Real Marriage: Sex

Woo hoo! It’s time to talk about sex!

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In chapter six of Real Marriage, the Driscolls talk about sex as either a god, a gross experience, or a gift. We all have different views of sex and we either see sex as a god, as something gross, or as a gift from God. We are going to take a close look at each of these perspectives, decide which one we relate with most, and then determine how we should respond.

SEX AS GOD

People see sex as a god when it is something that they pursue, something they can’t live without, something that tends to control them. People who view pornography see sex as a god. People who masturbate see sex as a god. People who sexually cheat, fantasize, and think about sex in a pornographic way see sex as a god. They, in a way, worship sex. It is their idol.

A quote in the book stood out to me when Driscoll wrote, “Idolatry happens when a good thing (like sex) becomes a god thing (like adultery), which is a bad thing.” Sex is a good thing but when people make it an idol, they have put the creation above the Creator. They have made it into something that God did not intend.

SEX AS GROSS

And so it also is when people see sex as gross. There are two reasons for why people may see sex as gross. One, they were raised to think that “sex” is a bad word and that it is something to be ashamed of. Sex isn’t something you should talk about, think about, or even feel. It is just a “necessary evil” for procreation.

Another reason for why people may see sex as gross is because they or someone close to them was sexually abused. Though sex itself is not bad, how it is used can be bad. Being sexually abused can make consensual sex feel gross or wrong. It is the abuser who has perverted sex and forced it onto someone else, influencing that person’s view and feelings toward sex.

SEX AS GIFT

God created sex for a husband and wife. It is not only for reproduction but for intimacy and enjoyment. It is a gift from God to His children so that they can fulfill the command to “be fruitful and multiply” and keep their marriages strong. Driscoll wrote, “Because sex is a gift that God gave, it is His intent that we steward and enjoy that gift, like every gift He gives, in such a way that is glorious to Him and good for our marriages. Sex is a powerful gift that God gives to married couples. Furthermore, it provides six good and glorious benefits.”

Those benefits are:

  1. Sex is for pleasure.
  2. Sex is for creating children.
  3. Sex is for oneness.
  4. Sex is for knowledge.
  5. Sex is for protection. 
  6. Sex is for comfort.

God didn’t give sex just to satisfy people’s sexual needs or just to reproduce. He gave it as the most deep, vulnerable, and intimate way for people to bond and become one with their spouse. It’s a beautiful thing when used as God intended, when viewed as a gift from Him, and not put on a pedestal or seen as gross.

 

Which do you lean towards most? Is sex a god, is it gross, or is it a gift?  How does your view effect your relationship with your spouse?

Real Marriage: Taking Out the Trash

**Yes, I have gotten behind in this series and I apologize. I am kicking myself for not keeping up with it as diligently as I should. Please forgive me and continue reading!**

You are a sinner. You married a sinner. And now you are endeavoring to create a biblical marriage, a biblical family, between two sinful people in a sinful world. Impossible? It can sure seem like it. Hard? Yes.couple-arguing

This chapter of Real Marriage was a challenging one. When we hear the phrase “taking out the trash” we typically think of the “trash” being someone else, someone who isn’t good for us and needs to go. But in this chapter, “taking out the trash” refers to our own trash, our own crap that needs to go. One thing that will ruin a marriage is holding onto our trash, thinking it’s not hurting anybody, and refusing to do anything about it. It will ruin a marriage to sin against your spouse, or your spouse to sin against you, and not reconcile.

Conflict comes in every marriage. It is unavoidable. But when conflict comes, repentance and forgiveness should follow.

The Driscolls list what repentance  is not in order to clarify what repentance is.

  • Repentance is not getting caught but coming clean.
  • Repentance is not denying our sin.
  • Repentance is not diminishing our sin.
  • Repentance is not managing your sin.
  • Repentance is not blame-shifting our sin.
  • Repentance is not excusing our sin.
  • Repentance is not about someone else’s sin.
  • Repentance is not about manipulating God or people for blessing.
  • Repentance is not worldly sorrow.
  • Repentance is not solely grieving the consequences of your sin but is hating the evil of sin itself. 
  • Repentance is not mere confession.

