STATE OF THE UNION
RECIPE FOR ROMANCE – SEX THAT SIZZLES
APRIL 6, 1997
As most of you know, I eat a healthy diet. But this morning, I will just be honest with you, I am in the mood for some freshly baked cookies. Wait a second, I will be right back.
(A video is shown which features Ed running off the stage, out of the building, down the street, and into the Tom Thumb grocery store. He picks up a huge box of cookies and heads back to the church, stopping only momentarily to glance at a bass fishing magazine. As the video ends, Ed reenters the stage.)
Cookies, cookies, cookies, chocolate chip cookies. I just turned 36 a couple of weeks ago but I still have some speed. How many married adults do we have with us? Will you lift your hand if you are married. Oh, we have many. I’ll tell you what I am going to do. I have in my hand some freshly baked cookies from Tom Thumb bakery. I am going to have a husband and wife sample these cookies. Here is a couple right here. As a matter of fact, I know these folks. It is David and Stacy Painter! Now, David, take a cookie and give it to your lovely spouse. Then take one for yourself. I will say one, two, three dine, and you eat the cookies. How are the cookies? Great, you say. Tom Thumb has an excellent recipe for freshly baked cookies.
In this session I am talking to you about a recipe, a recipe for romance. Take out the outlines which you will find in your bulletin. We are going to go over a couple of things that the Bible says concerning how to have sex that sizzles. We are created as sexual beings. In fact, the first words ever uttered to us were words that describe our sexuality. It’s a boy. Or, it’s a girl. And from birth to death we work out the implications of our sexuality. God has given us the gift of sex. He thought it up, it was His idea. He said that sex is good. We serve a God who is pro-sex. When a husband and wife get together in sexual intercourse, they can experience and express the deepest level of intimacy in the universe. However, statistics claim that between 40% and 60% of adults in a crowd this size would experience a moderate to high level of sexual frustration in their marriage.
A lot of married couples are like my son, EJ. He walked into my bathroom Tuesday morning, picked up a $5 bill from the counter and said, “Look, Dad, here is a picture of President George Linconton.” I told EJ that he was a little confused, that the picture was that of Abraham Lincoln and another former president was George Washington. My goal in this morning’s message is to clear up the confusion on romance and sex. I want to share with you how to have sex that sizzles.
First, we have got to follow the recipe. You see, the Bible is a cookbook. And if we read the book, we will have sex that cooks. The recipe that I want to draw your attention to is found in the I Corinthians 7:3-4. This tells us God’s agenda for romance, intimacy and sexuality in marriage. “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband….” Let me stop right here and make a couple of statements. Scripture tells us that husbands and wives are to serve one another selflessly, creatively, sexually, affectionately and regularly. Do you realize that serving our spouse’s sexual needs is part of discipleship? It is part of obedience, it is part of commitment, and one day we will all be held accountable concerning how we met our spouse’s sexual desires. “…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.” In other words, when we walked down the wedding runner and said I do, we gave each other our bodies. The husband gave the wife his body, the wife gave the husband her body.
Having said that, let’s talk about some of the differences that husbands and wives face. Men are notorious for compartmentalizing their sexuality. We saw that in the drama. They are oblivious to the overall context of the relationship. Husbands could be in an argument with their spouse and five minutes later they declare that they are “in the mood for love.” On the other hand, women are extremely conscious of the overall context of the relationship. A woman has to know that everything is OK outside the bedroom before the sparks are ignited inside the bedroom.
God’s design for sex is one man, one woman in marriage. That is why sex outside of marriage is always wrong. There are no exceptions. There are no escape clauses. I don’t care if you are engaged. The Bible says it is reserved for the marriage bed. If sex was just a physical thing, all you would have to do is take a couple of aspirin and you would be OK. Sex is multifaceted and multidimensional. There are wires attached to it, emotional wires, psychological wires, physical wires, spiritual wires. That is why when you have a man and woman involved in sex outside the marriage bed, reason is blinded and then at the breakup there are serious problems. You deal with guilt and pain and alienation and separation. Don’t ruin the recipe by practicing sex outside the marriage bed. If you are, confess your sin to God, turn from your sin and keep yourself pure until you get married. Follow God’s recipe because God’s recipe for sex and intimacy works. It works every single time.
