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The Respect Dare, Day 28 – Making the One-Flesh Relationship a Huge Priority in Your Marriage

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The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I Corinthians 7:4-5

FIRST, I KNOW THAT THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT SCENARIOS REPRESENTED HERE – BELOW THESE SITUATIONS IS THE MAIN PART OF THE POST (YOU CAN SKIP THESE BULLET POINTS IF YOU ARE NOT HAVING ISSUES. IF YOU ARE HAVING SEXUAL ISSUES IN YOUR MARRIAGE, I THINK YOU WILL PROBABLY FIND AT LEAST ONE BULLET POINT THAT YOU CAN RELATE TO AND SOME RESOURCES TO HELP):

  • Some of you are so exhausted and stressed, you can barely even think about physical intimacy with your husbands. – This can definitely be a “season of life” issue when you have young children. But your marriage and intimacy with your husband still needs to be more important than the children. Try to get child care or make creative plans during nap times. Make sure your man knows HE is first in your heart!!! Ask your husband what you can take off your plate so that you can have more energy for him! Or, respectfully ask him for some help. Or, very purposely carve out time for him to show him that HE is your first human priority in this world. You won’t regret it!
  • About 10% of you have never been able to experience an orgasm at all – ever. There is a Web MD article for help about this issue here. You (and your husband) may not realize that only about 30% of women orgasm during intercourse – and those who do usually have to be in a certain position (ie: on top, where it is easier for the wife to get the right leverage). So, if you are having difficulties climaxing, you are not alone, precious wife! It is very normal not to be able to climax during sex – and couples almost never climax simultaneously. Sometimes we have such idealistic and unrealistic expectations, that we can think something is wrong – when we are actually pretty normal. Check out “Intended for Pleasure” or other reputable Christian resources about sexual issues.
  • Some of you have serious pain during intercourse and dread physical intimacy – feeling like you are letting your husband down. You may even be full of fear about your husband even touching you. What should be a time of great joy has become a source of unspeakable pain for you and for your husband. The WebMD directory for Pain during sex is here. If you can, try to meet your husband’s needs in other ways if possible so that you can still connect, even when you cannot tolerate vaginal intercourse. Talk to your OB/GYN if this is a serious problem for you – possibly also a Christian female therapist who specializes in sexual issues. Be committed to finding a solution. It may be that something like acupuncture could help, or a special kind of massage if you have spasms in your pelvic rotator muscles. Certain exercises may be helpful. Or some medications might work for you. It may be that you have nerve damage or scoliosis or that penetration is too deep for the way you are built. (There are actually devices sold online that can help with that issue to keep penetration from being so deep!)
  • Some of you have almost no libido. – Please commit to talking to your OB/GYN about this and getting some tests done to figure out what the problem is. It could be something as simple as the birth control pills you are taking, or the anti-depressant you are on. Or it may be that you have body image issues, fear or anxiety that keep you too tense and unable to relax. Or you may be resentful or bitter towards your husband and full of disrespect. Disrespect is a serious libido killer! (Check out Respect and Sexual Attraction) Or you may have learned that sex is dirty and you may need your thoughts and understanding about sex and marriage to be “reprogrammed” with God’s truth about how GOOD, holy and beautiful sex is supposed to be in marriage. (Check out “Intended for Pleasure” by Dr. Ed Wheat and Gaye Wheat) But there is almost always something that can be done to help. Please be proactive in researching solutions so that you can do everything you can to enjoy sex with your husband.
  • Some of you are pursuing your husbands sexually and are devastated because you are rejected by your own husband over and over again – maybe every single day. Sexual rejection by your own husband is an intense level of emotional pain that you probably never imagined could be possible in marriage. To make matters worse, most marriage books talk a lot about how much husbands want sex. So when you read those books, you end up feeling even worse! “Something must be wrong with me? What doesn’t my husband want me like he is ‘supposed to’?” Let me assure you – there are a large number of wives who are the higher drive spouse in their marriages – I have heard numbers up to 30%. You are not alone. And there is a wide range of what is a “normal and healthy sex drive” in men. Maybe your husband is ok with once a week or once every other week. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you. He may have a naturally lower drive. First, check your motives. Are you trying to initiate sex so that he won’t be so tempted to use pornography or to lust after other women? If your motive to have sex with him is to try to control him or keep him from sinning – he is probably going to feel smothered and controlled. If your motive is to find reassurance of his love for you and to measure “how much” he loves you – that can also come across as desperate instead of loving. Check to see if it could be possible that you use sex as a tangible scale to reassure you that he really does love you and to help you not feel so insecure. If you are feeling insecure – make sure that you are finding your identity, purpose, being accepted, being loved, strength and all of your contentment in Christ alone. Make sure that your husband is not an idol to you – or that sex is not an idol to you. What is an idol? Something you think you MUST have in order to be content. If that thing or person that you think you have GOT to have is not Christ – you may be dealing with an idol. If you realize your husband or sex is an idol – confess it to God, repent of it – and put Christ alone squarely as LORD in your life – the one you HAVE to have to be content. Then you can be content in Him alone, even when your husband is not interested in sex. (Submitting Sexual Desire to the Lord and Desiring Jesus More Than Sex are posts by a Christian single guy that may be very helpful.)