The following three things make up repentance:

  • Confession
  • Contrition
  • Change

We take out the trash we bring into your marriages by repenting of how we have sinned against our spouse. We should take this seriously. Denying or ignoring our sin only makes things worse. Putting blame on our spouse as the cause of our sin is childish. Being sorry but not truly hating what we’ve done isn’t real repentance. To repent, we must confess both to God and our spouse, be contrite, seeing our sin as God does, and then we must make a change.

In marriage, repentance has to be continual because we are continually messing up. We can’t keep our love and covenant strong if we stop repenting.

On the other side of repentance is forgiveness. The Driscolls also list what forgiveness is not. I think it is especially important to know what forgiveness is not because it can be a hard concept.

  • Forgiveness is not denying, approving, or diminishing sin that is committed against us.
  • Forgiveness is not naivety.
  • Forgiveness is not enabling sin.
  • Forgiveness is not waiting for someone to acknowledge sin, apologize, or repent.
  • Forgiveness is not forgetting about sin committed against us.
  • Forgiveness is not dying emotionally and no longer feeling the pain of the transgression.
  • Forgiveness is not a one-time event.
  • Forgiveness is not reconciliation.
  • Forgiveness is not neglecting justice.

Forgiveness isn’t so much about your relationship with the transgressor as it is about your relationship with the Lord. Forgiveness is about your heart, not theirs. We are commanded to forgive others as we have been forgiven by God so ultimately forgiveness should be done as an act of worship. When we forgive, we keep bitterness out. Bitterness is a bondage and it can destroy not only our marriages, but ourselves.

We need to repent, forgive, and keep bitterness out of our marriages. To do that, we need to learn to fight well. When in conflict, we need to learn to keep the perspective that our spouse is our friend, not our enemy. The Driscolls offer six “rules” to fighting productively.

  1. You have to decide if your spouse has committed a sin.
  2. Decide how you want to deal with the conflict.
  3. Do not fight when either of you has any substances in you, such as alcohol, that alter your emotional state. (I would also add being aware of other issues, such as sleep deprivation, that could also alter your emotional state).
  4. Before you fight, stop to pray, asking God to be in the midst of your fight, controlling your tongue, and helping you fight for the marriage by attacking the problem and not the person.
  5. Do not use fighting with your spouse as your release valve or lightening rod. (In other words, if you need to relieve stress, don’t do it by arguing with your spouse. Choose another activity that helps you relieve pressure.)
  6. Sometimes a couple simply cannot come to an agreement on an important issue, and it affects their oneness and unity, possibly including their sexuality. In such circumstances humble servants need to ask whether or not the issue is really worth holding their ground on, or if in love with a clear conscience they can defer to their spouses.

To sum it all up, don’t sacrifice your marriage for the sake of your trash. Your marriage is worth a whole lot more.

Reader Question: My Son is Being Bullied

Hey readers! I received my first question from a reader last night and I want to share it with all of you. I will post her message and my response and then I want you to leave your thoughts and advice in the comment section! Please be encouraging, sensitive, and godly in your responses. Thank you!

 

I need help
I just realized that my 2 year old son is getting bullied. One of my dear friend’s children has picked up bad habits from her day care. SonSon is always screaming and fusing when we have play dates with them. Today she hit him numerous times, kept taking just about every toy away from him, and hoarded all the snacks. I saw her hit him once and when I scolded her, she just laughed at me. At first I thought they were both just getting tired since we were close to naptime, but the more I think about it, the worse I feel. I think she thinks it’s normal. She gets spanked by her dad a lot, but it doesn’t seem to help. I love the mom and my husband is good friends with the father, but I don’t want SonSon playing with her if this keeps up. Sigh.

Any advice from experienced mom readers??

