I took a break from the posts on sex inside our marriages to write about our “4 Midland” plans. Now, just a couple more posts here related to our GCR sermon from November 5. If you’ve missed something in this thread, scroll down and follow the alliteration.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” ~Ephesians 5:21
Frequent and regular sex shapes both the husband and the wife more into the image of Jesus. You might say it’s a spiritual discipline. God shows us in our marriages that we do not belong to ourselves, but we pour ourselves out in service to others. The Christian life is concerned with genuine living sacrifice, not selfish transactions. Jesus says if you want to gain your life, you have to really lay it down. And you do that in a marriage. Like Christ and his Church, the one-flesh union is not forged through demands for one to meet the other’s needs, but through a sense of common purpose, common mission, together.
Scripture tells us to delight in sexual union with our spouses, not because sex is an appetite that must be filled, but because it reminds us to love and serve the other. It makes us the kind of people who stand by our promises and stand by each other. It teaches us that love is not a way to get what I need, but a way to pour myself our for somebody else.
We don’t love each other because we find each other sexually attractive; it’s the other way around. We grow in our sexual attraction because we share a growing love. When Scripture demands that the sexual rights of both spouses be maintained, it’s not talking about a legal thing, like a contract. It’s talking about the love and attention two people should give each other who’ve been brought together in Christ.
This is the way Christ loves the Church. So we mutually submit to one another out of reverence to him. Imitating him. Honoring him. Each partner in the marriage has to be most concerned not with getting sexual pleasure, but with giving it.
In the Woody Allen movie, “Annie Hall,” the title character’s therapist asks her how often she and her husband Alvie are having sex. She says, “Constantly! All the time! Like three times a week!” Later in the movie, the same therapist asks Alvie the same question. He says, “Almost never! Like three times a week!”
Okay. It takes two to tango. You have to figure that stuff out. And it takes all the mutual loving and submitting and sacrificing and serving the Bible describes to make it happen. It’s about constant kindness and consistent learning and communicating. It’s about daily attention and respect. It’s not about you. It’s paying attention to something bigger than both of you.