  • Some of you have purposely been withholding sex to punish your husband because you are so hurt or to try to make him change and teach him a lesson. But there is a deepening wedge between you and he has shut you out of his heart because he feels so frustrated and hurt by being rejected so many times. Check out www.forgivenwife.com – (I have read several posts, not all of them, it is up to you to use your discretion about whether it may be helpful for you.)
  • Some of you feel very pressured to have physical intimacy with your husbands but then you feel that every move you make is harshly criticized, your body is “not good enough” for him and you feel like a total failure in this area because your husband complains and critiques your sexual abilities and never seems to be sexually satisfied with you. You start to panic when he touches you because you know that he will just be disappointed again even if you give all that you have sexually to him. – please pray for God’s wisdom and healing. It may be that you can offer him what he needs if he can give you some of what you need, “Babe, I really want our sex life to be amazing for both of us. I want to be joyful, involved and full of desire for you. I want you to feel very fulfilled, too. I need your help, please. For the next month – I promise to be completely sexually available to you unless I am very sick. I need to hear what I do that you like and positive things. For this one month – let’s both commit to no negativity or criticism – just enjoyment. Do we have a deal? 😉 wink, wink!
  • Some of you or your husbands were sexually abused/molested as children or in a past relationship and sexual intimacy is not the safe, comforting, beautiful, holy experience God designed it to be in marriage – you are deeply scarred. You may need experienced, godly counseling most likely if this is your situation – and much prayer, allowing God to heal you and replace the lies you have learned to tell yourself with the life-giving truth of God’s Word. Nina Roesner has a book she recommends for women who have experienced childhood sexual abuse here.
  • Some of you have had many sexual partners in the past and you are horrified and overwhelmed with guilt that you have flash backs to those past experiences when you are trying to concentrate on your husband during intimacy.
  • Maybe your husband had many sexual partners before your marriage and he constantly compares you to all the other women he has been with and tells you how deficient you are. For wives who need healing from their husband’s sexual sin – Nina Roesner recommends this resource.
  • Some of you have husbands who have been involved in pornography in the past or who are addicted to it now. You feel completely betrayed and hopeless – and you have shut down to the idea of sexual intimacy with a man who seems to care more about looking lustfully at other women than honoring you. Another possible resource to check out www.xxxchurch.com (I have read a few posts but not all of them, read at your own risk and compare everything anyone says to scripture! This site is supposed to be about godly help for sex addiction, pornography and lust.)
  • Some of you have husbands who have been involved in infidelity in the past or are still unfaithful now, or you have had an affair – the pain is so intense, how do you begin to heal? I would STRONGLY recommend that you and your husband see a godly counselor who is experienced in walking couples through healing after an affair. Nina Roesner also recommends this resource
  • Some of you have husbands who are trying to get you to look at porn, to go to a strip club with him, to be involved in a threesome or to go to a prostitute. Remember that our submission is first to Christ. If our husbands ask us to sin, we must not cooperate with sin. “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29 It may be necessary to involve a Christian counselor or godly pastor if your husband refuses to stop this kind of sin and tries to get you to follow him on this path of sex addiction. This may be too much to try to handle on your own! Please do not have sex with your husband if he is actively involved in an affair or using prostitutes.
  • Some of you or your husbands are struggling with bisexuality or homosexuality. Please see a godly, experienced Christian counselor about this and seek God’s healing. There is nothing beyond the reach of God’s ability to heal. If you were abused as a child, please check out the resource I mentioned earlier that Nina Roesner, author of The Respect Dare, mentioned.
  • Some of your husbands have medical issues that keep them from being able to respond sexually or that negatively impact their libido. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about this. I have a list of possible causes of a husband’s low sexual desire on this post. You can also check out the mens’ libido directory on www.webmd.com

