As crazy as this may sound, you cannot talk about sex between a husband and a wife without talking about God. In our culture of dirt-ified sex, thinking of God at the center of your sex life seems an oxymoron of sorts. But that is where He desires to be and this is where you will find the most satisfaction and joy in your intimate life with your spouse.
Do you know the Hebrew word the Bible uses to describe sex? For example, Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant (Gen 4:1). The word translated "lay" is actually the Hebrew word Yada,which means: to know, to be known. This word occurs over 1,000 times in the Old Testament. While it is used to describe the intimate love between a man and a woman, most often it's used to describe an intimate knowing between us and God. (To read more about this, check out the fantastic book by Dannah Gresh: The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex.)
For example, in Psalm 46:10 God says, “Be still, and know (yada) that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
There is more to sex than just the physical aspect of it. Sex was never intended to be a mere carnal interaction of our bodies, but rather a deep knowing and connecting of two people. You see, everything that God created gives us insight into who HE is and sex is no exception. God created man and woman to be a picture of Christ and the Church. Not only do we see this in the way he uses yada to describe both the love between a man and a woman and also a knowing of himself, but we also are told specifically that marriage is meant to reflect Him.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. - Ephesians 5:31-32
The intimate knowing, the longing, the vulnerability, the ability to hide nothing, to come together holding nothing back, this is the relationship God desires to have with us.
God takes us as we are, knowing every flaw and blemish we have and claims us as his beautiful, white-washed bride; purchased with his own blood. It's not because we came to God perfect and unblemished that makes the relationship beautiful, but God, in his love for us, makes it that way. And what does God want from us? To be desired, to be our only love, to seek him and to find our satisfaction in him.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:13
As we know (yada) God better, as we long for a closer relationship with him, as we yearn for his acceptance, his Spirit changes who we are. He helps us shed the ugly sin and the baggage we've been carrying around.
And God does the same incredible thing between a husband and a wife when they draw near to him TOGETHER. He takes two broken people, scarred and affected by the dirty world we live in and he knits them together as one. He creates something beautiful and miraculous, not because either person came into the relationship perfect, but because God is a God who restores broken things. The characteristics we see in a marriage: the longing to be desired, the passionate need to be together, the vulnerability, the selfless giving of oneself, they are all a reflection of this incredible picture of God and his bride, us.
If we approach sex, completely separate from our relationship to God, we leave out the most important person in our sex life. God's desire for a man and woman to be "one" goes beyond the physical act of sex. The knowing and being known works into every area of our marriage, especially our spiritual walk with God.
It may sound crazy, but reading the Bible together and talking about your faith intimately and openly with your spouse will actually lead to a deeper intimacy in the bedroom. Confessing our sins together, praying over our struggles together, rejoicing over God's victories and standing together though our imperfections, builds spiritual intimacy. This spiritual intimacy chips away at pride, selfishness, shame, addiction and all the worldly barriers that sneak into the bedroom and hurt our physical relationship with our spouse. In God we find the strength to forgive, love, accept and value our spouse knowing God has done the very same thing for us. When we draw nearer to God through His Word with our spouse, we draw nearer to the one who created sex and will find more and more of the blessing and joy that come from the marriage bed.
Have you completely opened up your life to God and to your husband? Have you allowed them into raw corners of your heart and faith? Are you willing, with God's help, to do that? Are you ready to embrace God's design for sex: of knowing and being known?
Sex Q+A (Part One)- Sex just hasn't been the same for me since having a baby. Any tips? - My husband has struggled with an addiction to pornography for most of his teen and adult years. How can I get past that? Sex Q&A (Part Two) - How did your religious education affect your view of sex? - What did your mom tell you or what do you wish she would have told you about your wedding night?
Sex Q&A (Part Three) - Is it normal for your husband to desire sex more than you? - I struggle with the sin of masturbation. I think there MUST be another woman or two struggling with this out there, and would like for them to not feel as isolated as I do. But how does one simply bring it up in conversation...?