Day 32 Love Meets Sexual Needs

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“The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband”.   1 Corinthians 7:3

Listening to some “religious” minded men, it sounds like this is a scripture they like to assert only from their self-interest.  The other much abused scripture is how the wife must be subject to her husband.  Well men, we need to look at the whole verse, in both situations.  Your wife has sexual needs that are to be fulfilled.  We are to love our wives as Christ loves the church, is your love to your wife of that nature?  If it were, I believe the wife’s attitude would be one of loving agreement, rather than becoming rightfully offended.  I raise my hand, if asked if anyone every violated these commands.

“Some people think the Bible has nothing good to say about sex, as though all God seems concerned about is telling us when not to do it and who not to do it with.  In reality, however, the Bible has a great deal to say about sex and the blessing it can be for both husband and wife.  Even its boundaries and restrictions are God’s ways of keeping our sexual experiences at a level far beyond any of those advertised on television or in the movies.”

For those blessed enough by what God intended sex to be, read the Song of Solomon and see if any of the imagery rings true.  It is true that sex is only one aspect of marriage and in becoming “one flesh”.  When celebrated as a gift from God, there is nothing better.  If one partner values the importance of this more than the other, your feeling of oneness will be threatened.

“We are not to share this same experience with anyone else….But we are weak.  And when this legitimate need goes unmet—when it’s treated as being selfish and demanding by the other—our hearts are subject to being drawn away from marriage, tempted to fulfill this longing somewhere else, some other way.”

“To counteract this tendency, God established marriage with an “oneflesh” mentality, “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does” (1Corinthians 7:4).

We have probably all heard stories of how some people use sex as a bargaining tool, or as a special occasion event.  This is not the way God intends for us to use sex.  We cannot withhold sex without consequences.  “So stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self- control” (1 Corinthians 7:5).

There are people who evidently just aren’t interested in sex.  I know of one person like this and it has caused a rift in their marriage. It is good to be honorable and show proper boundaries before getting married, by not pressing the sex issue.  However once married and attempting to have a Christian marriage, there are the requirements of fulfilling one another’s sexual needs.  For the woman in this case, depending on one’s outlook, her job is easy.  But she still has needs unmet, and this man from what I have observed does want to please his wife, maybe not sexually, but that really doesn’t matter.  I would highly recommend that he ask his wife how he may please her.  If there is a problem with erectile dysfunction, that really doesn’t mean that he cannot engage in holding and affirming his wife and even bring her to “fulfillment”.  This would probably please the man, because his wife would be pleased.  There should not be shame with men talking to men about issues such as these; Bob Dole was on National TV talking about erectile dysfunction.

“Love is the only way to reestablish loving union between each other.  All things the Love Dare entails—patience, kindness, selflessness, thoughtfulness, protection, honor, forgiveness—-will play a role in renewing your sexual intimacy.  When the love of Christ is the foundation of your marriage, the strength of your friendship and sexual relationship can be enjoyed at a level this world can never know”.

“Glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

All quotes from “The Love Dare” except where noted.

 

 

 

 

Day 31 Love and Marriage

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“A man shall leave his father and his mother; and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

These words are often repeated at wedding ceremonies.  How many of us take them to heart or meditate on the import of this concept?  When we leave our parents and marry, it changes everything.  Parents should relegate their roles to that of encouragers and counselors, no longer trying to tell their children what to do.  When the apron strings are not cut, there is a world of trouble just waiting to manifest itself.

Beyond the family structure is the biological fact that our bodies do intertwine and physically become “one flesh” on the cellular level.  When we violate God’s command that we should be the spouse of one person, the consequences can be dire.  Think of AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases.  I’ve heard more than once, that whomever your mate has had sex with; you have also had sex with them!  This is a disturbing image to say the least.

I have no statistics for it, but from what one hears from friends, news stories and unfortunately personal experience, the number of sexual partners one has had is increasing.  With lax sexual morays and an alarmingly high divorce rate this malady just increases.  The psychological damage and consequences resulting from not following God’s plan for marriage; are huge issues for too many of us.  Thank God, the one flesh fulfillment goes beyond sexual expression.

We are to renew our minds by reading and studying the Word, we are to take our thoughts captive.  When our past presents itself in the form of former lovers or spouses, this is an area where taking our thoughts captive is absolutely necessary.  That jealousy arises is natural, we are programmed for one mate and when that is not a reality, jealousy raises its ugly head.  What we do with these jealousies is important.  We are not to shame our mate, or be disgusted by thinking unsavory thoughts about their past.

