Three Threats to Intimacy in Marriage

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

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A Biblical View of Intimacy in Marriage (and Abstinence)

Intimacy in marriage is not a neglected topic in Scripture. It is discussed a number of times in the Old and New Testaments, and one entire book—Song of Solomon—is dedicated largely to the topic. When God’s Word makes something important, Christians have a responsibility to make it important as well by learning what Scripture teaches on the subject. If Christians don’t do this, they are likely to gain their understanding from secular society, which has a perverse view of sexuality.

1. Intimacy in Marriage Is Blessed by God

Just as the devil has been successful in encouraging intimacy outside of marriage, he has been equally successful in discouraging intimacy within marriage. I once counseled a man in his fifties who was addicted to pornography. I mention his age only because pornography might be more typically considered a struggle for young, single men. In reality it can enslave men—and women as well—of any age, in any season of life.

The man’s actions were absolutely sinful; there is no minimizing the wickedness of his behavior. With that said, after months of counseling it became apparent that one reason for his addiction was a wrong view of intimacy. His mother had convinced him at a young age that sex was filthy, and he had never been able to rid himself of that belief. He told me: “I look at porn, because at least then I am not involving my wife in a dirty activity.” Though I tried to convince him otherwise, it was very difficult for him to shake his mother’s teaching, even though Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Continue reading “A Biblical View of Intimacy in Marriage (and Abstinence)”