Posted by: Bethany Davis | March 9, 2012

a (PG) blogpost about sex.

(photo from our wedding by David Christensen)

Part of being (good) marriage and family therapist involves discussing the couple’s sex life. I’ve heard it said that how a couple describes their sex is a way to gauge the rest of their relationship as well. Boring? Dull? Non-existent? Impersonal? OR ravishing? full of passion? tender? fun!?

As I’ve been studying for my licensure exam, I’ve read about many different methods of treating sexual dysfunctions. Most were familiar from my classes, but this one stole my attention and compelled me to learn more. It is staunchly different from the rest, and, although is not purportedly by a Christian therapist (that I am aware of), I think it aligns well with my worldview. Let me share a few things that stand out to me…

David Schnarch, author of Passionate marriage: Keeping love and intimacy alive in committed relationships, combines marriage therapy with sexual therapy. A satisfying sexual experience is based, in part, on emotional connectivity that comes from the security of a committed relationship.  “Eroticism does not come from physical performance; but rather from emotional maturity.” If that is true, than married people should be having the best sex there is — not the non-committal hook-ups or affairs as displayed  in the movies. What’s more, is that is Christians who strive to grasp how sex reflects the Lord’s intimate relationship with his bride, the Church – can experience an even more fulfilling sex life. *

Schnarch says that two people becoming whole requires that each “manage their own anxiety” before coming together. I equate this to the purpose of the engagement period. No, it’s not to go dress shopping or plan a wedding (although that will probably happen during this time!). This is the perfect time to say good-bye to single-hood and make sure you are emotionally, spiritually, and mentally ready to be joined to another person. One partner’s past (the good and the bad) WILL BE brought into the marriage relationship and bed. Bringing “unfinished business” to the marriage is likely unavoidable. (I mean, who’s perfect at any point in time?!  Rom. 3:10) It just means that there will be more issues to work on as a couple to achieve a satisfying union.

Schnarch points out that most marriages are based on approval from one’s spouse – or “mutual validation pacts.” He goes on to say that “The partners hope that the other will make them whole, a hope that is destined to be dashed.” And, I think he’s right. If no one’s perfect, your spouse cannot perfectly complete you. Only Christ is perfect. No striving on our part will change this fact. That is the beauty of salvation – Christ’s perfection makes it possible for us to be saved (fully accepted) as we are. A spouse no longer has to look to the other for what they lack. There’s no disappointment here! Ah, what a freeing concept to know that I do not have to complete Brian (nor he, I!).

Christ is the ultimate bridegroom, and our earthly marriages are designed for us to prepare our spouse to be eternally joined with Christ. This is what lead us to inscribe a verse on our wedding rings:

(our rings, taken by David Christensen)

“The marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:7)

I’m thankful for this reminder – that I am charged with loving Brian and making him ready for the ultimate union with Christ (which has already begun at salvation).

It was God, not Schnarch, that by design integrally joined a couple’s emotional relationship with their sex life. As I study, I’m reminded of the gift that sexual intimacy is to marriage, and that it is something to be enjoyed!

* Please note that I do not think that achieving the sexual intimacy that one desires is simple. Sexual dysfunctions are more common than you think and many require therapy specifically geared toward behavioral change, trauma, anxiety-provoking cognitions, etc… If this is the case, having a biblical perspective is important, but should be paired with seeking professional help



  1. wonderful! Forwardiong this to Megan!

    • awesome! so happy for ya’ll!

  2. Thankyou so much for sharing this! Adam and I got married on the 5th, and I am already learning so much more about him., and God, and what love really is. ❤
    brette (beck) doyle

    • That’s great to hear! congratulations! Marriage is challenging, but so enriching!

  3. MMMMmmm. YES! What a RICH post, Bethany. Thank you for your insights and the Lord’s truth about marriage and sex. I really enjoyed this. LOVE the notion that, “I am charged with loving Brian and making him ready for the ultimate union with Christ (which has already begun at salvation).” A wonderful reminder of what a helpmate truly is. I love you, my friend.

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