NO MATTER WHAT YOUR SITUATION IS IN REGARDS TO THIS SUBJECT OF SEXUAL INTIMACY – I BELIEVE GOD CAN BRING HEALING AND HOPE TO YOU AND YOUR MARRIAGE!

God’s design for sex in marriage is GOOD!

I love Gary Thomas’ quote from Sacred Marriage, “Sex is the glue that holds a marriage together.” So true. No other relationship has this strong physical/emotional/spiritual adhesive. God designed sex to promote unity in our marriages. Sex outside of marriage is extremely destructive – that is why God has boundaries for the sexual relationship to be fulfilled only in the healthy confines of marriage.

Doesn’t it seem that the enemy and our own sinful nature do all they can to get us involved in sex before marriage or outside of marriage – and then seem to do all they can do to get us NOT to engage in sex after marriage? This is the enemy’s plan! NOT God’s plan! Let’s be willing to honor Christ as LORD in EVERY area of our lives – including our sex lives in our marriage.

Did you realize that God commands husbands and wives NOT to withhold their bodies from each other??? We don’t hear about that in church much – that it is actually a sin to refuse our spouse sexually when we are able to unite with them physically. Our withholding deeply wounds our husbands and deeply grieves God’s heart. How I pray that we might decide to greatly bless our husbands sexually as godly wives! I pray that God will tear down every stronghold of sin and of the enemy and that He might heal and restore what was lost and broken and scarred. I pray for Him to bring beauty from ashes in the sexual intimacy of every marriage represented here.

Our sinful nature distorts and misuses God’s beautiful design.

The one flesh relationship is supposed to be a tangible and powerful picture of the ONE SPIRIT relationship Christ desires to have with His bride, the church. This is a holy and beautiful thing! Let’s cherish sex and use it to build up our husbands and to bring strength and unity to our marriages on every level!

*** If there are SERIOUS problems in your sex life – I believe there are resources that can help you find hope and healing. If you have a history of abuse, or there is a major substance addiction, major pornography addiction, infidelity, uncontrolled mental disorder or medical problems going on – please talk with your medical doctor, your OB/GYN, your pastor (or his wife), a Christian marriage counselor, a godly mentoring wife – look up reputable resources online for believers. ***

A DARE TO DO A SEXUAL-HEALTH CHECK-UP FOR YOUR MARRIAGE – DARE 28 OF THE RESPECT DARE

  • Are both of you happy with the level and frequency of sexual intimacy in your marriage?
  • If you are having trouble climaxing, would you consider looking into resources to help you?
  • Are you aware how often your husband would prefer to have physical intimacy with you? If you don’t know, will you please make it your mission to pleasantly ask him, with a smile and a friendly tone of voice what he would like for this important area of the marriage?
  • HAVE FUN in your marriage! Flirt with your man if he is open to it! ENJOY HIM!
  • What might God be speaking to you about in the verse today? What can you do to make yourself more available if your husband desires more sexual intimacy?
  • What can you do to lay off the pressure if you are pushing for more intimacy and he is running away from you or rejecting you? There are MANY reasons why a husband might sexually reject his wife. I talk about it in this post “The Devastation of Sexual Rejection in Marriage.”
  • If your husband feels disrespected and controlled by you, that can be a HUGE sexual turn off. If you feel disrespectful towards your husband, that can also be a turn off for you, as well. Try reading “Respect and Sexual Attraction” to get 8 wives’ personal stories of how respect and biblical submission greatly improved the sexual chemistry in their marriages.
  • If your husband would like you to initiate sex more, how might you begin to work on that?
  • Do you tend to reject your husband, even for good reasons? What might you be able to do that could make a huge difference for your husband and your marriage? Check out “A Precious Example” or www.forgivenwife.com.
  • If you have a serious problem going on in your marriage, or you have never healed from abuse in the past, commit to finding help and resources today to help you “move forward” as Nina Roesner talks about in today’s dare in The Respect Dare.
  • Please pray for God’s greatest glory and His will to be done in your marriage and in your sexual relationship with your husband. Ask Him to show you how you can help to make physical intimacy a greater priority (if it has been too low on the priority list) and how to bless your husband sexually.

We will walk this road together. 🙂

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43 thoughts on “The Respect Dare, Day 28 – Making the One-Flesh Relationship a Huge Priority in Your Marriage

  1. It’s important to remember that it’s just as sinful for a husband to withhold from his wife as a wife to withhold from her husband. I think we are all capable of making sex an idol, but we need to exercise real caution in suggesting wives to stifle their sexual desire because their husband isn’t interested. The marriage is bed is the only place in marriage where hierarchy doesn’t apply. Great post!

    1. Trixie,
      Thank you! Great point!

      My hope is that wives will ask for what they want and need. Yes, husbands are also commanded not to withhold themselves sexually. I wish every husband and wife would be joyfully sexually available to each other all the time.

      However, trying to pressure or force an unwilling husband into sex is probably not going to be an effective approach. If a wife is being very dominating or controlling sexually and the husband responds by rejecting her – sometimes backing off can help. Men may be more inclined to pursue if they don’t feel smothered or coerced – just like wives.

      Of course, there are many complicating factors that cannot all possibly be addressed here. If a husband continues to reject his wife sexually – it may be important for the couple to see a godly counselor.

      I don’t want wives to suppress their sexual desire – but to use a more effective approach. Sometimes just taking the verbal and emotional pressure off of a husband can make a big difference.

      There are times when a spouse will not or cannot give of himself or herself sexually – and in those times, I believe it is still possible to handle sexual desire by submitting it to God and honoring Him even when our spouse is unwilling or unavailable.

      Thanks for the important comment!

