OUR HOUSE: The Bedroom
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children
and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us
and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
Dear Matthew and Simona,
I sit in my tiny cabin in the woods and I wonder what you’re thinking as I write these words about intimacy and sexuality. Are you understanding the depth and beauty of intimacy? Do you get the need for purity?
You’ve both been so patient… and encouraging as I’ve stumbled my way through writing about The Bedroom. These are words I want to say, words I know need saying— but still… it feels awkward and just a little uncomfortable.
Matt, with your wide-open way of guileless transparency, you invited me into the fringes of your conversations with your dad about every man’s struggle. Listening to the two of you talk only increased my respect for you— for both of you.
I got to listen as you and your dad talked about…
why to stay pure and…
how to keep yourself pure and…
when that commitment to purity got hard and …
what to do then.
I think sometime last year when you and Simo were engaged we started talking about purity beyond virginity. About staying pure when you’re married and actively invited into a full expression of sexuality. I remember the look on your face that meant, What in the world are you talking about, Mom?
Somehow we get the idea stuck in our heads that purity and virginity are one and the same. That marriage solves the struggle. Not true.
Not even close.
In fact, I would argue that the giving away of one’s virginity opens the door to a life long struggle for purity. Because sex is just so great, so satisfying, so right and good and… okay, you know what I mean. And because of that something in us always wants more.
Yet God’s design for sexuality always requires intimacy. And intimacy takes work.
Intimacy is inconvenient.
Intimacy begs for humility and consideration and an extra shower and…
More effort than sometimes you’re up for.
And in creeps the temptation to take a short cut. To forego intimacy in favor of pornography… and masturbation… or fantasy… or to be in some subtle way less available to each other because all the giving implicit in the intimacy part of sexuality just seems exhausting sometimes.
What do you do when you want sex, need sex, crave sex… but things aren’t working for the two of you and you’ve not enough energy to solve it all right now.
That’s real life. Normal life. Less-than-ideal-life.
Here’s my list of…
What To Do When Real Life Interrupts Real Sex:
1. Surrender your body to God, allowing Him full control over your sexuality— whether that means you want more from your spouse or you’d prefer less.
2. Be careful not to hold back on sex as a sort of barometer of your relationship. In other words, be willing and warm even when the other is being a little… unlovable.
3. Make a covenant with each other to be committed to fully meeting each other’s sexual needs. Which means masturbation is out. You’ve got each other for that now. Don’t be embarrassed— you love each other.
4. Talk about that. Be honest. Be kind. Be welcoming. Laugh a little. It’s not the loving thing to do to be silent or subtle about your need and then try to meet it yourself.
5. Be creative in sexually loving each other when real life makes real sex challenging or impossible. This is your way of honoring each other’s genuine need for sexual expression within the safety of just the two of you.
6. Never, ever, ever, look at pornography. Ever. That’s not real. It will sicken your appetite for satisfying sexuality. It will destroy your confidence in each other’s ability to delight and satisfy.
7. Stay faithful. Don’t even let your mind go there— banish lustful imagination or fantasy. If you’re attracted to someone else, avoid them like the plague. Focus on each other. Flirt only with each other. Keep wooing and wanting and watching out for each other.
You both want that rare and beautiful treasure: a lifetime of love. Never give up on that. Do what it takes. Stay faithful.
Give and give and give and then give just a little more.
Keeping your selves pure and your bedroom vibrant is an investment in the future of your relationship, in the future of your family, in the writing of your story.
From a heart that wants so much for you,
P.S. For those who are reading:
What can your husband do to open up this area of your lives for an honest clearing of the air?
What can your wife do to show you she means it when she says she “wants all of you”?
 If you do get caught in that hard to avoid web of porn, get help. Seriously, don’t try to undo it on your own. At our church and at many others there are groups of men— and women, who meet together for accountability and freedom over the death lock of pornography. Be brave enough to join them.
(image by Hillary Kupish)