It’s my very great pleasure to be able to host Rebecca on the first day of her Spotlight Author tour! This is because RRBC governing board member Rebecca is usually the person who organises these blog tours, so it’s particularly great for us to finally return the favour and put her right out in the Spotlight herself. 😀 As well as her hard work on the board for RRBC members, Rebecca is a stalwart of the Tweet Support Team and one of her books, Haunting Megan was awarded the RRBC Rave Awards Book of the Year accolade for 2015. She’s a truly special lady – as you are about to find out!
Rebecca Reilly is a retired pastor who served in ministry for thirty-one years. She’s authored eight books including the non-fiction self-help, Christian Sex and Marriage—It’s Complicated.
Is this book only for Christians? The short answer is, NO! All sex and marriage is complicated. This book offers insights, creative ideas, frank instructions, and intimacy building activities that will help all people deepen their emotional and physical relationships. One reviewer wrote,
Don’t care for the religious aspect? then do what you normally do, roll your eyes, suck your teeth, just don’t pass on this book because of some biblical scriptures (it won’t kill you, promise;)). This may sound cliché but this book may even change your life.
This book addresses the extra baggage many Christians carry into their marriage. If you are one who believes Christians should be more repressed sexually because of their beliefs, you are in for a surprise!
The Great Sex Lie
If you wait—sex will be great!
Churches across America have duped virgins for decades, maybe centuries. Young men and women believed the spiritual promise made by their pastors that their married sex lives would be ultra-satisfying and problem-free if they would just wait to indulge until marriage. Many a Christian man has gone to his wedding night with the belief that his orgasms would be miraculously enhanced by the mighty hand of God, and his ability to pleasure his wife would be whispered about at women’s Bible studies for years. Women visualized their deflowering as a literal opening of their soul, where emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical intimacy with her husband would flourish.
Instead, wives often look at their new husbands and think, “Ouch,” followed quickly by, “is that all there is?”
Churches are not the sole reason for unrealistic wedding night expectations. Our culture worships sex. Barraged by graphic media, bragging friends, raging hormones, and the lure of forbidden fruit, it is understandable why those who abstain look to their wedding night believing their first sexual intercourse will match or exceed anything they’d seen in the movies.
Phoebe, from the novella Diary of a Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey to Spice Up My Marriage, describes her wedding night like this:
We both wore white at our wedding and considered it a badge of honor. We had done it God’s way, and we were arrogantly sure our coupling would be blessed.
Instead, the wedding night was a bust.
It’s not that we couldn’t figure out what to put where (we weren’t completely stupid), but our expectations were so high, that when fireworks didn’t explode in our room, we went to sleep disappointed.
That didn’t mean we stopped trying. We’d waited decades to experience sexual fever in the flesh! We knew we’d get fireworks eventually, so we kept pounding away.
By the third day of our marriage, I couldn’t walk and George’s manhood was covered with friction blisters.
I came home from our honeymoon thinking we’d never have sex again.
God created sexual intimacy for marriage. When a man and woman choose to wait to physically express their love until they wed, they honor God and each other. The church is correct in that teaching. Where the church fails is by implying that waiting until your wedding night guarantees sex will be easy.
Sexual intimacy is never easy.
Marital sex is not just the joining of bodies. Each person brings their past, their beliefs, their fears, their emotions, their thoughts, their baggage, and their body into the marriage bed. Intimacy opens and exposes every aspect. Fear, shame, sin, pressures of the world, stress, lack of energy, spiritual warfare, and seemingly inconsequential nothings fight to block or destroy that intimacy.
There are great blessings for those who save their sexual experiences for marriage, but those blessings might not be what you’d expect. When you follow God’s plan, when you wait to share your body with your spouse, you eliminate some big problem areas. The elimination of some of the potential struggles and emotional barriers is the blessing God gives you for honoring Him. It’s a big one—ask anyone who doesn’t have it.
But you still have to work to have the fulfilling, open, intimate sex life that both expresses and deepens your love.
If you didn’t wait, whether your spouse was your only pre-marital partner, or you slept with hundreds, or have been married multiple times, God still desires for you to have a deep, fulfilling, and blessed marriage bed. You may have more obstacles to work through, but God’s grace is sufficient. Rely on Him. Trust Him. Grow to be like Him, and you will have the unity and intimacy He created you to enjoy.
What Sex Is…and Isn’t
Sex is holistic. In a perfect world, the physical act of intercourse is an expression of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual needs and desires. There is a coming together of body, mind, and spirit creating a oneness between partners. When any aspect is off, when anger, guilt, or bitterness block the unity, sex is misused as power. It is withheld for punishment. The twisting and intertwining of emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and bodies both complicates and enhances sex, making it far more than what the world pretends it to be.
Sex, as God designed, should both express and deepen intimacy. Intimacy of mind. Intimacy of soul. Intimacy of spirit. Intimacy of body. Each area works together to build a foundation for marriage—and a jaw-dropping, goose-bump lifting, temperature-raising physical release you share with your spouse.
A passionate, creative, and intimate sex life is not the end desire. Your sexual relationship is a tool God gives you to help you reach emotional and spiritual intimacy with your mate. If your sex life is off, your emotional and spiritual intimacy suffers as well. As a couple joined together in holy matrimony, all three aspects must work together to complete the oneness God desires for you.
Without intimacy, your sex life becomes merely an occasional eleven minutes of so-so pleasure instead of the love-deepening experience God intends.
Anyone who is in love is making love the whole time, even when they’re not. When two bodies meet, it is just the cup overflowing. They can stay together for hours, even days. They begin the dance one day and finish it the next, or–such is the pleasure they experience–they may never finish it. No eleven minutes for them.
― Paulo Coelho
On Your Own
If you had one wish for your marriage, what would it be?
Sometime this week, say this to your spouse:
• I am going to put time and effort into knowing you better, into growing our intimacy, into expanding our sex life, and into putting God at the center of our marriage.
• You amaze me.
• My wish for our marriage is…
• I love you. I’m glad I married you. I’d marry you again tomorrow.
• What is the best way for me to encourage you?
• What is one wish you have for our marriage?
• How can I love and support you this week?
• Can we have an hour together this week to just have fun?
Just an Idea
• Give your spouse a five-minute hand massage.
• Go to a nursery and pick out a plant together. Place it in a pot or the ground. Talk about the care the plant requires for healthy growth. Talk about what you believe your marriage requires for healthy growth.