God gave sex as a gift. The problem is that as sinful people in a fallen world, we have the potential to ruin anything good God gives us. Let’s take a look at three of the most common threats to healthy intimacy in marriage.
1. Intimacy in Marriage Is Threatened by Selfish Attitudes
Husbands and wives should be committed to satisfying each other, but Scripture must also be balanced in light of other Scripture. If 1 Corinthians 7 were the only passage considered, people could demand their spouses satisfy their desires regardless of the way the other person feels. But other verses command love, gentleness, compassion, and deference in the marriage relationship. While it would be unhealthy, and even sinful to deprive our spouses for selfish reasons, it can also be equally unhealthy and sinful to be demanding or insensitive toward our spouses.
Although Paul listed fasting and prayer as possible reasons for abstinence, common sense and simple consideration dictate there are other acceptable reasons—sickness, pregnancy, or grief. When people are suffering or struggling, they might find intimacy very unattractive. God wants sex to be enjoyable for both individuals. Selfish and unkind attitudes threaten the joy and pleasure God desires for couples.
2. Intimacy in Marriage Is Threatened by Mismatched Desires
Each year one of the outreaches Woodland Christian Church puts on is the Senior Dinner. The graduates join us in the fellowship hall for a nice meal. I present a message with graduation tips, and my brother brother-in-law, D.J. Malinowski, plays some music (see below).
I tell the seniors that I’m going to share with them the four graduation tips I wish someone would’ve shared with me when I was in their place. I use a PowerPoint presentation and the slides are below…
I really enjoyed our Progressive Dinner a few weeks ago and I kept thinking about my devotional, the purposes of fellowship, our upcoming camping trips, etc. Some verses from Ecclesiastes kept coming to mind, and I’d like to share them:
Ecc 2:24 Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.
Ecc 3:12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
Ecc 5:18 Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage.
Ecc 8:15 So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.
Ecclesiastes can be a difficult book. Some people find it very discouraging while others find it very encouraging. However you view it, the theme seems to be nothing in this life satisfies. If you’re familiar with King Solomon’s life you can see why God chose him to write Ecclesiastes. He had everything the world says brings happiness. He tried everything you could try, tasted everything you could taste, experienced everything you could experience and not only did it not make him happy, he found it all to be vanity or hebel; a Hebrew word translated as meaningless, pointless, futile or frustration in other translations. Hebel is used 61 times in the Bible and 30 of those times are in Ecclesiastes…5 times just in chapter 1 verse 2. That’s why some people find the book discouraging, because it looks like everything leads to hebel.
Based on the verses I shared though there did seem to be something Solomon found satisfying – which is why some people find the book encouraging – and that’s eating, drinking, and enjoying our labor. Lasting contentment came from the simple things in life. To me that’s what the progressive dinner is about. That’s what fellowship is about. That’s what beach camp and family camp is about. It’s about eating and drinking with friends and family, brothers and sisters in Christ. The world tells us what’s necessary to be happy, but it’s all hebel. Lasting contentment and joy is found in the activities of life that are from the hand of God (Ecc 2:24). Hopefully these are the activities we’re providing at WCC.