(But Stuff You Need to Know Anyway or My Tribute to Married Love)
(The subject matter will be a bit edgy but I think this is a message for everyone who is able to understand, regardless of your marital status.)
Today is my 20th wedding anniversary. Yey for us! If you know anything at all about me, you know that life for me and my man “ain’t been no crystal stair.” “And still (we) rise.” :)
For the record I want you to know that I love being with my husband. (You know what I mean.) After 20 years, he knows me. We’ve spent a lot of time over the years fine tuning an already great machine- that one flesh union between us. Of course there have been times when things weren’t all hot and heavy, when we had our “dry spells” but from the time we said “I do,” I recognized this unique gift for what it is. And I thankfully and happily receive it as often as I can. (wink)
So today in honor of marriage… in honor of my marriage, I want to talk about sex. Not your run of the mill, garden variety, wild thang, Have-it-Your-Way-Burger-King style sex, but Sacred Sex, sex the way it is supposed to be.
Now this is my story. I am not concerned about offending anyone because this is life the way I see it. The way I understand it to be. My views are not an indictment upon yours, should your views be different. These are simply that, my views.
I happen to believe that there is a Creator and therefore a created order for things. An intelligent design. (And my man and I didn’t follow it. But I’ll say more on that another time.)
What Sex Is…
Sex is an indescribably wonderful gift to humanity, thought up and given by a wonderfully indescribable Originator (God), to two people (an adult man and an adult woman) who have given themselves totally and exclusively to one another … for a lifetime. In the same way that frosting was designed for cake, the sexual experience was designed for the exclusive, committed life union of one man and one woman. Sex was created to equal married love. It is the sweet and delicious topping on the delicacy of two lives that have been irrevocably entwined, who are in covenant* to be together, no matter what, ‘til death do they part. This is the only manner in which this gift can exist without negative consequences. Like fire in a fireplace, sex gives warmth and comfort and light to a relationship between two married lovers. In its purest experience it is passionate and mind blowing, ecstasy beyond imagination. But experiencing this “fire” without that bond of exclusivity and covenant is like setting a fire in the middle of the bedroom floor. Tho it is a physical act, to the human soul this is absolute devastation in the making. A certain disaster.
What Sex is Not…
Sex is not a recreational activity akin to some extreme sport. It is not a biological necessity like eating, drinking and breathing. It is not even the “best thing” in the world or the best thing about marriage. (It is a wonderful thing to be sure, but it is not the most important thing.) Sure everybody seems to be thinking about, doing it, thinking about doing it, talking about it, writing about it, dreaming of it, watching it (Heaven help us!), or otherwise obsessing over it but sex is NOT the end all experience of life. (And this is coming from a woman who LOVES it!) It is truly wonderful to experience but I just happen to understand that the sexual relationship wasn’t meant to be a come one, come all means to “getting the monkey off your back” (Do people still say that? LOL)
The sex act was meant to be the crescendo of oneness, the explosive experience of being fully known, accepted and treasured: the union of body, soul and spirit between two people who “forsake all others” for one another. It is a kind of worship (the act of showing great reverence, honor, respect , etc.) where two people are “naked” before each other – not just physically but in all ways-- “and unashamed” because they are fully committed to one another. It is the God given glue of marriage, the physical expression of the partners love and faithfulness to one another. I believe it was meant to say, “I want to know you in the most intimate of ways,” “I love you” and “I want to experience all of you and give all of myself to you because I want to and will be with you always.” “What we two have is just for us, just between us…It is sacred [devoted exclusively to one service or use- (as of a person or purpose); entitled to reverence; holy by connection with God]” What we enjoy together is...
Sex was not intended to be a means to an end for people to “relieve” themselves and hope for the best-- even sex by yourself misses the point. (Yep I said it.) Anyone who has experienced sex apart from covenant knows full well what I am talking about. Whether you will admit it or not. Something inside you tells you it ain’t quite right. I don’t care how drunk or high you were, how horny, how “in love” or how “committed,” if you’ve ever gone there with someone who wasn’t exclusively and eternally yours, you’ve felt that “morning after” pang of regret (if only for a moment). Even if you didn’t fully recognize it for what it was, you knew that something just wasn’t right. Yes, in the beginning it feels good. You “need” it. Maybe you even think you “need” the person. But when the “relationship” (if there even was one) ends, you know deep in your soul you just lost something of yourself. (see 1 Corinthians 6:18)
Because you see there is a divine order.
