Book Plunge: Passion Principles

What do I think of Shannon Ethridge’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Usually when I find any book on marriage on Kindle for sale, I try to get it immediately. This one was no exception. Ethridge’s book is geared more towards women, but men who read it will find it very helpful as well.

Ethridge wants women to have the freedom to enjoy sex in marriage. At the start, a lot of stories are told about women who struggle with this and then stories are told about women who have found freedom. It is not the case that sex is made just for the man. Women are meant to take joy in physical union with their husbands.

Of course, it starts with God. Ethridge lays down the theology first saying sex was all God’s idea. He created it and made it the way it is for married couples and to show how He relates to His people. She looks at the Old Testament first focusing on the Song of Songs and Hosea.

From there, we go to the New Testament. Here we look at what Jesus has to say about sex and how sex relates to spirituality. She also asks the question about if sex will be in Heaven. There is no chapter explicitly on Paul which I would have liked, but that doesn’t mean he’s not covered at all.

Many chapters from there start to have a shift as much more is not so much about the physicality of sex as it is the emotional, mental, and spiritual side. It is still something worthwhile to be covered as Ethridge places more of the therapist hat on, including dealing with people who have a sexual past and people who have affairs either physical or emotional on their spouses. There is also material on overcoming pornography and why Christians should not use pornography.

Towards the end, we get back more into the physical side with questions about the bodies of the persons involved. What can you do or not do in the bedroom? What about oral sex or sex toys? What about when you have children?

This is a good book for women to read and I urge them to do so, although men will get something out of it as well. Your marriage is meant to be a place of joy and as is your marriage bed. If you want good advice to get there, this book is a great place to start.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

How Far Is Too Far When Dating?

Is there a place to draw the line? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I host a men’s group on Facebook for Christian men who are married, engaged, dating, or hoping to date and marry called “As Christ Loved The Church.” I had someone last night ask about oral sex. Is that going too far if someone has oral sex with their girlfriend?

Fortunately, the consensus seems to be yes. Naturally, that is one that I agree with. A good rule of thumb I gave the person in private conversation is to not share anything that would go beyond what a swimsuit would cover. Some people might want even less and I respect that decision if that’s what you think. I definitely think that you should be careful if you’re not doing something like swimming together.

If you ask where I draw the line, it’s with kissing. I think it’s good for a dating couple to kiss. There are some who want to save that for the altar, but I think doing that can make it too difficult to move straight from being able to kiss to being able to have total sex together.

One reason to stop there is because temptation beyond that is way too powerful. Once clothes start coming off, it’s really hard to put the brakes on at that point. (That’s another reason if you have a swim date together, make sure it’s a public place, like your local YMCA) If you spend time alone, make sure it’s a place that anyone can walk in. When I was dating Allie, while we were in the basement area of her parents’ house for the most part where her bedroom was, we also knew the door was open and anyone could come down at any time. This helps put the brakes on temptation.

Ideally, as I told this guy, it should be the first time you see your girlfriend naked, or any woman naked for that matter, is on your wedding night. For the latter part of any woman, few guys will be able to say that that will be them even if they avoided watching pornography. It can pop up in a movie or anything these days and even those who make it a practice to avoid porn can still get pop-ups from time to time.

There is nothing like seeing the body of the person you love and when you are married, there will be times you see that body and don’t get to do the deed as it were. That’s when you have to practice self-control. Generally, you’ll have to have it in marriage because there are other things you’ll be doing in married life besides having sex together. Some couples are surprised that there are other things you’re doing on the honeymoon besides having sex together but, yes, yes there are.

So what happens if you make a mistake? Well, you made a mistake. It doesn’t mean you have to end the relationship, but it does mean you need to agree together to not repeat this mistake again. Falling in mud is an accident, but if you stay in it and roll around in it, that’s another problem. It’s not to say you won’t be tempted. Actually, if you’re not tempted with sexual sin with the person you’re with, you could say there’s a problem. You are going to want to be with them. Anticipation is very sweet.

Overall, remember it’s possible to love the person you’re with in a dating relationship without having sex or doing anything remotely sexual. If you’re unsure, it’s probably best to not do it until you check and talk to some wiser people who have been there. You want to go into your marriage with as little regret as possible, but if you make a mistake, have grace, since God has that for you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters