2 HAVE AND 2 HOLD SERMON SERIES
A SUCCSEXFUL MARRIAGE – FINDING SEXUAL FULFILLMENT IN MARRIAGE
APRIL 23, 1995
Do you remember those E. F. Hutton commercials which show a couple of guys, maybe at a tennis match? They would watch the ball go from one side of the net to the other, and suddenly one would turn to his friend and say, “My broker is E. F. Hutton and E. F. Hutton says……” And then everyone at the match would stop. Thousands of spectators would strain their ears to listen. The contestants playing tennis would drop the ball and listen and then a dramatic voice would come on and say something like this. “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen.”
Today I am talking about sex. And when you talk about sex, people listen. Every time I speak on this fascinating and mysterious topic it seems that people hang on every word. Very few people ever fall asleep because everyone wants to hear about sex. For far too long the church has only emphasized the negative aspects about sex; adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism. The church has neglected to talk about the great side of sex which is exhilarating, is adventuresome and is fun. Good sex is Biblical sex, one man, one woman in the context of marriage. We should not be ashamed to talk about what God was not ashamed to create. There is only one place better to hear about sex than in the church and that’s at home. So relax, chill, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you because we are going to talk very Biblically but also very graphically about this subject.
A lot of misinformation circulates on the subject of sex. Some people listen to Dr. Ruth. Others might take their cues from Cosmopolitan or Playboy magazine. Other couples run out and buy a sex manual which resembles a Popular Mechanics magazine and they kind of throw up their hands and say, “Where should we turn, what should we do regarding this topic?” Well, right here, on this stage, on this lectern, now in my hand is the greatest sex manual every written. You see it? I think I woke up a couple of guys – sex manual. It’s right here. The greatest sex manual ever written is the Bible, the infallible, relevant word of God. And God has set aside one book in the Bible that shows how husbands and wives should make love. There’s another guy going -“Where is that, honey?” One book of the Bible shows how a husband and wife should have sexual fulfillment in marriage, and this book is called the Song of Solomon or the Song of Songs. And today we are going to dissect this book over the next few moments. The first half of my message is going to be directed to the men. Men raise your hands. Yes. The first half I’ll beat up on the men, then men, to make it fair, I am going to change gears and talk to the women. The one half men, the other half women.
I hope you have your outlines out. They are found in your bulletin. See it? Finding Sexual Fulfillment in Marriage. Here is the context of this particular book, the Song of Songs. Solomon was a young man, he was the leader of Israel and he married a woman and her name was Shulamite. With a name like Shulamite the lady had to be beautiful. Anyway, Shulamite and Solomon were a very interesting couple because they knew what it meant to really have love in every slice of their marriage. And through this book Solomon talks about their courtship, their marriage, the problems they have and how they handle those problems. One day I promise you that I will do a series on this book, the Song of Songs, but today I will just limit it to sexual fulfillment in marriage.
How to be a succsexful husband. See number one and its blank? Well, guys, here is the first element of how to have a succsexful marriage. Do the unexpected. I will say it again, if you want to have a succsexful marriage, husbands now, wives you can listen, but especially husbands, do the unexpected. Let me define what I am talking about when I say do the unexpected. One of the greatest needs a woman has is the R word, romance. Romance. Some of you men are saying, “Romance, didn’t he used to play tight end for the Cowboys?” No, no, romance, men. Women love to be romantic. They love affection. And you have to set the stage and you have to create the atmosphere for sexuality. Men we are the leaders of the relationship and we have to set the stage, set the tone and we have to understand what the word romance means. And here is a Biblical definition of the word romance from the book Song of Songs. Do the unexpected. Well what did Solomon do? I will tell you what he did. Let’s read it together. Song of Songs 1:16-17. “Our bed is verdant”. And the word verdant here means covered with plants, he did something totally unexpected. He said, “Honey, look at the bedroom.” “Oh, baby, you have decorated the bedroom with plants.” He was romantic. “The beams of our house are cedars.” And the word house here means our bedroom. He built her a house and he didn’t tell her what the bedroom was going to look like and he panelled the bedroom with cedars. Again, he did the unexpected. “Our rafters are firs.” Men, husbands, hey, when was the last time you did something romantic that was totally unexpected by your wife. When was the last time you purchased her a long stem rose and just walked in, for no reason, no ulterior motive now, and just gave the rose to her and said “Honey, I love you.” You know what my problem is, as far as the romance side of me goes, I get repetitive. Guys we are systematic, we do the same old, same old. Same restaurants, same waiter, same food, same movie, same babysitter, same love making. Anything, I will say it again, anything that is repetitive, men, is a romance killer. One more time. Anything, men, that is repetitive is a romance killer. And all the women are now saying, “Amen, preacher, preach it.” And why am I laughing. Hey, you are looking at a guy who still messes up. Ok, so I am not talking down at you, I am talking with you, men. Don’t think I am hammering on you, yet.
