Do you delight in giving pleasure to your spouse?
Notice Paul doesn’t emphasize taking from our spouse our conjugal rights. By instead emphasizing the giving of these rights to one another, Paul locates the key for great sex as generosity. (159)
C.J. Mahaney said, “Indeed any married person who rightly sees these verses as commands from God will bring to the marriage bed a servant’s mindset that places the primary emphasis on the sexual satisfaction of his or her spouse.” This is part of what makes marriage delightful—the joy of living for someone beyond ourselves. (159)
When we think about sexual delight in marriage, we need to make sure our expectations are not unduly influenced by this world of unreal ideals and false promises.
Although delighting in sex should be the overflow of love in Christian marriages, not every encounter will be accompanied by fireworks or become a contender for your top-ten list of romantic moments. (161)
David Powlison says it even better:
Good sexual love is simply "normal." Sometimes the idealized view of good sex can sound overheated, even when we prize and protect marital sexuality. Sometimes we can give the idea that good sex (in both senses) is a gymnastic, ecstatic, romantic, athletic, electric, semi-psychotic, erotic, high-wire, bug-eyed, luxuriating, ravishing bliss of marital passion! Sorry to disillusion you. But much of good sex is just . . . well, normal, everyday. Think about it. Most people in the history of the world have lived in one-room huts, where the kids sleep in the same room with their parents! Countless families have lived in flats, with only curtains for room dividers, your mother-in-law in the far corner, your wife's younger brother sleeping on the couch. Or they've lived in tents, as nomads. Not much sound-proofing or major privacy operative in that housing arrangement! Not much in the way of gymnastics or sound effects is possible unless you have no children. That's not to say that a married couple with children shouldn't get away for a weekend, or close the door, or do things to make sex special. Nothing wrong with some high-wire encounters that bring a little extra spice.
Think of the analogy with food, another of life's very redeemable pleasures. Occasionally you pull out the stops for a memorable feast with all the fixings. But in normal life, you eat a lot of healthy breakfasts. In the redemption of sex, lots of normal things flourish. How about courtesy? Basic kindness and patience? How about humor--pet names, teasing, irony, private jokes? Good sex is not that serious! How about mercy? How about a shower, shave, and being relaxed? How about a fundamental willingness to be available to another, simply to give. How about conversation? How about quiet, slow, leisurely time together? Basic love goes a long way towards making good sex good. It's great when the Richter Scale tops out at an earth-shattering 8.1. But in normalized good sex, you'll also enjoy 3.1 temblors that hardly rattle the teacups.
Get your goals straight. It heightens the significance of your Savior. He alone restores you to practical love for God and to the practical love appropriate for each of your various kinds of neighbors. He alone makes daily life shine with visible glory.(“Making All Things New: Restoring Pure Joy to the Sexually Broken” in Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, pp. 103-104.)
Talk about it:
- Have you ever talked back and forth about what brings you pleasure (and what doesn’t)?
- Are you working to learn and study your spouse? What brings pleasure doesn’t have to be a mystery…or an exercise in mind-reading!
- (Men especially) Don’t ever ask or pressure your spouse to do something they are uncomfortable doing! Love is...kind...and does not insist on its own way (1 Cor. 13:4-5).