12 Ways to transform modern dating into Biblical dating

What does the Bible say about dating? How can you as a young Christian man or woman date in a way that pleases God? Are their Biblical principles that can help young people find the right spouse?

Before we seek to answer these questions we need to look at how young men and women used to enter into relationships.

“Dating” as we know it today did not exist before the last century. Men did not have to romance women to get women to marry them. Men did not need pickup lines or any of the other tricks of getting women to show interest in them. Women did not need to “put out” before marriage to give the man a “taste of the goods”.

The two ways men acquired wives in pre-modern times

First let me address the word “acquired” which is a word usually associated with getting property. It is a well-known fact of history that women were considered the property of their fathers (or other male relative if the father was dead) and these property rights were transferred to husbands in marriage.

So it is historically correct to say that in the vast majority of cases men did not “win” their wives (by romancing them) but rather they acquired them by purchasing them from their male relatives.

The first way was the marriage was arranged by the parents when the man and woman were children and they were betrothed but the marriage was not consummated until the man had the ability to support the woman and had a home established for her.   Sometimes the arranged marriage was not from the time of the man and woman being children but was a quick arrangement when two sets of parents realized they had two adult children who were not yet married and they would have them to marry.

The second way was if a man found a woman attractive he would NOT approach the woman directly – instead he would approach her father, her brother or other male relative who was responsible for her. He would then demonstrate his ability to provide for the woman and then these two men would agree upon a bride price.

While a woman’s male relative might take her opinion into account of whether she wanted to marry a man often time’s women had little say in whom they married.

A third but rare way that men acquired wives

A third and very rare case would be if a woman had no male relatives in charge of her (no father, grandfather, brother or uncles). Only in this rare condition would a man have to deal directly with the woman herself to see if she would be interested in marrying him.

Even in this last rare case – the idea of dating did not typically happen because it was socially unacceptable for single women to entertain men who were not their husbands. If they did they might be seen as a prostitute or a whore.

There often was little to no romance involved even in the case of a man approaching a woman directly who had no male relatives in charge of her. He simply demonstrated his ability to provide for her and she would decide if she wanted to marry him.

My point in all this is, before the last century the vast majority of marriages were formed because of economic and political necessity – they were not formed based on men romantically pursing women as we see is the case today.

For these reasons you won’t find any reference to anything close to what we call dating in the Bible – it simply did not exist in pre-modern times.

The randomness and chaos of modern dating

As I have previously shown, in times past marriage was a very ordered ordeal. Parents or others elders that were looked up to often helped young people to find suitable spouses that would benefit one another economically or politically.

Today however, instead of marriages coming together on the grounds of spiritual, economic or political reasons – most marriages in the Western world come together because of pre-marital romantic feelings that a man and a woman share for one another.

Most young people enter what we now call “the dating world” without a clue of how to find a prospective spouse. They wonder aimlessly at school, college, work, church or other social functions hoping to bump into that right person.

Even when a person does “bump into the right person” or so they think – dating itself today is far from how God’s Word would have it to be.

Men pursue women by buying them gifts and make all kinds of romantic gestures to show their affection for the women they are with.  They continually have to come up with romantic words to flatter the women they are with.

Women often feel pressured to give sex not long after dating to “keep him hooked” on them.

In many ways modern dating and romance has become a form of idolatry. Listen to romance songs on the radio or watch romance movies. Are the things that these people say to each other often times not a form of worship and idolatry toward one another?

Even if a Christian couple has committed to not having sex before marriage often times our ideas of modern dating put Christian couples in very tempting positions with little to no safe guards against sex before marriage.

But there is a way to bring order to the chaos of modern dating and the answer is found in God’s Word.

12 ways to transform modern dating into Biblical dating

Here are several ways to apply Biblical principles to the modern concept of dating to bring it into line with God’s Word and it may also help you to find the right spouse that God has for you.

Dating is for marriage – not for sex or fun

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” – Psalm 25:7 (KJV)

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” – I Corinthians 7:2 (KJV)

It is not wrong for a young person to desire to find a spouse and be married one day. In fact this is a noble and right desire and should be encouraged by all parents. When you as a young person desire to be with someone whom you know you would never marry – that is by definition a “youthful lust”. When you desire to possess something that God did not intend for you to have that is lust.

So unless you see someone as a potential spouse – you have no business seeking an intimate (emotional or physical) relationship with them.

Follow your spirit not your heart

The world will tell you the very opposite thing – “listen to your heart” is the theme of many romance songs and movies. But it has no basis in Bible.

Yes – God tell us to love him with all our heart:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” – Matthew 22:37 (KJV)

But God also tells us that our hearts can deceive us:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” – Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)

So instead of going with your heart which can lead you astray, instead you need to follow the spirit of God in your dating.

Test the Spirit by the Word

The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit of God will lead us in “all the truth” and that includes who we should date.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…” – John 16:13a (KJV)

But just as we can be lead astray by our hearts, we can also be lead astray by false spirits.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world…We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” – I John 4:1 & 6 (KJV)

When the Bible refers to “false spirits” it is not restricted only to evil and demonic spirits. It is also referring to false teachers and those who would give us bad advice or advice that does not line up with God’s Word.

So how do we know if it the Holy Spirit leading us or some other false spirit or bad influence? It is by listening to the Word of God. The Holy Spirit of God will never lead us in a direction that is contrary to God’s Word.

It is amazing to me how many people, whether it is in dating or even religious practices who are doing things that are completely contrary to the Word of God and then claim “but the Spirit of God lead me to do this and gave me peace about it so it must be right”.

My response to these folks is – “Yes you were led by “A spririt”, but not “THE Spirit”.”

Young people you need the follow THE Spirit of God as you seek the spouse God would have for you.

Only date Christians

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” – II Corinthians 6:14-16 (KJV)

Contrary to popular belief – the Bible does NOT teach the concept of evangelistic dating. We are not to date or marry unbelievers.

This goes back to the previous points about not following your heart and testing the spirits. You heart and other false spirits will tell you – “It’s ok if they are not a believer in Christ, you can help them to be one”. Other false feelings you may have are “but they are such a good and kind person, surely God wants me to be such a good person”.

But the truth is the Bible says “what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”

Prove that they are indeed a Christian

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25 (KJV)

I tell my children the first two things they should ask about a person before they would ever consider dating them should be – “Are you a Christian?” and “Where do you go to Church?”.

Obviously each one of those questions needs more detail.

Does the person really understand what it means to be a believer?

Do you sense the Spirit of God upon their life?

Are they a faithful member of their church or do they only attend a few times a year around the holidays?

Guard your heart

So up to this point you if you have followed the previous steps you placed boundaries on yourself and made yourself accountable to your parents or other godly Christians in this dating process. You have determined that dating is for marriage, not for fun. You have sought to be led by the Spirit and not by your sinful heart. You have a found a person who claims Christ and faithfully attends Church.

But it is not yet time to let yourself “fall” for this person, or let your guard down.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 (KJV)

The phrase “keep thy heart” could also be translated as “guard your heart” as the NIV translates it. We need to be careful of whom we allow into our hearts. When we open our hearts to someone we can make rash decisions that we later come to regret.

The young woman who gives her virginity away to the man with flattering lips who promised to marry her but later leaves her after he gets what he wants will have many sorrows.

The young man who overlooked the fact that a young lady did not believe in God’s roles for Christian women but was simply captivated by her beauty will one day come to regret his decision.

