Don't leave God out of your marriage. It's His marriage too.
That's how He sees it. It's His marriage too, not just yours. He's part of that covenant.
If you want a fulfilling marriage, you need to recognize there's a third person in it, God. And today on Connect with Skip Heitig, Skip shares the conclusion of his message, How to Have a Love Affair with Your Spouse, and reveals that God is part of your marriage covenant, so you must keep Him in it. Before we begin today, here's Skip and Lenya to tell you about a trip they're planning to Israel. Well, if you've ever dreamed about visiting Israel, let's make that happen. Lenya and I are leading a tour group to Israel next summer in 2024. We'll start up north visiting Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, and the Jordan River. We'll spend several days in Jerusalem, see the Temple Moab, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Upper Room, and more. Now visiting the places where the Scriptures unfolded, where Jesus lived out His earthly ministry, it never gets old.
That's why I keep going back. Join Skip and I and our friend Jeremy Camp next summer in Israel. See the itinerary and book this Israel tour with Pastor Skip Heitig at inspirationcruises.com slash c-a-b-q.
That's inspirationcruises.com slash c-a-b-q. Okay, let's turn to Proverbs 5 as we begin today's teaching. So in this imaginary conversation Adam said, God, it's not that I'm like ungrateful or anything, these animals are cool, and it's not like I don't like animals, but I'd really like someone more like me, only different, soft and tender and beautiful and sweet. To which God replied, well, something like that's going to cost you an arm and a leg.
And Adam replied, well, what could I get for a rib? Now, covenant marriage is not like that. You can't go in partly to this. You have to go all in. It's a total commitment of yourself. Marriage is a covenant. Covenant means a commitment, and it's a choice that you make not just on your wedding day, but it's a choice that you make every day. A covenant marriage is a marriage without an escape hatch, without a back door. You enter into the relationship and all the doors and all the windows are shut and locked. That's why we ask couples to go through a series of counseling sessions before they get married so that on their wedding day, they are able honestly before God to say until death do us part. Not until debt do us part, not until feelings do us part, not what will stay together till you get old and ugly do us part, but until death do us part. That's a covenant marriage.
Don't misunderstand me, please. I am not saying that a lifelong monogamous relationship will solve all of your problems. In fact, many more problems begin right there, but I am saying this. Intimacy begins and safety begins when you enter into that permanence. You go into the situation knowing this is permanent. This is a covenant. That's where safety begins.
That's where intimacy begins. It was Ruth who said to his mother and her mother in law, Naomi, where you will go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your God will be my God. Your people will be my people. Those are covenant words. In Hebrews 13, God says to us, his people, I will never leave you.
I will never forsake you. Those are covenant promises. But we live in an era where people look at marriage and they want to test it first. They want to live together first. They want to test the waters first. They want to get intimate first. They want to see if it works first. We call these tire kickers.
These are test drivers. That is not a covenant relationship. And know this.
This is what you ought to know. All of the good research shows that the most successful marriages are those entered into with the sense of permanence. Two sociologists in a recent study say people living together first are more apt to fail in their marriage than couples who move in after they say their vows. Citing one article, studies show based on 50 years of data that couples who live together before marriage have a 50% greater chance of divorce than those who don't. Those who cohabit also have a less satisfying and more unstable marriage.
Why? Research has found that those who had lived together later regretted having violated their moral standards and felt a loss of personal freedom to exit out the back door. Furthermore, and in keeping with the theme of marital bonding, they have, listen to this phrase, stolen a level of intimacy that is not warranted at that point, nor has been validated by the degree of commitment to one another.
When I read that little phrase stolen a level of intimacy, it triggered something in my mind. I want you to see how closely related that is in research to what the Bible says. Turn with me to Proverbs 9.
Just go write a couple blocks. Proverbs 9. Interesting phrase appears in Proverbs 9 about this.
Verse 13. A foolish woman is clamorous. She is simple. She knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house on a seat by the highest places of the city to call those who pass by who go straight on their way.
Whoever is simple, let him turn in here. And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, stolen water is sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasant, but he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell. Interesting, isn't it? The author says after research, they feel like they've stolen a level of intimacy. The clamorous, foolish, promiscuous person says stolen water is sweet.
