Should Christians get Married to Have Sex?

In Advice and Encouragement, Dating, Marriage, Relationships, Single by Debra Fileta28 Comments

Misconception #4: Christians should get married so they can have sex rather than struggle with temptation.

I knew a girl in college who had recently gotten married.  She was pretty young at the time, just barely out of her teen years.  But, according to her, she had met the love of her life.  They hadn’t dated for very long, but the chemistry between them was out of this world, she said.  They just had to get married, because they were burning with passion. In fact, now that they were married- they were having crazy, hot sex like 5 times a day.  She was just gushing about this new relationship, and this young man who had swept her off her feet.

On one hand, I was trying to wrap my brain around this relationship that had happened so fast– how well did they actually know each other?  How committed was this guy?  How did things progress to the point of marriage so fast?  But on the other hand, part of me was a little jealous.  This passionate relationship of hers was one that I longed for…from my perspective as a 20-year-old virgin, crazy hot sex sounded pretty darn good!

I lost touch with my friend for a while, but when we reconnected years after college she was in a far different place than the last time I had saw her.  This time, she was divorced.  Her life had taken a turn for the worse, and her relationship with the “love of her life” had ended in infidelity, heart-break, and a whole lot of pain.

My heart went out to her, and still does.  Though she is now picking the pieces of her life back together- the prospect of finding true love came at a high cost.  The truth of the matter is that everyone reading this post probably knows of someone who has gone through a similar sort of situation.  Sadly, we all know of a couple whose marriage has lost its love.

Passion has turned to passivity.

Romance has turned into rage.

Commitment has turned into criticism.

Love…is no longer love at all.

My heart breaks when I hear stories like this, and especially among followers of Christ.  It breaks because of the realization that sometimes, we go into this thing called marriage so extremely ill-prepared. In fact, at Christian college, I so often heard people talk of a couple’s marriage plans in terms of “how long can they wait to have sex”- as though that was the determining point of when to get married, rather than the bigger picture of creating a healthy, nourished, God-honoring relationship that would stand the test of a life-long commitment.

When it comes to pursuing true love, so many times our focus as Christian young adults is caught up in the romance, the sex, the chemistry that we’re looking to one day have…while neglecting the things that really matter most at the end of the day; while forgetting the ingredients that make up a really incredible marriage.

I often hear the verse in 1 Corinthians 7:9 misinterpreted to mean that if you can’t control your sexual desires, just go ahead and get married so that you can channel your sex drive into your marriage. But what a partial interpretation that is- because there is so much more to the story. Marriage is about so much more than having sex. John Piper puts it this way:

‘When a person seeks to be married, knowing that as a single he or she would “burn with passion,” it doesn’t have to mean that marriage becomes a mere channel for the sex drive. Paul would never mean that in view of Ephesians 5.

Instead when a person marries…he takes his sexual desire, and he does the same thing with it that we must all do with all our physical desires if we would make them means of worship—1) he brings it into conformity to God’s word; 2) he subordinates it to a higher pattern of love and care; 3) he transposes the music of physical pleasure into the music of spiritual worship, 4) he listens for the echoes of God’s goodness in every nerve; 5) he seeks to double his pleasure by making her joy his joy; and 6) he gives thanks to God from the bottom of his heart because he knows and he feels that he never deserved one minute of this pleasure.’

Losing your virginity is but a speck in the picture of true marriage, because marriage is a call to LOSE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE for the sake of another.

The truth is, sex is the easy part.

A strong marriage is built on foundation of love, service, and grace- in essence, a list of actions that speak so much louder than words.  Real marriage is not simply based on crazy hot sex, no, it is based on so much more.  It is rooted in the tiny little decisions made in the day to day.  It is rooted in forgiveness and letting go of wrongs.  It is founded in encouragement, edification, and lifting each other up.  It is grounded in humility and respect.  It is built on qualities that reflect nothing less than the heart of God- loving His bride to the point of giving away His very life.

It is a love that gives all, but asks for nothing less than all in return.  It is a love that is built on choice- in the easy moments, and more so, choice in the really hard moments.

Don’t sell yourself short on the picture of what a real marriage is.  Choose to engage in a relationship that reflects love on every single level.

What’s been your experience with this topic? Leave your comment below!

For more on the topic of dealing with desires while single, check out this 40 minute audio lesson called “Sex and the Single Life: What to do with Desires While You Wait!”. 

sex-single-life

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray For Your Love Life – where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!

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28 Comments on "Should Christians get Married to Have Sex?"

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Alvin
Guest

Wow! Grabbed this one fresh off the oven. Great work once again Deb.

