From the very beginning martial union and physical union were intertwined together. Genesis 2:24 (King James Version) states "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." "Marriage is a one flesh relationship. Sex is not peripheral to marriage but is delicately woven into its very fabric" (Weiner-Davis, 2008). Sexual intimacy in marriage is God's gift to mankind. God's gift of sexual intimacy in marriage serves four purposes: consummation of marriage, procreation, love, and pleasure (Hollinger, 2009). Human imperfection is the result of sin entering the world. Different sex drives and unresolved marital conflicts are human imperfections that cause dissatisfaction and diminished sexual intimacy in a marriage that can trigger emotional disconnect, infidelity, or divorce. In order for a couple to revive sexual intimacy in their marriage they have to be willing to understand their differences and forgive past mistakes. God, the creator of sexual intimacy chose to relate to mankind through sexual intimacy in a marriage.
The four purposes of God's gift of sexual intimacy in marriage are: consummation of marriage, procreation, love, and pleasure. The first purpose of sexual intimacy is for the consummation of marriage. Consummation of marriage happens when a married couple has sexual intercourse for the first time. The biblical term "to know" means that a couple becomes literally one flesh at the moment of intercourse (Janssen, 2001). At that moment, something dynamic transpires between the two when they become one flesh their relationship is now different, set apart and made distinct (Hollinger).
The second purpose of sexual intimacy is procreation. In Genesis 1:28 God reveals his plan for procreation when he blessed Adam and Eve and said unto them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it" (KJV). "Sexual intercourse is the means by which human life on earth continues and the means by which every human life begins" (Hollinger). Procreation was God's plan for mankind to populate the earth.
The third purpose of sexual intimacy is love. Covenantal love is found in a marriage. Covenantal love is forever and accepts the responsibility to bear children from sexual intercourse (Hollinger). Love is so exquisitely defined in I Corinthians chapter 13. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails" (New International Version). Sexual intimacy in a marriage is sacred and creates a love bond between husband and wife that is not easily broken.
The fourth purpose of sexual intimacy is pleasure. C.S. Lewis rightfully connects legitimate pleasure with God when he penned the following words: "God gives good gifts to human beings for their enjoyment. In our fallen state we often turn these good gifts in to gods, demanding more of them than they can yield and replacing God, the ultimate good with created goodsâ€¦ The very fact that the psalmist can speak of eternal pleasures at God's right hand shows that he is a God of pleasure" (Lewis, 2001). God created sexual intimacy that was pure and undefiled for marital pleasure but sin when it was conceived defiled sexual intimacy and took it outside the confines of marriage. As long as sexual intimacy is kept in the confines of marriage it can be pleasurable and still remain pure and undefiled. According to sex therapists, Rosenau and Sytsma "it has been our clinical experience that couples who desire deep connections and fantastic sexual intimacy, must learn to laugh and play in a way the Creator designed as part of the experience of intimacy" (Rosenau, 2004). God created sexual intimacy for marital pleasure and he intended for husbands and wives to enjoy each other sexually.
Sexual intimacy is vital in a marriage and that is how God created marriage. Unfortunately, with the fall of man came human imperfection. Human imperfection causes flaws in all of God's creation and marriage is not exempt from this demise. Human imperfection in a marriage manifests itself through various venues that results in dissatisfaction and a decline of sexual intimacy in a marriage. One venue is differences in sex drives and another venue is unresolved marital conflicts.
Differences in sex drives can have a negative effect on sexual intimacy in a marriage. In a lot of marriages one spouse will have a high sex drive and the other spouse will have a low sex drive. The spouse with the lower sex drive controls the sexual relationship. They dictate the frequency of sex, the time for sex, and the type of sexual activities and techniques that will be used during sex. The spouse with the higher sex drive begins to feel powerless, rejected, hurt, lonely and unloved. As a result sexual intimacy diminishes and dissatisfaction manifests itself in the marriage (Weiner-Davis, 2008).
Unresolved marital conflicts can also cause dissatisfaction and diminished sexual intimacy in a marriage. Conflicts over finances, parenting issues, a controlling spouse, infidelity, individual preferences, unintended emotional injury, flaws and weaknesses are typical marital conflicts. Conflicts when they arise need to be confronted and a compromise reached. Ephesians 4:26 admonishes man "let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (KJV). Couples should make it a priority in their marriage to resolve conflicts. Unresolved conflicts in a marriage begin to build barriers between the husband and the wife. If unresolved martial conflicts persist in a marriage, the marriage is headed for failure.
Differences in sex drive and unresolved marital conflicts have the ability to spawn emotional disconnect, infidelity, or divorce in a marriage. Emotional disconnect occurs when a couple is no longer emotionally intimate with each other. Emotional disconnect is caused by feelings of resentment and rejection. Infidelity is when one spouse is physically or mentally unfaithful to the other spouse. Lust and pornography are types of mental infidelity that usually precede physical infidelity. Divorce is inevitable if emotional disconnect and infidelity are not resolved in the marriage. Sin's curse to marriage is divorce. God hates divorce and he did not intend for marriage to end in divorce but he understands that sometimes divorce is the only viable option (Christian Marriage Today, 2012).
Rekindling the spark of sexual intimacy in a marriage requires learning to understand each other's differences and the ability to forgive past mistakes. There has to be an understanding that God made every individual different and the willingness to accept those differences. Past mistakes that still linger in the marriage need to be relinquished and forgiven (Christian Marriage Today). Marriages are not perfect and sometimes outside intervention such as prayer, counseling and marriage seminars are necessary. Counseling and marriage seminars can strengthen or reconnect marital relationships. Most importantly, seeking God for guidance and understanding through prayer will help build, maintain, or renew intimacy in a marriage (Weiner-Davis).
God created man in his own image and he desired to be close to man. God chose sexual intimacy in marriage as a way relate to man. "Sex is his self-disclosing picture window into the AlmightyÂÂÂÂÂÂ-His grand metaphor to teach the value he places on intimate relationships. God is love and sexuality gives us ways to understand this" (Rosenau). Sin mars, distorts or even erases evidence of our creator in sex acts. Often sex bears no resemblance to God's image as was his original design and intent. Sexual intimacy gives man insights into God's character and the way he interacts with man (Rosenau).
Research on the topic of the importance of sexual intimacy in marriage revealed the importance that God places on sexual intimacy. If God believes that sexual intimacy in a marriage is important then man should make sexual intimacy in marriage a priority. If man would make it a priority there would be less divorce in the world. God desires his children to live happy and fulfilled lives. It is his good pleasure for couples to experience sexual intimacy. Sexual intimacy does not create marriage, but sexual intimacy cannot be divorced from marriage. God, the creator of marriage would have it no other way (Weiner-Davis).