Alright fellas, here's the deal. We all know that, when it comes to sex in a marriage relationship, intimacy is a thing. Our wives want intimacy, and if we're being honest with ourselves, we don't always understand what that means. Now keep this in mind, I am in NO WAY pretending to have the answers to how to gratify the personal and emotional facets of sex with your wife. I'm not a doctor, psychologist, psychotherapist, or anything like that. I don't have a bunch of initials after my name. Here's what I do know though. I know that marriage and sex are God's inventions, and He already provided instructions in truth. In this article, we're going to look at what the Bible says about intimacy in marriage; and while that might not speak specifically to the personal and emotional preferences your wives have, it WILL lay a good foundation to build from. When we look to the scriptures, we'll find that God's Word itself is the ultimate comprehensive guide to ensuring sexual intimacy for married men.
Did you know that God is married? Check it out:
"'For your Maker [is] your husband, The LORD of hosts [is] His name; and your Redeemer [is] the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. For the LORD has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused,' Says your God." – Isaiah 54:5-6
We learn A TON about marriage, intimacy, and sex in this portion of scripture. It might not seem like it at first, but if we look at these verses to know who God is as He describes Himself, we'll be able to make some important connections. Keep this in mind though – this article is part of a multi-part explanation of sex according to the Bible. If you haven't read the previous two articles, make sure you do that first. The first article is called, "The Fight Between Christianity and Sexuality," and the second is called, "The Relationship Between Sex And Marriage."
When we look at this passage from Isaiah, we see that God compares His relationship to the nation of Israel, to a marriage. God flat-out calls Himself a husband, but specifically in the context of His identity as the Creator. He calls Himself the "Maker" of Israel. God is the "Maker" of all things, in heaven and earth. However, the scriptures are clear to show that, the LORD has very unique and special purposes for Israel. How God called Abraham (the father of the Jews), and the eternally unconditional covenants that God made with Israel, shows that God desires to use His relationship with Israel, to reveal things about Himself to the entire world. Here, God wants us to know that He didn't make things, just to sit back and watch how things play out by themselves. God is connected and has the desire to be connected to His people to a certain degree – to the degree of a husband to a wife. Intimacy!
We need to think about this dynamic in the context of Genesis since that's the place where God established marriage and His purpose for it. The testimony of God's creative work in Genesis teaches that God created marriage so that a husband can be made "one" with his wife. That's the quality of intimacy we're dealing with here. God established that when a man and woman come together and husband and wife, those two individuals are made "one" in His perspective. God wanted husbands and wives to be unified in their life purpose. They were supposed to be "fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it." This command requires husbands and wives to have sex of course, but there is more to it. This was God's blessing that could only be received in marriage, when married couples follow the parameters of His instructions, intimately.
If God considers Himself like a husband to Israel, then He desires to be "one" with Israel. He is distinctly separate from Israel, but wants to unify Himself with that nation as "His bride." This means that God has the objective to "be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it," with Israel. The quality of unity and "intimacy" that God desires to have with the children of Israel, is supposed to produce fruit, as a blessing, when the parameters of His instructions are followed. When we study God's marriage to Israel, here's what we learn:
God wants to take Israel out of Himself as "bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh"
God is distinctly separate from Israel, but motivated to be "one" with them
God wants to be unified in purpose with Israel
God wants to be fruitful through His purpose with Israel
God wants to provide blessings through the fulfillment of that purpose
This is God's desire as a husband. He wants to be "one" with His bride for a specific purpose. That purpose is spiritual and eternal because God is spiritual and eternal. What's the purpose? To be fruitful with His wife. To multiply with His wife. To fill the earth with offspring that He and His wife produce. To subdue the world with His wife. Since we're dealing with spiritual and eternal principles here, we learn that God's role as a husband is motivated by salvation!
God wants to conform Israel to the likeness of His glory, holiness, and righteousness, through the process of being "one" with them. He wants to be fruitful with Israel, causing them to prosper in His goodness, according to His righteousness, as a testament to His glory, ultimately describing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. He wants to multiply that fruit in Israel, to subdue the whole world in that goodness, ultimately referring to evangelism and discipleship. If this is how God operates in the capacity of a "husband," this is how we should operate as husbands. Intimacy is based on "oneness;" and that oneness should be chiefly motivated with these same spiritual and eternal objectives. Intimacy begins with answering this question:
Why do we want to be with our wives? For spiritual, or fleshly purposes?
Notice how, in Isaiah 54:6, the LORD described the condition of Israel when He took her as His wife. Israel is personified as a woman, but this woman had issues! She was like a "forsaken" woman. She was like a woman who got dumped, neglected, and abandoned, even when she was young and in her prime. She was like a woman who was grieved. She was hurt. She was in pain, and as a result, filled with anger, vexation, and grief.
Is this the sort of description of a woman that piques interest on Christian dating sites? Who wants to be with a woman that has this reputation? God does…
Clearly, as a husband, the LORD is not concerned with the condition of His bride in the present time. He's more concerned with her condition in the future, as a result of the marriage relationship He nurtures as the husband. You don't see the LORD complaining about His bride because of who she is. He took her as a wife knowing very well, what He was getting Himself into. Remember though, God called Israel to be His, based on what they WOULD BE when they're made "one" with Him through their marriage. Then remember, that God's chief focus is spiritual and eternal. That's how God approaches intimacy in a Biblically marital context.
