“Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”—I Corinthians 7:3-5 (NKJV)
“To hear many religious people talk, one would think God created the torso, head, legs and arms, but the devil slapped on the genitals.”—Don Schrader
“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”—Matthew 13:19-23 (NKJV)
A lot of us hear (and quote) that the anointing breaks the yoke. The actual biblical phrasing is, “The yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil” (Isaiah 10:27). While I do pray that this message will shed some “anointed light” on a particular part of yahasey min (Hebrew for “sexual relations”) that continues to seem to be kept in the dark (and in darkness, spiritually, evil dwells-Proverbs 4:19), I personally think it could/would/should only help marital covenant partners to anoint one another prior to entering the marital bed…on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, there really seems to be a lot of non-Christ-like yokes (Matthew 11:30) up in there! I truly believe that if people will open up their minds to receive this message, though, that the Lord will enlighten their darkness (Psalm 18:28). After all, he created sex. ABBA. CREATED. SEX.
However, as I was reading some statistics on sex in America, really, if there’s any place where the Liar’s (John 8:44) lies are believed, if there’s any place where pure selfishness and flesh exist, it would be when it comes to this issue. It’s too big of a beast to tackle in one devotional and so I will just address a couple of statistics that I came upon as it relates to husbands and wives: Ishs (Hebrew for “man” and “husband” interchangeably) and Ezer Kenegdos (Hebrew for “wife”):
Marriage.About.Com reported that while Americans have sex more than any other place in the world (a real shocker, right?), couples shackin’ up have it about 146 times per year; singles, 49 times per year and married people? In between: 98 times per year (is there still 365 days in a calendar year? I thought so!-LOL).
A 2003 Durex study revealed that people who actually do have a semi-frequent sex life are those who have sex mostly in the summer, winter or after a fight (sounds like when things are…extreme) and that 48% of women admitted to faking an orgasm (faking something is lying! Lying is sinful-I Timothy 1:8-11).
What I also appreciated about the Durex study is that it provided some physical and emotional reasons as to why these stats may be what they are. Two of the emotional ones were that 1) couples may have unresolved differences that prevent them from enjoying sex together and 2) many tend to have unhealthy attitudes about sex—one spouse may have been raised to think that sex is more of a duty than something to derive pleasure from. Yet, after hearing some of the “spiritual warfare marital sex stories” that people often share with me (I think it’s because I am so open about the topic and I love doing research on it), I implore us all to consider another option…angle…perspective as to why many couples may be struggling so much sexually:
1) People don’t think that James 3:16 (NKJV) applies to the marriage bed: “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”
2) The lead Scriptures for today are ill-defined.
After prayer and pondering (Proverbs 4:26), I believe this is what the Comforter (John 14:26-AMP) wants me to address (Luke 12:12) today. Indeed, where there is clarity (Matthew 7:7-8), there is oftentimes comfort.
Men Are Formed. Women Are Built.
The reason why this message is entitled, “The Marital Bed: Built (and Formed) to Last” is because in hearing the stories of others, both husbands and wives, who are…let’s just say currently dissatisfied with their sex lives, because an ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure, I often find myself doing all that I can to help others…and prepare myself. What I discovered last night was brilliant. Simply brilliant! It’s kind of another subject for another time but it amazes me how, even some marital covenant couples (Genesis 2:24-25, Malachi 2:15, I Corinthians 6:8-10), without realizing it, have a homosexual spirit in their bedroom. Physically, they may not want to engage in intimacy with the same sex yet emotionally and mentally, that seems to be exactly what they desire…or are at least trying to achieve. In other words, we are made differently for a reason and it goes way beyond our genitalia. We should embrace that, not manipulate it. My discovery yesterday helps to confirm this fact:
“A substantial amount of rabbinical interpretation of the Bible is derived from the relation between root words. For example, the rabbis concluded that G-d created women with greater intuition and understanding than men, because man was ‘formed’ (yitzer, Gen. 2:7) while woman was ‘built’ (yiben, Gen. 2:22). The root of ‘built,’ Beit-Nun-Hei, is very similar to the word ‘binah’ (Beit-Yod-Nun-Hei), meaning understanding, insight or intuition.”—JewFaq.Org
Men were formed (came from a mold). Women were built (to establish, increase, strengthen). Put those two things together and it could very well mean that a woman/wife was brought into man/husband’s life to increase and strengthen his mold. That would like a lot like favor, right (Proverbs 18:22)? I mean, could there not be a marriage conference held on this gem of insight, alone? However, what I really wanted to focus on for a moment is that this writing says that the root of the Hebrew word for “built” is very similar to the Hebrew word for understanding, insight and intuition. And husbands, what does the Word say?
