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YMJ019: Keep the romance alive in your Christian marriage

Nov 12, 2023You and Me and Jesus Podcast

Keep the romance alive in your Christian marriage

Picture of podcast co-hosts Carey Green & Mindi Green, hugging.

HOSTS: Carey & Mindi Green

What you’ll hear on this episode

[01:58] The Gift of Intimacy in Marriage
[03:32] Adultery as a Betrayal of the Sacred Covenant
[05:44] Considering Each Other’s Needs in Physical Intimacy
[10:21] Nurturing the Relationship with Affectionate Gestures
[12:35] Healing from a painful sexual past

TRANSCRIPT TO FOLLOW (not edited)

Do y’all remember when you got married, the gifts that you received from your guests, from friends and family?
Or maybe you’re not married yet, but you’re putting together that registry.
Right.
It’s exciting to plan with your future spouse what you need and want.
And when you get married and you open your gifts, you’re excited to get the things that you had asked for and also some new things.
And sometimes there’s a special gift that you wouldn’t expect and you treasure that through your years being married.
Yeah, I remember for us there was these crystal glasses that we got that you just especially loved and over the years we’ve used them for special occasions and they’ve one at a time gotten chipped or broken and whatever and we have one left.
One. And we still treasure that thing because it’s such a symbol of that happy time.
Yeah, and sadly, it has a tiny little chip on it, but…
Oh no, I didn’t know. Yes, but I’m gonna keep it. When I packed it up last month, I prayed over it that God would protect it from breaking.
And those gifts are special things, for sure. Yeah, they really are.

The Gift of Intimacy in Marriage

[1:58] But I don’t know if you couples have thought of this, but when we got married, God gave us a gift for our marriage.

[2:04] And that was the gift of intimacy. Yeah, the physical relationship between a man and woman. We often in religious circles or in the church know that there’s a lot of talking and preaching, especially in the youth group, about not having sex outside of marriage. Well, why is that? Well, it’s because God is the one who created physical intimacy, and he intends for it to be a special gift in the context of marriage.
Just like those wedding gifts, you know, you’re supposed to wait until you’re married to create a registry. Well, you’re also supposed to wait until you’re married to engage in physical intimacy with someone else. And there’s a specific biblical reason for that.
It’s not just because it’s in the Ten Commandments. It’s in the Ten Commandments because in the Old Testament Hebraic way of making covenants, which is what a marriage vow is, it’s a covenant you’re making with your spouse and with God. There was always a sign of the covenant or a symbol of the covenant. It was always a tangible, physical thing, that represented this agreement that’s being made between the parties.
Many times it was something like, in one case, it was a shoe that they would give to each other for certain kinds of covenants.
Other times there was an animal sacrifice that was made as the tangible sign of the covenant.
Sometimes they would exchange something with each other as part of the covenant.
In our day, we give rings, kind of as a sign of the covenant and that’s part of it.
But the real symbol of the covenant that God instituted is physical intimacy.

Adultery as a Betrayal of the Sacred Covenant

[3:32] The husband and the wife on their wedding night consummate their marriage through intimacy as the sign that we have entered into this covenant. Which if you think that through, is why adultery is such a terrible crime. It’s such a terrible sin. It’s because you’re taking something that belongs to a sacred holy covenant, and you’re giving it to someone outside the covenant in betrayal of the person that you first gave it to. It’s like you’re taking away the wedding gift that’s so special and giving it to someone else.
Right. It wasn’t meant for that someone else. That’s right. And so I guess the point we’re driving at here is that physical intimacy is a very precious thing that God has given us as man and a wife.
It’s a special gift. And in our sexually saturated world, I think we tend to forget that that’s a special gift from the Lord, and we need to treat it that way. And we need to keep it alive and keep it special within our marriages.
Yeah, that’s right.
It needs to remain the special thing that it’s intended to be.
And we as husband and wife can be and should be intentional about that.

[4:41] Which means we guard it.
We also avoid things that are going to kind of spoil the specialness of it, like sex scenes and movies and things like that, because we want it to be something private between us, something special between us as God intended.
Yeah, like you wives, when you get dressed up and you wanna look your best, you wanna be thinking in your mind, I wanna look my best for my husband.
I wanna turn my husband’s head.

[5:08] Husbands, when you notice that your wives have dressed up for you, make sure you make a big deal out of it.
Yeah, and recognize she’s doing that to appeal to you personally, which is in a way related to this physical intimacy that we’re talking about, because she’s trying to attract you, she’s trying to draw your eye.
Yeah, and so when your wife does that, make sure you talk to her, you go and whisper something into her ear, you know, if the children are in the room.