  2. “Some of you have had many sexual partners in the past and you are horrified and overwhelmed with guilt that you have flash backs to those past experiences when you are trying to concentrate on your husband during intimacy.
    Maybe your husband had many sexual partners before your marriage and he constantly compares you to all the other women he has been with and tells you how deficient you are. For wives who need healing from their husband’s sexual sin – Nina Roesner recommends this resource.”

    Wouldn’t a wife with many sexual partners in the past also constantly be comparing their husband to all the other men she has been with or tell him how deficient he is? It seems like the other side of the same coin. Is that a concern, and are there resources for that?

    ” It may be that something like acupuncture could help, or a special kind of massage if you have spams in your pelvic rotator muscles.”

    This is a very informative post! Good job!

  3. There is an important point that must be addressed, particularly in the sex life of the Christian: If either the wife or the husband is using artificial birth control in order to prevent pregnancy, she and/or he is withholding a part of the sexual self. Hence, the “one flesh” design of God is not being realized in that relationship. It has been turned into something less.

    When we have sex with our spouses, but have put in place a chemical or physical barrier to “protect” us from the ultimate possible outcome of that godly action (i.e. new life), we have twarted God’s design and created an idol of sex. The “freedom” provided by artificial birth control is one of the biggest lies that Christians have bought into. The lie of artificial birth control has probably done the most damage to the intimacy between husband, wife and God, as well as the concept of marriage in general.

    It is Christ that has authority over the body of any Christian man or woman. Artificial birth control places the authority squarely back onto the man or the woman (or both). It also temporarily or permantently sterilizes one or both partners, robbing them of their true, God-given masculinity or femininity. This does not have positive results on authentic, marital, godly intimacy.

    If there are intimacy issues in your marriage, this will be an important area for self reflection, although it is denied or overlooked as critical by most Christian couples and ministers. Most people have accepted the lie as just a normal thing that people should do because it provides “freedom.” The cost of this “freedom,” however, has been the very intimacy that people yearn for and search for in marriage.

    This goes beyond being an issue for “old fashioned, out-of-touch Catholics.” It cuts to the very heart of the Christian message of creating and embracing new life and the making of disciples. The contraceptive mentality is directly connected to the issue of abortion and the whole culture of death. We need to take this seriously.

    Recommended reading: “Sex Au Naturel: What It Is and Why It’s Good For Your Marriage” by Patrick Coffin.

    1. Thomas,
      I am really glad you brought up this point. I hope that every CHristian couple might carefully pray and consider questioning our culture and seeking God’s wisdom on the birth control topic. It is easy to just assume that “the way it is” in our culture today is ok. But birth control does alter God’s design for sex. WHY do we want to use birth control? That is such an important question. And, even more – is this glorifying to God?

      I used birth control pills for many years. But I became increasingly uneasy with the ramifications and implicatiosn of using the pills. I spent many hours in prayer seeking God and wrestling with this issue. And I can honestly say that I used them because I was afraid and because of unbelief as well as a desire to have “control”. Sadly, I didn’t think God would provide – I didn’t have faith that God would take care of us financially if I got pregnant.

      This issue is a deeply personal one. I know there are many situations – and different medical problems – I am not going to go into all of that here. My opinion on this topic is a waste of time. No one answers to me – we are all accountable to God about how we use our sexuality in marriage to glorify Him.

      I ask us each to consider praying and really seeking God’s design, His will, His wisdom and His desire for us and our marriage about sex – including birth control. I think Thomas gives us some extremely important and valid points to consider.

      One thing that was very sobering to me was to realize that birth control pills were a product of feminism. Those who endorsed birth control pills said, “Marriage oppresses women.” “Motherhood oppresses women.” “Having children is a burden.” “Women should find fulfillment in their career, not at home.”

      1. I also am speaking as one who has contracepted in the past. Fear is key. Perfect love casts out fear. It is that perfect love of God that gives us the heroic virtue necessary to go against the flow of culture. Yes, I am asking for prayerful consideration.

        Prior to 1930, EVERY Christian denomination taught that artificial birth control was immoral. Today, there is only one Church left that officially teaches this. We need to prayerfully ask ourselves, “How does that which is deemed immoral suddenly become moral and normal?”

        And I can also testify that a man’s perception of his wife can change (whether he realizes it or not) when he knows she is intentionally blocking fertility. She becomes more of a sex object available at his whim. She risks being more of a sexual plaything to him instead of a friend and a lover.

        I’m not advocating wreckless baby-making. I’m advocating increased intimacy in marriage by way of God’s TOTAL design. Many of the problems presented in this blog post have deep roots within the contraceptive mentality and all of its “promises.”

        Keep up the great work, Peaceful Wife. Peace!

        1. This discussion is getting frightening. Please could someone show me where in the bible it forbids birth control or sex purely for pleasure, cuz it sounding like that where you are going Thomas.

        2. Thomas,

          During the birth of our 2nd daughter – my OB/GYN told us that he could see my daughter’s face through the uterine wall – it was so thin – and that he believed that if we had another baby, my uterus would likely rupture – killing both myself and a future baby. We opted for surgical sterilization.

