I was listening to a morning radio show the other day while driving in my car. It’s a comedic show with a lot of banter between the various hosts and guests. The topic of sex at Christmas came up and was being debated. The female on the show spoke of Christmastime as being one of the most romantic times of the year; the lights, the fire in the fireplace, the smells of the season all contributed to a sensual atmosphere. The discussion went on for awhile until one of the other hosts asked her something about the birth of Jesus and that association with the holiday. Her response was quick and clear; “I don’t mix my religion and my sex life”. And that was the end of the discussion.
While it’s not my place to judge this woman’s faith or sincerity, she is not alone in her thinking. Even among devout Christian couples it seems that sex resides in its own, separate compartment. It’s almost like a loophole sin that God is willing to overlook in their faith. He doesn’t condemn it, but He certainly wants no part of it… right?
I have worked with many couples where this topic has come up. They will speak of efforts that they have made to improve their spiritual lives. They have begun to pray together and read the Bible together. But they will go on to say that their sex life is far from ideal. In their eyes, one segment of their lives is improving, but another continues to flounder.
I don’t believe that sex is a loophole at all. God designed sex and created our physical bodies in such a way that we can take intense pleasure from the mere act. Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed when they first walked in the Garden of Eden. My guess is that sex was as natural for them as eating or drinking. But if you’re familiar with the story, you’ll recall that once sin entered the world, they immediately covered their nakedness to hide their bodies from God. It’s important to note that nothing changed from God’s original intent or design, but sin distorted nudity and sex into something perceived as perverse and forbidden.
It makes perfect sense to keep God out of a sex life that exists outside of the relationship of marriage. God cannot participate in sin, and the Bible tells us that sex outside of marriage is exactly that. The problem is that we take this stigma and apply it even within the wholesome bond of marriage. As Christians, we need to allow God into every aspect of our lives, including sex.
I met with a couple this week that told me that they had begun to pray together for the first time. I asked them to describe that experience for me. The husband got an odd twinkle in his eye and told me “It was surprisingly intimate”. I began to chuckle and without another word, we all knew the situation he was implying.
But I think he nailed it. Praying is an intimate time we spend with God. Praying with our spouse brings God directly and tangibly into our relationship allowing the intimacy to expand and envelop us all. Spiritual intimacy and sexual intimacy need not reside in separate compartments, they beautifully meld together if we just allow them to.
Try praying before sex. Or use your devotional time together as foreplay. Don’t force it, just don’t deny it. Remember the architect of sex wants to be a part of every aspect of your marriage. Don’t try to shut him out of the bedroom.