Last month my pastor did a sermon series on the life of David, and he brought out a point that I felt had applications in marriage. It’s the idea of being careful who you listen to, because they can invade your thoughts, they can mess with your mind, your perceptions and ultimately your decisions and behaviors. Don’t remember that in the story of David? Let me walk you through it.
The story can be found in 1 Samuel 17 if you want to read the entire thing (which I always suggest). It starts of pretty slow. The Philistine, enemies of Israel, invade their borders and so the king and his army go out to meet them. The two armies set up camp and face each other across a valley and out comes a giant of a man 6 cubits and a span tall, which if memory serves is 6 times the length of your forearm, plus your hand. Well, technically, the forearm and hand of the king at the time, but I think that gives a rough picture.
This giant of a man comes out and challenges the Israelite army to send out one man to face him. Then he starts insulting them, their country, and their God. The Israelites are terrified and do nothing and so this giant (Goliath) continues this challenge and insult, twice a day for 40 days. By the time David, then a lowly shepherd boy, shows up to get the latest news, the army is cowering and has their spirits absolutely broken. They had forgotten that they followed the Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and instead listened to this Goliath who shouted insults at them day and night for over a month.
And I thought to myself, I’ve seen this happen in marriages as well. In fact, just last month we had an exchange in the comments section of one of our posts where a yet unmarried young women declared that her married sisters and friends had all told her how bad sex is, and so she had resolved that she never wants to get married as a result. Sadly, this happens in our Christian groups as well. Christina, my wife, has told me that she’s sat in groups of Christian mothers while they complain about their husbands always wanting to have sex. And I recall whenever my mother mentioned my dad “getting frisky” it was always with the same look that we got as kids when we came in covered head to toe in mud, as if it was yet another chore she had to deal with.
And if you aren’t careful, you start to listen to these perspectives, you start to take in the lies and the deception that they have already bought and are now selling. I think that’s why we see verses like this in the Bible:
He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.
– Proverbs 13:20
Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
-1 Corinthians 15:33<
And the worst part is, this can come from those who should be our teachers.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
I’ve heard such sex-negative comments from wives, from deacons and elders, and sadly, even from pastors. And it’s not just women, both genders are equally at fault in this. While women tend to, in my experience, make the bulk of the sex-negative comments, men tend to take a different spin, often putting down their wife’s intelligence, wisdom, driving ability, or whatever. In the end it starts to look more like a war, with wives on one side and husbands on other, with skirmishes happening in the homes, and children caught in the crossfire, doomed to be recruited into the war effort when they grow up.
And this tail end of the last verse repeats in my mind: “that the word of God may not be reviled”. Our marriages are the laughing stock of the world. They say our divorce rates are just as bad as theirs. They make jokes about repressed Christian sexuality. They stand in shock and disbelief when they hear about a “Christian sex toy store”, believe me, I’ve seen the discussions on reddit and other places. They aren’t in shock and disbelief long, they start slinging insults pretty quick, making fun of the “misguided Christians”, and no wonder. Because the sad thing is that while they spectate and watch this war between the sexes in Christianity, the devil sits back and laughs…because we’re really fighting his war, convincing the world that Christianity is a joke…
We’re always warned about what we see in movies, in TV shows, but I tell you, we need to be careful what we see and hear in our churches. Not a week goes by that I don’t hear a spouse tearing down their husband or wife in church. Now, granted, I’m on the lookout for it, and I’m doing my best to correct and counteract it, but I know I’m barely making a dent. We need more people to redirect the war effort: to get husbands and wives back on the same team and fighting for sex-positive, Christian marriages. Will you help me? Start with your own marriage. Show people a better way. Then start correcting them when you see a teaching moment. Yeah, you might get some push back, but you might save a marriage, in either this generation, or the next.