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June 10, 2021 12:01 am
Many marriages break down when spouses are not honest about their dissatisfaction or the guilt they carry from the past. Today, R.C. Sproul speaks directly to these challenges between husbands and wives and how they can be resolved.
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Coming up today on Renewing Your Mind. Sexual problems in marriage and the solutions we find in Scripture. God understands the sanctity of that intimacy that takes place when people can be naked and unashamed within the context of marriage and so God is not saying that sex is wrong he creates it he ordains it, but he regulates over the last 50 years or so, the definitions of marriage and sex had changed drastically since cause confusion even for those of the church. How should we view a healthy sexual relationship within the confines of marriage today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul continues his series. The intimate marriage by helping us see the lives of many people believe that lead to sexual problems in their love to me once again to study on two of marriage and in this session were going to discuss the problem that the research indicates is the number one reason that people give for the breakdown and breakup of marriages as I'm sure you can guess the number one problem listed in America for struggles and the dissolving of marriages is this sex, lack of harmony lack of communication lack of intimacy and adjustment in the sexual dimensions of marriage that may seem to be somewhat of a surprise to us. In light of the fact that in recent decades we've gone through an explosion not only of interest but in the literature of sexual relationships and harmony. You can go to any bookstore. The self-help section of the bookstore or even separate sections on sex in marriage and find dozens of marriage, manuals, how-to books and counseling books on how to have a great sex dimension to your marriage but somehow we are still experiencing severe problems of sexual harmony within marriage. One of the biggest problems. Of course, that we face in adjusting to the sexual dimension of marriage, particularly as Christians is making the transition from living in a life situation all the way up till marriage where God says no and then all of a sudden were expected to enter into relationship or that which was once forbidden is now not only allowed but in biblical categories is commanded that is very difficult for many people to understand that that which is forbidden in one context is absolutely commanded by God within the bond of marriage know the church is struggled for centuries with that dimension. Just last week, for example, I was reading an essay from the great theologian St. Augustine who was one of my all-time favorite writers and theologians, and in this particular essay he was making the case that the only moral justification for sex relationship with in marriage is with the specific view towards conceiving and bearing children. That is, Augustine sought no room within marriage and the marriage relationship for the enjoyment of sex as a physical bond involving physical pleasure between a husband and a wife, and I was. It was kind of a necessary evil that one had to go through in order to propagate the species not unpersuaded that that viewpoint that even the great St. Augustine advocated is one that is found not in Scripture but has its roots in ancient Greek and oriental views that depreciated the value of anything physical we know what the sin of materialism is in this world where people seek all of life and all of the meaning through physical things through money through food through wine, women and song. Through the gratification of the body that we call that materialism and we know that that is a distortion of the reality that God has made and sometimes to counteract that we go to the other extreme and fall into the error of what may be called spiritualism where the only thing that is of value is the spiritual dimension.
The soul, but we believe in a God who made a physical world who made man, not just as a disembodied spirit, but as a person who has both the soul and a body in the New Testament. For example, the teaching of Jesus shows a profound concern for man's material well-being that we are called to feed the hungry to close the naked to give shelter to the homeless. Those are physical concerns and so even the apostle tells us that the man's body belongs to the woman in marriage and the woman's body belongs to the man and we are not to defraud each other so we don't find this negative view of the physical dimension of our humanity in Scripture. But God is very clear about the context in which sex may be enjoyed. I remember not too long ago doing a study of the New Testament view of sex and just isolating those passages in the New Testament were Jesus and the apostle speak about sex and in my studies I went to was called the theological dictionary of the New Testament which is produced by a group of German scholars who have no brief for evangelical Christianity are by no means conservative in their approach to things in the particular scholar who had done his analysis of the New Testament view of sex came to this conclusion. Even though he himself did not embrace the position. He said we cannot deny that the New Testament clearly teaches that in God's sight. Premarital sex and extramarital sex are serious offenses against his holiness. So the apostle. For example, tells us that there ought never once been named among you the occasion of fornication. But if we look at the New Testament we hear that prohibition so severe is it that makes one of the 10 Commandments thou shalt not commit adultery, know that is not because God is against pleasure or God is against human fulfillment, but it is because God understands the sanctity of that intimacy that takes place when people can be naked and unashamed within the context of marriage and so God is not saying that sex is wrong he creates it he ordains it, but he regulates it he says in this circumstance. It's not good.
I don't allow it here. It's destructive in this circumstance is beautiful to express as part of what I have made for your enjoyment.
So we have that problem as Christians making the transition okay but now the transition is made, then what problems do we discover in terms of sexual fulfillment in marriage. The two biggest problems that we encounter in marriage. With respect to sex far in the case of the male impotency and in the case of the female we use terms like frigidity arose terms bother me because neither one of them are accurate terms of absolutes, nobody's absolutely important and nobody's absolutely frigid. These terms represent a continuum degree's that deal with how free we are able to express ourselves sexually in the marriage estate so that we have to think in terms of degrees of impotency or degrees of frigidity the impotency of course means simply a lack of strength or lack of power in the word frigidity is an interesting term because it suggests coldness. It suggests someone who is frozen and what both of these terms are describing is a certain level of paralysis in sexual activity. So what we have eating away at healthy marriages. Is this problem of sexual paralysis is become so significant that now we see clinics springing up all over the United States. Medically directing their attention to a scientific investigation of what is called sexual dysfunction in order to help people over problems that are destroying their marriages.
