Two dear friends of mine, lifelong friends – a wonderful married couple whom I admire very much – read the posts here on LikeTreesPlanted.com. Recently, the wife of the couple sent me an email in response to a post I had just uploaded on the topic of sexual purity. I asked if I could share her email here with you, and she said sure!
Her email was enlightening for me to read as a man whom had never really even considered male sexual purity from the married female’s point-of-view. I’ll share with you my response back to her below.
It may also help you to know that she and her husband have been married for 13 years, and that they have 3 sons. I have redacted all their names to keep them anonymous. Here is what she wrote:
My husband and i have enjoyed following your blog posts for some time now. The last few times you’ve posted about purity issues, the same thing keeps coming up here in our living room…and i wanted to respond, but out of respect for you and your wife and the sensitivity of the topic, i wanted to e-mail rather than post this to the blog.
We really identify with so much of what you’re saying – as siblings of yours in the Lord and as co-laborers, desiring to raise Godly young men, able to fight for their purity, relying on God’s power and provision.
However, we see one significant aspect being left out so far – at least for married men. And that is the role of his wife. The battle for one’s purity is no joke. And everything you’ve said is true, especially this most recent post – such good stuff about God’s ability and willingness to meet a man in the battle. For married men, though, one amazing way he meets a man is by providing him with a wife as a blessed, holy, and pure outlet for his God-given sexual desire! I do not want to downplay anything you’re saying or anything else God offers. At the same time, i can speak as a woman and say that many a Godly man’s struggle is worsened when either #1 he is unwilling or unable to acknowledge the gift of his wife as his God-ordained object of his desires or #2 (FAR MORE LIKELY) his wife is unwilling or ignorant to truly partner with her husband in this and embrace this aspect of her role as a suitable helper to her man.
(Despite years and miles, i am speaking on the basis that we know each other well enough to know that i’m basing all of this on the assumptions of an otherwise healthy, growing relationship between God and the spouses, individually and as a couple…and all that that entails. So i’m just slicing out and highlighting the sexual aspect of an otherwise healthy Christian marriage.)
It’s good and healthy for a man to direct his sexual desires and energies toward his wife. Wives need to learn to welcome her husband in this way. Even if she quite likely cannot fathom his level of desire, if her heart is to walk along her brother in the Lord and see him get to the end of his life in purity, she must see that she is the only Biblically-backed option for her man. And the sooner we accept this and begin to let God renew our minds on it, the sooner we can begin to have joy in it and see the blessing it is to our husbands and to our marriages.
All of that is to say that when we’re reading your blog, we’re saying ‘Yes!’ to many of the things you are saying to encourage men in the battle. But we’re also saying, believing God is in it, ‘Go home, man! Rejoice in the wife of your youth! Take those thoughts and turn them toward your wife and feel no shame! In the safety and purity of your marriage, seek and enjoy the outlet that God has provided with a clear conscience before God!’ And i’m saying to the wives, ‘For the love of God and your husband and the purity he so wants, welcome the man home! Don’t shut him down or turn him away to fight this battle alone! Play the part God has for you.’
Ok, so that was really much longer than it was in my head…sorry. i hope this does not freak either of you out or offend either of you. But this is serious business, and a business that Christians just don’t talk about much. It must be brought into the light, as you’re doing.
We love you guys!
Here is what I wrote back to her in response to her email:
This is really, really, really good stuff, you guys! Thank you both so much for reading, for talking these matters up in your own home, and for being willing to share them back with me! I really am grateful and honored and in total agreement with you.
This is challenging and encouraging and eye-opening and almost a little taboo-feeling(?) – all at the same time. If that makes sense. It’s amazing to me that in a world where illicit sex is lauded in the public sphere ad nauseum, married sex has become the taboo subject. What a world! And with gender equality the women’s lib movement raging, to propose an attitude of submission to wives – even Christian ones – feels risky! (I’m satirizing contemporary secular society here)
All that said, I want to give this some more thought. Every word you typed is Biblical – I mean, c’mon, read Song of Solomon! I’m with you, and I agree with what you said, “God is in it!”
I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve heard very positive reviews of a newish book by Mark & Grace Driscoll about this very topic (Christian marital sex) called Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together.
Thanks again for writing. I really am grateful for the input of two people whom I trust and admire so much.
B and I watched to the real marriage series off the Mars hill website. Problem some of the best teaching into our marriage. I feel we have grown immensely as we watched and talked I depth about issues that rose up. I highly recommend the series.