“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”—I Peter 3:7 (NKJV)
Fellas, this is not a suggestion. This is a command. You are “to live or continue in a given condition or state” of “knowledge of or familiarity with” your Beloved; you are to work to obtain a “skill in dealing with or handling” her. There are consequences when you don’t. Prayers are hindered.
At the same time, ladies, you are not off of the hook. Proverbs 14:1 (NKJV) says that “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” Last I checked, most peoples bedrooms were in their homes (LOL). Again, interesting (and I’m sure not happenstance—Proverbs 16:33-AMP) that a woman was built and then in turn, King Solomon was inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to pen that a wise woman builds her home. She is entrusted to establish, increase and strengthen it. She is “to make in a particular way or for a particular purpose” the place in which she and her Beloved live. That’s a lot of power, ladies that we are entrusted with. Submission (Ephesians 5:22) has its place. Strength does as well (Proverbs 31:17 & 25).
Yet while sexual relations, in El Berith, the God of Covenant’s design was only to be for married people, other statistics reveal that 1) sex is the #1 topic researched on the Internet; 2) 22% of men have strayed at least once in their marriage and 14% of woman have done the same; 3) adultery affects one of every 2.7 couples…and yet 90% of Americans believe that adultery is morally wrong (womansavers.com/infidelity-statistics.asp). It’s wrong to do it, yet so many people (whether physically or emotionally) are. Obviously, sex is a big deal. Just not where it matters most.
And, this is what takes us to the two points that the Comforter led me to.
(Solely) Self-Seeking Sex Is Confusing. Oh, and Evil.
If there’s any place that service and humility should be present, does it not seem like it would be the marital bed? Hebrews 13:4 tells us that the marriage bed is undefiled. This means it’s pure. It’s free from anything that’s contaminating. It’s clear and true. It’s free from guilt (Romans 8:1). It’s (yep…see why we all shoulda waited until marriage?) “independent of sense or experience”. In other words, it’s moral and righteous. You don’t bring your sexual past (in word or deed) into the marital bed. You don’t make comparisons in the marital bed. And your ego? Yeah…check that, preferably at the front porch as well (LOL). Real talk? You can’t be prideful and pure at the same time (trust me, I’ve tried many times. Epic fail). The Bible says that he who has clean hands and a pure heart will receive a blessing from the Lord (yahasey min is a blessing from the Lord—Psalm 24:4-5) and while this actually is in reference to how elders are to treat members of the Church, because “elder” also means someone who is in a higher ranking (and ladies, it does say that we are to be honored as the weaker vessel…keep it all in context and exhale-LOL), I think I Timothy 5:22 could should applied as well: “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.”
A lot of the wives that I talk to? They feel like their partners have sex at them rather than with them; like they are a sex object and not a covenant partner. This can only be because either envy (wanting some form of lust you used to engage in or that you witness outside of your marital bed-I John 2:16) or self-seeking exists. On a good day, that’s confusing. On a bad night? Pure evil (Satan is self-seeking and selfish, is he not?-John 10:10). When you’re just out to “get yours” in marital covenant, yep, because a woman is to be handled with understanding, it often confuses her (and God doesn’t cause confusion, remember?-I Corinthians 14:33); even when it doesn’t, the Word says that it’s morally wrong, it’s harmful, it’s injurious, it’s…disastrous. See how the Liar flips it? You think by making you the priority in sexual pleasure that it’s not a set up. The Word tells us just the opposite. When you seek for self, misfortune and suffering, which can come in the form of a series of unfortunate sexual experiences, are a shoe-in…one way or another…one time or another.
Galatians 5:13 (NKJV) encourages, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” The freedom that God gives husbands and wives to engage in yahasey min is not so they can act like some street-corner pimps or prostitutes…it’s not so they can reenact some scene from their sexual past (marriage is in Christ and so even your marital bed should be a new creation-2 Corinthians 5:17). Flesh should not be the focus of marital relations. Actually, covenant sex should tame the flesh because it’s a spiritual (spirit-ritual) experience. It’s an opportunity for mutual service…through true love. Married sex should be filled with mutual patience and kindness…hope and yep, endurance (I Corinthians 13:4-8). It’s not a performance. It’s a sacred event.
Which is what brings us to point #2.
Affection and Authority Are (Top) Priorities
Why, oh why, do wives trip about their husbands having authority over their bodies? It’s not like their husbands came up with that. They need to take that up with his Creator! However, after you see one definition of the Word, I think you’ll realize that your Father is in your corner more than you may give him credit for!
However, let’s deal with another “A” word, first: Affection.