[5:36] And keep it alive, let her know you’re attracted to her. Let her know that you love it when she dresses up for you.

Considering Each Other’s Needs in Physical Intimacy

[5:44] And I think a part of this that really is at the root of all Christian behavior is communicated in Philippians chapter two, that we are to consider others as more important than ourselves.
This applies in the sexual area as well.
As husband and wife, we’re to be mindful of the other person’s needs and desires in this area and be serving them in those ways.
1 Corinthians 7 tells us in a very interesting contrast of statements that the wife’s body does not belong to her, it belongs to the husband.
And in the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him, it belongs to the wife.
So you see, in a human level, that can sound very contradictory.
It’s like, well, how is anything ever gonna happen if each person owns the other one?
Well, it’s stressing how we have to come together in unity to do this thing right.
And we have to do it in a mindset of consistent consideration for each other.

[6:40] Because what you discuss when you’re first married about things like frequency and preferences and activity and all that kind of stuff, that’s gonna change over time.
Because your bodies are gonna age, your schedule’s gonna change, you’re gonna be fatigued differently as you go through life.
So that’s all gonna change. So you have to have consistent communication about this area.
Recognizing that your needs may change, your spouse’s needs may change, your availability may change, your energy level may change, so you have to keep talking.
With a lot of communication of how can I best love you, spouse, in this area.
Which may mean that as you have those conversations, you recognize my spouse would prefer this activity more than I do.
But I may need to give in that area a little bit, or my spouse may not like it as much as I do, so I may need to give a little in that area.

Cherishing the Gift of Physical Intimacy

[7:31] It’s that considering one another mentality, that we have to come to a balance in as we serve each other.
Right. Sometimes it can be a temptation to see the physical area of a marriage as a negative thing, especially let’s say when- You mean like a bother.
Right. Like when the mom is busy with her little kids all day long, that kind of a thing and it could be a dread. So that’s why it’s so important that there’s communication on both sides with husband and wife, you are considering the other person.

[8:03] And the reason why we wanted to have an episode like this is because we wanna remind you it’s a gift.
Yeah, it’s a special thing.
So how can you cherish it? How can you keep it alive?
In the different circumstances of life that are going to come your way.
Right. I love that example you just gave about the mom with kids hanging on her all day, because we’ve heard that from couples.
We’ve heard the wife say, I have people hanging all over my body all day.
And then he comes home and wants to touch my body too. And it’s hard.
And in those seasons, going back to 1 Corinthians 7, going back to Philippians 2, husbands, you need to have a special consideration for your wife in that season of life.
And seek to understand her, as 1 Peter 2 says. Seek to live with her in an understanding way.
Not insisting on, no, your body’s mine. You have to do what I say.
No, it goes the other way too. You have to consider what’s best for her and for you.
And then wives need to consider the needs of their husband so that his needs will be met, and it’s gonna be sacrificial sometimes.
And that’s okay. That’s what love is. Yeah, love is sacrificial, which means also love is like Jesus.
Right. Because he was sacrificial in the way he loved.
And as believers in Christ, we are to imitate our master.
We’re to live out sacrificial love toward each other as husband and wife.
And it applies in this realm, just like every other realm.

Sexual intimacy is a serious thing to God. He gave it as a precious and holy gift that represents each partner's commitment to their marriage. Work to keep it a beautiful symbol of the vows you made.

Living Out Sacrificial Love in Physical Intimacy

[9:25] So how does a couple keep this special gift alive or how do they treasure it just on a day-to-day regular basis?

[9:34] And is that important to do? I think that’s something that we as couples need to think about.
Because I can leave you working in your office all day long, and we might touch base and talk about this or that or have lunch together and eat and then go back to our work.
But how can I keep our special gift that the Lord has given us alive in our relationship?
There’s many ways that the husband or wife can do that.
For example, there’s times I’ll walk by your office door and I’ll just come in there and, I’ll give you a hug or I’ll give you a kiss. That’s one way you’re keeping it alive.
You’re kind of bringing it to the surface saying this is a special thing between the two of us.
We feel close in more ways than just through communication.

Nurturing the Relationship with Affectionate Gestures

[10:21] You might do the same thing and I’m just doing the dishes or something and you’ll come up behind me and hug me and give me a kiss or tell me you love me or tell me you think I look beautiful or something like that.

[10:33] We’re nurturing that area of our relationship. Or another example, we might be at our small group meeting and we’re across the room and you might wink at me across the room and smile and that makes me just feel like you love me and you’re attracted to me and I’m who’s important in the room, and that kind of a thing.
Yeah, I think those are all great examples and it’s learning to just be aware of each other and cognizant of how you can communicate on this level in a way that highlights the special gifts that exist that no one else knows about.
I mean, people know about it, but they don’t know about it, you know?
And so you’re keeping it front and center for the two of you as you go through the regular stuff of life.