Once a person passes the initial screening processes you need to truly investigate them. There is an old saying that “A man is known by the company he keeps” and the Bible has a similar statement to this:

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” – Proverbs 13:20 (KJV)

Does he or she have wise and godly friends? When you talk to their friends what do they reveal about the character of this person you are dating?

Guard your body

Ok the cat is really out of the bag now. When I say “dating”, I am referring to a relationship between a man and woman that could potentially lead to marriage and I am referring to what is known as courtship. Now this is one even my teens have a very hard time swallowing because of the culture we live in.

Those who have read any of my posts on Biblical sexuality know that I do NOT believe we must suppress our sexuality even before marriage. Our sexuality is a gift from God meant to be experienced and enjoyed before marriage and after marriage.

I just read on another Christian site that young Christian men should avoid learning too many details about sex until just a few days before they are married for fear that they might have sexual fantasies about their wives to be.

What a ludicrous statement to make!

Yet many Churches all across America and the world teach this unbiblical philosophy of about sexual fantasy and sexual imagination.

HOWEVER – while we might be able to enjoy our sexuality before marriage through sexual imagination and even masturbation (which the Bible does NOT condemn) we are forbidden from pursing any kind of sexual relationship with a person before we have entered into a covenant of marriage with them. That includes cybersex, phone sex or any other kind of sexual activity.

People such as myself and others that embrace the idea of courtship believe that young people should not be allowed by their parents or themselves to be put in a position where they might sin sexually with one another.

I can hear all the teens and young college students yelling at me at this point.

But the Bible says we should not put ourselves in a position where we know we could possibly be tempted to sin:

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” – Romans 13:14 (KJV)

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” – I Corinthians 6:18 (KJV)

I think the best policy is for parents and young people to agree that they will always be in a group setting, whether it is with a church youth group or college and career group or a least around a larger group of Christian friends or relatives at all times.

Agree on Biblical marriage roles

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” – Ephesians 5:22-27 (KJV)

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” – I Timothy 5:14 (KJV)

There are many people who truly believe in Jesus Christ and are saved and regularly attend their churches but reject all the Bible’s teachings on God design of gender roles. They believe these teachings are outdated and were not meant for all time.

Listen to me young man. Listen to me young lady.

You can find the nicest person in the world, even a Christian who regularly attends church.

But if you do not agree on the doctrines of Gender roles as taught in Scripture you will be in for a lot of heart ache!

Seek your parents blessing

“Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.” – Proverbs 23:22 (KJV)

If your parents are believers – you should have their blessing before proceeding in marriage. Even if they are not believers – they may still have some helpful advice.

In most cases your parents are the ones who know you better than anyone else in this world. Even if everything seems to match up – your father and mother may see some incapability between the two of you that you did not notice.

In fact because Samson did not listen to his parents advice about a woman it ended up costing him his life in the end (Judges 14:3).

Now there are some cases where parents are wicked and unbelieving people. So please don’t think I am saying parents ALWAYS have to give their blessing. But I do think in most cases you should have your parents blessing before marrying someone.

Seek other Godly counsel

Before agreeing to marriage with this person seek wise and spiritual advice from those around you.

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” – Proverbs 11:14 (KJV)

Bring the person you are dating around your Christian friends and then ask them afterwards privately what they thought of the person.

Pray and ask God to show you the right spouse

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” – Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)

Last but certainly not least you need to pray! This should be the first thing you do before you set out to date and it should be the last thing you to do before you open your heart to a person and let them in.

Even if you apply all these other Biblical principles there are so many variables when it comes to choosing the right spouse that God has for you. There are different types of personalities and differences in preferences. Pray and ask the Lord to guide you to that right person.

Premarital counseling with a Pastor is CRITICAL!

I know this is really tough – but even up this point you must still continue to guard your heart. I know of many Christian men and women who discovered things about their soon to be spouse in pre-marital counseling but they felt they were too invested with a wedding planned and the time they had spent with this person.

Please listen to me young person. It is NEVER too late to back out of an engagement. You may find in pre-marital counseling that your spouse does not really believe in Biblical gender roles. You may find out that they do not have a Biblical philosophy of sex in marriage. These are critical things that will affect you for the rest of your life.

Conclusion

So after reading all these 12 ways to transform the chaos of modern dating into Biblical dating the question you are probably asking is “When can I stop guarding my heart?” I believe the answer to that question is after you have completed premarital counseling and have determined that this person is a spiritual match for you in all the important ways I have mentioned here then you can begin to let your guard down.

But really I think until the day you are married and have entered in the covenant of marriage with this person – you need to be careful with your heart.

Even after marriage – do you realize how many people have allowed their spouses to lead their hearts astray from God? We must never allow that.

But after we are married that is when we can fully give our hearts and bodies to our spouses while still remembering that God must always be first in our marriage.

Please don’t misunderstand me. There is no perfect person out there. There is no person with whom you will agree on all things. There is no such thing as your “soul mate” – sorry to burst your bubble. But there are good Christian people out there who love the Lord more than anything including you and that is why they will always love you because of their commitment to God.

There are no perfect people, but there are men and women who truly believe in Christ and his Word and they embrace Biblical gender roles and want to live their life by the God’s Word. If you can find a person like that – this is the person you want to marry.

In some upcoming articles I will give some more gender specific things to look for in Biblical dating. But everything I have said here I think Biblically speaking applies to both men and women.

 

 

 

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Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage Episode 9

“Being a newlywed I thought marriage was going to be all rainbows, I had quite a rude reality check very early on, and it’s embarrassing to talk about your new husband not desiring you anymore… I am always the one who has to initiate sex, and EVERY time I’m shot down, my normal response is to clam up and avoid him, which often leads to a fight. It’s gotten to a point where he will even refuse to hold my hand or hug me.” This is an excerpt from an email I received from Hannah, a young Christian newlywed wife.

While sexual denial most often occurs with the wife denying her husband, there have been many women throughout history who have been sexually denied by their husbands. Over 3000 years ago men were sexually denying their wives prompting God to give this command through his Prophet Moses:

“If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” – Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

God made it clear, whether a man had one wife or many – he was not allowed to sexually deny any of his wives. Here is Hannah’s full story.

Hannah’s Story

“I just wanted to thank you for your blog, I have searched all over the internet for a CHRISTIAN based blog on sexual relations between a husband and wife, and none would address the issues that you do here. It has helped my perspective so much, especially with the sexual denial posting. I have been experiencing this from my husband in my own marriage. I have tried everything and nothing has helped. We haven’t been sexually active in 10 months and we’ve only been married for 11 months.

I prayed for my husband for eight years, we met when I was 14 and it was love at first sight. After eight years of an off again, on again relationship, God answered my prayer and brought us together. I never truly dated anyone else but him, I knew in my spirit he was created to be my husband.

Being a newlywed I thought marriage was going to be all rainbows, I had quite a rude reality check very early on, and it’s embarrassing to talk about your new husband not desiring you anymore.

Right after we were married, I got pregnant and lost the baby when I was six weeks along, since then all affection and intimacy has stopped. I’ve talked to him, reasoned with him, even pleaded with him to change or tell me what I should do differently. I have felt like something is so incredibly wrong with me. It’s been a heartbreaking experience and I’m so glad to learn and see in scripture that I’m not alone or a “lustful” woman for desiring my husband.

I have tried getting him to go to counseling but he continually brushes it off. We currently don’t have a home church of our own. My former pastor that I served under in ministry for several years has announced he is homosexual and left the church. This was a shock to all of us and left us very hurt, so getting him to find a new pastor to council with is very difficult. After we lost the baby it has been a downhill spiral. I am fighting feelings of bitterness towards him which I know is wrong. It’s just so hard to deal with the rejection. There have been moments of weakness where I wanted to leave or pursue someone else, but my Spirit (thankfully) overrided my flesh.

