.
Eros will also grow deeper over time. For the sexual aspect, the honeymoon is just the start of it and it’s a start that gets better and better as the two of you come to know each other more and more. You will come to understand your spouse in other ways as well and know their personality. My wife and I today are far closer to each other than we were the day we got married and I am still amazed many a night when I go to bed and realize the woman I am sharing it with. God was not obligated to give me a spouse, but He did. That is His blessing and I ought to treasure her more and more every day.
For the young Christian also, enjoy eros. Many of us can have a feeling of shame when it comes to eros. God made the sexual system however. It was His idea. He fashioned all the parts and even has a whole book of the Bible for celebrating sex, the Song of Songs. We can talk all we want of it being an allegory of God and Israel or Christ and the Church, and in some ways it could be, but let us also affirm that it is also a book celebrating sexual love. If God considers it something to celebrate, ought not we?
Of course, the Song includes warnings about not awakening it before its time, so don’t. Be cautious. There are many a couple who have regretted not waiting until their wedding night. I do not know of any who do regret waiting until their wedding night. My wife and I both waited, and we are glad we did.
Next time, we shall look at agape.