– Reader

This was my response:

I am so sorry you are in this situation. I will give you my thoughts and then, if you don’t mind, I will publish your message on my blog and get some feedback from my readers. I will keep your name anonymous for privacy sake.

The behavior of this girl towards your son is unacceptable. Something has to be done, even if that means severing ties with the family. That’s the worst case option though. First I would have a talk with the mother, your friend, and discuss your concerns. Is she seeing how her daughter treats your son? How does she handle it? If she’s ignoring it then that’s definitely a problem. Broach the subject with her and see how she responds. If nothing changes, bring your husband and her husband into it. And if nothing can be done even then, then you need to limit the time your son spends with them.

When and if you speak with them it’s really important that you emphasize how much you care about them and about their daughter but that your priority is the wellbeing of your son. Be careful about coming across as if you are “judging” their parenting. Keep focused on the relationship between your son and their daughter and on creating and maintaining peace.

More than likely the daughter is being treated meanly at day care by other kids and if she is then behaving this way toward your son, she is most likely also behaving this way towards other kids. The problem really does need to be brought to her parent’s attention in a loving and compassionate way. And if they make no effort to discipline their daughter for her behavior and work with her to behave differently, then it is my opinion that your son should no longer spend time with her.

I will gladly post this tomorrow on the blog so you can get more opinions and advice from other moms who are more experienced than me. Just let me know that I have your permission!

I hope and pray you are able to find a good solution for everyone involved that promotes love and peace.

It would behoove you to know that the parents of the little girl have had a really hard time lately so the reader is feeling very burdened for them and doesn’t know how to approach this without creating more grief for them. If any of you can give her some helpful advice and words of encouragement I know she would appreciate it. Also, spend a moment praying for her and this situation.

Real Marriage: The Respectful Wife

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast week chapter three was mainly for the men, encouraging and challenging them to man up and be the leader of their home. This week chapter four was for the women, encouraging and challenging us to be respectful and submissive wives.

I went into this week thinking that I was a pretty respectful wife but the Lord revealed my problem areas to me. He made me aware of how I most disrespect my husband. It all begins with my thought life. I disrespect Kyle when I think negatively about him. And when I disrespect him in my thoughts, those thoughts result in actions or words, and I disrespect him outwardly.

The Lord made me acutely aware of my thoughts about Kyle this week. I caught myself thinking negatively about him and even thinking things about him that weren’t true. I noticed that it effected my attitude towards him and caused me to be disrespectful and unkind towards him. I had to stop and take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ by thinking about what was true about Kyle.

For example, I had Grayson on a hip, I was holding a drink in one hand, had my lunch in another hand, my purse on my shoulder, and I was struggling to grab something else. Kyle stood nearby playing a game on his phone and watching the TV that was hanging above my head. Instead of calling Kyle’s attention to my predicament I got frustrated and thought, “Ugh, I have such an unhelpful husband!” The Holy Spirit immediately convicted me because that thought simply wasn’t true. Kyle had stayed home from work two days that week to take care of me while I was sick and look after our son. He is very helpful, more than most husbands I would argue, but in that moment he just wasn’t paying attention.

I began noticing more thoughts like that the rest of the week and how having those thoughts effected my feelings and attitude toward Kyle. When thinking untruths or even truthful negatives about our husbands, when dwelling on their imperfections, we begin to resent them, be annoyed by them, and be unhappy with them. It’s really hard to be loving and respectful towards someone when we have been thinking badly about them.

My challenge this week has been to be aware of how I’m thinking about my husband and to take any bad thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. I extend this challenge to you. How do you think about your husband? How does it effect you and your relationship with him? What thoughts should you dwell on that will help you better respect him? Take those untruths and replace them with the truth. Don’t create a version of your husband in your mind that is not worthy of respect and then treat him as if he is that version. Focus on what you love about your husband, what is good about him, and see him as the man that God loves and is sanctifying. Respect him first in your thoughts and then you will respect him with your words and actions. Be a wife who “does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:12).