Marriage: Between One Man and One Woman - Like It or Not, It's About Sex

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, February 13, 2014 0 comments

I think it’s safe to say that we are all in a sex-crazed society and have been for decades. It’s never been more accessible than it is now. Network television shows advertise it as one of the main attractions of their program. You can find it on the Internet intentionally and sometimes even unintentionally. Even commercials for products that have nothing to do with sex use it to try to increase sales. A large percentage of the children I work with each day do not have both parents in their lives and were born out of wedlock. The adults I work with frequently have different sexual partners than they did the previous week. However, I’m sure none of this really surprises you.

What might surprise you is that research has shown that things aren’t much different in the Church. Infidelity and divorce statistics are about the same. Some of the regions with the largest consumptions of pornography are in the so-called “Bible belt”. I have talked to several pastors who have had young Christian couples in their churches come to them seeking relationship advice without wanting to address their number one problem area of living together and being sexually active with no marital commitment! In 1997, Christian musician Michael W. Smith wrote a book called “It’s Time to Be Bold”. He encourages young people to boldly live for Christ, but reports that 62 percent of CHURCHED teens have become sexually involved by the twelfth grade. That was in 1997! I wonder what that statistic is like today.

All of the problems that have been caused by sex outside of God’s plan for it have brought the Church to a point where we don’t want to talk about it, even though the Bible introduces it as a gift from God through marriage. When Adam was all alone in this world, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). I’ve often wondered what the word “suitable” means there. I’m sure there is an explanation for it if we dig into the Hebrew, but I’ll leave that task to someone else because I think the word “suitable” is perfect! I’ve heard this verse used to explain that everyone should get married, and I’ve recently heard it as an explanation for why a man should marry again after his wife died. While I wouldn’t fully disagree with those explanations, I don’t believe they express God’s gift.

When God said it was not good for the man to be alone, I don’t believe he just meant that Adam was spouseless. Adam was the only human being on the planet! God never intended for that to be the case, so he created a way to make more humans. What a gift this was! God created the first two humans on his own, yet loved them so much he desired to allow them to bring forth life. God could have made the process excruciating for his created beings, but instead chose to bless them with an incredibly pleasant and joyful experience. Once God had created the possibility for them to procreate, he commanded them to do so. We see in Genesis 1 that it is his very first commandment to them after they are both created. “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it’” (v. 28a). I believe this gives us a picture of the mind of God. He desired to create a human race that he could love and bless. His plan was to create the first two and then give them the gift of “making” the rest of the human race. Eve’s body was physically “suitable” for Adam to complete the task God had commanded. Knowing this would LITERALLY cause two different fleshes to become one, God recognized the intimacy and commitment that are involved. The writer of Genesis, inspired by God, declared that the woman is the man’s “wife”, a singular feminine noun as described in Katie’s post on Monday. This was all before there was sin.

Thousands of years later and after sin had stained God’s gift of sex just like it does the rest of his creation, the Apostle Paul bluntly explains the purpose of marriage. “Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:1-2). The word for “to marry” can also be translated “to have sexual relations”. Paul is admitting that complete celibacy is noble for those whom God has called to such a life, but that he has also given couples the gift of each other as the only relationship in which sex is a blessed and God-honoring event. Throughout the chapter, Paul reiterates that remaining unmarried is great for those who have been given that strength by God. “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (v. 9). Paul also commands those who are married not to deprive each other of sex “except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer” (v. 5). For the husband and wife, who agreed to the sexual relationship when they married, depriving one another of that gift would only increase their vulnerability to the enemy’s attacks through temptation.

Based on God’s desire that mankind would fill the earth, the way he intentionally designed male and female bodies to “fit” together to make that happen in an enjoyable way, and the very unique commitment and intimacy that process would require between the ONE man and ONE woman involved, I can only conclude that God created marriage to protect the gift of sex that was not meant to be shared with multiple partners. We’ve seen the destruction caused by those who have not followed him in protecting that gift, but that doesn’t change what his plan was and still is for marriage. Our God is big enough to restore all of that destruction, but we can only experience restoration when we first admit that we have broken away from his plan for one man and one woman, and then turn back to him for healing.