In a Christian marriage, there are three ways sex enriches your relationship: sex creates an exchange of personal knowledge, sex enhances monogamy, and sex encourages deep intimacy.
Knowing Each Other
If you’ve ever read the King James Version of the Bible, it might have struck you as strange that the biblical euphemism for sex is to “know.”
This term is first used in the Hebrew Bible in Genesis 4:1, “Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain . . .”
Over and over again in the Bible when a man and woman had sexual relations, in reality they “knew” each other in the most intimate of ways.
Yes, it is true, they also “became one flesh,” but in so doing they also exchanged intimate knowledge in a way that cannot be reproduced in any other way.
This biblical insight leads to three powerful effects on our marriages.
1) Sex Creates an Exchange of Personal Knowledge
During sexual relations, an exchange of personal knowledge takes place between the couple.
When sexual intimacy is experienced within the loving and holy boundaries of a marital covenant, the exchange of personal knowledge is infused into the relationship, nourishing and enriching it.
A husband and wife get to know each other in a way that transcends the merely physical. “Naked and unashamed,” they are completely exposed, transparent and vulnerable to their partner—personal knowledge of each other expands into the spiritual, mental, emotional, and social areas of life.
Sex enriches the personal relationship as well as the spiritual. They not only grow deeper in their married love, but they also grow deeper as individuals and in their relationship with God.
On the other hand, when sexual relations transpire outside of the marriage covenant, there is still an exchange of knowledge between the couple, but since it is not within the protective boundaries of a marital commitment, that knowledge can be compromised.
There is a lingering sense that this connection may not be exclusively for each partner, but may be shared at some point with a different person. This understanding can lead to reservations and withholding from each partner.
The couple may have “had sex,” but did not experience full “naked and unashamed” vulnerability and transparency.
Outside of marriage, this kind of sexual experience may offer an immediate sexual “fix” but does not draw the couple closer to God. In the long run it will drain and deplete the relationship until it is only a hollow and empty shell leading each partner to move onto the next sexual “fix.”
2) Sex Enriches and Enhances Monogamy
A second implication is that within marriage, sex enriches and strengthens the bond between husband and wife, making monogamous relationships stronger.
The institution of marriage is based on a covenant commitment before God and a growing, intimate knowledge between husband and wife. This is to “become one.”
In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis captured the essence of God’s mandate for the gift of sexual knowledge when he said that this demand “takes the form of a dilemma: either complete abstinence or unmitigated monogamy.”
As the Creator of the marriage relationship, He alone knows that sexual knowledge can only be truly experienced and sustained in the bonds of a committed marriage covenant.
Again, it is Lewis who reminds us of this awesome reality, “The truth is that wherever a man lies with a woman, there, whether they like it or not, a transcendental relation is set up between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured.”
3) Sex Enriches and Encourages Deep Intimacy
Finally, sex enriches and encourages deep intimacy between a husband and wife.
They have not merely “made love,” they have also shared an exciting and beautiful experience and closeness beyond any human relationship.
We must guard our hearts with all vigilance so that we do not lose sight of God’s call on every husband and wife to really get to know each other.
Sex without intimacy can only lead to a growing sense of alienation and emptiness, with the marriage as well as each partner becoming a hollow shell without the inner essence of God’s love and grace.
There are three things that are too amazing for me: four that I do not understand, the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man [lit. a young virile man] with a maiden [lit. a virgin].
This is the way of an adulteress [or an adulterer]: She [or he] eats and wipes her [or his] mouth and says, “I’ve done nothing wrong” (Prov. 30:18-20).
God has built into His creation a certain sense of order, beauty, and harmony. The wise person recognizes this and worships God in awe, wonder, and amazement.
Whether it is the eagle, the snake, the ship, or the chaste young couple on their wedding night, God’s way of doing things is beautiful and wondrous.
But there is something that is most unfortunate and even tragic: the sight of an immoral person without a the sense of the sacred who treats one of God’s choicest gifts as nothing more than a physical appetite that needs fixing.
This person is not experiencing the loveliness of sexual knowledge and intimacy as God has designed it.
3 Steps to Experience God’s Perspective of Sex in Your Marriage
In order to enjoy sex as God intended for every married couple, follow these three steps:
- Begin with your highest calling, your knowledge of the holy: “to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever!” As individual husbands and wives, keep your devotional lives fresh: on a daily basis, read the Bible and pray separately as well as together.
- Glorify God through your bodies by avoiding all evil outside of marriage and by serving each other within marriage, especially in exchanging sexual knowledge (1 Cor. 6:18—7:5). Really get to know each other!
- Schedule your intimate times together as if your were dating again. Yes, enjoy the spontaneous moments when they come, but the busier you get, the more they will get squeezed out. So schedule it! Make your love life a priority!