At Skyline Church, we’re in a new teaching series called Relationship Rehab. While this series pertains to all relationships, the first two weeks have specifically pertained to marriage. We've acknowledged there are NO Perfect Marriages. While perfect marriages don't exist, I’ve been using the illustration of six essential ingredients when making a cake that symbolize key ingredients to a sweeter marriage.
In my blog last week, "Marriage Is Cake", I reviewed the first three ingredients: Communication, Consideration, and Compromise. You may take a look at that list and already know that those are some pretty hefty ingredients that could use some work in your day-to-day relationships. I want to invite you to read "Marriage Is Cake" before diving into "The Sugar Of Marriage."
Contact is the sugar of a marriage relationship! Sugar is absolutely necessary when baking a cake and it's absolutely a key ingredient to a sweeter marriage. As human beings, we’re not just spiritual, we’re physical! We need consistent physical contact.
During COVID we’ve drifted away from the natural human need of physical contact in all of our relationships, not just our marriages. Culturally, we’ve become less socially accepting of high fives, friendly hugs, handshakes, and all because people are living in fear. We've seen divorce, depression, alcoholism, and suicide rates rise while the death rate for COVID remains less than 1%. Culture is pushing us over the cliff of irrational fear. Our social skills are decreasing and so are our interpersonal skills with those we love the most. It's no surprise that our lack of socialization and human contact are affecting our marriages.
We NEED affection in our marriages. Remember when you first started dating your spouse and you couldn’t keep your hands off each other? Now, we use that old excuse of not “feeling” affectionate. Here’s the thing folks … feelings always follow behavior. That’s why when we’re dating it’s important to save sex for marriage. Why? Because feelings grow much deeper when we act on those intimate impulses. Feelings followed behavior when you were dating and they follow behavior now. If you're not "feeling affectionate" ... you gotta bake it 'til you make it! Just like baking a cake takes time and effort, you gotta be intentional about what ingredients you're putting into your marriage. Once we’re married, we can’t let a day go by without expressing affection for our mate. In order to have a thriving marriage, not just a surviving marriage, we have to have physical contact.
1 Corinthians 7:3 says it in this way, “The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs.”
Yes, the Bible talks about sex. A lot actually. And so should we. Have a discussion with your spouse about sex and physical contact, and ask yourselves where you fall on a 1-10 scale (1 being needs work and 10 being on track).
How physical contact is achieved is different to each spouse. Here’s the thing with men, we’re typically goal-oriented. Not all men, but generally this is a guy thing. When a man is pursuing a woman, he does a lot of things he doesn’t normally do. He'll go through great lengths to reel in a woman he's set his eyes and heart on. But the moment the wedding is over, he subconsciously reaches a mindset of ... “Mission Accomplished!” He's on to the next goal. And the NEXT goal, is providing for his wife and this growing family that he loves so much. Away goes the roses, candy, opera, and whatever tasks he performed to win over the woman he pursued. Providing for the family is often how a husband believes they are ultimately demonstrating love to their spouse.
However, we have to acknowledge that the key to consistent physical contact is consistent courting. I'm trying to stick to "C" words throughout this series to make these ingredients easy to remember, but courting is very simply dating with intentionality. Dating your spouse will present opportunities for physical contact to thrive in your marriage. A brush of the shoulder, holding hands, kiss on the cheek... all these moments might have seemed like flirting when you first started dating, but they are all still very necessary in your marriage. If you and your spouse have drifted apart and are not seeing contact flourish in your marriage, courting is going to help you revive those intimate feelings you once experienced when dating.
1 Corinthians 6:16, “There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact …” (MSG).
Sex is meant to draw two people together in a profound way that we may not realize at first. It's spiritually bonding. The more we abstain from coming together sexually in our marriages, the more room we make for the enemy to divide our marriage. As we know, the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He’ll bring temptation through outside relationships, pornography, and many other crafty ways. Porn specifically is an issue across the board for women almost as much as men. Pornography is a drug that will ruin your marriage. It is addicting and devastating to marriages.
So here's what I want you to do. Communicate where you are in your marriage when it comes to contact. Be compassionate with your spouse and what he or she has to say. Compromise a way to get back on track. If your spouse says I think we’re at a 6, the appropriate response is … What will it take to get to a 10? This conversation isn’t meant to turn into a fight, to prove a side, dig up the past, or anything other than moving forward. We all know there are ups and downs in every relationship. There are NO Perfect Marriages. Take this conversation seriously, don't take it lightly. No one wants a cake without sugar, and no one wants a marriage without contact.
To learn more about the last two ingredients to a sweeter marriage, you can join us in this teaching series on the Skyline YouTube Channel.