There are so many marriage and intimacy books out there. Many are great, but every so often one comes out that really hits the mark! I cannot express how much I loved The Passion Principles, by Shannon Ethridge (author of the Sexually Confident Wife). It is a much needed book that touches on the vital subjects many couples struggle with!
Shannon answers great questions with scripture and wisdom. The truth is the enemy wants to keep marital sex and intimacy in the dark so there continues to be disillusionment.
Bravo Shannon for following God’s call to speak truth and light into this darkness! Shannon has graciously offered to guest post at OFM and we couldn’t be more honored. It is a four-part series about sex and intimacy that are topics in her book. Enjoy and be sure to pick up a copy of The Passion Principles!
Shannon Ethridge says . . .
How Can We Know What We’re Doing in Bed is Okay?
I like to say that there are three people in your marriage bed – you, your spouse, and God. And as we try to answer the question of “What’s okay in bed?” these are the only three people who have any say in the matter. Not your mother or sister… not your co-workers… not your best friends… just you, your spouse, and God.
God has stated very clearly in His Word what sexual acts are forbidden, which can be categorized as any sort of sexual involvement with someone who is not your spouse. But as far as what is appropriate in the master bedroom (or any other room in the house) of a married couple, nothing in particular is said. Nothing about wearing sexy lingerie, or swinging from the chandelier, or talking graphically to one another, or acting out fantasies together. Nothing.
This is where we come to a crossroads. Are we to assume that just because God didn’t expressly forbid it in Scripture, it must be simply because He forgot? No, that would be heresy in my opinion. That would be humans trying to “add” to the Bible and insisting, “Thus sayeth the Lord . . . or at least He should have said it!”
There was actually a group of human beings that tried that. They were called the Pharisees. They were the “religious elite” in Jesus’ day, and they insisted on “adding” to the high standards that God had already called them to (specifically, through the Ten Commandments). The Pharisees tried to govern, or rather micro-manage, practically everything the people did—such as when they could and could not do certain types of work, what kinds of food could be eaten or offered as a sacrifice, what kind of cloth people could make their clothing from, etc. These were unnecessary burdens on people’s backs, which I’d bet left the Jewish people feeling like big, fat, spiritual failures if my guess is correct. Such rules kept them walking on eggshells, but didn’t inspire them to walk in freedom, which is why Jesus came in the first place—to set people free to worship God in spirit and in truth, not in religious hype and hypocrisy.
We can spend a lot of time stressing over possibly upsetting God in the privacy of our own bedrooms, but in light of how Scripture is silent about such things, I think the more important thing to focus on is what actually did make God upset!
Do you want to know what made Jesus angrier than anything else? It certainly had nothing to do with what women wore for their husbands or what sexual positions they incorporated into their lovemaking routine. It had little to do with the marriage bed at all. It was what the Pharisees were doing to God’s people with their legalistic standards that were impossible to live by. They were adding to what God said was important, putting unnecessary rules and regulations on people’s private and corporate lives. And all of this made Jesus furious!
And while I can’t speak for Jesus, I get pretty furious as well when I hear things from within the Christian community that sound a little something like:
- “Women shouldn’t dress sexy for their husbands or else it will awaken his appetite to look at pornography.” (Funny, I can’t find that in Scripture anywhere!)
- “The missionary position is the only holy way for a married couple to have sex.” (Really? And what passage might that rule be found in?)
- “A man shouldn’t expect his wife to have sex more often than once or twice a week or else she’ll feel ‘put upon.’” (Wow! I don’t recall that being preached in either the Old or New Testament, by any high priest, prophet, or apostle.)
Sentiments like these may be well intentioned, and come from very sincere Christians who love the Lord like crazy, but one can be sincere, yet still be sincerely wrong. And I believe this might be one of the reasons that most of the world does not look at the church as a source of real wisdom when it comes to sexual matters.
So hopefully you can understand why I’m very careful not to tell people what they should or should not be doing in the bedroom. I think if I were to “add” to what God has already clearly stated, I’d be guilty of Pharisee-ism myself. So I simply like to say, “There is freedom in the marriage bed!”
Say it with me—“There is freedom in the marriage bed!” Hallelujah!
Father God, keep me from misguiding others with my own opinions, and show me what freedoms I can embrace and enjoy that I’ve not been aware of in the past. Allow us to thrive, both in marriage, and in our marriage bed.
Want to win a copy of Shannon’s new book??? Leave a comment on any or all of the 4 posts from Shannon over the next week and your will be entered to win. We will pick a winner after her series is done! If you comment on all 4 you will be entered 4 times! (this contest is over, thanks for entering!)