Do you have any practical advice as to how I should react to his sexual rejection?

I am always the one who has to initiate sex, and EVERY time I’m shot down, my normal response is to clam up and avoid him, which often leads to a fight. It’s gotten to a point where he will even refuse to hold my hand or hug me. It annoys him when I try to show affection, not just in public but even if we’re alone. Now if in want a kiss or to hold his hand I have to ask permission. He says it’s because he’s not ready after the miscarriage but it’s been several months since we lost the baby.

I have respectfully poured my heart out to him several times about the issue, he listens, and then nothing is ever fixed. There is always an excuse why he doesn’t want sex and they change each time. I really don’t know what to do. I was raised in a strict Christian home that does not condone divorce between Christians. After reading your post I am viewing my right as a Christian woman in a completely different light. I am so glad to know I have a biblical right to divorce if this doesn’t change and that God has given me this right. I love my husband and I am willing to stick this out, but it is very hard.

Please if you have any advice, I would love to hear from you. Thank you again for your blog, it’s been such a blessing.”

My Response to Hannah

Hannah I just want to say how sorry I am for the loss of your first child. My first wife and I lost our first child to a miscarriage as well – it was a tubal pregnancy. My niece lost her first child two days after she was born without any indication there was problem last year. The loss of a child can have a traumatic effect on a marriage and sometimes takes years to recover from.

For some couples the loss of a child bring them closer together, while for others it may tear them apart. Some couples have even divorced over the loss of a child when one or both of them cannot move past it. The reason for this is that sometimes a person allows their spouse to be a constant reminder of the loss and only by leaving them do they feel they can truly leave the death behind.

It sounds like based on your story that you husband had to great disappointments one with the loss of a child and another with loss of your Pastor in such a terrible way.

Your husband is a broken a man. He is bitter at God for all these disappointments in his life.

Your husband pushing you away shows that he is directly associating the death of your child with you. Your face might be a constant reminder to him of the loss of your child. Only through intense counseling will your husband be able to disassociate you from the death of your child.

But let me assure you that your feelings of wanting to be close and intimate with your husband are completely normal. Many people deal with the loss of a child very differently and you wanted to comforted in your husband’s arms – but instead have been pushed away. That must be heartbreaking for you.

How you should handle your husband’s sexual denial

First and foremost if your husband won’t go to church you at least should get yourself in a good Bible preaching church. Seek out a counselor on your own even if your husband won’t go so you can talk about how you are feeling. Make sure it is a Christian that holds to your same world view and faith.

If you don’t have some good Christian girlfriends, make some friends. Spend time with family and friends and draw strength from them for the battle you have ahead.

I realize it is a horrible feeling to be rejected for physical intimacy by the man you love but continue to make occasional attempts to be intimate with him realizing he may continue to reject you.

At the same time you need to have a serious talk with your husband. Let him know that you love him and you want to repair your marriage and move past the loss of your first child. Continue to offer to go to counseling with him, or even if he wants to go by himself to see a counselor that will be fine to.

Be sure to pray for your husband daily.

But you also need to let your husband know that your marriage is broken. The covenant of your marriage is broken while there is no physical intimacy between the two of you. You are no longer one flesh and this is not pleasing to God. Tell him you will only allow this grave sin to go on for so long until you will exercise your right to divorce him for this breach of your marriage.

I would recommend giving him at least a year or so with occasional respectful requests to him to get help he needs.

If over the next year you see no forward progress and he still refuses counseling or any to talk to the Pastor of the new church you will find then you probably need to file for divorce.

But filing for divorce does not necessarily mean the end of your marriage. For some filing for divorce shakes them out of their sinful stubbornness and bitterness and helps them to see what they are about to lose. For others they will only sink deeper into the abyss of their bitterness.

The two possible outcomes of your attempts to confront your husband’s sin

The best outcome, and the one you are praying for is that you husband will allow God to free his heart of the bitterness that has poisoned him.

But if your husband refuses to repent and give his heart back to God – you are free to go because he has chosen to remain in his sin and refuses to be one flesh with you as his wife.

Realize though that many conservative Churches that would condemn your husband for sexually denying you would also condemn you for divorcing him over sexual denial. They will try and teach you a false doctrine that God wants you to just live in a celibate marriage potentially for the rest of your life if he never changes.

 “Celibate Marriage” is a huge oxymoron.

While there is more to marriage than sex, a marriage with no sex is not a marriage. There is a reason why marriage is called a “one flesh” relationship as opposed to a “one mind” or “one soul” relationship.

You must be convinced of this right you have before God knowing that your Pastor may not agree.

I pray the Lord will give you the strength you need for the battle ahead.

Here is another post on this subject:

4 Steps to Confronting your husband’s sexual refusal

How much pain would you endure to have sex with your husband?

How much pain would you endure to have sex with your husband? What if you could not consummate your wedding vows on your wedding night? If you are having painful intercourse should you tell your husband?

In some previous posts on stories of sexual denial where I have shared reader’s stories – the subject of painful intercourse has arisen several times whether in public comments or private emails.  This is a topic that many Christian engaged couples who are trying remain pure for marriage never consider might happen to them. This issue affects wives across the spectrum from newlyweds to elderly wives.

I recently received this email from a woman named Anna, and she asked me to make her story public.  Just a heads up – this conversation will get a little more “graphic” than I usually get when talking about sex but I think as you read Anna’s story you will understand the need to speak frankly and openly about these issues.

Anna’s Story

“I’ve been reading your blog for a couple months now and have taken special interest in your posts about a husband/wife’s sexual duties to each other. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything else you post, I think you are right on the money here.  I wanted to send you my story because I think it might be an encouragement to women, but of course whatever you choose to put on your blog is up to you.

My husband and I were married a little over a month ago, and I had assured him multiple times prior to marriage that he didn’t need to worry about my freezing him out in the bedroom later on in our marriage. He appreciated that, but i had no idea at the time what wall would be required to keep that promise. When we arrived at our apartment on our wedding night, I was ready to start, and he definitely was. However, it didn’t exactly go according to plan as my body was way too tight for him to enter. I was in tears from the massive pain but kept telling him to try again. My sweet husband prioritized my needs over his and nixed that idea.

However, there are other things a woman can do and I was able to give him one orgasm right then, and another later that evening. We left for our honeymoon later with me fighting (more like losing to) guilt and depression. On our honeymoon, we tried pain medications, alcohol (neither of us were remotely drunk but I still do acknowledge that this idea is not for everyone), and about 5 different kinds of lube, and nothing worked. He knows that I normally hate going to doctors, so I assured him that as soon as we got back home, I’d book an appointment with a gynecologist to see what was wrong. He wasn’t particularly interested in trying intercourse until then as each session resulted in me breaking down in tears at the slightest attempt.

I got back to work (i’m a nurse with a particularly open group of co-workers!) and shared my plight with a few of my closer nurses and my manager as well.  I told them that i was going to see a gynecologist and was hoping to have a ‘snip surgery’ done that would help open me up. Every single one of them (most of whom are also professing Christians) recoiled in horror and told me how much that would hurt and asked why in the world I would ever do that. My answer was simple: he was my husband, I had made marital vows to him (to have and to hold???), and I had no intention of backing down.

Thankfully the gynecologist said nothing was physically wrong and encouraged me to try a vaginal dilator set. We also booked an appointment with a sex therapist who encouraged the same thing. The dilator set was the worst pain I have ever experienced. I tried them each night after work and would send my husband out of the room because I didn’t want him to see me crying and feel guilty (the therapist encouraged me to let him stay so I did after that).