I want to talk to you about some recipe wreckers in marriage. See those thumbs down signs on your outlines? Let’s first start with the men. Let’s just beat up on the men. And, men, you just might see yourself in some of these characters that I am going to describe. The first one is Rick Rude. Rick is that T-shirt wearing, bad breathed, belching husband who pinches his wife on the posterior and says, “Hey, baby, tonight is the night.” Next, is Al Average. Al is into percentages, batting averages, stock market averages and he wants to hit the national average of lovemaking with his wife. So he has to have sex a certain amount of times because it says in GQ magazine or Esquire that that is how many times most people do it. Next is Mark Monotony. Mark’s idea of romance is dinner, movie, sex, dinner, movie, sex, dinner, movie, sex, dinner, movie, sex. Now and then in marriage, Mark gets creative. It is dinner, sex, movie. Also, there is another one. Curtis Critique. Curtis cuts down his wife, the apartment, her cooking but he expects his wife to make passionate love to him. Any Curtis Critiques in the house?
Now, husbands, let’s talk about the wives, those female recipe wreckers. The first one is Tina Tired. “Not tonight, honey, I am just too tired. I’ve been at work all day and carpooled the kids. I’m just too tired.” Tina is about to nod off to sleep when suddenly the phone rings. She picks it up and it is her friend from college. Tina changes. “Oh, hi, girl friend. How are you doing?” An hour and a half later she is still talking on the phone. And her husband is thinking, what is the deal? Fatigue for the most part, ladies and gentlemen, is not physical, it is mental. Tina told her brain when the phone rang and she recognized her friends voice that she was excited just like she could tell her brain that she is excited to be next to the most important man in her world, her husband. Because, you see, when you said I do, you said to your spouse that he or she was your only sexual option for life. Here is another recipe wrecker, Susan Sweatshirt. Susan says, “Well, I have got my man, baby. It doesn’t matter what I look like. I just wear sweatshirts all the time. My hair, no big deal.” Then another one that I love is Freda Freeze. Now Freda wouldn’t think about serving her husband the same frozen Lean Cuisine meal night after night, but she gives him regularly that same frozen sexual response. Then we have Mona Money. Mona is moaning so much about finances that she totally forgets about romance.
Follow God’s recipe. That is the first way to have sizzling sex. You see the evil one loves to twist what God has designed. And Satan knows that a thriving, romantic and sexual life in a marriage will bond two people together and it will lay a foundation for generation after generation. It will speak volumes to the children. God will be glorified and Satan will take a shot to the chops. That is why he doesn’t like it but that is why we have to say that we want to follow God’s recipe.
Next, check the temperature. Check the romantic temperature of your relationship. You see for a marriage to thrive and survive, you have got to spend time with your spouse. You will hear me say this and spray this and wield this and deal this and talk about it over and over again. I am going to challenge you to check the temperature of your relationship regularly by adopting the 52-2 principle. Some of the singles may be thinking that they should be counting ceiling tiles, that this message is not for them. Hey, don’t even think about saying that to yourself. I wish I had known a lot of this stuff before I got married. You need to know as much as you can on this side of the altar so you can really take in a lot of information and a lot of application when you get married. Now is the time to learn it.
Let’s talk about the 52 principle before we hit the 2 principle. Fifty-two means to date your mate 52 times a year, that is, once a week. Now if I were to ask the married couples here, how many of you go out on a date once a week, most would raise their hands. But then if I ask, how many of you go out once a week alone, most of the hands would go down. There is always this omnipresent friend around. You see, when you are with a group or with friends, you don’t deal with something that you have to deal with when you are alone. It is called silence. One night a week, date your spouse. Make the date jobless, childless and friendless. It will revolutionize and put life back into your marriage. If I had to name one thing in my marriage over the last couple of years that has improved it, I would have to say our regular date night. Just think, for the next six nights you can do whatever you want to. You can call in friends and neighbors and do whatever. But one night a week, date your mate.
Let’s talk about the 2 principle. The 2 principle is twice a year, go away somewhere and spend the night. Twice a year, go to some other place, a hotel, a bed and breakfast. Go camping, if you want to. Spend the night together a minimum of twice a year. You can do it more often if you would like. What does that do, you ask. I will tell you. You will see your spouse in the context of a romantic lover whose main objective when you go away is to satisfy your needs sexually. And that is so, so important.
Now some of you are saying that that is really fine and dandy but that it is very expensive, at least $100 a night for a hotel room and that it would cost at least $200 a year to do this. Well, yes it is expensive but I would rather you invest $100 a night now in fun and relaxation and in love making than invest $100 an hour years later with a marriage counselor because that is what you are going to be doing. Some are asking, how about the kids. Baby-sitters are expensive, too. I hear you. Here is what you need to do. Find some friends of yours who have children and you take the first step and say, “Hey, we’ll keep your kids for a night away if you will keep our kids for a night away.” The great thing about taking the initiative is that you can choose which kids to keep.
