August 23, 2013
By Skip Heitzig
It is funny to watch Americans date. We fix ourselves up to look our best, and we’re on our best behavior. But then, as soon as some couples say, “I do,” Dr. Jekyll turns into Mr. Hyde and all of that stops. The relationship is left untended, and the spark is extinguished. That’s why Ephesians 5 says that marriage must be nourished and cherished to remain strong.
An untended relationship is like a beautiful garden where weeds come in. Weeds of indifference or even an affair or divorce can choke that which is meant to be so beautiful.
The antidote for all of that is keeping marriage pure and keeping sex within marriage. Remember that sex was God’s idea, and He meant it to delight. (If you don’t believe me, check out the Song of Solomon!) And the pattern of sexual pleasure can be summed up in two words: monogamy and enjoyment.
Proverbs 5 has this analogy. “Drink water from your own cistern, and running waters from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you” (vv. 15-17). This compares married love to drinking from a freshwater well, and sexual immorality to drinking polluted water from a sewer. One will delight and the other will destroy.
Verse 18 says, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth.” This points to the fact that God’s pattern is monogamy, a one-man-one-woman relationship for a lifetime. Of course, that’s not easy. After all, you’re living with someone who is as imperfect as you are! But you don’t run from it. It’s what hones you and takes off the rough edges in your life.
God’s original intentions are simple: Stay pure until marriage and stay married throughout life. I realize that is not always possible; many factors can cause a marriage to break up. But living together is not the answer. Couples who live together before marriage have a less satisfying and more unstable marriage, and a 50 percent greater chance of divorce.
Secondly, there is enjoyment. “Rejoice with the wife of your youth” means more than sexual enjoyment. Somebody once said, “If you want to have an energized sex life in marriage, try a little tenderness the other 23½ hours of the day.” So remember these:
Enjoy each other’s company. Enjoy being with each other during the day as much as you can. Intimacy begins with harmony. Stay in touch with each other, and spend quality time together.
Enjoy each other emotionally. Husbands and wives are different emotionally, and they react to things very differently. Work through problems, and share fears, dreams, and secrets. Enjoying those differences helps build intimacy.
Enjoy each other spiritually. That means you must be building one another up. Study the Word and pray together. Enjoy the differences in your spiritual perspective.
And of course, enjoy each other sexually. Solomon is very open and frank about this. Just look at verse 19: “As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always been enraptured with her love.”
If you think God is a prude, think how He describes love and sex in marriage! God doesn’t see sex as merely functional or for procreation, but to be enjoyed within marriage, as a true delight. And when sex is what God intended it to be, it becomes rapturous. Remember, God invented this stuff!
Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled.” That means that to God, sex is a sacred experience, and it must be in the right setting, within marriage. When the fire is within the fireplace, let it burn, and burn hot! Enjoy it. It’s God-given.
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