Questions from the “Under Construction” marriage conference at Grace Bible Church in Ann Arbor, MI.
We were not able to answer all the questions that were texted to us during our breakout at the Under Construction marriage conference at Grace Bible Church in Ann Arbor, MI. In this blog post we have provided answers to the questions we were unable to address.
Q: Sex is almost always scheduled for us because our jobs are crazy and we have a little one. Is that okay? Or should our relationship foster more spontaneity?
A: It’s great that amidst your busy schedules, you have made it a priority to carve out time for intimacy together. If this is working for you then it is absolutely okay! You are the co-authors and co-architects of your sex life together. Your sex life is your sex life. The worst thing you can do is try to compare it to what you perceive other couples are doing or some unattainable idealized expectation. Check in with each other about how your current arrangement is working out for both of you. Are you both honestly comfortable with this and enjoying your sex life together? Sometimes this can be personality driven regarding preferences to scheduling versus spontaneity. Scheduling will give you the opportunity to look forward to a day and time for intimacy together; spontaneity can be a great surprise to both of you. As you discuss what works well right now, be ready to adjust as your life stage, schedules, and other factors change.
Q: What one thing made the biggest difference in having a healthy, thriving sex life over the years?
A: Time and time again we hear that “great communication makes for great sex.” Work on your relationship outside of the bedroom. If your spouse isn’t already your best friend, take steps to achieve that relationship goal together. Have fun together. Let your spouse know that he/she is important to you and desired for who he/she is right now. Talk about what each of you enjoy and do not enjoy during sex. We recommend that you have sex frequently – whatever you define that to be – as you are able to do in your current context and understand that will change as time goes one.
Q: Could you dive more into what’s the difference between biblical sex and cultural sex? Is there overlap? Or the difference between objectification and cherishing?
A: American culture has cheapened sex. Rather than the fulfilling connection of two people committed to each other “knowing” one another, it is treated as a mere animal instinct. Sex in the mass media is communicated as an irresistible force rather than the thoughtful passion of two people communicating love to each other. Secular culture views sex as merely a hormonal response to stimuli. Humans are viewed as no different from other animals with an irresistible sex drive that must be addressed. Ultimately, our culture says that sex is first and foremost for pleasure and secondarily for procreation. The life-long bond that sex is designed to create and maintain is rejected as backwards and a vestige of puritanical repression. The Bible, on the other hand, proposes a very high view of sex. It is an act of love and commitment between two people. It celebrates sex as a means of procreation, pleasure, and maintaining a life-long bond.
With regard to the difference between objectification and cherishing, author Gary Thomas has the quote “Use sex to cherish your spouse; do not use your spouse to cherish sex.” That means that God has given humankind the act of sex as the ability to communicate love and cherish your spouse. Objectification, instead, is using a person for your own gratification; with objectification there is no mutuality between the spouses but it is self-centered and self-serving. Ultimately we use our spouse to cherish sex when we focus on our own pleasure and sexual release. We use sex to cherish our spouse when we focus on connection, intimacy, and transparency through the physical union of our bodies.