I like the clarification on 1 Corinthians 7:9, that scripture has been subjected to lots and lots of abuse, am glad that its now clear.

For the singles like me who are preparing for the next level, this was really an enlightening article. God bless and keep it up.

Lily Ifield
Guest

Alvin, I truly agree with you 100%. That scripture was one that a few of my single friends including myself misinterpreted. Deb I thank you for your wisdom and the love for God’s word.

Ganise
Guest

Thank you. Truly heartbreaking stories. And your sincerity shines through your words, Debra. The complexities of marital life is why I’ve always believed that, before marriage, there should be a time in our lives where we study the purpose/meaning of marriage, find more of ourselves, and allow the Holy Spirit to help us grow as people so we can be more of what He wants us to be — in marriage or in other relationships. For many of us, that time is blessedly known as singleness.

Arthur
Guest
Great article. I enjoyed the way you brought it back to the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that sex is only a small portion of the bigger picture, which is love. Love for your spouse, love for your friends, and love for God. That is the main thing. Part of the problems that the church is facing is as you have written is that no one talk about these issues. The closest thing to a discussion is found in Theology of the Body, written by Pope John Paul II. What the church needs to do is to explain what… Read more »
Helen Schirmer
Guest
You are overthinking marriage and making it way too complicated. In the Bible, Paul stated if you burn, you should to marry. No one should get stuck in prolonged unwanted singleness. Trying to glam it up and call it the gift of singleness because Christian men will not readily pursue Christian women is promoting a lie and designed to distract women from the real reason. Smart women won’t buy this 21st Century invention! He never provided spouses in the Bible times either. Churches, families, friends, and communities supported it and tried to encourage it to take place. I want to… Read more »
Paul Murray
Guest
The reason is the same, same as it always was. At least for the immature and self indulging. Sex is seen too often as receiving instead of fulfilling the others desire. Sex is a first fruit, it is good, God ordained, and it is to be kept within the holy union of a man and woman. Problem is most people are focused on what they can get from a marriage instead of what they have to offer and can give. If they don’t receive the ‘fruit’ of marriage when they feel they ought to have it, emotions give way to… Read more »
Greg
Guest

“3) he transposes the music of physical pleasure into the music of spiritual worship”

Yes, I understand what Mr. Piper is trying to say–emphasis on trying–but I always choke on vague, fluffy Christianese statements like this, especially coming from someone who himself was married at the young age of 22 (born 1946, married 1968):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Piper_%28theologian%29

He has no clue what being single for an extended period of time is like; what struggles and challenges there are with passion and sex drive.

Parker
Guest
Greg, Me too! I choke on vague as well! That’s a good way to put it. Glad I’m not the only one who feels that vagueness from Piper’s statement there. That’s one of the things I don’t like about Piper at times is that he can be vague on how to handle situations like these in a practical, Christian manner. Christians need practical advice to applying theology in their lives, especially for an area as sensitive as the topic of sex. What is “music” supposed to mean? When do we know it becomes “music” in our marital sex life? How… Read more »
Rea
Guest

This is an excellent and on time piece! Thank you and I will be applying this wisdom and sharing it!

Anthony
Guest

Its hard when im a single 34 year old who feels most days im not worthy enough for a women.i have a huge issue with sex and want it everyday.but im learning to except being single and love myself and god bcs its whats best.ive also found most women arent even worth my time and i dont settle for just anyone.been there done that and want know more.my i hope is to keep praying to god

TJ
Guest
I’m a guy, and five times a day is way too much to be safe. Not only is it draining your energy for useful labor, and draining the substances the body needs to function properly (like zinc) but it sets up the way for infidelity because it is unprincipled. I’ve read a book by a little old woman named Ellen White speaking about this topic in the 1800s. While she was pro sex in the marriage covenant she was against immorality and using each other as sex objects as opposed to simply and humbly loving each other. Being unprincipled about… Read more »
Mitch
Guest

Ellen White is quack and a false prophet. One of the original Seventh Day Adventists who couldn’t deal with the fact that Jesus didn’t return in 1844. Her views on sex are unbiblical and should never be referred to as authoritative.

Five times a day? If I were young again and my wife and I had the time I would be truly blessed if I could achieve this level of orgasmic greatness. But I guess my needs are more conservative.

