Marriage Moment: In the Marriage Bed 1
It may sound like I’m getting a bit risqué in this Marriage Moment. But, if you’ve followed my Marriage Moments long enough you know that I stay true to biblical principles in all that I share. The same is true when I seek to discuss the relationship of a wife to her husband in the marriage bed. So while I want to encourage you to re-ignite the marriage flame in the bedroom I’ll try to do so tastefully.
Beloved and I are approaching our 24th anniversary. 24! This past month we celebrated 25 years since our first date. Folks, that is a 1/4 of a century that he and I have been together and while there is a part of me that thinks that is absolutely crazy, another part of me rejoices in the abiding love that we have grown into over the years.
Like anything that grows with time love can grow when it is nurtured. That being said, with age physical passion
can wane. I’m going to change that, I think it doesn’t really wane when our priorities are right. I think, rather, that it ebbs and flows with life circumstances. We have to realize there will be times when physical passion will be stronger than other times.
This will be the first of a series on love in the marriage bed. The goal is to seek to understand the following aspects of intimacy in the marriage bed:
- God’s design for sexuality, and the role of sex within the marriage
- how our bodies are designed for this role
- how we can fulfill our responsibility (yes, ladies it is a responsibility) to our husbands
- how to restore a relationship that may be broken
The Purpose of Love in the Marriage Bed
The sexual relationship between a man and a woman was designed by God from the very beginning.
“And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”” Genesis 2:18 NKJV
He designed it to fulfill multiple purposes. We are so bombarded by a false illusion of sex in our society that many have never had a true understanding of the purpose of the sexual relationship.
In the beginning God said,
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
And, later in the New Testament Jesus reiterates this truth, Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:7-9, as does the apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:31.
Through the teachings of God, Christ, and Paul we can come to understand that God designed the male body and the female body to be joined together as one.
- For completeness (Genesis 2:23,24 & Matthew 19:5)
In one, is completeness. Having been formed from the man’s body she is a part of him, and since she is the mother who births children, he is a part of her. But God is referencing the two parts, male, and female that when joined together form one body. The completeness of male and female as one.
- For companionship (Genesis 2:18)
When God created man, He knew that he needed a companion and He knew that the animals were not suitable for him, Genesis 2:20, therefore He created for him a woman, taken from his side, 2:21,22. He said that she would be his helper 2:18, and be joined to him as one in body, 2:24. Through this unique relationship he learns to trust in her and she learns to be his companion.
- For purity (1 Corinthians 7:2) (Hebrews 13:4)
Sexual relationship outside of marriage is impure. It is sexual immorality seeking to mimic purity.
- As a reflection of Christ and His Bride (the church) (Ephesians 5:22-33).
Paul teaches us that the role of a husband and a wife are reflective of Christ and his church. In that, when the two become one flesh within marriage the marriage bed is sanctified, honorable, and without immorality (Hebrews 13:4). Just as the church is sanctified in Christ, is honorable in the sight of God, and is without immorality having been cleansed by Christ.
- For procreation (Genesis 1:22, Genesis 4:1)
Through the covenant bond of marriage God intends to bless the couple through child-bearing.
Some may think that this joining together of lives is a reference to a spiritual joining, or a fellowship joining, and in a sense I would agree. But it is more than that. 1 Corinthians 6:16 makes reference to the joining together of two bodies becoming one body. This passage refers to a man joining himself with an harlot, however it is a prime example of what the original quotation is referencing, the joining of a man’s body with a woman’s body. If it were about a spiritual or fellowship joining then the reference in 1 Corinthians 6 would not be applicable would it? Since those types of joinings do not appy, with an harlot, then we can see that the joining is about the physical rather than spiritual relationship.
God never intended for men to join together with anyone other than his wife, and he never intended for women to join themselves to anyone other than her husband.
The simple beauty of God’s design for the marriage brings a joining together of two lives into one life, physically, emotionally, spiritually and sexually. When the married couple join themselves in body and build trust between themselves within the marriage bed then the emotional, and spiritual bonds grow as well.
Let’s take a moment to explore how these aspects of marriage creates a oneness between two individual persons.
“The heart of her husband safely trusts her;” Proverbs 31:11.
Two hearts knit together in companionship.
In this joining the man is to leave his father and mother. He is to set aside the role of being a child, and take on the mantle of being the leader in the home. She, learns to trust him to provide for, care for, and love her. She too, must in kind respect, honor, and submit to him. When this happens as God intended he will grow as her spiritual leader and she will become his trusted helper.
It is through trust building that she opens her heart emotionally and he learns to cherish her in a protective way. Which is why when the two join their bodies together, growing beyond companionship, trust becomes a key element that allows them to enjoy the beauty of the physical, sexual act that God designed. It’s no accident that sex is enjoyable. God designed the body to feel the sexual response as pleasurable.
For a woman to join her body with a man’s in a simple embrace is difficult and requires her extending to him a measure of trust. But to go further requires her opening her heart and her body to him. The measure of trust must be deepened and within the bond of love, trust can grow. The symbiotic relationship between trustworthiness and the ability of a woman to truly enjoy the pleasure and have strong desire for her husband’s touch is no accident.
God said that a woman’s desire would be for the man.
“Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.” Genesis 3:16.