It took over a month of trying, but yesterday we were able to have sex for the first time. Our marriage is definitely stronger for the initial struggles,and I have so much respect for my husband who was always so sweet, supportive, and patient through the whole thing.  It never occurred to me that i had an option other than trying all these things because as a married person, I had responsibilities…simple as that. My husband and I have a lot of work left to do on our sexual relationship (although i’m not sure if a couple ever stops learning in that area!), but we are both very happy to be past that initial hurdle. God is good!”

What a powerful story of faith and commitment to marriage! It is often said that our faith is revealed not in the good times, but in the bad times and this story is no exception to that rule.

This story starts off with a young newlywed couple unable to consummate their marriage on their wedding night. How frustrating that must have been for both of them!

This young bride was an example for all Christian wives

First she recognized that even though they could not have intercourse, she needed to take care of her husband’s sexual needs in other ways. Bravo! So many Christian women would have quit there and told their new husband he would just have to wait – or he could go take care of himself. Her compassion for husband’s needs – despite her own frustrations is to be commended.

Secondly is the fact that she recognized that this was HER problem, not his. So many women jump to blaming their husbands when they have any type of difficulty in the bedroom. While sometimes it may be an issue of foreplay on the husband’s part, often times it may be physical or mental conditions on the part of the wife and she has a duty as wife to seek out medical or psychological help for herself. This young bride did just that. She saw a doctor and a therapist and fought through the pain to get herself to the point where she could have vaginal intercourse with her husband.

This young husband was an example for all Christian husbands

The young husband in this case is also a model for us as believing husbands. Contrary to all the slanderous statements that have been thrown my way – I do not believe a husband should ever force himself upon his wife. A loving husband who sees his wife is in pain will not want to cause her more pain.

This husband demonstrated love and compassion for his wife and waited until she was ready – a very admirable thing to do in this scenario. Yes I am sure his wife continued to help him out using manual or oral methods (as she should have). But as any man or woman can attest to, there is no sex like sexual intercourse. It is the most intimate and physical joining of a man and woman in marriage. When the Bible speaks of a husband and wife becoming “one flesh” in marriage, while it has spiritual and emotional implications – it’s most literal meaning is their bodies merging as one during the act of sexual intercourse.

Vaginismus – the cause of Anna’s pain

The condition that caused Anna not to be able to have sexual intercourse with her husband is called “Vaginismus” and this is what healthyplace.com says about it:

“Vaginismus is an involuntary spasm of the muscles surrounding the vaginal opening which occurs whenever an attempt is made to penetrate the vagina…

What causes this to occur? In most cases, this is not due to a physical deformity or disorder. Instead, it is an emotional condition that occurs because of psychological reasons but manifests itself in a physical response. The majority of women with vaginismus believe that intercourse will be very painful; often thinking that their vagina is too small to accommodate the penis and therefore, their vagina will be ripped or stretched too far. Consequently, they develop a phobic response to the penis; associating it with pain. Other women have indeed experienced some type of trauma to the vagina or genital region, such as rape, sexual abuse, or surgery, which then leads to a fear of intercourse. And, unfortunately, for some women, it is their first pelvic examination that causes them to be fearful. Lack of sensitivity on the physician’s part, or neglecting to adequately inform the patient what she can expect, has sometimes contributed to the pelvic exam being a negative experience for women; causing them to fear sexual intercourse….

However, in a small number of cases, physical factors (such as the presence of a rigid hymen, or deformities of the vagina) can make penetration of the vagina impossible. Additionally, although physical conditions, such as endometriosis, vaginal infections, or an episiotomy are not directly responsible for a woman experiencing vaginismus, they may, through association, contribute to vaginismus indirectly through conditioning. What this means is if a woman experiences pain upon intercourse, or with a pelvic exam, this may lead to a self-protecting tightening of the vaginal muscles the next time she attempts to have intercourse…

Treatment for vaginismus consists of a combination of relaxation training and various behavioral exercises in helping the woman overcome her fear of intercourse. The husband or partner’s participation in treatment and his emotional support are considered very important to the success of treatment. Sometimes, in addition to the above treatments, individual and/or couples therapy is recommended as well.”

http://www.healthyplace.com/sex/female-sexual-dysfunction/vaginismus-women-who-cant-have-intercourse/

Another site dealing with Vaginal Dilators (which helped Anna) states this:

“Together with appropriate exercises, as women consciously and consistently squeeze and relax the PC muscles with dilator insertions, they learn how to override the involuntary muscle contractions that had previously caused tightness or closed the entrance to the vagina to sex. The process helps create new ‘muscle memories’. Through the proper use of dilators, women can more easily develop control over involuntary tightness and simultaneously desensitize their vaginal muscles, body and mind to the sensation of having something in their vagina. This is all done as transition preparation for inserting the “real thing” (i.e. the man’s penis) without pain or tightness. Together with appropriate exercises, they help women retrain their bodies to respond correctly to penetration and to transition to fully pain-free intercourse.”

https://www.vaginismus.com/faqs/dilator-questions/vaginal-dilators-treating-vaginismus

A National Institutes of Health study revealed there is no clinical difference between dyspareunia and vaginismus.

Vaginismus and dyspareunia: is there a difference in clinical presentation?

The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify clinical similarities and differences in patients with vaginismus and dyspareunia. Thirty patients who were referred to an outpatient clinic for psychosomatic gynecology and sexology, with either of these two diagnoses, were investigated by means of a standardized interview, physical examination and self-rating questionnaires. Based on the interview, no significant differences were demonstrated between patients with vaginismus and dyspareunia, in the ability to insert a finger into the vagina or to have a gynecological examination. No differences were found in the reported level of pain during coitus (or attempted coitus), inserting one finger into the vagina, or during gynecological examination. Patients with vaginismus, however, more often reported that coitus was impossible. The physical examination and self-rating questionnaires showed no differences at all between patients with vaginismus and dyspareunia in palpated vaginal muscular tension and reported anxiety or tension during the examination. Moreover, in both groups redness and painful areas on the vulva were equally common. Redness and pain on the same location were more frequently present in the dyspareunia group. Patients with dyspareunia reported higher levels of pain during the examination. In conclusion, neither the interview nor the physical examination produced useful criteria to distinguish vaginismus from dyspareunia. A multi-axial description of these syndromes is suggested, rather than viewing them as two separate disorders.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11076336

Beyond the above basic classifications, physicians and specialists may use other medical terms referring to vaginismus such as:

Apareunia

Apareunia is a general term that refers to a condition where one is unable to have sexual intercourse. Vaginismus is one type of apareunia (if it is completely preventing penetrative intercourse).

Dyspareunia

Dyspareunia is a general term that refers to a condition where there is pain during sexual intercourse. Vaginismus is considered to be one type of dyspareunia, but is closely associated with all types of sexual pain.

https://www.vaginismus.com/faqs/vaginismus-questions/primary-and-secondary-vaginismus-differences

How Anna cured her Vaginismus(Apareunia)

Anna rightly gave all the praise to God for curing her Vaginismus. But in truth she does deserve some credit for taking aggressive action and enduring the mental and physical pain and discomfort to get herself to the place where she could finally have vaginal sex with her husband. God can miraculously heal people – he does it all the time without a doctor touching a person. But God directed Anna to see a doctor and a sex therapist and I think that as we can see that was his will for her and he worked through these people to help Anna. We need to realize as believers that God has gifted medical professionals and counselors to be able to help us if we will seek the help.