Husbands, you do see that while mutual affection is to be present that the Lord shouted YOU out first, right? To “render” something is to exhibit or show it. You are admonished, by God, to show a “fond attachment”, “devotion” and “love” for your helpmeet. You are to be tender (in word and deed) towards her. You are to care for her, show concern for her, extend friendship and warmth towards her. This is how she feels desired (“desire” is another definition of affection). This is what sets the stage for (healthy) passionate (“passion” is a definition of affection too) experiences. And fellas, remember that she was BUILT. She has an intuition, a keen insight, of when things are not sincere. If your sex life is not what you desire (and yes, a doctor work-up couldn’t hurt, either), this is something that should be explored. How…God that the Word would mention a couple being affectionate before they should not deprive one another. How…man that a lot of us would try and overlook this fact. And, check the Scriptures again. The Word does not say, “Do your wife a solid and be nice to her for once.” It says that affection is something that’s due. When something is “due” it’s (whew!) “owing or owed, irrespective of whether the time of payment has arrived”. This means that it’s not an “If this then” situation. You are to be affectionate towards her even when she’s not towards you. Yes, the Word says that she is to be as well…oh, yet what would marriage be like if they all were mutual and balanced all of the time? Serving your wife is serving the Lord. Sick of doing that? Yeah, there’s a Word for that as well:
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”—Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)
And what you may reap is what brings us to the other “A” word: Authority.
Yeah, I know that women often cringe at this part of the program (although, you do know that you have authority over your husband’s body as well, right? Are you taking it?); however, I think people often think of the word being defined as “the power or right to delegate”. To me, when it comes to sex, especially since our flesh and spirit lust against one another (Galatians 5:16-17), that sounds like it can lead to some idolatry (I Corinthians 10:14) if people are not careful to keep things in a godly perspective. No, actually, I think the definition that better fits this situation is “an expert on a subject”.
In covenant, a man should become an expert on his wife and her needs and a wife should do the same for her husband. Becoming your spouse’s (sexual) authority means that you are making it a point to develop special distinctive and extensive skills as it relates to your partner. Another definition of “expert” is that you’re “trained by practice”. In other words, no one should know your spouse like you do…in every way. Absolutely no one. Becoming an expert doesn’t happen overnight, either (hence, the “trained by practice” part). To become one you must be “able”, “dexterous” and “knowledgeable”. Now, to be an expert re: someone else’s body? To know them as well, if not better, than they do themselves? Um, that takes some mad humility because that means you have to be willing and ABLE to listen and learn. The Lord says that if you acknowledge him, he will direct you (Proverbs 3:6). Hmph. He also said he has no use for the prayers of those who do not listen to him (Proverbs 28:9-Message). Don’t be so prideful in thinking that you know what’s best, that you are an expert, just because you hold a certain title. A lot of us get hired for a job. It’s after that that the real work (James 2:14-26) begins.
No wonder the “old school translations” of the Bible say that couples “knew” each other, huh? Can you really partake of the true pleasures of marital sex without knowing someone? Wives, without embracing that your husband was molded (someone or something that serves to illustrate the typical qualities of a class; model; exemplar) from the image of Elohim? Husbands, without celebrating that your wife was built, by that same Godhead, to aid in strengthening your mold? Couples, without making affection a lifestyle and authority a priority?
Yes. The Word does say that couples are not to deprive one another. That’s also not a suggestion but a command. However, it’s not just about not gettin’ any. When someone is deprived, it means they are going without a certain kind of enjoyment or pleasure. TO FEEL DEPRIVED OF SEX, YOU MUST ENJOY IT…first. You don’t just give room for the Enemy (I Peter 5:8) by not engaging in yahasey min, but by not engaging one another, period. When affection and authority are in place, when envy and self-seeking do not exist…when clean hands and a pure heart are the focus, joy and pleasure are sure to follow! The Word says that the Lord does not take pleasure in wickedness (Psalm 5:4) but in the prosperity of his servant (Psalm 35:27). Couples, you are to serve one another.
My prayer is that this message was received in the spirit that it was given: love and faith that joy and peace will be restored in sexually-broken marriages; some that I know of, some that I don’t. I love the lead quote because we, as a Church, have done a HUGE DISSERVICE to many by not addressing the plan and purpose for sexuality (“Sacred Sex” by Tim Alan Gardner, “Sex God” by Rob Bell and “Sheet Music” by Kevin Leman are all great reads on the issue). The devil wants the world to abuse it and us to not respect it; for us to act like to came from him and not the Creator. On a lot of levels, he has been succeeding.
Don’t let him in your marriage. Remember, greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world (I John 4:4) and what God has joined together, let no man (or evil entity) separate (Matthew 19:6). Let NO ONE divide, force apart, disconnect…cause you to go in a different direction than your Beloved (Amos 3:3).
Marriage was supposed to last until death parts you. Sex is apart of marriage.
Both, without question, were built (and formed) to be the ultimate. To be exclusive.
They were built (and formed) to last.
©Shellie R. Warren/2010