Yeah, it tastes good going down perhaps, but later on is bitterness. So that's the first covenant. That's the first word. Magnify the mutual covenant. The second word is enjoyment.
That's part of the text as well. Maintain your marital enjoyment. Now I'm going to take you back to verse 18 and we'll slow down a little bit and we'll look at all those verses that we just read that make some of us blush. Let your fountain be blessed. Rejoice with the wife of your youth.
As a loving dear, as a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times and always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman and be embraced in the arms of a seductress? Contrary to popular belief these days, Hollywood did not invent sex. God invented sex. Sex was God's idea. And can I just say, it was a great idea. It was a great idea. Everything that God did, God looked at and said, that is good and this is part of it.
C.S. Lewis said pleasure was God's idea, not the devil's. Now the devil likes to hijack what God does. But when the Lord created man and wife, he put them together and the Bible says he made them male and female and they were naked and they were not ashamed. And you shouldn't be ashamed either. In that vulnerable exposed position in front of your spouse.
The marriage bed, says the writer of Hebrews, is undefiled. Now, at the same time, I will admit my own awkwardness on my wedding day and my honeymoon. But I want to I just want to tell you a little bit, just a little bit. When my wife and I got married on a Southern California summer day, we decided to take our honeymoon up north towards Santa Barbara, a place that we both love. I lived at the coast.
She didn't live far from it. So we just made our way up the coast. Well, on the way, we decided that we would stop at a couple of places, Oxnard and Ventura, which are coastal towns.
And the reason we did is because Lenny's grandfather was at one time in the hotel business so he could get deals. And so he got us our first night in a hotel close to the coast in Oxnard, California, free. So I said, hey, if it's free, it's for me.
All right. You're young and just married. It's like, I'll take it. Well, he booked the honeymoon suite in this hotel.
I didn't know what that meant. I said, great, awesome. Go into this hotel, get the key to the honeymoon suite. And I just thought I was in a horror movie. The door opened. I looked down at pink carpet. I look around and I see. Statues, gold painted cherubs, naked angels, basically all over the room, weird looking lamps and the wallpaper was velvet, red and gold velvet wallpaper everywhere.
And then to top it all off, above the bed, a mirror. So I know what the Bible says. I knew what it said. But the naked and unashamed part was sort of tough to get over in that environment.
But enough said. Let's go back to the text. Notice in verse 15 and verse 18 actually smattered throughout the text are very important words that describe the satisfaction, the sexual satisfaction and delight in a marriage. Words like cistern.
Cistern was a hole carved out of the rock to hold water that would refresh the family. The word well or streams or fountain, fountains, all of these describe the delight, more of which we'll talk about next time. The Song of Solomon describes the wife as a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters and streams. That speaks of marital delight, marital enjoyment. Maintain marital enjoyment. What's the purpose of sex? There are two that could be summed up by two words, babies and bonding. Babies, number one, that's procreation, that's reproduction. God said to the husband and wife, be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. But second is bonding, not reproduction, not procreation, but satisfaction. Nothing binds a couple more closely and deeply together as this act. That's why words are used here like satisfied and enraptured. But sex is more than a physical act.
It involves the total emotion, intellect and spirit of a person. That's why when the Bible describes sexual intercourse, you know what word it uses? The word no. Did you know that?
No. Genesis chapter four, Adam knew his wife and she conceived. In other words, they had sexual intercourse and she got pregnant as a result. That's how the Bible uses the term because sex is a means of getting to know each other in the deepest possible way. But sexual intimacy can never be separated from covenant unity.
I want to bring something up here. Sexual problems that people have in their marital relationship are often not sexual problems. They're indicators of deeper problems, other problems. Because as I said, you cannot separate sexuality from all of the other parts of a relationship, including emotion.