There are many other posts online and in medical journals about Vaginismus. But from these and many others we can see that more often than not Vaginismus is not usually caused by a physical deformity of the vagina.

What is most often the case is a woman’s fear based upon bad memories of doctor’s exams, her upbringing about sex, sexual abuse or just a phobia of anything being inserted into her vagina. So her body reacts in what seems to be an involuntary way with muscle contractions that close off the vagina and protect it from penetration.

This is why often it takes a combination of counseling and perhaps a vaginal dilator as Anna used to help train her mind and muscles to allow things – including the most important thing of all – her husband’s penis – to be inserted into her vagina.

Vaginismus reveals major differences between men and women in regard to sex

But what I think this reveals about women that is so different from men is – for a woman her mind, even her unconscious mind and her unconscious fears have a huge impact not only her ability to enjoy sex, but even on her ability to have sexual intercourse at all!

I am sure that on a conscious level Anna wanted nothing more than have sex with her husband on her wedding night. She may have had NO conscious fears about doing this. But on some unconscious level her mind and her body were fearful of penetration. She had to train her mind and body to think differently about sex.

How many women today who do not face Vaginismus still need to have their mind and body conditioned to think differently about sex? How many women would enjoy sex better with their husbands if they could only let go of what is holding them back? How many women would benefit from the counseling Anna sought?

Men can learn from this story too

Just because this story is from the perspective of wife having a sexual dysfunction does not mean we as men cannot learn from this as well. For men ED (erectile dysfunction) would be closest equivalent to a woman having Vaginismus except for the pain. Men certainly experience emotional pain from ED, but not the physical pain women experience from Vaginismus.

But for us as men – ED is usually more physically based than emotionally based. While it is true that some men cannot achieve erections due to issues in the marriage, or issues from their childhood most of the time it is a physical issue and matter of blood flow. Thankfully today there are kinds of treatments for ED and we as Christian husbands have the same obligation to our wives as Anna felt to her husband to seek treatment to help our ED. We can’t just give up and throw in the towel.

What if the pain could not be stopped?

But let’s face it – not every story of Vaginismus has a happy ending like this one did.   What if the cause was a physical issue that could not be repaired or changed? What if we were living a century ago without the help of modern medicine and counseling?

So these are the questions I leave for Christian wives reading this:

What if you had this kind of painful intercourse and there was nothing there was not medical or psychological help for you – Would you still have intercourse with you husband?

If sex is not mutually pleasurable for both the man and the woman should it sex cease in a marriage?

Maybe you don’t have Vaginismus – but would you stop having sex with your husband over other kinds of pain?

Should a wife always tell her husband when she has painful intercourse or are there times a wife should not reveal this to her husband?

And finally the question that is title of the article – How much pain would you endure to have sex with your husband?

I look forward to your answers and comments.

Photo Source: Rachel Titiriga https://www.flickr.com/photos/pocait/3589329865/in/photolist-qwXWfH-7P8Fkm-de5gm-cq89q3-8xbjPZ-H6k7k-cUqief-tbeUF-hgPux-gJ4e-gHZV-i2mh-66njL4-7PwRd2-8DkJho-gHYr-gNo1-gJ3N-pZDMzS-4LLfEM-6tbfHF-gJ4D-gKBM-gJ1j-gHYu-gJ4o-oxurem-52mEJW-4NcLTb-eqQG7N-mpALdt-gNjE-gHYL-6MRpy2-gNmH-gNkZ-epUmSR-epUhFa-rq2jDu-brKSri-gNnK-gHZw-gHZr-865s9A-5oRUGd-atspmj-hwymEm-4QYU4k-4VrBru-tvHqxb
Licensed under Creative Commmons 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Christian Husbands – You don’t pay for the milk when you own the cow!

cow in front of a white background

As Christians who embrace God’s Word as the guide for our lives, we know that the Bible condones sex ONLY within the bounds of marriage. But unfortunately, since the sexual revolution of the 1960’s our culture has embraced the idea that pre-marital sex is the norm, and that we actually need to try out the person sexually before we are married to make sure that we are sexually compatible.

Our culture’s acceptance of pre-marital sex has been one of the major contributing factors to the decline in marriage, and the rise in cohabitation rates.

Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?

This phrase was coined to reflect the reality that when you make sex outside of marriage culturally acceptable, less people will marry, and the statistics today prove it. The most literal and historical meaning of this phrase meant “why marry a girl, when she will give you sex without marriage?”

I remember growing up in my Church youth group, hearing speakers sometimes say this phrase about the milk and the cow. Obviously they would always start with the Scriptures that forbid fornication – which includes (but is not limited to) sex outside of marriage. But then they would follow up the Scriptural commands, with some practical reasoning, especially to the young ladies, exhorting them to “make these crazy hormone driven boys to wait for marriage” before giving up “the milk”.

I can hear it now – “What about those boys! This is not fair that all the pressure is on the women”. Yes the Scriptures command BOTH men and women to not engage in sex before marriage, and yes they did speak to us as young men about being godly men of integrity, about being gentlemen. However, if you examine the Scriptures closely, you will see that God places the greater burden on the woman to refuse the man. In the Old Testament law, a woman could be executed for not being a virgin when she was married, whereas there was no such punishment for a man that was not a virgin. I realize this goes against our modern “gender equality” ideas, but the Bible supports no such notion.

But once you have bought the cow, you ARE supposed to get the milk for free

One of the problems we face today in the Christian community (but it certainly is not limited to Christians) is that often times, even after we have waited, and “bought the cow” (married our wives), our wives expect us to “buy the milk” as well. I recently wrote a post responding to a Christian teacher’s false belief, that in marriage men do in fact have to “buy the milk”(earn sex), even after “buying the cow”(marrying a woman).

A quick word on the “cow analogy” before we continue – in no way am I meaning disrespect toward women, or saying that cows are somehow equal to women, or that women are less human than men. But Biblically speaking, a wife does belong to her husband (men paid a “bride price” and one the terms for husband in the original languages of the Bible is “baal” which means “owner or master” (e.g. Proverbs 31). I Peter 3 says Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord[master].

The fact is, in marriage, neither the husband, nor the wife, should have to earn sex. While husband’s denying their wives sexually is a problem sometimes, the vast majority of the time it is the wife denying her husband. Ask any pastor (and I have many pastor friends) and they will confirm this. Ask any marriage counselor, and they will confirm this as well.

But there is a difference between flat out denial, which some wives are guilty of, and a woman making her husband earn sex (but both are equally wrong). I once knew a Christian couple, where the only way the man got sex from his wife was when he did the dishes and picked up the house. For other men, it might be buying flowers for your wife, or taking her out to dinner. Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think it wrong for a husband to do these kinds of  things for his wife, but these things should NEVER be a prerequisite to sex.

The sinful sexual pattern of modern women

Husbands listen to me, engaged men please hear me. There is a pattern that takes place in a lot of Christian marriages (and non-Christian marriages). At the beginning of the sexual relationship between a man and woman (which should begin after marriage, but sometimes it sinfully starts before marriage), women will give their husbands all the “free milk” they want. She lets him “taste the goods” so to speak.

But not long into the marriage, the milk is no longer free of charge, it now comes at a cost. That cost looks very different from woman to woman, but there is a cost of some sort. For some Christian men, it might simply be household chores, for others it is buying jewelry or other gifts. For other husbands, it is making a decision the way their wife wants it, but they do not think is best.