Number two. Are we filling the blanks in? I bet your wives are for you. Take the initiative. Again we are talking about romance. You see, guys, don’t miss this now. Romance needs to be the atmosphere in the home and sex is the event. Right. Take the initiative. Look what Solomon did again. This man, you’re talking about romantic, he had it going. And before I read what Solomon did, let me talk about initiative. Men, think back to when you were dating that special someone, your bride, think back to that time. You were dating her, you weren’t married. When you thought about a date, who set the plans? You did it. You thought about the movie, you thought about the restaurant, you would call in advance and make everything work, you would think about what you would wear. You were planning stuff and you were romancing her and you were dating her. And then you get married and you sometimes just do what I do. I’ll get the paper. “Hey, Lisa, here’s the paper, if we go to the movies is there anything you want to see?” “And let’s just go to our favorite restaurant, Via Real, in fact they have a great special if you get there about 5 pm….” No, no, no, guys, that does not work. And here is what else we do. We romance and we really get into it and then we get married and it’s like that task is complete, because men are task oriented. Then we take our romantic uniform off and it’s like we retire it, we hang it from the rafters in our den. And we say, “Hey, honey, remember that outfit right there, that was the uniform I wore when I romanced you. But now we are married, who needs romance?” Sound familiar?
Solomon. Man, man, man, look what he did right here. Song of Songs 2:10.
He said, “Arise, my darling (he took the initiative) my beautiful one and come with me.” You hear me say this all the time. Have a date night. It kind of gets trite. Date your mate. Well, that’s fine and good. Date your mate. Date your mate. Date your mate. I mean really date your mate. Date your mate like you dated her before she was you mate. What you used to get her is what you use to keep her. I am not talking about double dating. Double dating went out with the junior-senior prom. It is wonderful to have couples that you go out with, man, I’ll give you a high five on that but your relationship one on one must take precedence. It must take priority over any other relationship except your relationship with Jesus Christ. I challenge you, once a week. “Hey, we can’t afford it.” You can’t afford not to do this. Once a week have a date and do something creative. It could be driving to DFW airport and watching the airplanes go by and do a little parking or something. It could be going to the Zoo or to the rodeo, checking out a weird restaurant or something like that. Do something, but you take the initiative. You can call her for a mystery date, guys.
How many of you married couples have children? OK. I love children, you know that. You see we have four beautiful children that God has blessed us with, there in the bulletin and also at home! But children complicate the date thing. If someone tells you they don’t, they are lying. They do. Each child represents a more difficult obstacle (look at Craig and Cathy, they are going, “yea oh yea”) that you have to get through to have the date. And most couples, and Lisa and I have done this before, and this has been bad on my side, we kind of throw our hands up and say, “We’re not going to have a date tonight, let’s forget it, you know we can’t get the babysitters (I use the word plural for my family) or sitter.” It is worth it, please do it. Please, please, please do it and men take the initiative because there will be great, great rewards. You realize when romance is flowing between a husband and a wife it permeates to the children. Whoa. They don’t understand romance, but something strange is happening with mommy and daddy. It is romance.
Number three. You’ll love this women. Be impractical. And this is Biblical stuff, I am not making this up. Be impractical. I looked up the word impractical in Webster’s Dictionary, you know what another word for the word impractical is? Romantic. Isn’t that something? Romantic. Let’s go back to Solomon, Song of Songs 7:11. And again, I know we have some practical people here, practical, you have to stay in the budget. If you are always practical, it is a romance killer. Women, alright? I am not talking about going out and getting in debt or something. Solomon said this. “Come my lover and let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages.” And this word night in the Hebrew means a bed and breakfast…..just kidding! Some people said, “Oh yeah, that’s right, bed and breakfast.” Look down in Song of Songs 1:1-11. “We will make you earrings of gold studded with silver.” Impractical.