          It was 2 years later when I began to study God’s design for marriage, what godly femininity and godly masculinity are and about respect and submission. I also studied feminism – and was appalled to see that I had embraced many feminist philosophies about contraception and child-bearing.

          I grieved over my past use of contraceptions and deeply questioned our choice to have surgical sterilization. I shed many tears over my past decisions.

          I began to see more and more how much our culture, feminism and birth control altered God’s design. I also worked as a pharmacist at a large public university for 6 months, and was horrified how many college age girls are on birth control pills. The pills become a “license” to sin for millions of women (and their partners).

          I also saw in my own marriage that it was VERY, VERY hard for me to stop taking the pills and learn to trust God about having children.

          Contraception is really the primary reason why so many women are able to be in the work force instead of home with their children today – I know we tend to think that is a good thing – that women can work. But no one can love a child the way a mother can. I have often regretted my pharmacy degree and wished I could be home with my children all the time. There are so many sacred responsibilities a mother has to nurture, love, discipline, teach and care for her children. I am so thankful I am able to be home as much as I have the past few years. My fulfillment is found at home caring for my husband and children. But I trust that God is sovereign, even over my pharmacy degree and that He will use it for His purposes. Contraception vastly impacts our definition of femininity, marriage and sexuality and the consequences and implications of sex in far reaching ways whether in marriage or outside of marriage.

          I also began to become increasingly concerned about the exact mechanism of action of hormonal contraception and how it was really impossible to know if conception was being prevented or not.

          It would be sobering and interesting to see just how many ways contraception alters our relationships, our marriages, our families, our children, our jobs, our faith in God and our perception about so many important and pivitol topics.

          I pray for God to give His people wisdom – that we might be willing to reject the world’s lies and embrace His truth – even if it is unpopular.

          Thank you for your comments!

          1. April,

            “I grieved over my past use of contraceptions and deeply questioned our choice to have surgical sterilization. I shed many tears over my past decisions.”

            This kind of statement is not likely to enhance your message today about enhancing our physical relationships with our husbands.

            Trusting the Lord with the size of your family doesn’t mean you need to shun birth control anymore than giving your child medication or immunizations would be to not trust Him with their health.

          2. Trixie,

            I have since accepted that we did have surgical sterilization and that is done now.
            For me, it would have been medically dangerous to attempt another pregnancy.

            But these are important issues to research and pray about and not just blindly accept.

            I am not telling women what to do – my prayer is that they and their husbands might seek God’s will for them. I am sharing what I experienced as I began to study about GOd’s design for marriage, sex, children, femininity and masculinity.

            There is quite a lot to the issue of birth control – it could be a book or more in itself.

            Thanks for your comment.

          3. Trixie,

            As a pharmacist, I have spent MUCH time researching the mechanism of action of various forms of birth control and praying over this issue for myself. And also studying the roots of birth control pills and the effects of it on our society. I am woefully inadequate to teach on this subject. So I will be really brief:

            – Of course I support using immunizations to prevent disease and medications to treat disease.
            – Birth control pills do not prevent or treat a disease. Our culture may label pregnancy a “disease” – but I cannot define pregnancy or child-bearing a disease in good conscience. So it requires a great deal of careful thought, questioning and time on our knees to seek God’s heart on this issue, in my view.
            – I believe that children are a blessing. I am SO thankful for the two children we do have.
            – I want to honor God in every facet of my femininity – including my sexuality and child-bearing and rearing. I have absolutely not been perfect at any of this. I stand in need of God’s grace for many things.

            Our culture has twisted many things that God made to be good. In my view, almost everything we learn from our culture must be questioned by believers. We are no longer friends with the world, but with God.

            This is a decision each husband and wife must make before God. I am sure that He will give His people His wisdom and direction when we seek Him. 🙂

      2. “I also studied feminism – and was appalled to see that I had embraced many feminist philosophies about contraception and child-bearing.” It IS appalling isn’t it?

        1. Robyn,
          What was particularly troubling to me was that I never thought of myself as a feminist at all… but then I had unknowingly embraced so many of those ideas.
          When I read Radical Womanhood by Carolyn McCulley – I just wept and wept. A handful of women very purposely destroyed God’s design for authority in marriage and the church and redefined womanhood, femininity, marriage and motherhood – and I realized that I had been robbed of some very precious things.
          Not to say that women 100 years ago had things perfect with God – there was room for improvement, of course.
          But the ball was definitely dropped decades ago. We are seeing the fall-out today.
          It is my prayer that God might raise up a generation of godly men and women – that we might leave a godly legacy to our children and that we might demonstrate what it really means to live for Christ as Lord in every area of our lives.

          Thanks, Robyn!

