To tell you the truth, he was one sweet smelling guy and still is. Every time I was around him, my knees would wobble and my heart would beat so fast. I was definitely attracted to him and like the Shunammite woman, my days would be filled with wonder and fantasies like “when i will be his!.” Being married to him has made me bloom. I am blessed to have a man who unsettles my soul. We fought for our purity, and I have come to appreciate our walk of chastity in our courtship. Those seeds we planted then, have been bearing fruits through the years we have been married.
We are well aware of the crusade in this world with regards to SEX. The world sells SEX as a gratification tool, have-it-when you want kind of meal. Right? Chastity seems too traditional to be embraced while romance is too banal for marriage . . . yet in all this, marriage is still the safest place to embrace this God given gift.
Marriage being an institution of grace, and anyone who is married will tell you that, at every moment, there has to be margins to give grace, whichever continuum you both find yourselves at.
While we ought to work hard for the health of our marriages, sexual health being one of them, there will be seasons when sexual bliss is at its optimal, and other times where you are both cleaving hard onto each other and to God for breathe because there is just too much. Couple that with competing schedules of life, children, work, ministry, illness, pregnancy, lactation, there has to be more than just SEX that binds two and keeps them together.
There has to be more in a relationship that is to lead to marriage than just groping each other, fondling, making out and fornicating.
So what if that’s the only thing you both have? Or what if that was the main factor of coming together? What if you regarded sexual relations higher than building a firm foundation based on God, trust, deep conversations and a friendship that is unwavering? That foundation will shift.
It is God’s wisdom and kindness that provides marriage as a secure context to figure out something that often presents difficulties sometimes in marriage. SEX can be a hard space too for married couples. It’s not always fireworks and lighting! There are seasons where winter hits hard.
As married people, and especially people who believe that marriage is a lifelong commitment rather than a mere covenant of convenience, we have the joy of working patiently at sex, knowing that our performance never threatens to change the nature of our relationship. This is such sweet comfort for those just getting started and equally comforting for those suddenly discovering unexpected troubles.
Marriage is equally secure when sex is lacking as when it is plentiful, because SEX doesn’t change the attributes of a Holy Covenant of marriage. It’s essential but not of essence.
But this is not the case for sex outside of marriage, for sex outside marriage is always sex ‘under law’ (as it were): It’s always seeking to prove, always striving to do well enough to keep the other one in the relationship, always anxious lest at any time the other may decide there is not enough in it for him or her, always under trial, always trying to pique one’s interest but never deep enough to navigate through hard questions.
“How else will we know if we can have a successful marriage if we don’t sleep together first?”
This is sex that must prove itself, that must provide sufficient quantity and quality to keep the other person interested and committed. This is sex under law. Sex that is diminished, crippled and blasphemed. Adultery, too, is sex under law, for relationship depends “not being caught” and titillation. Fornication too, with the relationship depending its frequency and excitement. Any sex outside of God’s good stipulations is sex under the terrible burden of law.
This why marriage institution is a good gift of grace for SEX to thrive in. For sex within marriage is sex under grace, with nothing to prove. You are both giving, both working for each other’s joy, other-centered, serving, doing nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility considering your spouse as more important than yourself.– Philippians 2:3. Nothing humbles you more than removing your gains out of the equation.
You may ‘do well’ or ‘do badly’ at SEX, and cheerfully laugh about it knowing that your relationship is not threatened when you do badly . . . and are willing to stick it through any season for each other. And even if the problems are too severe for you to cheerfully to laugh, you can work patiently at them, knowing that the marriage does not depend on ‘success’ in this area, but rather on the solemn public promises already made.
For such couples, sex is “under grace,” within the security of promises made. It is not burdensome. It is SEX that is free to flourish without fear of failure and the marriage is equally secure when sex is lacking as when it is plentiful.
See sexual intimacy doesn’t just grow when sex is plentiful, it also grows when a couple fail to have sexual intercourse (for physical or psychological reasons), but still hold onto each other’s vulnerabilities and fragility, knowing that the promises they said, will be promises kept, as they break the boulders together. This is freedom, this is joy: That neither a husband nor a wife have to prove anything to one another. For they live and make love within a sweet covenant of grace.
That is piece should never be exchanged for a temporal gratification.