What all these different prerequisites have in common is, they require a man to transfer his God given authority over his home, his children, and his wife and yes even his wife’s body to his wife. Only if they do the bidding of their wife, will she give them “the goods”.

How to stop this wicked pattern

For you engaged men, or newlywed husbands it will be much easier if you spot this change in your wife and nip it in the bud right away. If you allow this pattern to go on for years of marriage, it only becomes harder (but not impossible) to break. Whether you have been married 6 months, or 6 years, the fix is still the same.

When your wife tells you “If you do ___________ for me, then I will do that for you”, you need to sit down and take out the Word of God. You must see this as God sees it, as an act of rebellion against your authority over her (and her body), and by extension as an act of rebellion against God himself, because he has given her to you. You need to rebuke your wife’s sinful behavior.

Take her to I Corinthians and read the Word of God to her:

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” – I Corinthians 7:3-5(KJV)

The Bible places absolutely NO preconditions on sex between a husband and wife within the bounds of marriage (contrary to what many Christian books and teachers teach today). In fact the only mutual agreement a couple is called to is, when they STOP having sex for a given period.

As the head of your home, and the authority of not only your children, but also your wife, you will be called from time to time to confront a sinful attitude or behavior in your wife, just as Job confronted his wife’s sinful behavior.

“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” – Job 2:9-10(KJV)

I remember one time in Church my Pastor referenced this passage, and he said “Sometimes we as husbands need to call out our wives sinful behavior, but it might be a good idea to back up a bit before you do, I think Job might have.”

What about the aftermath?

This is a form of discipline, and discipline is never pleasant, but all authority figures must discipline those who are under their authority from time to time. Before anyone goes nuts here, I am not talking about physical discipline here, but there are other forms of discipline that are not physical.

After you confront your wife’s rebellion (not only towards God’s command to her, but by extension the authority he has given you) – she is not exactly going to be in the mood, if you know what I mean. It may feel as though you have been unloving to her, but you are in fact loving your wife when you call out her sin, and call her to repentance, just as God calls to all of us.

In what is often called “the love chapter” of Scripture, where love is defined by God’s standards it says this:

“Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.” – I Corinthians 13:6(HCSB)

Your wife’s rebellion against your sexual authority over her body is by definition “unrighteousness”. You would in essence, be “unloving” to your wife, from God’s perspective, if you allowed her sinful attitude to go unchecked.

But should you still have relations with your wife after such a confrontation?

I believe the answer is yes, if she yields to you (even with the wrong attitude). When I first had to confront my wife with these types of issues, I would confront her, and then just leave the sex to happen another night, because after all, I like most men don’t prefer to have sex with my wife when she acts grumpy about it.

But I realized that the sex still needs to occur, that sex is not about being in the mood, and it is not about feelings, it is about doing what is right. I agree whole heartedly that the best sex a Christian couple can have is when they are spiritually, emotionally and physically connected all at once. But the truth is there will be many times when we don’t have all that in place, but we must still have sex. God wants us to do the right thing, even when we don’t feel like it.

This probably won’t be a onetime thing

As a Christian husband, and really just as a Christian, we must realize that we all from time to time slip back into patterns of sinful behavior. Please don’t think that if your wife seems to submit to your sexual authority over her body after confronting her with the truth of God’s Word, that this rebellion will never seep back up again in her life. This has definitely not been a onetime thing with my wife, and I have also talked with other Christian men who have told me it is the same with their wives as well.

Whenever we see sinful behavior crop backup, whether in ourselves, or wives or children we need to address it.

We as husbands must also realize that, there will be less of a chance of re-occurrences of rebellious behavior by our wives and children when they see that we ourselves are submitting to God’s authority over us. If we are keeping our families in the Word, and in Church this can greatly help to keep the “flare ups” from happening as often.

But if you are husband trying to submit to and follow God’s will for your family, don’t think everything should just fall in place. Your wife may have had a very different upbringing, and there may be some very bad habits and attitudes that are deeply ingrained in your wife’s person, that she has to battle with the help of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.

Can my Christian wife ever say no to my sexual advances?

This is the logical question you as a Christian husband (or engaged man) might ask after everything we have just looked at. The answer to this question is a Christian wife should never give her husband a flat no, BUT she can humbly and gently ask for a delay. There may be legitimate physical or other issues that might prompt your wife to ask you for a delay.  But this must be done humbly and respectfully, and always with the attitude in mind that her body does belong to her husband. But a Christian wife should ALWAYS make good on her “rainchecks” with her husband. Also these “delay requests” from wives should be the exception, and not the normal response to a husband’s sexual advances.

This has been part 3 of our series “How to be a godly husband”. In the next parts of this series we will address the topics of “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not the mood?” and “How to handle your wife’s sexual refusal”.

Previous Posts in this series:

Does the Bible teach ‘Happy wife, Happy life’?

7 ways to let your wife manage your home

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Is Christian marriage a master – servant relationship?

masterservant

The obvious answer to this question is absolutely not! Right? Marriage is a loving relationship of two equal partner’s right? This what we are told time and time again, even in many Christian marriage books. Even in some more conservative Christian marriage books that teach about male headship, they always seem to qualify a man’s headship role over woman in marriage, by saying something like “this is not a master and servant relationship, but simply an order of priority”.

But the Bible speaks very differently on this matter than what our modern society accepts.

The Bible states that the husband is the “head” of his wife:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”

Ephesians 5:22-24 NASB

Ephesians 5 tells us that marriage is to be a picture of the relationship of Christ and the Church. The husband is to model Christ in his love, leadership, provision and protection of his wife and the wife is to model the Church in her serving of her husband, and she is to be “subject” to him in “everything”.

One could argue easily from Ephesians chapter 5 that the relationship between Christ and the Church is in fact a master-servant relationship, rather than a partnership of equals. How could anyone argue that Christ and his Church are equal partners from this or any other passage?

But the Bible even doubles down on this idea that the husband-wife relationship is indeed a master-servant relationship in I Peter chapter 3:

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.”

I Peter 3:1-6 NASB

The Bible in I Peter tells women that they ought to model to their submission to their husbands on Sarah’s behavior with Abraham when she called him “lord”. The English word translated here as “lord” is a translation of the Greek word “Kurios”.

According to Thayer & Smith’s Bible dictionary the definition of Kurios is:

“he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord

  1. the possessor and disposer of a thing

    1. the owner; one who has control of the person, the master

    2. in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor

  2. is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master

  3. this title is given to: God, the Messiah”

The word Kurios most often is translated as “Lord” with a capital “L” indicating a direct reference to God. But in many other places it is often translated as “Master”.

In the Old Testament a husband of a wife was referred to in many places as her “baal” which literally meant “Lord” or “Master” or “Owner”. This same word was even used as the master of owners of slaves.

Proverbs 31:10-11 & 23 & 27-29 NASB

10 An excellent wife, who can find?

For her worth is far above jewels.

11 The heart of her husband [BAAL (Master/Owner)] trusts in her,

And he will have no lack of gain…

23 Her husband [BAAL (Master/Owner)] is known in the gates,

When he sits among the elders of the land…

27 She looks well to the ways of her household,

And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and bless her;

Her husband [BAAL (Master/Owner)] also, and he praises her, saying:

29 “Many daughters have done nobly,

But you excel them all.”

What does the Master-Servant aspect of marriage mean for husbands and wives?

I don’t know how any person could look at the Scriptures and see anything less than a Master-Servant relationship between a husband and wife, as opposed to a partnership of two equals. But if you are a woman reading this, before your think I am advocating for men walking all over their wives as selfish dictators let me draw your attention to a word I just used – “LESS”.

