Celebrating the Spiritual Side Of Sex

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 The passon principlesspouse.  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!)




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26 Responses to Celebrating the Spiritual Side Of Sex

  1. I’m very excited to read these blogs and hopefully the book too! This is something I have always struggled with, and even though hubby and I are working on things my insecurities in the bedroom are a constant sore spot.

    • This is really good stuff! I love hearing about God’s word, and how to apply it in our lives. You have piqued my interest in this book.

    • I may be wrong, but as I read between the lines, it seems your husband is the sexually frustrated one while you are becoming the emotionally frustrated one.

      “This is something I have always struggled with, and even though hubby and I are working on things my insecurities in the bedroom are a constant sore spot.”

      It is particularly distrubing that you describe this as a “constant sore spot.” Your use of those terms say to me that either your husband is very verbal about his disappointments, or that you are giving too much emotional weight to what you feel are inadequacies on your part. Either way, it sounds like you are carrying the heaviest burden in this.

      You well may have inhibitions or limitations that prevent you and your husband from sharing greater intimacy than you currently do, but I would encourage you not be overwhelmed with feelings of guilt as you seem to be. Your heart sounds like it desires to be in service to your marriage. I don’t know whether it is a sense of shame, past abuse, disconnection from you sensual side, or a lack of confidence in your appearance and sexual capabilties that is inhibiting you, but don’t loose faith. Stay in prayer and let God do His work in you and your husband in His time. It may be your marriage needs counseling or therapy as well as prayer. I don’t know of many prayers God answers that don’t require some responding action on our part for them to be fulfilled in completeness.

      I would particularly encourage your husband to deeply pray about his and often. If he is not praying for a change in his heart and relationship with you as often as he is complaining about this “constant sore spot,” you are hubby are not “working on this together.” You are both in the same boat, but you are not working the oars together and you will only continue to go circles. He needs more God in his heart in this issue, I am thinking.

  2. Thank you for your work. I’ve been feeling called to lead a bible study, along with my bride,about the topic at our church. I have a feeling that this book could be a major asset in the planning.

  3. I love that Christians are starting to talk about sex in marriage more and more. Thank you for providing quality resources for us!

  4. I love this!! Something I definitely needed to read! Can’t wait to pick up the book! Thanks!

  5. “The Pharisees tried to govern, or rather micro-manage, practically everything the people did”


    Sometimes I find I have to withdraw from reading “Christian” blogs … you can’t do this and don’t do that … ad nauseum. And read secular sites to find the information needed or just for a breath of fresh air.

    • I hear ya, Robyn! We obviously consider ourselves to be a Christian Marriage blog, but there are are many out there that are discouraging and stifling to us as well. I don’t mean that in a judgmental way, but we seek to be open and honest here. We realize not all of what we share fits with others, and that is ok. It is God’s story he is writing through us! Thanks for commenting and Shannon’s book is so awesome!!!

  6. Yes Shannon’s book is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wife and I are reading this together….. All I can say is WOW WOW WOW WOW

  7. THANKS SO MUCH for the kudos, Kate & Brad! I SO appreciate you helping me spread the word about The Passion Principles, and I pray it’s a HUGE blessing to your readers!!!

    • You are most welcome and we are always glad to partner with you and your ministry! Just plain, amazingly good stuff! 🙂

  8. I love that you are dealing with the dictations that is given by some church people. Growing up in the church, I did not ever hear a single message about sex being a awesome thing inside marriage. It was the hush hush subject, something that was not even discussed.

  9. This post is so much needed. Should be mandatory reading material for all Christian wives and husbands.
    Let the church and Christians in particular not add to or take anything away from what God says w/r/t marriage and the marriage relationship.

  10. Great sentiments. It is sad the this topic is not discussed in the church. We have let the world ‘own’ sex but it was given to us by God. It’s time Christians took this subject back.

  11. I’m thankful to be in a church that encourages marital intimacy, but there is still no direct teaching on it.