It's too bad I would have to say that there are very few, if any notable Christian clinics of research in the sexual dysfunction because of anybody should be aware of how severe this problem is in marriages and should be the church because the clergy have to deal with it every day and we have very few resources that we can direct people to who have serious problems that they can attend without compromising their own value systems in the Christian ethic we need help to deal with these forms of paralysis any time I encounter a form of paralysis. I look right away for one of two things. There are two things in our emotional experiences that contribute again and again to all different kinds of paralyses they are all right them on the board. Fear and guilt of these two incidentally are often very closely related. We say that someone is frozen with fear frozen with fear. He stops in his tracks. He can't move. I can't scream.
He hesitates fear paralyzes so we discover in sexual problems that there is a tremendous amount of fear entering into the Christian bedroom.
What are the fears about what are we afraid of other lots of things I think both in the case of impotency and frigidity.
One of the most significant elements of fear is fear of performance is one of the fallout problems of this explosion of sexual literature were now the myth abounds the for somebody to be healthy and normal. They have to be capable of super sex. Both the woman and the man we have all of these images, which are mythological images that Hollywood place of the super sexual athlete mail and the woman who was everybody's model Hari do it just isn't true. But you can't tell that to the person when they're entering into this relationship and they feel this pressure to perform. Last year I saw a list of the 10 most common phobias of American people to know the number one phobia was the United States of the word death was fear of death came 45. Somewhere down the list of supporting a number one phobia was and is this writer fear of standing up in front of a group in speaking. That's what scares more people than anything else and lazy jump. I can relate to that. You all have experienced the situation were somebody gets up to speak. They opened her mouth, nothing comes because they have become paralyzed by their fear where I experience fear and speaking is not that I'm going to teach the wrong thing or I'm going to forget my words. But it is the pressure to perform, and you would think the more that you speak the easier it is to speak in one sense, yes. But the more that you speak and get a reputation for speaking, the higher the expectation is from the audience in a higher expectation is the more the pressure of the sonnet similar pressures like I think I'll stop right now.
Do not here because I can't stand it already. To choke we talk about choking and choking is a paralysis of the neck, brought about by fear receipt with athletes under stress because they are afraid that they will not perform to the level of expectation. That is set before them. Well, our sexual relationship is not for display.
Nobody's keeping score is for the intimacy of the two people that are involved and it is to be built upon a foundation of love and that doesn't mean just an emotional feeling. That means a foundation where sex is not ripped out of the relationship alive but sex becomes an expression of love.
I hear people say that we had sex two times last week, as if sex were something that were different from love sex, which is simply a physical activity. Well it's easier.
It seems for men to separate sex and love.
That's what the research indicates that men can enjoy sex without love.
That's why they're such things as prostitutes and wives. The oldest profession so men can have physical pleasure without love and every woman knows that everyone was leery when the man says I love you because being translated the woman his hearing.
I want sex with you in order to have sex with you. I have to say to you I love you and the woman then is expected to show her love for her husband, not by giving him love but by giving him sex and so that builds up resentments and miscommunication that strangles and paralyzes the relationship, but if the sex is an expression of love and I understand that my wife is committed to me and she understands that I live her. Then the pressure to perform diminishes, the more I demonstrate love, the more free. My wife is to be liberated sexual. The more she demonstrates love to me the more I am able to live without fear because it's perfect love. The Bible says that casts out fear. What other things are involved in the fear of sex. One of the things that's becoming more and more apparent to us in our society, particularly for the woman is the fear of being hurt physically, the battered woman is not just a rare incidents in our society.
I can't tell you how many women I've dealt with in counseling who have been either battered as wives or battered as children. They have been sexually abused. They have been hurt.
Men have used their strength to force women to submit to their advances and their physically afraid of being hurt and we also hear of the man who is tough but not tender to get women together and say what are the qualities you want husband yes they want self-assurance. Yes, they want self-confidence, but they also put very high at the list sensitive of the biggest problems of sexual maturity in our nation, is the lack of male sensitivity in lovemaking. He has to prove his manhood by living out the old cavemen myth which hurts the woman physically and no wonder she doesn't want to be involved in sex more often when it's a painful experience for her rather than one of tenderness and of love. So we have to remember that fear of pain can be a paralyzing force. Were there other figures there's fear of discovery in this very real one. I've talked to countless couples work. The woman says. For example, the sheep much more enjoys a sexual relationship with her husband when they're away from the home. They go on vacation to hotel or something like that. There are now many begin to explore that Indians see that she is afraid or he may be maybe the main is afraid that the children will walk in or will overhear them or whatever. So one of the best investments that you can make it a marriage is a block for your bedroom door again.
