Once we are giving all that we have, we open our mental channels to receiving the very pleasures we are offering. But the giving has to come before the receiving. If you’re in it for what you desire to get rather than what you desire to give, your spouse will automatically feel more like a sexual vending machine than an intimate partner.
Remember, we are multi-faceted creatures, seeking satisfaction not just physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Therefore the goal of a one-flesh union is to create emotional and spiritual energy in the bedroom as much as it is to create physical pleasure. In Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas says:
Sex is about physical touch, to be sure, but it is about far more than physical touch. It is about what is going on inside us. Developing a fulfilling sex life means I concern myself more with bringing generosity and service to bed than bringing washboard abdomens. It means I see my wife as a holy temple of God, not just as a tantalizing human body. It even means that sex becomes a form of physical prayer-a picture of heavenly intimacy that rivals the Shekinah glory of old.
Our God, who is spirit (John 4:24), can be found behind the very physical panting, sweating, and pleasurable entangling of limbs and body parts. He doesn’t turn away. He wants us to run into sex, but to do so with his presence, priorities, and virtues marking our pursuit. If we experience sex in this way, we will be transformed in the marriage bed every bit as much as we are transformed on our knees in prayer.”1
Spiritual transformation, mental healing, emotional wholeness, physical comfort and security, and enormous pleasure — these are the harvest fruits of sex according to God’s perfect plan. These are the rewards of relishing our roles as husband and wife to one another.
As we lose ourselves, not in fantasy, but in the reality of sharing our innermost selves with God and with each other, we gain the deepest sense of satisfaction humanly possible. We experience what it means to truly be “one flesh” with both the Creator and His creation.
And not only is “one flesh” enough flesh, it can provide such an overwhelming sense of ecstasy that we ought to feel downright greedy! Fortunately, thanks be to God, we don’t have to.
1) Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 2000), 226.