1. Covenant commitment (‘til death do we part) => (yields) 2. Sexual experience ( the gift of sacred union) => (yields) 3. Relational health and stability (We together are in this for the long haul.)
That’s the way it’s supposed to be anyway.
A few months ago I read the most astute and profound comment on this topic in a Facebook discussion and I must share it with you. The conversation was about covenantal versus non covenantal sex and the commenter stated something to the effect that-- There is no such thing as non covenant sex. When people go around from partner to partner, they always end up unfulfilled because what they are looking for (in a non-covenantal union) DOES NOT EXIST. Sex was created as a GIFT in MARRIAGE. If you are having it any other way than under that circumstance, what you are experiencing is a counterfeit.
An imitation crabmeat sandwhich.
A knock off designer bag.
A simulated plane ride.
A game of tennis on the Wii.
All those things can be nice and good. But they are FAKE. Not the real thing.
Once again I’m just telling you what I know.
Before I married I had my share of FAKE sex. -- I write that with shame and regret. (Having enjoyed the freedom of marital unity and sacred sex --- the REAL THING -- for two decades now I can tell you that put up against the imitation stuff, there is ABSOLUTELY. NO. COMPARISON.) I was a girl raised in the south by an old fashioned mother who told me simply “Don’t do it.” That was pretty much the extent of my sexual education. At least from my Mama anyway. I managed to obey her out of sheer fear until I was almost out of high school. But when I ended up with a boyfriend who I thought really “loved” me, well you know what happened.
[Now there are volumes I could say right here on this. I have a passion for the education, wholeness and well being of young girls and women but I won’t digress to all that right now. I just want to say that when a girl grows up without a father, or with one who is mentally or emotionally unhealthy, she is set up for relational/sexual failure. A father is a girl’s first exposure to male love. He is supposed to teach his daughter how she should relate to a man. If he fails at this, she usually becomes a marked target for sexual misuse and abuse. Yes, she has choices. But (like me) she will often make bad ones as she “looks for love in all the wrong places.” But I’ll talk about all this another time when I can devote an entire post to it.]
I am horrified at some of the things I hear that people are doing in the name of sex these days. I won’t get started with the perversion of child porn and the like. I am sickened and grieved by what some people have decided is “normal.” Does anyone truly believe that sex with a child or an animal is ok? And what about cyber sex and the kids who are “hooking up” or the college students (and adults as well) who have “friends with benefits”? I read recently that in the decade of the 60s there were like 3 or 4 sexually transmitted diseases. Now in 2010, there are like 58!!!!!! (Check me out on this stat for yourself. I’m going from memory as I don’t have time right now to verify it specifically.) If sex is whatever we want it to be, somebody tell me what is up with that!?!
Beloved, I promise I have an entire book in my head on this whole matter. Last December, Travis and I rededicated our vows in a mini ceremony at the church where his infidelity occurred. We bought new rings and wrote new vows to one another and one thing I said to him was that I was sorry that I didn’t wait for him. He was always the one for me. I just didn’t know I needed to wait for him.
In just a little bit my guy is going to whisk me off to a nearby city for some time of uninterrupted communion, just he and I, celebrating our love and renewed commitment to one another. We were briefly separated this time last year and did not spend our anniversary together. We’re planning to gloriously make up for that this year. Yeah baby! :D The emotional, spiritual and physical celebration we enjoy with each other is unlike anything else on this earth. He sends me. I send him. That is the gift and benefit of twenty years of covenant together. In spite of the breach that occurred last year-- perhaps even because of it (Genesis 50:20)-- my husband and I have discovered new heights of intimacy that I could never have imagined. Heights that I believe can only be experienced through the total, selfless giving of oneself to another through covenant love as you grow together. For better or for worse. Our love has stood the test of time through storm, earthquake and flood. I’m his and he’s mine. He’s not going anywhere without me. I’m not going anywhere without him. Glory to God for His wonderful gifts!
Happy Anniversary to us! (And much love to you!)
Sex = Married Love
* Covenant- a formal, solemn, and binding agreement or promise, different from a contract in that "A CONTRACT is an agreement made in suspicion. The parties do not trust each other, and they set "limits" to their own responsibility. A COVENANT is an agreement made in trust. The parties love each other and put no limits on their own responsibility. "
“For this reason a man will leave his mother and father and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
“Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims…
You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor Him with your body! …
There’s more to sex that mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God- given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body… "1 Corinthians 6: 12-13, 16-20 (Message Bible)