You can't do that. So sexual problems are often indicators of other problems. If you've ever been in a car where a light goes off on your dashboard, that's an indicator. Now you probably don't see a light going off on your dashboard and think, bad dashboard. Gotta replace my dashboard. No, it's an indicator that there's a problem elsewhere other than your dashboard, right? It's like you need water or oil or brake fluid. There's another system going on. Now you can jiggle the light or tap the light or if you wanted to, take a sledgehammer out and smash the light to get rid of the indicator. But that would be foolish. You know what I mean? You can't do that. You can't do it. But that would be foolish.
You could ruin your car. So it is in this area. James Peterson writes, conflicts, quarrels, bitter words will in time have an adverse effect on sexual harmony. One reason why it appears that sexual adjustment is difficult to achieve is that failure in any or several other major areas of married life is reflected in physical relationships. Generally a couple which has achieved a satisfactory cooperative framework in which to face all of their problems will find a minimum of difficulty in coming together sexually. Let me loosely translate what we just heard.
If you want a healthy, vibrant sex life in your marriage, try a little tenderness the other 23 and a half hours of the day. You can't separate one from the other. Let me throw something out at you. Women are crock pots. Men are microwaves.
Get what I'm saying? Men heat up very quickly. Women take time to do so. Men are visually stimulated and get stimulated very quickly just by something that they see doesn't even require touch.
Just visual stimulation. They're heated up. That's why it's important for a man to be very careful what he looks at or what he thinks about. Men are microwaves.
Women are crock pots. They're not as stimulated instantly or by sight visually like a man is. She responds to a tender, soft, meaningful touch. Kind words. Acts of tender kindness throughout the day. So physical enjoyment can't be rushed.
It has to be cultivated tenderly. And if a husband treats his wife kindly just at the end of the evening just so he can get sex out of that relationship, I will guarantee you resentment will set in and that will be and that woman will feel abused and will doubt the sincerity of that man's love. So enjoyment physically and enjoyment emotionally go hand in hand.
And both husband and wife need to know that. Let's close this off with the third word and that is commitment. Covenant enjoyment. The third is commitment. And here's the principle.
Make a spiritual commitment. Verse 21. After all that he writes to his son about sexuality in a marriage, he says, for the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord and he ponders all of his paths.
Get what that means? God knows everything. God sees everything. Talk about intimacy.
Talk about vulnerability. Imagine living with that in mind. Imagine what life would look like if you lived with that spiritual knowledge that God just heard the words I said to my wife. God knows the thoughts I'm thinking right now toward my husband. He's watching it. He's carefully weighing it. He's a part of this covenant.
And that's what I'm asking you to do. Bring God into your marriage. Bring him in and leave him there at the center. Bring him into the kitchen.
Bring him into the bedroom. Bring him into the living room and live with that kind of accountability because people who make a spiritual commitment to his lordship will find it easier to say no to sin and easier to have more stable, satisfying marriages. Did you know that spiritually minded people have better marriages than those who are not spiritually minded?
You're going, of course I know that. But did you also know that intimacy is greater and sexual pleasure is higher in such spiritually minded families? The research shows that. Two researchers from family life seminars conclude that Christians generally experience a higher degree of sexual enjoyment than non-Christians. Now before you think, well, that's just Christian research. What about real research? You know, that's how some people think. No, secular real research.
Okay. Red Book Magazine, a secular magazine, published the Sexual Pleasure Survey and showed the preferences of 100,000 women, quote, they say, quote, sexual satisfaction is related significantly to spiritual belief. With notable consistency, the greater the intensity of a woman's spiritual convictions, the likelier she is to be highly satisfied with sexual pleasure in marriage, close quote. That's because every spiritually minded man and woman understands God invented this, it is good, and I am going to enjoy it to the max within the parameters of the fireplace.
I'm going to end the fireplace, let it burn, and never take it out. So to sum up these three principles, I give you this. Number one, don't leave God out of your marriage. It's his marriage too. That's how he sees it. It's his marriage too, not just yours.
He's part of that covenant. Number two, don't neglect each other's needs physically. Don't neglect each other's needs emotionally. They are hand in hand and they are meant to be.
And finally, to be a good husband, to be a good wife, you first must be a good Christian. I want to close with a true story. I found it fascinating. A guy by the name of Jim Neewick was with his wife walking up in Spirit Lake, Washington, years ago. This couple was with another couple, so there were four of them, and they were hiking, and they were walking, and it was pristine, it was beautiful.