This is the place where you can be naked and unashamed, but you're not going to be naked and unashamed. If any minute, somebody comes walking because your daughter is not your wife and the next-door neighbor is not your husband. And if people are afraid that somebody go see them than their inhibited than the partner takes that as a personal act of rejection, fear of pregnancy is another major fear and we can go on and list these fears that people have inhibited but here is where we need communication where the husband and the wife need to talk or we need to express to each other what is it that you're afraid are you afraid of something.
And how can I help.
I know I can help my wife by forcing her to do things that she is afraid of the second is the one that almost no one talks about guilt like to express a pattern that I find familiar in marriage counseling and Iron Man come into my office and say to me that I want to divorce my wife, our relationship is deteriorated and she doesn't respond to me sexually and all that I will ask this question straight up straighten sure also tell me here in the privacy of the office. Did you have sexual relationships with your wife before your mother well. My experience in counseling cannot be a test of the sufficient universe to give you a percentage that covers the whole nation but I just tell you my experience, how many men I've asked that question 200 every single man that I've ever counsel on this question and I asked did you have sexual relationships with your wife before you married every single one of them said yes everyone, the virginal husband is almost nonexistent, as well as the virginal wife. So after they tell me this, that yes they did have sexual involvement with their wife before they got married. I asked him this question in your opinion was your life more responsive sexually or less responsive sexually.
Before you remarry and their eyes light up when they say she was more responsive before we were married and he looks at me like I'm of voodoo witch doctor for knowing that as you know, I sent a note because I learned so many times and that's why I'm asking the question know why is it that so many men say that their wives were more responsive to the before they were married. Then after they got married. Is it because they have simply idealize the good old days, it might be. Is it because sex was just more exciting in its novelty than it has become over the years. That's another possibility. There's 1/3 possibility that the woman could only respond when she's in a taboo situation and what she's allowed to perform sexually she's bored with it doesn't care. They're all kinds of reasons that would explain why men say that their wives were more responsive before one factor that we need to consider is may be true. In fact, it may be that the woman was in response and suddenly she's less response and it may be because she carried into the marriage. All this baggage of guilt and resentment because the husband manipulated her, persuaded her to do what she was trying not to do before she got married and now she cares that resentment in the worse she carries on relieved guilt we do in a case like that again we can get all kinds of therapy offered to us from the medical world from secular counselors and from ministers and the usual therapy goes like this in our day and age you have to understand that what you did before you got married was okay everybody does at the Kinsey report the Chapman report indicates that the overwhelming majority of people do that, and since the overwhelming majority people do that that indicates it's normal and of its normal. It's healthy, and this is just part of your maturing process in becoming responsible human beings you've heard that line a million times. I had a woman come to me who was about to get married. She'd been engaged for a year.
So as she came in she was very very much distressed with guilt and she said 01 of mine… I feel so guilty she started having sexual relationships with my fiancé and I want to see my minister and my minister said to me, but the way to get over this is to understand that the reason you feel guilty is that you been a victim of this narrow, rigid Victorian Puritan culture with its taboos. You have to mature and understand that you're not promiscuous. You have just been a responsible adult. She said, and I tried that but I still feel guilty I said with a reason why you still feel guilty is because you are guilt's of the prohibition against premarital sexual intercourse was not invented by Jonathan Edwards or by Queen Victoria. It was God who said no and you have offended God, you have transgressed his law, nevermind the fact that everybody else is doing it.
The law does not come from the psychiatrist does not come from the ministers.
It does not come from the counselors. It comes from God and God said no and you did it anyway.
So your guilty and the only thing I know that can cure you of that is not rationalization you have real guilt is really a healthy you have to have real forgiveness and the only way I know to get is free to go home by yourself on your knees and told over to confessors and God will give you that you understand that you can be a virgin again in God's so we need to clean up marriage with one resolved and God will make us such important insight. A clean conscience allows us to have a healthy relationship with our spouse Dr. RC scroll is teaching on the intimate marriage this week here on Renewing Your Mind and were glad you could be with us the confusion about marriage, unfortunately, has crept into the church and many Christians are buying into the lives throughout this series Dr. scroll looks at the deeper issues that lurk beneath the surface and provides biblical solutions to the problems this is a six part series and we be happy to send it to you want to DVDs when you contact us today with a gift of any amount you can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 or online at Renewing Your Mind.or this might seem like an awkward topic to be discussing what the Bible is not silent on issues related to sex and marriage were grateful that Marcy was not afraid to bring a straightforward biblical perspective to this vital aspect of the Christian life.
So again request the intimate marriage when you call us at 800-435-4343. You can also make your request online at Renewing Your Mind.Oregon, in advance, let me thank you for your gift of any amount to locator ministries while communication is the key to a good marriage but conflict is inevitable. What I say with my mouse is what communicates how much I cherish my wife. Of course, what I do speaks as well. But nothing can destroy her sense of being cherish faster than on time, thoughtless cutting remark comes out among get ready to be convicted tomorrow. As you join us for a message titled criticism and compliments here on Renewing Your Mind