God and the Marriage Bed

Talking openly about intimacy in marriage.

Janet Page serves as associate ministerial secretary for pastoral spouses, families, and prayer

A speaker at a woman's retreat shared the following story. As she was waking up one morning, she could sense her husband stirring. He started rubbing her toes with his. Oh no, she thought. She knew what was coming and didn’t want to have sex that morning.

She quickly slid out of bed onto her knees and started praying. She could sense her husband’s disappointment. Suddenly she felt that God was very strongly telling her, “Get back in bed and love your husband!” Though not happy about it, later she was glad she did.

Marriage intimacy is an extravagant gift from God, designed for oneness and joy. Still, sometimes it is difficult to meet the needs of your spouse when you’re tired or you have had a rough day or maybe you just don’t like having sex.

God is interested in every area of our lives. He is the God of the impossible, and He can even help you experience joy in your intimate relations with your mate.

Years ago Jerry and I had just gotten into bed. I was so tired and just wanted to go to sleep. However, it was very obvious that my husband had other ideas. Lying on my side facing the other way, I was trying to quickly fall asleep. Suddenly I heard a very loud thought in my mind: Turn over now! Shocked, I knew it was God. So I rolled over and was blessed. (Now, please don’t misunderstand—my husband is never demanding on this.)

We cannot go wrong following what God tells us to do in every area of our lives. If we are spending daily time with God, reading His Word, we will recognize more and more His leading in our lives.

Too many times I have heard how spouses (both husbands and wives) withhold intimate relations to punish or control the other. Acknowledging her troubled marriage, one wife honestly admitted, “The problem is I only want to be intimate when I want to—not when he does. I want to control.”

“Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:3-5, NKJV).

You may not believe this or think it will matter. If you are struggling with sexual intimacy in your marriage, Jesus is the answer! Commit to a daily relationship with Him. Ask God to teach you how to abide in Him. Read God’s Word, pray for God to make it meaningful to you, focus on Jesus’ life, and earnestly pray about it. Ask God to help you understand and care about your spouse’s needs. This will make a difference!

Now, what if the spouse is abusive and mean? That is another subject. I am not talking about abusive and mean men or women, just a normal marriage in which the man usually wants sex more often than the woman. But earnest prayer can change things with abusive husbands too.

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38, NKJV).

In this journal you will find some excellent articles talking openly about intimacy in marriage. I pray that they will be helpful and you will be blessed.