CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Purity in Marriage
By Izaak Noel
God described marriage as two becoming one. The two become one in life goals and emotional partnership, but also physically with the act of sex. To encourage this, God made sex to be fun, enjoyable, and physiologically bonding.
But the fallen world is filled with stressors that strive to destroy marriage, including marital sex. Sex drives differ. Life wears on couples and individuals until sleep or other diversions seems like a better option. And too often, past wounds rear their ugly heads, forcing a wedge between husband and wife and God. Specifically, what can a Christian husband* do when he desires more sex than his wife to the point that what God meant as a celebration becomes a stumbling block to joy, and one's relationship with God? One of the Got Questions writers talks about this hard question.
Bottom line, what is a man to do when he is ready consistently more often than his wife — and there are temptations all around? Love Jesus more than your wife and love Jesus more than sex. I am speaking this as someone that has had to walk through similar issues, and likely deeper and longer. How do you do this, though? Turn to Jesus in prayer, humility, repentance — and ensure that a "happy marriage" is not placed above honoring Jesus.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:19-21BOTTOM LINE: Honor God and give thanks — in all situations. It is important to learn what God says about marriage and then live it out. But the road to ensuring purity in marriage is giving thanks and seeking to honor God.
Honor God by Studying what God says about Marriage
Here are some questions for thought: Do you spend more time in prayer than you do in foreplay? How much time do you spend studying, reading and memorizing the Bible compare to other activities with which you are involved? A strong marriage will be built on what God says about marriage, not what we assume.
Specifically, there are several resources available that teach what God says about our relationships with our wives; see the list below. Go through them with your wife, if she is willing. And find a mentor and a small group of men to go through them with you. I have spent time in all of these.
Honor God by Praying for your Marriage
PRAY FOR WISDOM to understand yourself. Ruthlessly consider your personal life, issues that could have innocently — or deliberately — complicated things. Think of 5-10 ways each issue on your list may have offended your wife or caused other problems. Does your wife no longer want to spend as much time with you? Is she less vulnerable with you? How might you have created an environment that led to this change? What might you have done to cause her to lose trust in you?
PRAY FOR WISDOM to understand your wife. She has likely had difficulties you don't know about. Or, if you do, that affect her in ways you never realized.
PRAY FOR WISDOM about your life together. Does your lifestyle allow you to have margin — to have uninterrupted time together? Do you and/or your wife have an idol of possessions, security, or debt that causes tension and sucks up time? Are there outside responsibilities that take priority over your marriage?
EMBRACE AND ACCEPT that the world is broken, and that being a true follower of Jesus means laying down our life for our brother — which also means your wife — and that if God calls us to never have sex again out of respect or deference for our wife then God is enough. Now, it is easy to write that sentence. Practicing it is a whole other subject which we may spend a lifetime trying to master.
AVOID COMPARISON LIKE THE PLAGUE. Matthew Chapter 20 (in its entirety), is key for me. The parables and squabbles recounted are all based upon comparison. In this passage in Matthew 20, one can substitute sexual desire for the desire of greatness, and replace the desire for intimacy in marriage behind the desire to serve God and one's spouse:
It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:26-28Take Practical Steps
In order to serve your wife, you have to take care of your own spiritual life.
• Pray the Psalms.
• Identify and confess any/all sins you identify in your life; confess every detail to God and find a mentor who will also hear you out.
• Find a pastor to individually confess any pre-marital infidelity.
• Take steps to build trust with your wife (allow someone access to review what you have "viewed" on your electronic devices).
• Regarding temptations, minimize exposure and identify what "triggers" you to sin; sometimes the triggers may be feelings of personal inadequacy.
• Memorize Scripture (see below).
• Listen to audio books/podcasts whenever you can to keep your thoughts focused.
• Exercise — but not in an area of temptation. I run on trails or gravel roads where I encounter few other women.
Honor God by Studying and Memorizing His Word
Philippians 2:1-4: Humbly submit yourself to your wife, but also to your relationship — to your unity with her.
Psalm 119:9-16: You can't live God's Word unless you know it — spend time in His Word daily.
Matthew 19:1-12: Here is the challenge: are you willing to be a "eunuch" until God brings about healing or reconciliation?
1 Peter 3:7-8: There is a gentleness of speech and actions that is often foreign to a guy but is needed in marriage.
Hebrews 12:1-17: EXCELLENT words here. It's unlikely you have shed blood in your striving for purity, but embrace the tension as God's desire to build holiness in your life. Ensure that no bitterness develops (confess this immediately to another, or you will fall in some manner). Be careful to not trade 10 seconds of pleasure — or the time of diversion proceeding — for God's future blessing in your life. God forgives all but there are still earthly consequences for our actions (read Psalm 51 and David's sin with Bathsheba). Our obedience will bless others. Our sin will affect others. There are blessings greater than sex, but it is of a different kind.
Honor God by Fighting for your Marriage
Closing words: prepare for battle and prepare for a marathon. Colossians 3:12-17 says:
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Resources• Love and Respect for a Lifetime book, devotional, and conferences
• Fireproof video, Bible study, 40-day workbook
• From Anger to Intimacy video, book, and study
• The Five Love Languages
• The Five Languages of Apology
• 66 Love Letters from God
• Every Man's Battle
• Psalms — pray these together, or alone
• The Dance of Hope
• A Praying Life book, study guide, and conferences
* Of course, in many relationships it is the wife who desires sex more; this particular article just happens to be written by a man for other men.
Image Credit: Rob; "My Shame"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Family-Life | Hardships | Personal-Relationships | Sin-Evil
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