I recently attended the confirmation of a close friend’s son.
As the bishop gave the homily, he looked at the confirmands and encouraged them to
“Learn to love in generous and holy ways.”
Learn to love in generous and holy ways.
You can’t get much clearer than that.
Why would I be thinking of sex, during a confirmation nonetheless?
Well, let me start by saying I wasn’t thinking about sex for those young people, of course. They have plenty of time down the road for sex after they are married.
I was thinking about sex because I blog about sexual intimacy in marriage. When the bishop spoke so authentically of learning to love in generous and holy ways, I actually thought about the heartache playing itself out in countless marriage beds.
I regularly receive emails and comments from people devastated by the lack of nurtured sexual intimacy in their marriages.
No, they do not lack for the necessities of food and water, yet they are still in a sense starving and thirsty. They long for an intimacy they morally and biblically can receive from no one other than their spouse.
And if their spouse isn’t willing to be sexually available, let alone sexually interested, the desolation becomes almost too vast to assess.
You just can’t put barometers on that sort of emotional and spiritual pain.
As the bishop spoke during the confirmation celebration, he was quick to point out that loving in generous and holy ways is without a doubt one of the most challenging things any of us embarks upon. Nearly impossible!
In fact, just about everything – free will, sin, emotion, selfishness and society – rails against the genuine humility that is required to love.
If we had to offer such tremendous love via our own power alone, we indeed would have no hope, right? Fortunately, we don’t have to do this alone.
The very Author of generosity and holiness is more than ready to equip us. And He really does care about what’s happening in your marriage sexually.
Sexual oneness, sexual wholeness and sexual pleasure – all of these were God’s idea, of course.
I’ve long believed that when a husband and wife make love, it is one of the sweetest forms of worship in a marriage.
In those moments, two people who have committed their lives to each other are purposely agreeing with God on His gift of sexual intimacy. Hopefully, they are doing that not out of mere obligation, but with enthusiasm and gratefulness for the gift sex actually is.
If generosity and holiness aren’t the words you would use to describe sex in your marriage, what brave steps can you take to change that?
A humble conversation with your spouse? A renewed commitment to understand God’s Word about sex? A willingness to face and heal from your own sexual woundedness and misconceptions?
Don’t wait until it’s too late to learn how to love in generous and holy ways in your marriage bed. (If you are still married, it’s not too late.)
Julie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage. You can follow her blog at www.IntimacyInMarriage.com. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband and their two boys. When she's not writing, she's probably drinking ridiculously overpriced coffee.