The fir trees, the clouds, the blue sky, just picturesque. Everything was awesome except for Jim. What was going on inside Jim was a storm, because Jim had the burden of knowing that he had at that very moment an active malignant tumor growing inside of his body. Well, this foursome, these two couples were walking, and they came up to a big beautiful waterfall, and underneath the waterfall was this cottage, and come to find out, it looked like a postcard. The cottage was for rent. So the wife, Jim's wife, the man who had the tumor, Jim's wife ran into the cottage to book a weekend in the next several weeks. The cottage was booked for a year, for a year.
She said, oh, well, then we'll reserve it for this time next year. Outside the cottage, Jim is just sweating. He's nervous.
The fir trees don't look beautiful to him. The clouds aren't all that great looking to him, and he starts sweating and gets very nervous, and the other couple says, Jim, what's wrong? And he said, listen, my life's hanging in the balance.
My wife's in there making reservations for a year from now. I'm going to be dead a year from now, and told the couple about the tumor. It turned out that that man, Peter Neewiec, had it all backwards. One year later, he was alive and growing stronger, and growing stronger. But the mountain, the cottage, the waterfall was gone.
Mount St. Helens erupted, taking with it the buildings and the mountain itself. What seemed like strong and stable and forever was gone. What Peter Neewiec thought was temporary and frail and passing still existed. There's a spiritual principle in that little story. A lot of the times, our focus is upon stuff.
Now, here, now, right now. And we neglect the most important, and that is the relationships that we have. If you were to boil life down to its irreducible minimum, you'd have one thing. Relationships. A relationship vertically with God, relationships horizontally with people.
That's what life is at its irreducible minimum. How do I know that? Because I've been with many people on their deathbeds. And they usually don't talk about stuff, cars, sports, clothes. It's all about people. And you know where the regrets usually lie? With those people.
Those relationships. I have never yet had a man tell me on his deathbed, I wish I would have spent more time on the golf course. Never heard that. I never heard a guy say, I regret that I didn't spend more hours in my office away from my family. I never had a woman say, wish I'd have bought more clothes and shoes. But the regrets that I have heard are the regrets of, there wasn't enough investment, energy, time with God and with people. So as I mentioned last week at the end of the message, we are simply the summary of all of the choices we had made up to this point. The good news is that today we make new choices. And we become the summary of all of the choices that we make. And we become the summary of all of the choices that we make from this point out. Make sure that the first choice you make is a choice to say yes to Jesus Christ and put Him in the Lord of your life. And then let Him and that relationship with Him and His words, His principles pervade into every other area of your life. That concludes Skip Hytig's message from the series Keep Calm and Marry On. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com.
Right now, we want to share about a special resource that will help you trust God in all of life's circumstances as you connect with His heart in the Psalms. Betty White said, it's not easy being a mom. If it were easy, fathers would do it.
That's not a sly shot at dads. It's a compliment to the wonderful work of mothers. Here's a great way to show your appreciation for a mother in your life. It's the heart songs package, which features a teaching series on the Psalms led by Lenya and Janae Hytsig. Psalm 45 is a love song. And in it, you're going to find a groom and a bride and it's their wedding day.
And it includes an ornate dress and bridesmaids and perfume and gifts and guests. The heart songs package also includes a beautiful sheology quiet time journal and a bag of Skip's library roast coffee. It's a great gift to honor a special woman in your life with encouragement and strength as she studies God's word and spends time in prayer, all while enjoying a delicious cup of the coffee Pastor Skip loves. The heart songs package is our thanks for your gift to help share biblical teaching and encouragement with others through the broadcast ministry of Connect with Skip Hytsig.
So be sure to request yours when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Come back tomorrow as Skip Hytsig opens Song of Solomon to share more about how to cultivate a love affair with your spouse. As you go through those two chapters, they still long to be with each other. They want to be together, but not because of hormones, but because of commitment. Their relationship is more mature at this point, and there's still a longing to be together, but at a different level. . Connect with Skip Hytig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
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