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Intimacy: You Want to do What?

Culture today often sends conflicting messages about marital sexual intimacy. As a result, there is a lot of confusion about what is and isn't appropriate sexually in a marriage.

But there is a way to clear things up. When you look at the right source, the Bible, and trust in it entirely - you will be able to see which way is best in your relationship as husband and wife.

In this first part of a 2 part series from Dr. Randy Carlson and, you'll see how Scripture can encourage you to know what is the right and wrong attitude to have sexually in your marriage. In part 1, we'll look together at a very familiar passage on sexuality and break down what it tells us. In part 2 you'll see how those verses apply directly to your life so you can improve and even develop the sexual intimacy in your marriage as you abide by its teaching!

Sexual Intimacy Part 1

In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, you discover that how you should relate to your spouse sexually is mapped out clearly and concisely.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says:

"The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

One of the most significant things about this passage is the very first sentence: "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband," where you find that God wants the relationship to be completely reciprocal. God doesn't say only the wife should fulfill her duty sexually to her husband. And He doesn't say only the husband should fulfill his duty to his wife. It works both ways.

The next few sentences, "The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer," provide some instruction on how exactly to fulfill the sexual duties spoken of in the previous sentence. A man and his wife are not to withhold sexual relations from each other. They are also to feel comfortable when they are with each other. To do this fulfills their obligation to each other.

Finally, the passage ends with, "Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

It's clear isn't it? If you aren't praying, then you should fulfill your duty to one another sexually as commanded by God. To do otherwise will open yourself to be tempted by Satan's ways, whether you think you're vulnerable or not to lust or sexual immorality. Even if your spirit is willing to be obedient, your flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).

1 Corinthians 7:3-5 shows a husband and wife are to be with each other sexually and should do so without hesitation - as commanded by God. And they need to do so willingly as instructed. This provides a protection in their marriage from temptation to do evil.

But how does understanding the basics of 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 help your sexual intimacy with your spouse? Stay tuned for Part 2 on this two part series as I show you practical applications of this scripture passage that will help your intimate connection get better! I will show you the strategies to knowing what is appropriate or inappropriate in marital intimacy and how to get to a genuine comfort level in your intimacy.

Sexual Intimacy Part 2

God wants you to depend upon Him and His Word first and foremost. When you do, it means you trust in Him. It also means that you're tapping into His instruction about how to create the appropriate sexual intimacy that your marriage may desperately need. The following three strategies of Part 2 will help you understand how to do just that!

1) One of the best ways to create appropriate sexuality in your marriage is to first base it on the Bible, and then develop an emotional bridge between the two of you.

The way you do that is to be open and honest with each other about your needs, your desires and to be respectful of each other's wishes. That doesn't mean you need to over exert your position - remember, you need to be respectful, not hurtful. But in order to trust each other you have to be honest and put your deepest, most private thoughts about sexuality on the table.

That may be hard to do at first. In fact, it's sometimes more difficult for couples who've been married longer to open up with one another about sexuality than it is for newlyweds. But that's only because you've already developed a shared history. Be encouraged, though - because once you do speak with each other candidly about your feelings, your emotions, and about what you desire in your sexual relations - your intimacy will improve greatly. Give it a try. You'll be surprised at how the clear expression of your desires will effectively draw your spouse closer to you.

2) A second method of creating the right kind of sexual intimacy is to be considerate, thoughtful and kind in your approach with your spouse.

The only way you can do that is by remembering that your marriage represents Christ's relationship with the church, His body of believers. It is then your actions toward each other will be positive and fruitful.

3) Finally, speak with your spouse intimately with confidence!

Your spouse is the person you should share everything with, not only to build your relationship but also as a protection from temptation. When you share with your spouse and feel compelled to talk only with them about your deepest sexual thoughts and desires, you are convicted by your own behavior. It is then that you know and understand that revealing an intimate thing sexually with anyone else is wrong. Satan waits for your fall as though it is a certainty. Only through your constant watch and abiding in God's Word will your marriage not fall into his evil hands.

The 7 Ways to Love Your Marriage

I say there are some powerful keys to understanding how to love your marriage, and making sure that you are encouraging and strengthening your marital relationship as God would have you do. One of the easy ways to remember that God should come first in how you behave and live in your marriage is to remember that you are a part of your marriage, "You are NOT the entire marriage!"

What does that mean? Well, for starters I think that sometimes people get a little selfish in marital relationships. Over time, or frankly even as newlyweds, you forget that you love the person you married. You chose - and God chose for you - to have this wonderful person you are married to, but life and other things get in the way. Eventually, you begin to think you are the only person in the marriage that matters.

Here's the truth, though...your spouse cares for you and you need to make sure you care for your spouse. Even the tiniest thing you do - which you may think doesn't even matter - may carry great significance to the person you are married to. Your consideration for you marriage is monumental in helping your marriage succeed. Whether it means coming home on time from work like you promised, or simply saying the key words your spouse enjoys hearing, it is important you put your spouse first.

Along those lines, I am providing you today with the seven ways to show your spouse that you love them. If you follow these principles, you'll be much happier. You'll get a better picture and understand that, indeed, there are two of you in this marriage...together!

Now, some of these steps may seem obvious, but I'll tell you right now, they require your attention and active participation in order to work.

1. Strengthen your commitment to God through fellowship, prayer and trust.

2. Make a commitment to be whatever your marriage needs to succeed.

3. Clearly state the problem your marriage is having today, or the dream you have for your marriage tomorrow!

4. Attach a price tag to every decision - remember, there is a price to act, and there is a price to NOT act. What are you wiling to spend?

5. Percolate the options - find the help of a counselor, pastor, pastor's wife or whoever can understand and give professional helpful counsel.

6. Let it simmer (unless it's an emergency). This will build conviction, clarity and passion.

7. Begin to "Love Your Marriage." Do it consistently and lovingly.

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