      3. April, you are so right. It’s interesting, I’ve never read books on feminism perse, but rather worked backwards as God was changing my heart as I grew from a baby Christian. As you work through sin in your life, it leads to some places in your heart that you never thought where there, and so you have to ask yourself, “Why do I think that way, and how did it start.” It was actually a very exciting (and a bit scary too) journey to track back through my thoughts.

        It was the discovery that some of my thinking had it’s roots in the feminist mindset that propelled me to dig further into myself. Kind of a, “know what you believe and why” expedition.

        Then finding that the ideas from the feminist movement had pretty much shaped my whole being – I was not sad and wept, but very angry, at Satan. Because now I had to work double time with God for Him to reshape me, and ManOman it’s been a fight against the flesh!

        Getting there though!

        1. Robyn,

          It is exciting – and terrifying – to find out where my deepest held beliefs originated.

          I definitely moved from mourning over what I felt I had missed out on to anger for feeling “robbed” of my God-given femininity and didn’t even know it until I was 36 years old. I, too, discovered that many of my deepest held beliefs were actually rooted in the feminist movement – and I NEVER thought of myself as a feminist. I was angry at the enemy and at the women who so willfully set about destroying the things I was scrambling to try to understand and piece back together. I felt like I was having to reinvent the wheel by myself.

          Thank you for sharing!!!!!

          It is an exciting journey. If Satan could use a handful of women to destroy a culture- surely God can raise up His men and women to destroy the lies and rebuild on His truth! Thank you for being a co-laborer in Christ with me!

          1. “…reinvent the wheel by myself…” OHMYSTARS, that’s exactly how I felt too!! The ‘alone’ part is huge! For me I was on my knees so often crying out to God, “You want me to learn to use these wings but I don’t even know how to stretch them out.”

            ” surely God can raise up His men and women to destroy the lies and rebuild on His truth!”

            TRULY

          2. Robyn,
            I had no mentor. I had no godly real life example. Let me clarify – my mother was always very respectful. But she didn’t voice her opinion much at all. Her personality and mine were total opposites. She was much more like my twin sister. I was the dominant identical twin, and my sister was the submissive, quiet, go-with-the-flow twin.

            I had no one to turn to, no one to ask – searching in the dark, it felt like, for resources to try to learn what respect meant and what biblical submission looked like. It was so difficult to find practical examples. I needed someone to get me into the right ballpark, I was so far off base.

            I am thankful that God may somehow use me to connect the dots closer for the women coming behind me.

            Thank you for sharing! It was a very lonely journey. I couldn’t talk with anyone but God. But you know what? He was enough. 🙂 I’m thankful for that time. But what a struggle to try to learn this respect language and godly wife language seemingly without a text book or a tutor.

            Praise God He showed me the way even in all the chaos.

            I love that word picture of the wings. That is exactly what He gives us as we learn His ways. We carry the treasures of heaven in these jars of clay. 🙂

  4. The Mission:Husband link is excellent. I wish I’d had this to show to my ex-wife years ago. I hope many of your readers will use that link.

    1. Trixie,

      The point is that God designed sex with both pleasure and procreation in mind. An analogy might be that God designed us to need food to survive, but He also gave us taste buds to enjoy the food. The ancient Romans developed a practice of eating food purely for the pleasure of it. They would eat until full, purge their stomachs, and then continue eating. In other words, their reason for eating became out of balance with God’s design (i.e. eat the tasty food, but let it reach your whole digestive system and nourish your bodies, too).

      In essence, society has done with sex what the Romans did with food. Of course we are supposed to enjoy sex! God made us that way. However, the procreative aspect of sex is also part of God’s creative design that He wants us to share in (giving life to souls). When we purposefully decide that we want ONLY the pleasure without the possibility of new life, we have tilted God’s design out of balance. We have basically said, “Ok, God, I don’t like the way You set this up naturally, so I’m going to design it my way.”

      You won’t find a Bible verse that says, “Thou shalt not contracept.” This is a theological truth that must be discerned from biblical principles and natural law. Just like you won’t find the word “Trinity” in the Bible, yet we still believe in the Holy Trinity because of biblical principles.

      1. Thomas stated
        “When we purposefully decide that we want ONLY the pleasure without the possibility of new life, we have tilted God’s design out of balance.”

        Thomas, that is a ridiculous argument because post-menopausal women, infertile women and women that have had hysterectomy’s would no longer be eligible to enjoy God’s gift of sex.

        While I agree that we have perverted God’s design by engaging in pre-marital and extra-marital sex. The use of birth control is no more perverting God’s plan than it is perverting God’s plan by performing appendectomy’s or administering insulin to diabetics.

        Preventing pregnancy is not the same thing as ending pregnancy. I’m surprised that this issue continues to be argued by well educated people.

        1. Trixie,

          The difference is that post menopausal women, etc. have not “intentionally” sterilized themselves “for the soul pourpose” of blocking God’s natural reproductive process, whereas millions of healthy, fertile men and women are doing just that.

          I am merely saying that before we talk about “the two becoming one flesh,” we should sincerely question whether or not we are actually becoming one flesh as God designed, or if we are simply going through the motions of sex according to our own design and pleasure.