Even though the wife had issues, God's motivation was to bless His wife, by being unified in purpose, and through the work required to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. This is the attitude of intimacy. It begins with our mindset as husbands, to be unified in our purpose – and that purpose needs to be primarily spiritual, and eternally focused. This is why Jesus said these things in John 17:20-23…
"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, [are] in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me."
Jesus taught that the key to eternal life is being made "one" with God The Father. The only way that can happen, is if we are first made "one" with God The Son, Jesus Christ. Faith in the testimony of God's Word concerning the identity, work, and purpose of Jesus, as God-in-flesh, is how anyone becomes "one" with God. Since Jesus is "one" with the Father as the physical manifestation of God, our connection to Jesus connects us to The Father by default.
This is why we can look to Jesus' motives in John Chapter 17, to see the perfect fulfillment of God's role as a husband. Jesus plainly said that He desired to connect people to The Father, to the same degree of "oneness" that He had with the Father. In other words, He wanted people to be saved from sin, death, and hell. He wanted people to be spiritually regenerated, having purified souls by the indwelling of His Spirit, through faith in His work and purpose. He wanted people to be redeemed and restored to the relationship that Adam had with God before sin entered the world. He wanted people to be sinless, holy, and perfectly equipped for worship. He wanted people to have total joy, satisfaction, and blessing through the fulfillment of these things. Jesus said that His desire would be fulfilled, through oneness. Are these the things that we supremely desire for our wives?
This is intimacy in Biblical terms. Notice how Jesus' example of an intimate husband, looks a lot like the role of a priest from the Old Testament. Jesus is an intercessor. He is how people are connected to the goodness and glory of God. He dies to Himself, offering pure sacrifice, for the benefit of those who will be made "one" with Him. That "oneness" produces eternal life, and by extension, the fruit of the Spirit. The language of scripture shows that the principles of sexual intimacy in marriage are WAY bigger than just intercourse and procreation! How can that part of our marriage be satisfying, if we're not chiefly concerned with the condition of our wives' souls?
So, to wrap things up, here's how we should consider the Bible as the ultimate guide to sexual intimacy. Intimacy is a mindset that begins with the husband. As husbands, we need to constantly ask ourselves, are we loving our wives like the LORD loves His bride?
Is our chief focus centered on nurturing a good relationship between God and our wives, by dying to self for her spiritual benefit?
Is our ultimate aim to be unified in our life purpose with our wives, centered on eternal and spiritual things?
Are you setting the tone in your marriage to be fruitful, multiply, fill the world, and subdue it? In other words, are you focused on being unified with your wife to bear the fruit of the Spirit, by walking in the Spirit? Are you focused on being unified with your wife to multiply that fruit through your own family, and/or the people in your life? Are you focused on being unified with your wife to fill the world with the Word of God, so that His righteousness and glory would subdue it, exercising the spiritual gifts that He's equipped you with to do so?
Now here's the catch. You could have these motives, and do everything right, and still not see the results that you think you should. How has Israel responded to the love of God? Still, the important factor about Biblical intimacy is the selflessness that motivates it. Did God select Israel as His "bride" because she would be beneficial to gratify His objectives? Nope! Remember, God selected Israel knowing that they were like a forsaken woman, grieved in spirit, that was refused even in the prime of her life. God wanted to be "one" with Israel, to bless Israel by that oneness. When we jump forward to Jesus' testimony as God-in-flesh, we see the lengths that God went to produce that oneness. He gave His life for the spiritual benefit of His bride who despised, rejected, and crucified Him. Israel's attitude and conduct didn't keep God from doing the work required to bless His people intimately.
We have our work cut out for us as husbands, don't we? I'll leave you with this truth. We can't please God without faith. We need God's Spirit to motivate us rightly, and then equip us rightly. The same is true regarding sexual intimacy in marriage. Since God created man, woman, husbands, wives, sex, pleasure, joy, and satisfaction, He's the One that administrates the function and relationship of these things. The benefits of sex and intimacy are based on God's faithfulness to produce those benefits – not our ability to excel in Biblical intimacy. Pursuing Biblical intimacy should be with the ultimate motive to please God, not your wife. We're simply called to trust that, when we desire to please God above all things, doing things the ways He commands in His Word, He will produce the benefits that His Word describes.
As husbands, if we're trying to improve our sex lives by figuring out this whole "intimacy" thing, this is the foundation we have to build from – faith. Do we trust that God's way is the right way? Do we trust that He will produce the results we're looking for? Do we trust that even if our wives aren't turned on by our efforts in intimacy, God can produce joy and satisfaction for us anyway? The truth is, I've found over the years that, it's harder to answer these questions honestly of myself than it is trying to be "intimate" with my wife. All that to say, this is just another way that the Word shows how much we need to depend on the LORD, at all times, for all things, especially in marriage.
LORD help us to be intimate with You so that we can be intimate with our wives the way You designed!