The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5
In our ever changing world, sexual ethics is a challenge for most relationships. So many things contribute to sexual intimacy and whether our society wants to admit to it or not, sex does have an impact on our wellbeing.
In the Christian scripture the character Job stated “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman.” Job 31 In the gospels we are challenged to not look at another human being lustfully and anyone who does has already violated another in their mind.
The writer of the Songs of Solomon celebrates intimacy and sex as something to be treasured in a relationship. It is seen as a part of God’s good creation and something to be treasured within the confines of a committed, single partner, life long relationship.
Even though the sexual act is a very physical interaction between two people, the Christian scriptures elevates it to a spiritual level when it states that the sexual acts makes two people become one.
“Done well, marital sexuality can be a supremely healing experience.” – Gary L. Thomas
DISCUSS: How comfortable were you talking about sexual expectations? Are there things you expected that have been fulfilled or have you had to readjust your thinking?
Sex is everywhere and is used to sell almost anything and everything today. Even though our culture is saturated with sex and sexual images, so many people still find it difficult to talk about sex and the intimacy it brings in a normal rational way without getting embarassed.
One of the mistakes so many people make before getting married is assuming that sex will just happen because it’s natural without understanding the intricacies of the human body and mind.
“Sex is one of the most powerful gifts God ever created. It was designed to bring a man and woman together in a physical, emotional and spiritual bond that would create pleasure, intimacy and also lead to procreation and that is why it needs to be handled with care, communication and consideration for each other.
The foundation we set before we journey into marriage will determine to a certain extent our experience of sex as we journey deeper into our marriage relationship.
THE JOYS OF INTIMACY
One of the central texts used by Christians in preparing couples for marriage comes from the very first book of the bible and it states “Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame”. Genesis 2
The whole subject of shame and its impact on human interaction is an area of study that has fascinated people because of its impact on intimacy. The text from Genesis talks about the man and the woman being naked and feeling no shame.
We know this was not just about physical nakedness but emotional and spiritual nakedness. This was a couple who were transparent with one another, not hiding their thoughts, feelings or emotions and they were not embarrassed about who they were.
There is something rich and fulfilling about knowing and being known in a relationship that satisfies the soul and nourishes the spirit. So, whilst sex is a physical act, what makes it special is two people who are discovering each other in a safe and caring environment and who want the other to flourish and be fruitful.
God designed sex to be a joyful experience, not something to grin and bear but something to be celebrated as part of a loving ongoing relationship.
How can we develop good and long lasting intimacy that creates the oneness that God desires for couples to experience? The writer of the Song of Songs in the Christian scriptures is not afraid to record the interaction between two lovers. He states How beautiful are your sandaled feet, O queenly maiden. Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a skilled craftsman. Your navel is perfectly formed like a goblet filled with mixed wine. Between your thighs lies a mound of wheat bordered with lilies. Your breasts are like two fawns, twin fawns of a gazelle. Song of Songs 7
So what can we do to improve intimacy?
1. Communicate your desires – you know your body better than your partner. Communicate your desires to them
2. Make time for Spiritual intimacy – Always find time to engage with God together sharing your deepest needs with God before each other
3. Make time for Emotional intimacy – share your fears, worries, hopes and dreams with one another so you can support each other
4. Make time for Physical intimacy – Don’t just let sex happen accidentally, plan for it and make room for it.