          Furthermore, true intimacy with God and/or with a spouse requires that we hold nothing of ourselves back. If, for example, I wear a condom while having sex with my wife, I am literally holding back a part of my full sexual self. I am going through the motions of sex without actually having sex. I am in effect saying, “I want to give myself to you, but not completely.” This has implications for the overall level of intimacy between husband and wife.

          As April stated, there is way too much to discuss here. Hence, my book recommendation (Sex Au Naturel, by Patrick Coffin). Genuine education requires an honest examination of the issue from both sides.

          My question is, “Why are you so afraid of God’s natural design for sex?”

          1. Thomas, I am not afraid of God’s natural design for sex. He designed it for pleasure and procreation. We don’t need to procreate to enjoy this good gift. We can choose to prevent conception and still honor God’s design for sex because he designed it to bond a husband and a wife. We only need look at the millions of starving children in the world and the millions of abused children in the world to know that God didn’t design us to procreate irresponsibly.

          2. “This discussion is getting frightening. Please could someone show me where in the bible it forbids birth control or sex purely for pleasure, cuz it sounding like that where you are going Thomas”

            That’s why I thought you were afraid of the natural plan for sex. If you’re not, that’s great! Be not afraid. Go for it!

            No, we don’t need to procreate to enjoy the gift. Not every act of sex produces life. In fact, natural family planing is based on this natural reality. Why do we need artificial birth control in order to be responsible? We only need to look at the millions of starving and abused and aborted children in the world to see that artificial birth control has not make people responsible.

            The bonding aspect is exactly the point. If we are withholding a part of ourselves, we are not completely bonding. There is more to marital bonding and intimacy than sharing the pleasures of orgasm. It involves the giving/receiving of the WHOLE self.

  5. Even from a purely medical perspective, Birth Control Pills (at least when taken in a fairly consistent and ongoing manner) have been proven to cause serious health issues in women’s bodies. (I read a lot.)

    Many of them don’t seem very good for a woman’s body/health. I guess it’s ironic that Feminists argued for these things by redefining “health,” then later acknowledge that they create health concerns for the women that use them. It’s very sad!

    I will have to research and pray about the future use of other forms of contraception though before I become married. I would hate for something like this to harm her.

    1. RG,
      To be fair – birth control pills have a lot fewer side effects than pregnancy. They have more side effects than not being on pills and not being pregnant. But the hormone levels in pregnancy get much higher than they do with birth control pills.

      There are many more women who have cardiovascular events, blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, deaths etc… during pregnancy than when they take birth control pills. Thankfully, in most industrialized countries, our maternal death rate is pretty low thanks to modern medicine. There are other countries where pregnancy is a much greater risk to a woman’s health – especially during delivery – without access to medical care.

      Birth control pills work by making the body think that the woman is pregnant. They have low doses of hormones that are elevated in pregnancy (estrogen and progesterone). So the body usually does not ovulate. Sometimes ovulation can occur – however – and it is unknown how often that happens.

      Because the body believes it is pregnant, the blood lining of the uterus does not get thick to receive the baby and it is more difficult for the fertilized egg to implant.

      Most scientists/doctors define “pregnancy” as beginning at implantation – not conception.

      But many Christians define pregnancy as beginning at conception. So it can be difficult to know exactly what is happening and if there has been conception or not.

      Of course, there are some women who do get pregnant while on birth control pills. Especially if doses were missed or certain anti-biotics or anti-convulsants that decrease the effectiveness of the pills were taken that cycle.

      But if a woman believes pregnancy begins at conception – and she wants to 100% of the time prevent conception – birth control pills cannot promise that.

      IUDs work by preventing implantation as well – not by preventing conception.

      There is certainly much to think about, research, discuss and pray about.

  6. Thomas,

    I’m not afraid of God’s design for sex, but I disagree with you that His design precludes birth control. I saw your blog and realize that you are Catholic, so I see it’s pointless to continue this discussion. You will never persuade me of your viewpoint and I won’t try to persuade you of mine. Thankfully for both of us this is not a salvation issue.
    Blessings,
    Trixie

    1. Yes, Trixie, sometimes we must agree to disagree. Let us not conclude, however, that continued dialogue is pointless. It is, in fact, the way to promote Christian unity and understanding.

      One of the differences between us is that I used to hold to your views and practice them quite vehemently. I don’t believe you have ever held mine, however. I have lived both lifestyles and experienced the effects in myself, in my wife, and in my relationship with God.

      This is why I ask Christians (including Catholics) to prayerfully consider this issue. I don’t want to convince you. I want the Holy Spirit to do that, if it is His will. I’m just sowing seeds.

      I can assure you that when a couple gets rid of their artificial birth control, their relationship changes. Their entire paradigm of God and marriage will shift. A whole, new level of communication, committment, sacrifice, love and intimacy is required. This, I believe, is partly what people are afraid of.