But what is her desire for? Is it for him to lead her? Yes, a woman can have a desire to be led. Is it for him to love her, for him to care for her? Yes and yes. And, her desire is for him to love her sexually. Not just a physical joining, but love. Which is a word that denotes an action taken out of an emotional desire to see to the needs of another. When he does, love grows beyond simple companionship into a beautiful overflowing, abiding love. It grows into two bodies joined as one and a knitting together of hearts so that with time they become difficult to separate. Matthew 19:6.
“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:4.
Sadly, Satan has used this relationship against mankind. He has perverted what God created to be beautiful by deceiving the world into thinking sex is easy, and hedonistic-ly pleasurable. It has become a mundane thing in the eyes of many. It has been perverted to appear to be an easy way to fulfill physical desire and sexual gratification. But, such fulfillment is, at best, temporal.
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18.
Women are emotional creatures, when she engages in a physically sexual relationship outside of the bond of a covenant marriage, she will, time and again, find herself overwhelmingly hurt, if she is at all honest with herself. She will seek completeness in each relationship that she engages in.
While she wants to be seen as beautiful physically, she longs for someone to see the beauty in her that lies beyond her physical appearance. She may seek to satisfy her emotional needs by giving her body to one man after another, only to be let down and heart-broken over and over again. Why? Because she is missing the keys to a fulfilling relationship that being a man who will lead her in love, trust and companionship.
Men will grow hardened in their hearts to the beauty that can exist in a marriage relationship as he seeks to fulfill a physical desire that can’t be quenched. Why? Because he is missing the keys to fulfilling desire, those being the bond of love, companionship, and trust.
“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Ephesians 5:3-5.
The ESV uses the term sexual immoral where fornication is in the NKJV. We understand that teaches us that what is done in this way is considerted to be by God, to be an unlcean person, one who is sinful.
For both, man and woman, the physical pleasure is simply a passing thing. It can’t abide and it can not be fulfilled because it is a dim, pale comparison to the beautiful relationship designed by a loving Creator, God.
When we read Ephesians 5:22 through the end of the chapter we can begin to understand that the marriage relationship is a reflection of Christ’s relationship with the church. Christ is the head of the church, it is the head that leads any body and the same is true of Christ as the head of the body, the church.
When the body of Christ, the church, follows Him then they are living righteously as God desires. When they fail to follow Christ then they are not walking in the path of righteousness. But the passage goes on to explain that it is because of His love for the church that He gave himself for her. He loved her, the church, so much that he was willing to die for her so that she would be saved. Therefore, to follow Him means the church can fully trust that He is leading her in the right way.
When a marriage follows the pattern that God designed, so too, the husband is the head of the wife. That means that he is to lead her. He must love her so much that he will lead her in righteous paths being willing to lay down his life, if necessary, to protect her. Remember that to engage in sexual relationship outside of marriage is sexual immorality, while inside the marriage bed, it is undefiled.
If a man, truly loves a woman then he will love her enough to righteously love her within the bond of marriage. He will wait to be one with her in the marriage bed, rather than only for sexual gratification. If he is unwilling to make a full commitment to her by taking her as his bride, then, you have to ask, is he truly loving her?
By the same token, if a woman seeking to find completeness offers her body without the covenant bond of marriage, is she truly seeking to be loved by a man who cares for her soul, more than, the physical need that he may have? Or, is she seeking to fulfill his desire as a broken attempt to fulfill her emotional needs?
If we rather seek to understand how God the Creator designed our bodies to be one with our spouses, if we seek to fulfill that role within the covenant bond of marriage, then there is a beautiful symbiotic relationship that can/will form. If we hold to the principles that He designed, then our marriages will be well established.
Over time and with much patience the husband will learn to know his wife’s needs, desires and what it is that pleases her. She too, when led in love and gentleness learn how to please her husband meeting his physical needs in a way that stems from the abiding love they share.
When in the loving bond of marriage a child is conceived or the couple is able to provide a loving home to a child through adoption, then the love of Christ is shown more completely. Why? Because children are a blessing from the Lord, Psalm 127:3-5.
“And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” Genesis 1:22.
“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” Genesis 4:1.
This blessing is intended by God to be seen through in the relationship between a husband and a wife. It is no coincidence that the term “knew” is used here and other places regarding marriage throughout the Old Testament.
The original Hebrew: אֵת ʼêth, ayth a sense of entity; self. There is no direct English translation of this word, but has been translated from יָדַע yâdaʻ, yaw-dah’; in English, know. This knowing, comes from more than just a physical joining, but moves beyond the physical to see, to perceive and discern, to know by experience and to recognize the other, as knowing ones self.
God intended for man to know his wife just as he knows himself within the safety of the marriage bed. In that, in the joining as one, God seeks to bless the couple, through procreation, or child-bearing. This is the ideal! Yet, we live in a sin-filled, broken world. Therefore, what God designed for marriage has been warped, transformed into something that is merely a shadow of what God intended.
Satan seeks whom he may devour, 1 Peter 5:8. If he can undermine God’s original design of marriage, complicate peoples lives by confusing their thoughts on the sanctity of marriage, then his job is made all the easier when it comes to causing confusion on the relationship between Christ and His church.
When we allow ourselves to view the sexual relationship in any other context than the one He intends in the marriage bed, then we allow ourselves to be deceived. Whether we admit that to ourselves or not.
This post is part of Titus 2 Tuesdays at Cornerstone Confessions.