Guys, I hate to tell you this. But I will share how I blew it major league in this department. It was the first Christmas Lisa and I ever celebrated as husband and wife, in Houston, TX. It was 4:45 PM Christmas Eve. The stores closed at 5:00 PM, there in Houston about thirteen years ago. And I decided to rush in with my best friend and the first store I saw was some kind of department store. I walked in and I said, “Yeah, I’ll take that bathrobe, a small, yeah, that’s great, whatever.” Twenty-five dollars. I purchased the bathrobe and thought, really that’s a great gift for Lisa, practical. Small but of course I forgot that she is almost 5’9″. And anyway I didn’t wrap it. It was kind of a minor thing but I handed it to her and she was not a happy camper. She really wasn’t. Because I did not think about it, I did not plan for it, I didn’t do the I thing, I wasn’t really impractical and I didn’t stretch and I didn’t use my creativity. So now and again, guys, in fact, regularly be impractical. Buy your wife a new outfit or a new pair of shoes or just something out of the blue. Do that.
Number four. Give compliments. Give compliments. Some of you are saying, “Hey, man, when are we going to get to the second part?” This is it. Give compliments. Give compliments. We have got to compliment our spouse and I talking specifically about husbands doing this publicly. If you even say a side, off the cuff remark, kind of a negative thing to your wife, oh guys, don’t do that. That destroys their self-esteem. They look to their husbands for their self-esteem and for their value and for affirmation and we do one little thing publicly – wham. Also privately, compliment them. We must stay away from being critical and trying to control them and to make them into women oftentimes that they are not.
I was watching a infomercial one night. I was watching Gary Smalley, who by the way is one of the great speakers on relationships. I use a lot of his stuff and we will bring him in one day when we have the new church out there. Gary Smalley uses illustrations about how women receive words from men. You might have seen it but I will do it again. This right here represents a comment, I am talking about a side, kind of negative comment that a husband would give the wife. When the husband walks in he goes, “You’re hair is not really doing it.” While to the husband it seems like a minor rebuff, to the wife it feels like a knock out punch. That is the difference between men and women. And this compliment thing is important. Solomon wrote poetry to his bride, to Shulamite. “Your hair is like a flock of goats, your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, your two breasts are like two fawns, all beautiful you are, my darling.” Notice he was specific. Be specific in your compliments, men. Don’t just say, “Well yeah, that was the tightest meal.” Say, “I really enjoyed the way you cut up the fruit at the end and all the food really came together well, it was unbelievable. It really was.”
Now I can’t even read to you most of the scripture from the Song of Songs and if I gave you all of the meanings behind the Hebrew words, you would not believe what the words mean. So, buy a good commentary and buy a nice Bible, New American Standard or the New International version or maybe a Good News paraphrased and read it. You will not believe what it says. And I promise you within the next year I will do a series through it, but this is some very, very vivid and direct stuff. OK, men, we are through. We are talking about romance, that is the atmosphere. Now we are talking about the event which is sex. I am moving now to how to be a succsexful wife.
Number one. Before I do this let me talk to you about a survey that might enlighten this point, women. There was a survey of 500 men, conducted recently, and 39% of the respondents said their number one hang up sexually with their wives was that they were not aggressive enough sexually. And Shulamite, she was aggressive sexually. So be more aggressive. Be more aggressive. Remember that basketball cheer? B E A G G R E S S I V E. Be aggressive. Be more aggressive. Song of Songs 7:1. And again, if you can get any other interpretation to this, I mean, be my guest. Here is the context, I couldn’t even write all this stuff down on your outline. Shulamite is alone with Solomon in the palace and she puts on a sheer negligee, sandals on her feet and she does a dance of the Mahanaim. Now we don’t know what the dance of the Mahanaim was but we know it was a dance that aroused her husband. She was a wise wife because she knew men are aroused more by sight and she approached him visually. Oftentimes we approach each other the way we want to be approached. And here is what Solomon said, “What a magnificent woman you are. How beautiful are your feet in sandals. The curve of you thigh is like the work of an artist.” Be more aggressive. Take the initiative more. You might want to pray, “God, my husband has a stronger sex drive than I do, help me to have a sex drive like his sex drive and help me to understand it and to meet him where he needs to be met.” You see, sex is not some selfish thing. The world says, get what you can get. God says, it is what you give. The husband gives himself to the wife, the wife gives herself to the husband. That is similar to God’s relationship to the church. Listen to me very carefully. The Bible says that men and women are created in the image of God. God stamped his male character qualities on the man, his feminine character qualities on the woman. And when a husband and a wife make love together in marriage, you have the nature and the essence and the character of God coming together. Worship God and honor Him. There is not a good part and a bad part, every part should honor Him, if we do things the way God wants us to do things. So women, be more aggressive, like Shulamite.
