By: Michele Okimura
We are doing our first deep dive this month in ministering to married couples. This has been a dream of mine for several years to support married couples in their relationships! Remember that God created ‘marriage’ between Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden!
Over the years and especially recently, I have heard first-hand accounts of Christian married couples struggling through the effects of one spouse’s addiction to pornography or having a sex addiction issue. I know of sexual violence happening within some Christian marriages. For years, many spouses have struggled silently alone or have sometimes been given damaging advice by well meaning ministers. I know of situations where one spouse was being deprived of sexual intimacy…sometimes even for several years, while other couples struggle because one spouse wants to be intimate very often without any regard to the feelings of their spouse. Sometimes a spouse longs for an emotional connection with their other half. This often hidden pain is very real in the Body of Christ.
I know every couple’s situation and issues are unique and complex. I know there are no easy answers or formulas! Sometimes, professional help from an excellent counselor or mentor is needed. I do know that in general, God’s positive vision and intent for sex in marriage is rarely discussed in churches, so couples are often left to navigate this area drawing only from their own experiences or worldly sources.
The message, “Don’t do it till marriage!” is often the only strong message given within many faith communities without a balanced, positive message about the benefits of enjoying sex within marriage. As a result, I know of Christian young people who hold the belief that there is something very shameful and ‘bad’ about sex even within marriage. Once married, these same young people have often had difficulty enjoying sex with their spouse due to this perception. As a pastor myself, I have regreted not sharing enough about God’s positive message about sex in marriage! I have since learned young people need to know more about God’s beautiful design for sex – and to celebrate His divine wisdom for this gift!
Past sex abuse or hurtful experiences can affect a couple’s sex life, but there is hope and healing in God! He is the miracle worker and desires to bless every part of marriage relationships so couples can experience the pleasure, passion, intimacy, and love God intended.
Let’s talk about it! May families and churches become safe places where conversations about sex and sexuality issues can be discussed, where wisdom from God can offer answers and hope, and encouragement is given to married couples to seek the help they need to heal and become healthy - without shame!
I invite you to watch our series, Joyous Sex, and share it with others! Enrich your marriage and gain helpful insights to help other couples you care about. Glean practical talking points to pass on to your youth and young adult children in age-appropriate ways. Remember, talking about sex and sexuality with especially your teenager is an ongoing conversation, not a one-time conversation.
Singles are also invited to watch this series to gain insights and perspectives to equip themselves and to help others.
How wonderful if you, as a parent or spiritual parent, can confidently disciple young people and help them to navigate this subject that is important to God!
Bless you all!