Biblically speaking the relationship between a man and his wife is no less than a master-servant relationship, but it is in fact much more than that. A master is not commanded to love each of his servants as his own body as husbands are told to love their wives in Ephesians chapter 5. A master is not commanded to honor his servants and live with them according to knowledge, as a husband is commanded to do with his wife in I Peter chapter 3. A master is not commanded to have sex with his servant as he is commanded to have sex with his wife in I Corinthians 7:5 and Exodus 21:10.

This Biblical truth that marriage is indeed a master-servant relationship can be abused, and many men throughout history have done just that. But when we understand that this is just one aspect of marriage, and not the totality of how marriage works, this can make marriages stronger.

If you are a wife reading this, you might wonder how such a teaching, that your husband is your master, and you are his servant can make your marriage stronger. It makes it stronger because it removes the contention in marriage. It removes the competition. You each have your role to play. Your husband leads, and you follow.

But shouldn’t husbands serve their wives as Christ served his disciples?

There is no doubt that a husband ought to exercise the servant leadership that Christ did. A man ought to be humble enough to serve his wife by helping with making dinner or helping with the kids when she gets overwhelmed. Really this what a good boss, or master does when his employees (or servants) are overrun, he steps in to make up the difference.

But while Christ washed the feet of his disciples, Christ did not spend the majority of his time serving plates of food and washing feet. He spent the majority of his time teaching and leading, as a man should do.

Conclusion

While a husband ought to be humble enough to serve his wife and family where he sees needs arise, his primary concern should be that of leading, providing for and protecting his family. The dominate trait of a wife should be that of a servant. She is not tasked with leading the home, so all of her efforts can focus on serving the needs of her husband, her children and her home.

Obviously the economic reality of some families today sometimes means that a wife may have to serve her husband and family by working outside the home. But this does not change the core principle that a husband is called to lead, and wife is called to serve.

Peace truly comes through living the way our creator designed us to.

The 7 Reasons why God made Sex

Young people flirting and having fun at bed

Why did God create sex? Was it only for procreation or did God have other purposes for sex?  Does God speak of his specific purposes for sex in the Bible?

There is no single passage of Scripture where God says “I created sex for these purposes…”. God created man in his image to show his attributes and display his glory. God created woman as a helper for man (Genesis 2 & I Corinthians 11). God tells us why he created marriage in Ephesians 5, as a symbol of the relationship between Christ and the Church.

So yes we know why God created us, and why God created marriage. But why did God create sex?

Happy family

One of God’s purposes for sex was for reproduction

There is no doubt that one of the reasons for God creating sex was as a method for procreation.

In fact it is one of the first commands God gave to the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden:

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:”

Genesis 1:27-28(KJV)

When God created Adam and Eve the first command he gave them was to have sex! Go make babies!

Wedding, Happy couple in love

God commands that sexual relations between a man and woman are to be only within the institution of marriage

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

Hebrews 13:4(KJV)

 

How God could have handled reproduction in human beings

Up to this point, we have seen that one of the purposes for which God created sex was procreation. We then see that God wanted sex only to occur within marriage. When you put together what we have so far, you can see that God only wants children being produced between and a man and a woman within the confines of marriage.

But God could have created marriage without sex. He could have made man and woman having the same relationship as the Bible defines, with man leading, protecting and providing for his wife as Christ does the Church, without giving him the capability of having sex. He could have still created woman as the helper to man, with her symbolizing the role of the Church in submitting to her husband, as the Church submits to Christ, without designing her to have sex with a man.

All of this could have been done without needing any sexual contact between a man and a woman.

In fact God could have made humans like fish, where the female lays eggs and the male comes by and fertilizes the eggs, and they do this with no physical contact.

Even if God wanted us to have sex just for reproduction, he could have made us like many animals that just go into heat once or twice a year for a short period. During this limited period they have sex for reproductive purposes only and then they are done.

How God made our sexuality tells us a lot about his purposes for sex

In Paul’s letter to the Romans we are told that God reveals his design and purposes for many things by looking at how he created things:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse”

Romans 1:18-20(KJV)

The context of this passage from Romans chapter 1 is talking about sexual depravity.

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another”

Romans 1:26-27(KJV)

But even though Romans 1 is talking about sexual depravity, it also reveals some other truths.  We can see the phrase “the natural use”, referring to human sexuality. The truth we can see about Romans 1 is, God has revealed his purposes for sex by looking at human sexuality from a biological perspective. 

So what does our biology tell us about our sexuality?

Let me be clear that as with any other area of Bible study, God’s explicit commands regarding sexuality must be our starting point. But God’s Word does not give us express commands about every area of our sexuality, he has left some things for us to discover by us looking at our own biology.

The first thing that is abundantly clear  from the human body, is that one the purposes of certain human body parts is for sexual pleasure.  For instance, God could have gave us the same feeling in our erogenous zones(genitals) as we have in our fingers. Instead, he gave us thousands more nerve endings in these special areas that are especially sensitive to touch and can generate great pleasure. Biologically speaking, if our genitals were created only for relieving ourselves and procreation there would be no need for these extra nerve endings. If God only intended sex for procreation, there would be no need for the human orgasm.  Yet he built the human body with all these wonderful characteristics.

Next we will explore the distinctive differences in sexuality that God designed in man and woman.

God created men and women with very different sexual natures

PolygamyPic1

Man’s Sexual Nature

A man is created with a polygynous capacity for fathering multiple children with multiple women at the same time. Men are capable of fathering children until the day they die, there is no expiration period on their reproductive capability. So every time a man has sex (baring physical abnormalities or surgeries), he has the capacity for reproduction.

Not only is a man’s body capable of impregnating multiple women at the same time, but his mind is also polygynous in nature, where his brain draws him to a variety of women. After the Roman empire eliminated polygamy in most of the western world, men had to adjust to monogamous marriage, even though they still retained a polygynous nature and polygynous biological capacity. Some men chose not to adjust and kept mistresses besides their wife(as some men still do today).

I realize many women reading this may be shocked at this because of the modern monogamous marriage culture we have been brought up in. I have written many posts on this blog dealing with the subject of polygamy and man’s sexual nature and I encourage you to step outside your cultural conditioning and read them.  My most recent post dealing with this subject is “How a Christian woman should handle her man looking at other women”.

The male sexual nature is primarily visually and physically based on his need to release his semen, and it is only secondarily based in his emotions. The typical male is biologically driven to release his semen at least every 72 hours, for some men it might be less. A man’s sexual chemistry is driven by his testosterone, and the typical male has 10 times more testosterone flowing through his body than the typical woman.

pregnant belly

Woman’s Sexual Nature

A woman can only be impregnated by one man at a time and she can only carry one man’s child at a time. Unlike a man, a woman’s ability to bare children comes with an expiration date as she ages and reaches menopause. God did miraculously allow exceptions to his design with Sarah and some other women in the Bible, but this is not the norm of his design.

Just as a woman’s sexual reproductive system is built for monogamy (for her to have only one husband), so too her sexual nature and desire is designed to match her body being monogamous in nature. A woman’s sexual drive is primarily driven by her emotions, and only secondarily by her physical need for release.

How God designed our our minds and bodies tells us his intentions for our sexuality

 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…” – Romans 1:20a

When we do what God tell us to do in Romans chapter 1 and look at how God has designed men and women’s minds and bodies differently we can then see other purposes for which God designed sex.

The fact that most men and even some women are aroused and receive pleasure in their brain from seeing the form of the opposite sex tells us that God gave us sex not only for reproduction, but also for visual pleasure.