Importance of Affection in Front of Children

[11:16] I remember recently, I can’t remember what the context was, but one of our sons saying how he always felt it was cute, how we were always huggy and kissy in front of the kids and gave him a sense of security, a sense of happiness about his home because his mom and dad were clearly in love.
And you don’t involve your kids in this area very much, but to that extent, it’s even a blessing to them.
Yeah, and there’s times when you see couples, well, they’ll sit next to each other on the couch and the husband puts his arm around the wife.

[11:51] And I always think that’s really special because I think they love each other, they like each other, But there’s other times when there’s couples and they sit across the room most of the time and I never see them touch, hold hands.
The husband put his arm around her and I just wonder, is that area of their relationship dying?
Are they not treasuring that gift the Lord has given them? Yeah, and of course there could be different explanations for that, including personality and background and all that.
But the point we’re trying to get at is, what can you do intentionally to communicate to your spouse, that this is still a special thing to you, and you value it and treasure it, and you value that it’s with her or with him, that you share this gift.

Treasuring the Gift of Physical Intimacy and Healing from Past

[12:35] Yeah, that’s so good. And I think there are definitely times when you could feel that this, area is kind of fading or dying or life gets busy and you just aren’t mindful of being, very affectionate with one another. I think this is just a good reminder, wake up call for you couples who might be in that place, to bring it back alive. Have fun with your spouse delighting in this gift and delight and be thankful to the Lord that He’s given it to you.

[13:11] Put those young 20-year-old feelings and smiles back on your face as you enjoy one another.
Yeah, and as you’re saying that, I know that there is the sad reality for many that this gift has not been treasured just between the two. Maybe there was fornication before marriage that happened.

[13:29] Relationships before marriage with other people. Maybe there was adultery that’s happened since you’ve been married, but you’re still married and you’re pursuing it, and now this area has become a constant reminder or a constant piece of baggage that you’re carrying. And we want to give you hope that there are ways you can deal with those sorts of realities in your past that, bring a freshness back to this area. And it’s like any other area of sin in which we find ourselves or in which we’ve purposefully walked into, it’s called confession and repentance.
And in the case of sexual things like this, I think renouncing the relationships and the bonds that have been made with that other person, because the book of 1 Corinthians also talks about when we join sexually with someone, we are one body with them.
There is a spiritual connection that happens that needs to be renounced and broken.
And we need to confess to our spouse, even if it happened before you got married, it was a sin against them, against your unity that you have right now in your marriage, and confess to the Lord. It’s through our confession that we’ll find healing.
Yeah, the book of James says, confess your sins one to another that you may be healed.

[14:46] And so if we want healing in this area so that the treasuring special sort of feelings can come back. Confession needs to happen.
And then move forward in hope, knowing that God has blessed you with the gift still in the, marriage that you have now, and treat it as a pure and holy gift.
Exactly, which honestly may be a battle for a while, especially if you’re the one who was offended against. When it comes back up, you’re going to have to remind yourself, no, he confessed, she confessed, I forgave. The Lord forgave. I’m not going to let myself feel resentful or hurt or whatever. I’m going to press forward and treat this like the sacred, holy, wonderful thing that it is between us.

[15:36] That’s hard. That’s very hard. But it’s hard work that will yield tremendous fruit as we pursue it in the Lord’s strength. Because Christ came and died for us to make all things new. And so your, unity has been tainted in any way within your marriage that you’re in right now or from things in the past, Christ wants to make it new.
I love that. He’s in the process even now of redeeming the effects of sin and bringing it all back to a place of what it’s intended to be. I love that you brought that up.

[16:15] And that’s a great note to end on. Yeah.
I think in this area, we all need prayer because it’s something like you said that can fall off the radar or that can be overly emphasized because the culture we live in in an unhealthy way.
And so we need God’s wisdom and we need God’s balance in understanding this well.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Our Father, we are grateful for Your pursuit of us. We can’t express enough what a great grace and mercy that is, and I know all of eternity will be spent thanking you and praising you and recognizing the broad implications of every bit of Your pursuit, Lord. Thank You for that. We ask that You would enable us as believers in Christ, as men and women who have Jesus living in us, to release ourselves from the bondage of insecurity or intimidation or fear or whatever is keeping us from pursuing our spouse, and to begin taking those baby steps by faith. Empower us to do so by Your grace, Amen.

A prayer for pursuing your spouse (1)

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