Bree
Guest
Heather Lindsey and her husband Cornelius Lindsey discuss this a great deal. Heather Lindsey has several books on this subject. As you stated Debra, if sex is the driving purpose behind why your marrying your spouse, your relationship will end up being either no different than a “friends with benefits” relationship, with the exception of you having the title of marriage, or it will inevitably fail because the foundation began for all the wrong reasons. It actually pains me to see so many married couples having so many issues revolving around sex in their marriages. If you get married for… Read more »
Bree
Guest

Stay patient and prayerful Anthony. When your wants and needs line up with what God wants and needs for you, and when you wait on God, you will be blessed. *smile*

Amanda
Guest

I mean technically, ‘get married to have sex’ is the correct interpretation of those verses…at that time marriage was really different, it required different considerations than it does today. We can’t directly apply these things. And I agree with Greg, the very vague, gnostic statements of John Piper are especially irritating when he has no idea what it’s like (he’s not the only one…plenty of Christian leaders who say these things got married between 18-22. As I always say, it’s not hard to wait until marriage if you get married at 18).

Helen Schirmer
Guest
Your comments are spot on. Maybe the real question should be asked is: Should Christian singles of all ages have sex when they are want marriage but are unable to get married and as a result experiencing unwanted prolonged singleness and unwanted celibacy? Today the majority of evangelical singles are having sex outside of and before marriage. That is a fact. Trying to minimize the importance of sex to singles is unhelpful. They won’t buy it. Besides, it is disengenious. God made it a very powerful desire in us. So powerful that the majority cannot refrain. The Christian church is… Read more »
LaNeka Young
Guest

I wholeheartedly agree with this article. Growing up in the church this seems to be commonplace, but most if not all of the marriages I witnessed have ended in divorce including my own marriage. This topic deserves to be discussed especially in a church group setting.

Tsalo
Guest
Perhaps we need to accept that we will ‘All Never’ get married. As much as this is painful to accept, it is however the harsh reality we face as Christians. It doesn’t mean that just because we have prayed for spouses, we will get spouses, God never promised that. I feel that the church is not teaching enough about this and we are often told that when you pray and confess, you will get what you have prayed about/confessed. This is not true. There are single men and woman of God who have longed and prayed for marriage and some… Read more »
Eric. J.P Anison
Guest

.Mama, here you’re at it again. ” A strong marriage is built on foundation of love , service and Grace in essence , a list of actions that speak so much louder than words!” I love that. Thank you Mama.

Rachel Greer
Guest
This is my biggest beef with the church toward singles. Given what most stats say and the fact that we have to go to websites just to find people to date, I’d say the Church needs to be more responsible in how they treat singles. If they’re going to preach purity and abstinence before marriage to teens and young adults, then they need to help those young adults get married. Because that same advice doesn’t work really well by the time you hit your thirties. Yes, I know what the Bible says. But the Bible was also written in a… Read more »
Ray
Guest

Thanks Debra for the article and all those who made thought provoking comments – all of your thoughts put the brakes on my romantic fantasy that will severely disappoint should I continue to indulge in it!!!

John Gallow
Guest

This article for me just confirms that’s it’s better to have sex in a commited relationship so you can focus on getting to know one another. If two people truly are attracted to each other the sexual tension prevents you getting to know one another properly, we were not created to have awkward Christianese relationships.I also believe that a committed relationship is something that is determined in the heart, not in marriage. Marriage is just the official ceremony to solidify and announce commitment. But commitment is between your heart and theirs and should start well before marriage.

Mitch
Guest
I think we need to differentiate between WHY you get married and to WHOM you get married. Sex is one of the most important reasons WHY you get married, if not the MOST important. It is so important that without it, you really have a sham marriage. Conjugal rights are considered essential to the validity of marriage. The constraints on sex within marriage are two fold, however, which makes the issue of to WHOM you are married so important: 1) Exclusivity and 2) Permanence. Any relationship entered into that is absolutely exclusive requires extensive vetting. I would never go into… Read more »
Ricky
Guest
“The truth is, sex is the easy part.” After 25 years of marriage, I can tell you this is profoundly NOT true. Nothing is easy about sex, especially when marrying two people with vastly different experiences and sexual expectations. I was a virgin and my wife was extremely NOT a virgin. She even had two abortions before we were married by other men and never told me until we had been married 5 years. The sex at the beginning was fine. Once the babies started coming, it dwindled to nothing and the stress of the new family weighed us down… Read more »
Ricky
Guest
“A great sex life isn’t just physical” By saying this you are being consistent with general tone of so many Christian marriage “experts.” You see rampant sexual activity among teenagers and conclude that the physical stuff is just natural and easy and the kids just need to understand a relationship is so much more. Okay, yes, for SOME kids this is true. But for kids who come out of purity culture or who have helicopter parents who seek to micromanage their children, they don’t necessarily find that the physical part of sex is all that easy. We had extensive premarital… Read more »
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