The banking industry invests a considerable amount of time training their employees to recognize counterfeit bills. Rather than introducing a variety of counterfeits and teaching employees how to recognize those, they have employees spend a great amount of time handling nothing but genuine currency. The logic is that if you know the real thing by heart, you’ll never accept an imitation.
The same principle applies to intimacy in marriage. Once you understand what a priceless gift your sexuality is and how it can bond you and your husband in a way that you’ll never experience outside of marriage, you’ll be far less likely to settle for anything less than God’s plan for sexual and emotional fulfillment.
However, both men and women have handled counterfeit intimacy for so long that we’ve lowered our standards and settled for far less than the real thing. Men look for satisfaction through sex, but physical intimacy alone doesn’t bring ultimate fulfillment. Many women can attest to the fact that while a man may be fantastic in bed, that doesn’t mean he fulfills her emotionally. Even great sex in marriage is not the same as genuine intimacy.
On the other hand, we women look for satisfaction through emotional connection, but this will not fulfill us unless it’s celebrated through physical intimacy with our spouse. A sexless marriage resembles a friendship more than a marriage. Because sexual tension typically builds much faster for men than for women, we’ll more than likely have this friendship with a very sexually frustrated husband. Even the deepest emotional connection is no substitute for genuine intimacy, either.
Genuine sexual intimacy involves all components of our sexuality-the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. When these four are combined, the result is an elixir that stirs the soul, heals the heart, boggles the mind, and genuinely satisfies.
Excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.