God designed sex within marriage to be a sacred, pleasurable, and spiritual act. We don’t often stop and think about how amazing it really is that God invented sex and gave it such potential to build a physical and spiritual union between two people in the safety and devotion of a Christian marriage. Sex is an amazing gift, a chance to be bonded in body, mind and spirit. One flesh. Yet everywhere I turn Christian people seem to be struggling with sex.
It seems that we have taken what should be a true blessing in our marriages and have turned it into a chore. Women are constantly joking about trying to get out of having sex with their husbands. Husbands are constantly joking about how they don’t get enough sex. And, somewhere in the middle of all of the casual talk about it, are two people, naked and vulnerable in the quiet of their own bedroom, struggling to figure out how to connect spiritually while they make love.
We live in a world that is unbelievably sexual. Every commercial, television show, book, and magazine is putting sexual images and ideas into our minds every day. Porn culture has warped our idea of what sex is. It isn’t a union of two bodies and souls, but a chance to get what we want. Slowly the notion has crept into our minds that we need satisfaction by whatever means necessary, even in Christian marriage. So, we come to the sacred place where we should be experiencing a spiritual union with our spouse, and we bring along years’ worth of images and fantasies that have nothing to do with them. And, instead of being completely present in this beautiful moment, instead of wholly giving ourselves to our spouse, we retreat and call up these images, and the spiritual union is weakened at best, and completely severed at worst.
No wonder Christian marriages are having sex problems.
Pornography is a huge part of the problem. But, maybe you don’t watch porn. You have seen plenty of movies, read plenty of books, created plenty of fantasies in your mind that don’t involve your spouse. The truth is that unless we are diligent about it, we will all allow our minds to wander to scenes that we have viewed or imagined, even when we are in the middle of trying to make love to our spouse. We may not even realize what we’re doing, inviting other people into this holy moment. Letting outside ideas and images crowd in on the beautiful act of giving ourselves to one another. How can we expect to achieve a soul-to-soul union with our husband or wife when we are escaping to some love scene or pornographic image? Before long we forget how to really be present in this divine moment, this spiritual experience of loving the person right in front of us, in the ways that only we can. We have to keep ourselves anchored to each other during sex, and the only way to do that is to banish outside images from our minds. Not only that, but we have to be careful to keep from bringing brand new images into our minds, by guarding what we see and hear and read.
I know many of you are thinking that this is not a big deal, or that it is impossible to have sex without calling up images and ideas that have aroused you in the past. But, if it were an impossibility, why would Paul advise us to take every thought captive to obey Christ? (2 Corinthians 10:5) If it is no big deal, then why did he tell us to think about what is noble, right, pure, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy? (Philippians 4:8) Why would Jesus tell us that anyone who looks at a woman (or man) to lust after her (or him) has already committed adultery in their heart? (Matthew 5:28)
The truth is that when we allow images of other people into our minds when we are having sex with our spouse, we are sinning, and our sex life will never achieve the spiritual depth and emotional closeness that God designed it for. There is a better way to have sex in Christian marriage. And, it isn’t just okay sex. It is life-giving, soul-stirring, and it connects you to your spouse in ways you didn’t even realize were possible. Kick everyone else out of your head. This moment is for the two of you alone, body to body, soul to soul. Anything else will lead to a lifetime of sexual emptiness, physical connection with no spiritual bond. And, despite what this world tells you, that will never be truly satisfying.