Take a minute to think about a few of your favorite stories. You can think of movies, books…anything. Harry Potter. Sherlock Holmes. Robin Hood. Maybe a chick-flick. Got some favorites in mind? Good.
Now, if you could choose only one, which of these stories is your favorite? And what words would you use to describe it? Maybe you would choose words such as, heroic, epic, adventurous, romantic, or funny. Maybe you would choose more informative words like, abridged, biographical, or fictional. However you would describe the story you are thinking about, all great stories have some commonalities. Those things that are essential for drawing you in and making you read or watch more.
Great stories include all of the following: believable characters, proper setting, well developed plot, conflict and a central theme or idea. Guess what? A good marriage has all of these, too. Guess what else? We believe that sex is an important part of the storyline of marriage. It brings excitement and exhilaration. It adds an element of the unexpected. Sorry for the pun, but it’s a big part of the climax of the marriage story. Sadly, not everyone agrees. We recently read this quote as a comment on an article:
” Marriage, as a rule, is precipitated by passionate love, irrationally arrived at because of new sex with a new person. That passion fades in all cases. If one is married, the loss of sexual newness can either be accepted by the married couple who are willing to compromise and live without that sex, or it precipitates a divorce.” (emphasis mine)
Really? The only 2 options according to this person are to live without sex or get a divorce? While opinions such as this are widely accepted in our culture, this is a very distorted and narrow view of sex. Sex in marriage provides a much bigger story than that! Let’s take a clue from great stories and see if we can come to a better understanding of how sex in marriage is like a story.
1. Believable characters: The greatest and most loved characters of all time have one thing in common. They are flawed. Sure, they may be loved for their integrity and honesty. But they may express a feisty or provocative nature from time to time. On occasion, it may even be their depravity that draws a person in. Whatever it is, there is no doubt that they have flaws. Don’t we all?
When it comes to sex as a story, understanding that each person in a marriage has their own flaws is actually quite freeing. In fact, when two people openly acknowledge their flaws and work on them together, their marriage will grow stronger.
2. Setting: Though many in our culture adamantly disagree with this point, the proper context and setting for sex is marriage. It is only within the commitment and vows of marriage that sex has the ability to work through all of the ups and downs that the entire marriage plot will entail.
3. Well developed plot and conflict: Picture this. Two people. Flawed people. Constantly battling urges to follow after their own individual desires. While they experience hundreds of moments of deep friendship, one moment of pain causes more hurt and sorrow than anything ever experienced before. Through it all, they must choose to serve their spouse above themselves. More importantly, through it all, sex is the great equalizer. No matter what’s going on, when those two people connect they’re reminded that they’re in this together. They’re not just with one another, but for one another. Sex is the climax that brings them back to the central theme of the story once more.
4. Central theme: The central theme of marriage and sex is that husband and wife are truly living as one flesh. What was once two people before God is now one. Once again, sex is the constant reminder of this truth.
The above quote states that, regarding sex in marriage “…passion fades in all cases.” This just isn’t so. While sex may not always be a vigorous claws to the wall experience, there’s nothing more passionate than two people bonding for 20, 30, even 50 or more years and putting their own wants aside for the needs of one another and their family.
Think of it this way, there’s a reason Easter Weekend is often referred to as “Passion Week”. It’s full of righteous, selfless, passion. Jesus gave up everything for the good of others. For the good of us.
Marriage can illustrate this truth as well. In all actuality, a good sex life illustrates this too. In this type of relationship, you’re continually giving up yourself for the good of another, and they’re continually doing the same for you. You’re allowing your partner to take the lead in the marriage dance, and they’re doing the same. The result isn’t two people dancing around one another, but entwined with one another. No one person takes the lead, because the relationship is one person. There’s no stronger love than that. There’s nothing sexier than that. And honestly, there’s nothing more passionate than that.