Saturday, February 23, 2008

Being "Sexy" For Your Husband? (part three)

What is definitely off-limits for Christian marriages? That's the topic of consideration today in this series about Christian wives being "sexy" for their husbands.

So far in this series, we've addressed two questions:
(1) Should a Christian wife be enticing and seductive towards her husband? (To put it simply, the answer is "YES!!!")
(2) Where does the standard for what is "sexy" come from? (The basic answer is ultimately from God, and specifically from your spouse.)

This third question will help us define the ways that we can go about enticing and seductive towards our husbands.

Biblically speaking, there are three clear areas that are off-limits, and we'll talk about each one individually:

  1. Anything that involves anyone else outside of the marriage relationship is clearly off-limits.
    The Bible makes it clear that the two people in a marriage become one flesh. There are no others included in this union. Marriage is explicitly between one man and one woman for life. (Mt 19:4-5, 1 Ti 3:2 & 12)

    So, with that in mind, adultery, homosexuality, incest, orgies, and pornography all fall clearly outside the boundaries of what is acceptable in a Christian marriage. Anything that in any way involves other people outside of the husband-wife relationship is off-limits for believers.

    [***Some may ask why pornography is not acceptable, if both husband and wife are open to it or willing to view it... but the question is not whether or not we as humans find something OK or not, but whether God Himself finds it acceptable or not. There is an abundance of Scripture that speaks to the issue of pornography, and lust (1 Co 6:12 & 10:23, Job 31:1, Matt. 5:28-29, and more), and the Word makes it clear that this is not an option for a Christian marriage. ***]

  2. Anything that demeans one of the partners or violates personal convictions is off-limits.
    Christian husbands and wives are told to love and respect each other (Eph 5), so we know that we are not to do anything that causes either party to feel unloved or disrespected. We are also clearly told not to do anything that violates the conscience of another believer (Ro 14:1 & 14 & 23).

    At the same time, we also need to be certain that our consciences and convictions are biblically-informed and not based merely on prudish or unbiblical ideas that sex is icky, dirty, or in any way wrong. Sadly, this is something I have seen a LOT among Christian women. I have heard women tell how they were taught that a good Christian woman would never enjoy intimacy with her husband, because it's naughty, sinful, or just something bad girls do. Perhaps her mother taught her (through words or actions) that sex was dirty and only to be used as a bargaining chip with her husband. Others have been taught that sex should only rarely be "granted" to a needy husband.

    I cannot state plainly enough how all of these ideas are lies.

    I'm convinced that our enemy, the devil, has planted these ideas in Christian homes over recent decades at the precise time that the world was getting more and more sexually explicit and "liberated", so that Christian families could increasingly be successfully attacked by him in this area of intimacy, lust, and sexual issues. We must heed biblical convictions, but we must discard unbiblical ideas that would undermine this precious gift of intimacy in the marriage relationship.

    1 Cor 6:12 says that all things are permissible for us as believers but not all things are beneficial, nor are we to be mastered by anything. According to Dr. Lewis Smedes, "The Christian word on trying out a sexual practice that is not prohibited in Scripture is 'Try it. If you like it, it is morally good for you. And it may well be that in providing new delight to each other; you will be adventuring into deeper experiences of love.'"

  3. Not "doing it" is not an option in a Christian marriage.
    1 Cor. 7:3-5 tells us outright that we are not to deprive one another of intimacy. (We've discussed this in greater detail in previous posts here at Making Home: Intimate Deprivation, Exhausted of Excuses, and Sex in a Christian Marriage).

    What this looks like in one couple may look different from what it looks like in one couple. For example, a military couple who may be separated for a time will not have the same kinds of intimacy as a couple where the husband is home 7 nights a week. Nor will that couple's love life look the same as a couple where the husband drives trucks 5 days a week and is home on the weekends. And some couples, as a unit, have greater drives and desires for intimacy than others.

    But for all of us, the key is to "not deprive". Which means that we need to ask our spouses what their needs are and let them know what our needs are. It also means that we are to meet each other's needs, not begrudgingly or with strings attached-- but as part of our obedience to the Lord. We are not given the option of merely living as roommates or buddies... we are to lovingly and regularly meet those needs that God has given to our spouse.

So, aside from these three things (anything that would involve other people, anything that would violate one's conscience or be demeaning, and avoiding sex), I believe we are free within marriage to delight in each other. What that will mean for each couple will look different. Some are more active than others, some are more spontaneous than others, some will try and do new and different things all the time, and some will primarily delight in a few favorite ways of being together. None of this is wrong, and all of it can be absolutely wonderful and God-honoring.

Indeed, aside from these specific prohibitions, "all things are permissible", and we can, without shame, enjoy freedom in the marriage relationship. Studies show that Christians have better and more satisfying sex lives than those in the culture around us, so there's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of! God has given us a beautiful gift in the gift of intimacy and we can enjoy it to the full!



*** READER DISCRETION ADVISED: None of the following sites contain pornographic or offensive images, but all of these are intended for Christian married adults only.***

Here are some additional resources and sites you may want to browse for more information:

  • GrowthTrac: What's OKAY in bed?
  • Passions Lingerie and Gifts- a porn-free Christian website to safely browse and shop for Christian intimacy aids/gifts. They explain their intentions this way: "We came to do this business because we feel that we need to change the current trend of lingerie stores by bringing it back to the way it was supposed to be... marriage-friendly." (Note from Jess: this is extremely rare-- in fact, this is the only website I know of that does not use real, human models to display lingerie options, but instead uses mannequins.)
  • Covenant Spice- another porn-free Christian website intended for marital intimacy. They have this belief statement: "Covenant Spice is dedicated to strengthening marriages and increasing playfulness and intimacy in your sex life. We believe God created marriage to be a lifelong passionate romance."
  • Faithful Loving Romance Products- candles, bath & massage products, oils and lotions all designed for marital intimacy.
As always, let me know what you think... I'm always interested in your thoughts and comments!

CLICK HERE TO READ PART FOUR in this series.

Graphic ("Le Soir" by Alphonse Mucha) from allposters.com

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