Sex in Marriage

People tend to be coy about sex and shy about their bodies. But the Bible is not. From start to finish it speaks positively about our bodies and celebrates our sexuality, especially in The Song of Songs. This erotic poem within the Old Testament celebrates the love and attraction between two lovers. At a time in our history when sex is oversold and undervalued, this book has much to say to us.

Here are three imperatives for married couples:

Value your body highly

We live at the most image-conscious time in history. We are bombarded with the message that we need to look young, wear the latest brands and be the right shape. The danger is that we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and can be desperately insecure under the surface.

Knowing we are loved and sought after by God is the key to all relationships. We reach out in love to our husband or wife out of the knowledge that we ourselves are deeply loved. One secret to valuing your body is to read The Song of Songs as though it is a dialogue between you and God. Ponder on his words (he is the ‘Lover’) and speak back to him the words of the ‘Beloved’. Don’t worry about the parts you don’t understand. Poetry only yields its meaning gradually.

Compliment each other's bodies generously

The Song of Songs is full of lengthy descriptions by the lovers appreciating in great detail each others' bodies. Some of the language can sound comical and the comparisons unusual to us. As a result we can miss the alluring power of the original Hebrew.

But complimenting our husband or wife in our own way, rather than comparing him or her to the current fashion, builds love and desire in our marriage. The more we express our appreciation for what we love about them, physically and in every other way, the more appreciative we will become of them.

Join your bodies together regularly

The Song of Songs dwells first on the strong desire of the lovers to consummate their relationship and then employs the imagery of the bride as a beautiful and fragrant garden to describe their lovemaking.

Sex has been described as the icing on the cake of a marriage. But actually it is an important ingredient of the cake itself. Our sexual relationship affects every other part of our marriage, just as every other part of our marriage affects our sexual relationship.

Adapted from an original article in Families First Issue 24, by Nicky and Sila Lee: Used with permission.

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