There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever – the kind of sex that can never “become one.”
There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.
Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? Certainly – but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality – the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.
1 Corinthians 6:16 – 7:4
What do you think?
I’m confronted with the idea quite a bit: “How will I know if my future spouse and I click in the bedroom unless we try it out, first?” It seems logical enough of a question. But that’s only because the question itself is framed in a cultural myth…that the honeymoon is the culmination of a couple’s sexual relationship. Let me offer a different perspective.
What if the honeymoon was only the beginning of a sexual relationship that gets sweeter and sweeter your whole life? How much experience would you need to get started? The answer: absolutely none. The truth is that God designed us to crave our first and most frequent sexual experiences. If you want to be enraptured with sexual desire and passion for your spouse, wait until you have a spouse and start your sexual experiences together. In the meantime, if you want to “try-on” your potential spouse, consider these areas:
4 Ways to “Try-On” a Potential Spouse
1.) Ride out multiple seasons together: Everyone looks great when they’re on top of the world. But life throws different seasons at us. Some of those seasons are difficult. How does your significant other hold up under the pressure of the hard seasons? If possible, don’t rush into marriage before allowing time to observe their character in the ups and the downs.
2.) Get Spiritual: I’m amazed at how many couples don’t even bring up spiritual questions while dating. Can you imagine if the first time this comes up is deciding whether you’ll raise your child in church? Figure this stuff out before marriage. Ask the tough questions. Dig into yourself, too. What is your level of devotion going to be to God and His House the rest of your life? Are you attaching yourself to someone who will go there with you?
3.) Embrace Conflict: Most of us want our serious relationships to work-out. And by “work-out” I mean to end in marriage. As a result, it’s easy to avoid conflict while dating. We cover up issues and try to make our relationship look perfect. We save the good fights until we’ve already gotten hitched. Why not jump into conflict before marriage? How do you handle it? How does he/she handle it? A good conflict will tell you so much more than a dozen perfect dates.
4.) Talk about money: Money issues are a leading cause of divorce. But I rarely hear dating people talk openly about their financial convictions and habits. Bring it up! Observe earning, saving and spending patterns. Ask about debt. Then, refer to #3. It’s better to have these discussions upfront.
If you want to “try on” a potential spouse, I recommend these four areas. Leave the sex for the honeymoon! What areas are you exploring (or wish you had explored) in your potential spouse?
I heard someone talking about banana pudding the other day. Apparently, if you want to have amazing banana pudding you’ve got to be willing to invest some time and patience in the process. There are quicker options, but the good stuff requires hours of preparation, waiting for the right time to enjoy.
By the time we reach adolescence, we should have picked up on a little truth: the best things in life are the result of a patient process. We work hard at developing a new skill and get to enjoy using it. We spend years and years in an education system and have so much knowledge to show for it. We invest in a plan and get to see it happen. Diligence, patience and self-control pay off with huge rewards. We deny ourselves temporary gratification so we can experience a better future.
When did sex become any different? If you were to examine our cultural view on sex, you would think that human-beings have absolutely no ability to exercise self-control in their sexuality. There is a subtle thread of belief that since sex is so natural and feels so good that it’s not meant to be controlled. But the truth is that sex and banana pudding have some things in common:
1.) Sex is good. So is banana pudding. Anything good is worth waiting on and enjoying the way it was meant to be enjoyed. For practical, physical, psychological, spiritual and emotional reasons there is no better sex than married sex. It’s worth the wait.
2.) The wait makes it better. Instant pudding doesn’t leave the same taste in your mouth as the good stuff. Sex outside of marriage seems enticing but doesn’t sit well at the end.
3.) The end result is better than the ingredients. If you eat the ingredients while you’re cooking, they don’t taste as good as the final product…and if you eat too many of the ingredients while its cooking the final product will be compromised. Trying to enjoy the benefits of sex outside of marriage is often hurtful in the end and brings sexual baggage into your future marriage.
4.) Self-control is required. But we’re much better at self-control than we think. We constantly make choices to deny temporary pleasures for long-term gain. We can do the same with sex…and of course with banana pudding. We just need a change of perspective.
What’s been your experience? Is sex exempt from self-control and patience?