      Anyway, if you ever want to discuss it further, I’m open to it. I would love to hear your reaction to the book.

      Peace to you, dear sister.

    2. Trixie, I neglected to clarify this earlier. The Catholic Church does see this issue as having implications for the salvation of one’s soul as it constitutes “grave matter” and the potential for mortal sin. The well-informed Catholic cannot say, “Oh well, it’s not about salvation, so I’ll just do whatever seems best for me.” But that is a topic for a whole other theological discussion not really appropriate for April’s blog. I understand your sentiment, and I appreciate it. Just thought is was an important clarification. Peace.

  7. Thomas is a true disciple of Christ and a Christian marriage counselor. I respect him greatly. He has written some amazing posts for me in the past.

    I am thankful that in Jesus – we are all part of the same body of Christ. I am also very thankful for the work that he does and how he lives his life to glorify Jesus.

    I pray that God might give us unity as His church. We are not going to agree on everything – but we can definitely stand as one in Christ and build each other up. 🙂

  8. April, I certainly did not mean to imply that he isn’t a true disciple of Christ or anything else that would be disparaging. I certainly hope that he didn’t take it that way. I just realize the futility in further discussion. I believe our love of Jesus does unify us as believers.

  9. This is really interesting. I have thought a lot about my views (or God’s views) on birth control pills mainly considering the conception vs. implantation issue over how the pill is actually preventing the pregnancy, and do not take them for that reason among others. However, I have never considered condoms as going against God’s will for sex. Definitely something I would like to hear more about. I don’t see how condoms are much different from NFP. Both allow for you to decide (with relative certainty) whether you want to have more children or not. I could understand if you (Thomas) were arguing against any type of family planning saying that the choice to be pregnant or not should not rest in YOUR hands but in God’s, but to say that you can choose not to become pregnant by using NFP which uses information gained through scientific advances in the 20th century and the technology of the thermometer, but not a condom seems a bit harder to grasp. Also, from the verse above – “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.” If the only reason that we should deprive each other is by mutual consent so that we can devote ourselves to prayer, it doesn’t seem that abstinence during our fertile period is God’s will. From your comment above, “The difference is that post menopausal women, etc. have not “intentionally” sterilized themselves “for the soul pourpose” of blocking God’s natural reproductive process, whereas millions of healthy, fertile men and women are doing just that.” After really digging into this, I don’t think I can see how NFP is any different than “intentionally” sterilizing yourself “for the sole purpose” of blocking God’s natural reproductive process. I am not Catholic and really have never looked deep into NFP, other than just knowing what it is, but my initial thought would be more along the lines that perhaps this really is just something that we bought into over the last 150 years or so, and maybe isn’t really God’s will either. This is definitely something that I will have to wrestle with.

    1. Thank you, Laura,

      Yes, one of the most common critiques of NFP is that it is nothing more than “Catholic contraception,” and many arguments are presented along those lines, even by many Catholics. I believe the key distinction that needs to be understood is the means by which the same end is achieved.

      Having sex during an infertile period is not likely to result in a pregnancy (although it certainly could). But notice: no chemical or physical barrier has been introduced into the natural order of God’s design. In other words, God designed women to have times of infertility. The couple has not “tinkered with” God’s design. And, they are still remaining open to the possibility that God may produce a child even during that period. They are still “open to life” according to God’s design.

      The Catholic Church teaches that the end does not justify the means. It is the means that is in question. Having said that, it is also important to realize that when couples are married in the Catholic Church, they are specifically asked if they will lovingly accept children from God. If they refuse, there can be no marriage. NFP is not supposed to be used as a way of coasting through your marriage without children. It can be used with wrong intentions. Ideally, it is to be used as a natural, God-designed method of responsibly spacing births when necessary. It’s not a free pass to enjoy sex without producing any children. Additionally, it requires a higher degree of self control, intimacy and communication from both partners.

      Catholicism is not against using advances in science. But we look at what the science is being used for and how it is being used according to God’s design. Catholicism is not about wreckless baby-making. It is about love and new life.

      Hope this helps. Peace.

      Thomas

  10. I’m probably getting in in this conversation very late, but I’d like to respond to one of the earlier posts that …..I am one of the few that did reject immunizations for my children. I’ve done more research on that topic than birth control pills. After I watched my 5 yr old (now23) lay lifelessly after being give 4 different childhood immunizations at once and then experience the pain of watching him struggle through a learning disability as a result, I am one of the “nuts” that most would label me that said no more. He never had another shot and at 23 has never had anything more than chicken pox. So if I make that my basis to decide on bc pills, I guess you know my answer. ULTIMATELY All things work together for the good of those that love God….you know the rest. Loving Him is seeking HIS will even if I disagree and not seeking points or my own rationalization to argue my opinion. I am guilty of the later just as often as anyone. So I guess as one who is also guilty at times, that qualifies me to make that point about seeking HIS say-so instead of my own rationalization.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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