The Theology of Physical Intimacy

Scott and Cindy

Since physical intimacy is often so important to one or both spouses, I wanted to take some more time exploring the issue.  As we do, we need to start at the beginning with how God views sex.

First, let’s be clear that God sees physical intimacy inside of marriage as a good thing.

Genesis 2:24-25 declares: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” In this passage, we find validation that sex (man will be “united” to his wife, they will become one flesh, the man and his wife were both naked) is a positive gift from God in the right context.  Sex was God’s idea, not the devil’s.

Also, Genesis 1:31 declares: “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”  Here, we see that all of this creating was very good in God’s sight, including the man and woman with regard to sexual being, their uniting together, their nakedness and feeling no shame.  This was stated PRIOR to the Fall, so God’s creation of sex in the marital context is that it is “very good”, not dirty, bad or forbidden.

For many years, Song of Songs (a.k.a. Song of Solomon) was taken as an allegory (symbolic of our relationship with God).  However, because of the discovery in the last 100 years of similar types of human love poetry in Egypt around the time that the Song of Songs was written, most scholars now view the Song of Songs as human love poetry, applicable to the expression of sexual love between a married man and a married woman.  The passionate love language and love making in the Song of Songs should help create a vision within our own marriages of God’s desire for the kind of intimate expressions that should be taking place in our marriages.

And, in Second Corinthians 7:4-5, God declares that husbands and wives should not be  sex from one another.  As we read further, the reason for this admonition is to help protect each other from the temptations we find in the lives we live (and, if there was temptation then, how much more do we need the admonition today because of the temptations we face !).

So, God sees sex within the context of marriage as “good”.   And, furthermore, there are reasons why God sees sex as “good”.  Because, as we shall see, sex does something positive for the relationship.  The following is a partial list on what sex does for a relationship from God’s perspective.

1.   Procreation.    Physical intimacy is God’s means to the end of creating offspring

2.   Pleasure.  The Song of Songs reveals the extent to which physical intimacy can bring pleasure to a couple.   And, University of Chicago research indicates that it does for a vast majority of couples.

3.   Growth in Intimacy.   “Becoming one flesh”, on one level, means that sex was created to allow man and woman to engage soul to soul and flesh to flesh, through which they would express their love and deepen their intimacy with each other.   It is interesting that the English translation for sex is “to know”.   In some sense, physical intimacy allows an environment where our hopes, dreams, fears, insecurities, and faults are revealed, understood, and processed in a loving and growing way.

4.   Symbolic of God’s love for us.  The depth of feeling and intimacy that is represented by physical intimacy symbolically represents the dynamic care that God has for His people as seen by the groom/bride relationship that the Bible often uses for  God’s relationship with His people.

More about this on Monday.   First, enjoy your Valentine’s weekend.

In the event you might be looking for resources along these lines, here are three books I recommend (maybe you want to purchase one as a Valentine’s present).     Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman (this is a good, non-technical book about the secrets of sexual intimacy);  A Celebration of Sex by Dr. Douglas E. Rosenau (a great book, with insights about setting the environment and technique);  Intimacy Ignited by Dillow & Pintus (this is an easy-to-read commentary on the Song of Songs, and after each chapter it gives you application steps that you can take in your physical relationship that come right out of their interpretation of that chapter of Song of Songs).    All of these books have been written by Christian authors, and would be great to read & process together.

Heh, one last thing — I made a mistake in my last blog indicating that, if you comment, your e-mail address will show up.   It does not.   The only thing that shows up on the public display is your name (and, if you want to use your first name or an alias, you can do that).  The name helps keep track of who said what and how to respond.   I hope that helps you respond if you have a comment or thought.

If you have any questions on this topic, feel free to post a comment or email me privately.  I’m here to help you fine-tune this most important aspect of your marriage.

PS.  We love feedback.  You can easily offer your thoughts by clicking the “Comment” button below.  In addition, if you are at my BLOG SITE, you can share this blog on your Facebook or e-mail it to someone.  Visit our website at www.MarriageMechanic.ORG.

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4 Responses to The Theology of Physical Intimacy

  1. Jessica says:

    I appreciated your post. As someone who is going into counseling (almost have Masters done – yay!) this topic is near and dear to my heart as something I don’t think most Christians “get” or churches talk about. Sex has a bad rap inside the church when really it should be something celebrated and rejoiced in within the framework of marriage. I’d highly encourage you to read the book “Sacred Sex” (http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Sex-Spiritual-Celebration-Marriage/dp/1578564611) It has some really great tidbits of information in there :) Anyhow, thanks for the post and I look forward to the second one!!!

  2. Dear Jessica,

    Thank you for your comment and for your suggestion. I have not read “Sacred Sex”, but it looks like the reviews indicate that it follows along the lines of some of the things I was saying with regard to the reasons why God created sex in the first place. Best wishes on your endeavors in the counseling profession.

  3. Pingback: Resources for Genesis 2:24 - 25

  4. Pingback: Sex, Intimacy, and Love « Bipolar Learning Curve

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