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Confusion. Pleasure. Frustration. Life. Pain. Excitement. Shame. Fun. Apprehension. Oneness. Betrayal. Connection. Angst. Glory. Crime. Righteousness. Sin. Confidence. Division. Unity. Emptiness. Fullness. Regret. Reassurance. Doubt. Clarity.
Why does sex cause so much of the above?
Well, my short answer is that God designed sex, so in its right context, it's a gift; and because God designed it, Satan hates it, so in its wrong context, it's a burden and sin.
But let's face it.
The short answer has rarely wrapped up the conversation for us. If it had, we'd have sex all figured out, always celebrating it in its right context and always avoiding it in its wrong context.
Generally speaking, we are easily confused by the things of God -- until we aren't confused and we discover and decide God's way is indeed the best way (even if the larger society tells us otherwise).
I hear from many people who reach a point where they get it -- they get that God designed sex to be a blessing, not a burden.
Sometimes it's a light bulb moment, but more often it's something for which they had to fight hard, on their knees in prayer, at their fingertips through God's Word, and with their ears and heart in dialogue that is more often painful and awkward than easy.
So, let's dig into the long answer.
Marriage is a covenant relationship God designed (a relationship that, not ironically, is what He uses to remind us of His love and oneness with His body of believers).
"This is where you are starting the long answer, Julie? Marriage is a covenant relationship?"
It's vital to the discussion.
When we see a marriage that is strong and healthy (not perfect, mind you, but overall marked by mutual love, compassion, faithfulness, forgiveness, gratitude, honor, intimacy, companionship, etc.), we usually find two people who individually and together recognize that marriage is a covenant.
It's different from all other human relationships. The stakes are higher. The investments greater. The payout -- or fallout -- significantly different than other relationships.
Interestingly, even in a marriage where the two people are not Christians -- but they hold to the covenant attributes I listed above -- we will find a marriage that looks strikingly similar to a strong Christian marriage.
(Regardless of whether two people acknowledge Christ, I still think we are God-designed, and as such, intuitively we long for identity that reflects Him. This sometimes plays itself out in actions, even if the person doesn't claim God as the source. It's how someone can be moral without necessarily being Christian).
Obviously, having Christ at the center of our lives and our marriages is what God desires. BUT do you see how sometimes there is evidence of God's covenant design of marriage where we don't necessarily see evidence of Christian faith?
I think that alone further confirms that marriage is divinely different from any other human relationship. It's like how the Word tells us God's fingerprints are all over the place, leaving us without excuse (Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20, Luke 19:40).
Anyway. I kind of digressed there.
But it's still vital to my point.
Why does sex cause so much pain and so much joy (and every other thing I listed at the top of this post)?
Because we simply can't escape the undeniable truth that sex is not merely a human issue; it's a God issue.
I think we will never fully wrap our heads and hearts around the depth of the joy or the depth of the pain until we wrestle with the truth that sex is a God issue. What we do sexually matters to God, not in an abstract removed sort of way, but in an intricately connected sort of way.
So where does Satan fit in?
Well, like I mentioned at the beginning, God designed marriage, and that fact alone makes Satan loathe it. He'll do whatever he can to sabotage it.
I don't really want to give the enemy too much air time here, but I encourage you to consider that whenever sex happens outside of marriage or is mishandled within marriage, Satan is within close proximity, pouring lies and confusion into the mix.
Word to the wise, one of the best things you can do for your marriage and your sexual intimacy in marriage is to renounce Satan in the name of Christ. Kick Satan out of your bed. Tell him he's gotta go.
I'm convinced that whether we are trying to heal from sexual pain and injustice or we are trying to thoroughly enjoy sex in its right context, we are best equipped to do that with God.
I know. This post doesn't exactly make for light reading. Or light reflecting. Does it?
Maybe a better way to make it all relevant is to ask you this, "What does sex cause in your heart and in your marriage?"
Take a moment.
Think before you answer.
Yes, I know, many marriages face huge challenges sexually because of monumental betrayals of abuse, adulterous affairs, pornography use. And maybe your marriage is one of those.
I also know many other marriages suffer sexually for no other reason than sexual apathy by one or both spouses.
And, of course, there are marriages where sex is mutually valued, passionately pursued and ravenously enjoyed.
Where you fall on the spectrum with your answer is not near as important as what you do going forward.
My hope is that if sex is a healthy and enjoyed aspect of your marriage, you'll keep heading in that direction.
And if it's not? My hope is you'll do all you can to seek God's heart on how things can get better. Probably not easy, but definitely worth it.
What is sex causing in your marriage?
Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.