“7 “How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O prince’s daughter!
The curves of your hips are like jewels,
The work of the hands of an artist.” – Song Of Solomon 7:1 (NASB)

In the Song of Solomon we see how man sees a woman’s body as a work of art.

In Psalm 45 – a prophetic song about Jesus Christ we see how he desires the beauty of his Church:

So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” – Psalm 45:11 (KJV)

Our God truly is a marvelous God.  There is so much symbolism in the way he has designed us.  The fact that men receive pleasure from and desire to see the beauty of women is no accident.  It is by the design of God and is a symbol of God’s desire for the beauty of his church.

The fact that men and women both have certain zones of their body that give them great pleasure from touch tells us that God gave us sex not only for reproduction, but also for physical pleasure.

“6 How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!

This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.

I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;” – Song of Solomon 7:6-8 (KJV)

The human ability to have an orgasm(present in both men and women) tells us that God gave us sex not only for reproduction, but also as a mental and physical release from the stresses of daily life, and to comfort one another.

“And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” – Genesis 24:67 (KJV)

A woman’s emotionally connected sexual nature tells us that God gave us sex not only for reproduction, but also to emotionally draw a couple closer together.

A man’s sexual nature tells us that God intended sex to occur in marriage with or without emotional connection, as men are fully capable and drawn to sex without the need to first emotionally connect. Many men do not connect emotionally with their wives, until AFTER they have had sex with them.

This last point is one that many in our modern age would contend with. But the fact is, aside from newlywed couples, if normal married couples only had sex when they were feeling emotionally connected, sex would occur far less often. Just like the foundation of marital love is Agape love (love from duty and commitment, not from emotion), so too God wanted sex to come first from duty and commitment, and only secondarily from emotion.

This is not to say that men should not try and connect with their wives on an emotional level, because they certainly ought to. I Peter 3:7 tells men to “dwell with them according to knowledge”. The Greek Word that we translate in English as “dwell” has the idea of a man living with and having sex with a woman (it was used interchangeably with a man living with his wife or his mistress in Biblical times). But when you put it together with the phrase “according to knowledge” it has the idea of getting to know your wife.  If you get to know your wife then you would at some points emotionally connect with her.

In fact in the Old Testament often times a word that was used as a euphemism for sex was literally the word “knew”. Like in Genesis 4:1 when God says “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived”. But other times the Bible describes sex as simply “laying” with one’s wife.

The difference between “Making Love” and “having sex”

The Bible never uses the term “making love”, it is a modern term. But I think you could describe this as the times when a man and a woman are more emotionally connected, and then they are physically connected in the act of sex. There is no doubt that if we take I Peter 3 where God tells men they need to know their wives, that God does want us to make love (to be emotionally and physically connected) as a husband and wife.

However, from the rest of Scripture we can also see that God does not want the only time we have sex to be when we are emotionally connected. Sometimes we have to physically connect first, so that we can emotionally connect at a later point.

God does not place an “emotional connectedness” prerequisite on sex in marriage.

This is something that a lot of Christian women struggle with, because of how they have been preconditioned by our culture, and many Christian marriage books falsely teach this notion of “emotional connectedness” as a prerequisite for on sex in marriage.

See Paul’s words about not sexually depriving one another here in I Corinthians:

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”

I Corinthians 7:3-5(KJV)

Sex in marriage calls us out of our comfort zones and calls us to empathize with our spouse

God made men and women with different strengths and weakness, and this is no different when it comes to our sexuality. God does not scold a man for his sexual nature, but he also wants a man to see sex through his wife’s eyes. God does not scold a woman for her sexual nature, but he also wants a woman to see sex through her husband’s eyes.

CoupleConnecting

What this looks like for a Christian husband is, he will not always try to “just have sex” with his wife, but will look for opportunities to emotionally connect with her first, so that they can truly “make love”.

What this looks like from a Christian wife’s perspective is, she will not demand that her husband emotionally connect with her every time before they have sex. She will gladly accept his nature that sometimes he just needs to have sex, and that God has uniquely equipped her to have sex whether she is emotionally connected, in the mood or not.

No Christian wife ought to have prerequisites her husband must do before he can have sex with her, her body belongs to him, just as his body belongs to her.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. A man may not always be able to get his wife in the mood emotionally for sex, but he should always prepare his wife physically for sex through some type of foreplay, in the sense of making sure she is lubricated(either through natural means or artificial means) enough for intercourse, otherwise this could be a painful experience for her.

But just as a man is commanded to “dwell with his wife according to knowledge”, a woman is commanded to be “a lover of her husband” in Titus 2:

“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children…”

Titus 2:4(KJV)

The phrase translated in English as “to love their husbands” is an interesting one. It is the only time in the entire Bible that a woman is specifically commanded to love her husband. In most other cases women are commanded to submit to, or obey, or respect their husbands but this is the only instance of a command to wives to love their husbands.

LoverOfHusband1

The Greek phrase here is “philandros”, which literally means “a lover of her husband”. This has the idea of an affectionate, even sexual love of a wife toward her husband. What we also see from Titus 2:4 is a woman must be “taught” to be a lover of her husband, something that sadly many Christian’s mothers do not pass down to their daughters, as they ought to.

In the same way that a Christian wife wants her husband to attempt emotional connectedness in the sexual arena, so too a man wants his wife to attempt to understand the visual and physical side of his sexual nature.

See a post I wrote a while back called The 10 actions of the sexually intelligent wife, this goes into this area in a lot more detail.

The 7 Reasons God made Sex

Based on the Biblical and biological evidence I have shown I believe there are 7 reasons that God made sex.

  1. For Procreation
  2. For Unity (to bring a couple close together, but this unity may not always come before sex, but may come later as a result of sex).
  3. For visual pleasure
  4. For physical pleasure
  5. For relief of physical and emotional stress, to comfort one another
  6. Sacrifice & Submission – husbands are called to sacrifice themselves by giving their bodies to their wives when they need it, and wives are command to submit their bodies to their husbands as they need it.
  7. To bring us out of our comfort zone, to be able to love our spouse not as we would desire to be loved, but as they would desire to be loved(e.g. sexual preferences).

The difference between the relational aspect of sex and our individual sexuality

Many Christians believe that our human sexuality was meant only to be experienced within the relational context of marriage.  These Christians believe that all forms of sexual pleasure that are enjoyed before marriage and not in direct reference to one’s spouse is sin.

They believe all non-marital based sexual pleasure we experience is a result of natures being corrupted by the fall.

In practical terms this means all these experiences regarding our human sexuality are sinful in their view:

  1. A young teenage boy gets an erection when he happens to catch a glance of a girl’s cleavage.
  2. A young boy has a sexual dream about a woman.
  3. A young boy has a fantasy while awake about a woman.
  4. A single person or married person masturbating by themselves.

The problem with this type of thinking is – there is NO scriptural support for it whatsoever. The Bible does not condemn sexual arousal and it never says that we cannot enjoy or experience any part of sexual natures that God has gifted us with apart from our spouse in  the marriage bed.

The Bible ONLY restricts the relational aspect of our sexuality to the covenant of marriage.

It does NOT restrict the other aspects of sexuality such as receiving visual pleasure from viewing the opposite sex, the physical pleasure of masturbation or using masturbation as way to give one’s self relief.

See these  other posts I wrote on the related subjects of lust, sexual arousal and sexual fantasy from a Biblical perspective.

What does the Bible say about Lust?

Is sexual arousal lust?

Is sexual fantasy outside a relational context sinful?