Pastor-teacher Don Hargrove
Faith Bible Church
Monday, March 02, 2009
MARRIAGE: THE As-Zs OF NEVERS:
S-SEXUAL REJECTION, Part 1: Lack of Respect
Sexual rejection in marriage is just the symptom of deeper problems related to lack of intimacy and a soulish connection between a husband and his wife. Solutions related to a dysfunctioning sex life between the husband and the wife go far deeper and require more than simply purchasing some roses, a box of chocolates, a teddy, or having a night out with the honey – not that these things in themselves are bad in any way: they can be wonderful expressions of love or they can be “bribes” designed to change a spouse’s feelings and otherwise sweeten a distasteful marriage. There are no amount of roses or chocolates that can get to the root of the problems related to sex in marriage. It really is all about the mental attitude.
It is the mental attitude that needs to be addressed before one can have a thriving intimate marital life. It is in the mental attitude that contains our thinking, our norms and standards, our volition, and our basic philosophy of what marriage should be. Our mental attitude is also the place where our mental attitude sins reside and wreak havoc on our capacity for life. Our mental attitudes also affect our emotional status in powerful ways. As a matter of fact our mental attitudes are very complex and it is often extremely difficult to ferret out the distinctions between human viewpoint, divine viewpoint, clear thinking, good logic, poor logic, emotions, motives, what is right, etc. Our mental life is intricately connected with all that we think and feel. Our mental life can be compared to a cup coffee after you add the cream and sugar (emotions) and stir it around a bit. Once the mind gets all mixed up is it hard for one to separate the coffee from the cream and sugar as it is to separate our thinking from our feelings. The issue of course is the thinking. It is the thinking that is to “affect” our feelings and not the other way around. The only way to get our thinking right is by going to the Word of God. The solution to any marriage is in the thinking – not in the change of circumstances. As a man thinks in his heart so he is (Prov 23:7). The solution is found in God’s Word which alone transforms the mind in a glorious way (Rom 12:2).
For the next several DDRs we will examine the various passages on marriage and sex so God can get correct and heal our thinking so we can further advance in the greatest relationship on earth.
Let’s begin with the original creation of man and woman,
Genesis 1:27-28 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
God created both man and woman as complete individuals. On the nonphysical side of their nature, they are persons, made in the image of God. They are personalities that are intelligent, rational, free, and accountable. On the physical side, they possess physical bodies including sexuality and the capacity to reproduce. In the command to “be fruitful, and multiply,” we have sex in the creation of man and woman for the purpose of procreation and recreation. This is basic in the plan of God in creation.
Note that both the man and the woman are equally made in the image of God. As equal image bearers of God each husband and wife has a dignity and responsibility to God that is distinct and unalienable. Each husband and wife is to given the respect to live his and her own life before the Lord. There is no place for the husband lording over his wife by bullying or for the wife to lord over her husband by nagging. Each partner is to be given respect as an autonomous person in the area of being in the image of God.
Respect! Unconditional respect! Doesn’t this idea permeate the New Testament? Note that when the husband is told to love his wife as Christ loves the church it is not conditioned on her behavior – it is conditional – it really does not matter about her response or lack thereof.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.
The same is true for the wife. She is to respect him! Unconditional respect! Again, it really does not matter if he is following the Word of God or not. Note God’s Word on the matter,
1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands. 6 Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
When the husband or wife does not respect the spouse the marriage always becomes at best distasteful and at worse torture. Of course this bleeds over into areas of intimacy and sex. How can a man really make love to a woman that he does not respect? How can a woman make love to a man she does not respect? Apart from respect there can be no true intimacy. If sex is just to fulfill lust, then it is not far removed from animality.
It all starts with the mental attitude. We believers do have a distinct advantage over non-believers in the area of respect in two important ways. First it is impossible for unbelievers to view their spouses with respect that is in accordance with being made in the image of God. God is not even part of the picture for the unbeliever.
A second important advantage that we believers have is that we have the LOGOS (Word/Rational/Understanding) in a way that unbelievers do not have. The difference between man and beasts is related to the LOGOS. Animals do not possess LOGOS (Jude 1:10). We not only have LOGOS as human beings, we have the LOGOS, Jesus Christ Himself to teach us, to guide us, to forgive us, to love us, to heal us, and yes conform us to His grand image – the image of the LOGOS. To become like Christ in our thinking not only gives us enormous capacity for life, it enables us to truly give dignity to man and especially to our spouses - a dignity that He actually took time to spell out for us.
The root problem in sexual rejection and lack of sexual enjoyment and intimacy with the spouse can be traced back to a basic lack of respect for that person in some area. Instead of enjoying each other, there is a feeling of being used. Unless corrected this feeling will only grow and lead to further alienation. The solution is always found in getting back to the Word of God and its dynamics. The solution is found in Christ Himself - not others!