The cleaving concept was something that did not come easy for me and I confess to having struggles with it still.  “This man is now the spiritual leader of your new home, tasked with the responsibility of loving you “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:33).  This woman is now one in union with you, called to “see to it that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).”

As a result of our becoming “one flesh”, we are to be able to reach agreement in our decision making.  Our priorities come in line with each other as we follow God’s plan for our lives.  “You are able to achieve oneness in your sexual affections toward each other, even if either or both of you have memories of impurity in your pre-marital past (or from previous marriages.)”.   Anything is possible if we walk in fullness of what God wants for us in “one flesh”.

“If this is not how things are going in your home right now, you’re unfortunately in the majority.  It’s not out of character for couples of all kinds—-even Christian couples—- to ignore God’s design for marriage, thinking they know better than He does. … But you do have to live it, or there’s nothing else to expect than disunity.”  All quotes from The Love Dare except where noted otherwise.

Disclaimer:  I am expert only at failing in the concepts covered in The Love Dare.  My wife and I remain separated and hope of reconciliation is dim at best.

You may ask if I believe in these concepts and if so, why?   I recognize the principles laid out in this book as Spiritual Law, as real as Natural Laws, in fact more so.  Spiritual principles from the Bible have delivered me from alcohol and other addictions, undoubtedly saving my life.  It boils down to believing what God says, whether I am experiencing the promises in His Word, or not.  His word is true.

Peace & Blessings

Day 26 Love is Responsible

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It’s one thing to write a blog and pretend you’re anonymous; it’s another thing to have your 34 rear old daughter call you and ask if you are a recovering sex addict.  I admit to being somewhat defensive when asked this, and said, “Yes; I’m messed up and that is why I need God so much!”   I later realized I violated a personal rule and let her fill in what she thought was a sex addict.  I later explained to her that I believed sex is used as one of the most intimate expressions of love and that in the past I did not use it that way.  She replied, “Okay, I was confused.”

I believe that pride and it’s dark twin, shame are the main reasons we resist getting help with things in our life that have become big problems.  The first step in 12 Step Recovery is, “We admitted we were powerless over ________, that our lives had become unmanageable.”  I recognize the 12 Steps as spiritual principals, so when my life becomes unmanageable, I turn to them for solutions.  The second step has promise.  “Came to believe that a Power greater than us could restore us to sanity.”  I like that.  My greater power is God, through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

The Love Dare reading for the day starts out saying that today will be hard.  I’ve been thinking that facing all my failings throughout this whole book has been hard!  The lesson is on taking personal responsibility, acknowledging our own mistakes.  I have referred to applying the principals in this book as taking an “honest and fearless moral inventory”.  (Step 4)  Pride needs to take the backseat in this endeavor.   Shame is like a reverse pride, we say that we are so bad that we are unforgiveable.  That’s not what the message of the cross says.

We are not to pass blame on our spouse for our own mistakes.  “When love takes responsibility for its actions, it’s not to prove how noble you’ve been but rather to admit how much further you have to go.”  “Love doesn’t make excuses.  Love keeps working to make a difference—in you and your marriage.”   I ask myself, how many times when I was in an argument with my wife, did I stop and think if what she was saying had any merit.  Usually I came back with some counter blame or excuse.

The responsibility to take a look at our own faults and admit our errors, is also addressed in Step 10, some refer to it as the maintenance step.  “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”  I think being responsible to your spouse demands an awareness of our selfishness and admit we are wrong immediately.

“Are you taking responsibility for this person you chose for yourself as the love of your life?  How deliberate are you about making sure your spouse’s needs are met?  … Love calls us to take responsibility for our partner in marriage.  To love them.  To honor them.  To cherish them.” (The Love Dare)

I asked myself how long I was going to have to tear into my faults and feel bad about what I discover.  An answer seemed to come to me, “as long as it takes for you to get it!”  Pride resists admitting weaknesses and mistakes.  We are to be humble before God and our spouse.  The Love Dare says this is crucial for a healthy relationship, with God and our spouse.

The good news in this is that the Bible promises, if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1.9)  We need to make sure we are on solid ground with God first and foremost.    We are to seek forgiveness from our spouse, no matter how they respond.  The problem is we must swallow our pride and be sincere.  They “should” forgive us but that is not our responsibility.  Admitting my mistakes is my responsibility.