[From Julie] This chapter deals with the many sexual questions and concerns that the Driscolls have faced over the course of their ministry. Simply put, couples (Christian or not) often have serious issues when it comes to the sexual part of their relationship. If you want a healthy relationship you need to develop a way to talk about what you do as part of your sex life.
The church has historically ignored any discussion or counsel regarding sex play in a marriage relationship. Sex has been treated as a “necessary evil,” or at the very least, something that is not discussed in polite (read: moral) conversation. Churches rarely provide guidance for healthy sex practices within marriage. We don’t hear about sex from the pulpit (unless you go to my church!) The truth is that a healthy sex relationship is playful and experimental when practiced within a biblical framework.
Here’s what I mean: God invented sex. He invented it to be a blessing shared by a man and a woman within a covenant relationship. There are lots of choices in what you can do as part of that sex relationship. How do you evaluate the choices that you have? Noel and I would encourage you and your spouse to read Chapter 10 and discuss what each of you think about the sexual choices listed there as well as what you may be interested in for your own marriage.
The Driscolls recommend evaluating your choices by considering 1 Cor 6:12 which says “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” Using this as the starting point the Driscolls have developed three questions that can be asked every time you are evaluating a choice; sexual or otherwise. You aren’t going to find this specific technique in Scripture but it will help you put this biblical principle into practice.
The first question they ask is “Is it lawful?” This might sound silly but you should start your thinking at this level. A follower of Jesus wants to follow God’s direction and the rules of their country (Rom 13:1) so if what you and your spouse are thinking about doing is against the law, don’t do it! If it isn’t against the laws of your country or God’s laws than you can move on to the next question.
“Is it helpful?” Does this activity bring oneness to your relationship? If it builds intimacy and enhances your relationship then great, have at it! Sex should reinforce the unity and exclusivity of your relationship. If one of you is uncomfortable or feels shame or pain or is just not emotionally ready then the activity is probably not helpful. It doesn’t mean that it will remain so for the rest of your married life. It just isn’t helpful right now. If both of you are ready to try something new and you think it would be a fun and beneficial then move on to the next question.
“Is it enslaving?” If you try something new but discover that you become more interested in the activity than your spouse, or you need this new experience to be interested in your spouse then you may be enslaved by it. Some things may start out as a fun new experience together but as time goes on they become more and more consuming. If this is happening then the activity is no longer helpful and could possibly be driving a wedge between the two of you. The Driscolls use a few examples to illustrate the point. For example if you are using sex toys in your lovemaking (all good) because you’ve decided that it could be beneficial but then you discover over time that you can’t be intimate without them, then this could be enslaving. If you have decided that you would like to video tape your encounters together and both of you are fine with this idea but one of you has a past pornography addiction then this could lead you right back into that behaviour. It’s good to be aware of what you are participating in or thinking about bringing into your bedroom. You may need to evaluate experiences and activities more than once and leave room for each of you to change your mind about what you are participating in. And pray about it! God wants your sex life within marriage to be a blessing to your marriage. Pray and ask for guidance in how God can bless your marriage; even the sex part of your marriage!
I thought this was a helpful chapter. I like the way the Driscolls suggest that couples should evaluate ideas and I think it will get you talking to each other if nothing else. One valuable thing that the chapter brings to the forefront is, if you are planning to be married to the same person for a lifetime then you need to be open to trying new things and experimenting together. Don’t just have sex. Have exciting sex! That’s all I’m going to say about that. 🙂
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