Number two. Make yourself available. She was available. She wasn’t saying no, I have a headache. Here is what she said. In fact, before we get into it let me read I Corinthians 7:4-5 because this is a great, great word about sexuality. “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.” And guys, girls, if you are single, when you are dating you had better think of whether you love the person enough to give your body, to give the rights to my body to him or to her. The Bible says, “Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent (I will read it one more time, do not deprive each other except by mutual consent) and for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer.” So I guess now, ladies, the excuse around the Metroplex will not be “I have a headache” but “I am in prayer.” I want to read you what Shirley Rice wrote about this verse. “When we refuse our mate’s advances sexually, fellowship with the Lord is broken.” When you say no to your husband or to your wife you are in danger of having your fellowship broken. Not your relationship, not losing your salvation, I am talking about your fellowship. Your fellowship is damaged. When you keep on saying no, no, no to your husband, it hurts his self-esteem. It also can tempt one or the other into adultery. How many of us have ever gone on a diet before? All of you dieters, raise your hands. Now when you are on a diet, what do you think about? Food. When you are on a sexual diet, when your wife says no, no, no or in some cases your husband says no, no, no, what do you think about all the time? Sex. That’s right. We need to be available for our mates.
Now oftentimes when one is really tired or sick or whatever, you can work things out and say, “OK, I’m going to say no tonight but I’ll give you a specific time tomorrow morning when we can come together in marriage.” Make sure. Because there are so many temptations out there. We live in a sex-crazed culture and we must, we must make ourselves available.
Number three. Use your imagination. Don’t come into the act of sex and put your imagination away. Use your imagination. Song of Songs 7:13, here is what Shulamite said. “Darling, I have kept for you the old delights and the new.” And she goes on, I don’t have time to get into it, but she goes on to say we will make love outdoors. This is the woman talking. I will read it to you again. “I have kept for you the old delights and the new.” Something creative. Ladies, you have a choice, you can either be a Rembrandt sexually or you can remain a paint-by-numbers person. God wants you to progress, and men also to progress into the Rembrandt stage. Wives you wouldn’t think about serving your husband the same frozen TV dinner every night would you? You wouldn’t do that. But many of you are serving your husbands the same frozen sexual response night after night after night.
Number four. Speak candidly. Speak candidly. Song of Songs 1:16. Shulamite goes on. “How handsome you are, my dearest. How you delight me.” Here are a couple of rules about sexuality. 1. You don’t know as much about your mate’s body as you think you do. 2. You are not a mind reader. That means you need to speak candidly. I challenge you and I encourage you to go to a quiet restaurant, to get away from everything, and to talk specifically about what pleases you in this beautiful gift from God called sex. You have got to do that. And hopefully and prayfully the walls will come down and this will be a great time for you to understand each other and to meet each other’s needs, to satisfy each other’s needs as we talked about last week and to really understand what God’s word meant when it talked about having a great sex life.
This message has had a lot of information in it. And I think the application of it will be the most enjoyable part, don’t you. But, I want you to really take this subject, this issue, seriously. Some of you might need to see a counselor. There is no way I could cover every aspect of sexuality, and every aspect of marital intimacy in a twenty-five or thirty minute message. We are happy for our staff to talk to you or to recommend books, tapes. But make sure again, folks, that you understand sex was given to us primarily for pleasure and secondarily for procreation. God wants you to have a great sex life. But men, the key word is….romance, and no he didn’t play for the Cowboys. Romance. Women, you have to think about what the man’s number one basic need is -sexual fulfillment. The wife’s top need – romance, affection. The husband’s top need – sexual fulfillment. That is the way God wired us up to meet each other’s needs.