This will breathe life and spontaneity into your relationship. Once a week you will be going out on a date with your spouse, the most important person in your life. Twice a year, you will go away camping, to a motel, to a bed and breakfast. Do you ever sit back and say that you are kind of bored? We have all said that before. I have figured out something. If we say we are bored, that means we are boring, it is our fault. We have got to be spontaneous. That is the great thing about kids. Kids are spontaneous. They will have an idea and a nanosecond later they are actually doing it. I was playing with the twins yesterday and Landra, our livewire, and I were pitching baseball in our driveway. All of a sudden, Landra, in midpitch turned and started digging in the dirt. Just that quick. And as adults, we forget how to do that. When you have an idea, don’t start digging in the dirt, but live it out. Put some shoe-leather under it. Try the creative idea. Check the temperature of your romance. Ask your spouse or date what level you are on.
I will give you a few homework assignments on how to improve the romance temperature of your marriage. Become a great greeter. When you have not seen your spouse for an extended period of time, make sure that you let your spouse know you are glad to see them. Kiss them. Embrace them. Kiss them for at least 5 seconds. I want to show you how long 5 seconds is. OK. This shows your children that your mate is the most important relationship to you, next to God, even more important than they are. At first they may act like it is gross but then when they get married one day, it will be a natural thing for them to be intimate. When you greet each other that way, it sets the tone for the entire evening. Sometimes, though, husbands and wives spend more time greeting Spot, than their spouse.
Another way is to become a hand holder again. Husbands, just grab your spouse’s hand. Women love that. It is great. You are saying to her and to the world that she is yours and that she matters to you. It says that you love her and want to touch her outside of the bedroom. And yes, guys, there is such a thing as non-sexual touching.
The third way to have sizzling sex is to clean out the pantry. Most of us have some hidden hurts, some covered up complaints way back in the back. We have got the nagging knowledge that if they are not dealt with, they can tyrannize and wreck our relationship. The two least discussed subjects in marriage are sex and death. I am not sure what they have in common, but that is what I read this week. You take those covered up complaints and put them on the table and uncover them and share with your spouse your needs, your desires, what you are holding back. Once this happens, I’ve have seen relationships that appeared dead, become alive and infused with creativity as the result of these hidden hostilities being dealt with. Many of us are living with the knowledge that hidden way back there in the pantry is stuff that we haven’t really dealt with. I know it is going to be difficult but the romantic quotient of your relationship is hanging in the balance. You might have to bring a Christian counselor in to help you with this, maybe a pastor, maybe a trusted friend. Please do the work. Next week we will talk about that in detail.
The forth way to have sizzling sex is to enjoy the marital meal. Do you have fun with your spouse? Do you remember way back then in the courtship phase when you and your spouse were alone and you had this mutually enjoyable activity, this recreational pursuit? It could be jogging, it could be skiing, it could be antiquating, it could be decorating, it could be whatever. Why don’t you reintroduce it into your relationship? It will add life, a new spring to your step because you are involved with your spouse and you are playing and recreating with your spouse. Lisa and I run together, a lot. Now I am not a great runner but I am a lot faster than my wife. If I wanted to I could go off and leave her every time we run. In fact, I am so fast, you saw that in the video, I could just run by myself. I don’t need Lisa to run with me. But I made a decision a few years ago. I would rather run slower and have the romantic aspects of my relationship move faster than to run faster and have the romantic area move slower. This is a very important thing that we have done in our marriage. Yesterday morning we ran together. We look forward to running together at least three to four times a week. We recreate together and because we recreate together and play together it improves the other aspects of our marriage.
Now a few of you who have been married for awhile are saying, “Well, Ed, let me tell you something, brother. I am looking here at this outline. Sex that sizzles, wow. Follow the recipe. Check the temperature. I am striking with you here. Clean out the pantry. Enjoy the meal. Sounds like work to me, brother. Not in this lifetime do I want to do that. That is a lot. Give me a break, come on now. It is a lot of work.” And I would agree with you, it is a lot of work. But I ask you to ponder this. What if after Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again we could have gone up to Him and asked if it was worth it. He would say yes.
Lisa and I have an outstanding marriage and we could stand before you like many other couples here and say that we have got it going on. We would also say that the work is worth it. If you want to have sex that sizzles, follow God’s recipe, check the temperature, clean out the pantry and enjoy the meal and then God will be glorified and your life and your relationship will be exceptional.