The Christian View of Marriage Does Matter

Christian View of Marriage

The Christian view of marriage is often frowned upon in the media today.

And so I’m often pleasantly surprised when I see at least some Christian values–like monogamy and fidelity–really promoted.

My husband and I don’t get any channels on our TV, but we do use it to watch movies. Unfortunately, lately the pickings have been rather slim. But a few weeks ago we watched a movie I really enjoyed: Crazy, Stupid Love, made by the same people who brought you Date Night.

Now, a warning: this movie is NOT clean. But the message is awfully good, and that’s what I appreciated. It showed how being selfish wrecks relationships (the wife leaves the husband for basically no reason, because she feels too tied down), and it shows how the hooking up culture is completely empty. It’s an indictment of our society, and once again, the monogamous, committed lifestyle is shown to be a far superior route to happiness than anything else.

I’ve noticed this in a number of movies lately. No Strings Attached (terrible movie, don’t see it) said the same thing: two people start by just hooking up, and then eventually realize that’s not enough. They need more. In fact, most romantic c.omedies today fall under that basic plotline: they “get together”, and only afterwards do they realize they actually want to be together.

In other words, as much as our culture might boast that it has found bliss in commitment-free sex, that’s not what people actually long for.

They may be doing it, but it’s just bringing emptiness. What people really want is intimacy, when someone actually knows you, inside and out, and still wants to be with you. They want someone who you can share your whole life with, and not just your body. They want someone who will stick by you, who will care, who will be a “witness to your life”. And isn’t that what marriage is supposed to be?

Over the last week, this blog has received a ton of incoming links from websites that are basically mocking the Christian viewpoint towards marriage that I’ve been writing about for years. I won’t share what posts they’re going to, because it doesn’t really matter. But they’re arriving here to laugh at the Christian view of marriage, and the Christian attitude towards sex and commitment. And they’re arriving here in huge numbers (seriously, I’ve had more visitors in the last 6 days than I did all summer).

In a way, it’s been a blessing, because with all the incoming links and traffic my search engine rankings have gone up quite substantially. And while many people are being sent here by those laughing at our viewpoint, I’ve received a ton of new likes and new fans, so not all are hating what they see.
To Love, Honor and Vacuum
But I thought it may be worth writing a post reiterating the Christian view of marriage and telling, once again, the story of this blog.

My first book was called To Love, Honor and Vacuum: When you feel more like a maid than a wife and a mother. It was written to help those women who just felt like marriage and motherhood had become a job, and they wanted to find the joy and happiness in relationship again. For years that’s mostly what I wrote about here: marriage and motherhood.

That’s still my focus, but over the last year I’ve written a lot more about sex, largely because of my new book, The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex, that’s coming out this winter. (Update: It’s out now! Find out more here.) And so I changed the tagline of the blog to reflect my new emphasis on marriage. It doesn’t mean I think women are signing up to vacuum, by the way!

Good Girls Guide My SiteBut because I write so much about sex, a lot of people are finding me by searching for weird terms in search engines. They want to laugh at strange Christians, who are so uptight that they don’t even know how to have fun in bed.

And that’s where I feel sorry for people, because as much as they may think Christians are boring, the truth is that we’re having more fun. In the largest scale studies of relationships ever done, Maggie Gallagher and Linda Waite found that married people had better sex than any other category of relationship, including cohabiting couples. Cohabiting couples had more frequent sex, but they didn’t enjoy it as much. Marriage matters.

It matters because it’s only in a truly committed relationship that you can experience real intimacy, and that’s what sex is supposed to be. It’s not just an amazing physical experience–though it is that. It’s also a bond that forms a deep spiritual and emotional connection. And you can’t have that unless you also have commitment. What makes sex so great is that it’s intimacy on every level; but if you can’t have true emotional intimacy, then you’ll never experience all that sex has to offer. And that’s why married people have better sex!

So people can laugh at the Christian viewpoint that not everything goes when it comes to sex, but that’s because we’re looking for intimacy, not just orgasm.

And orgasm, by the way, is much more intense when intimacy is present (which is also why married women are more likely to reach orgasm). In the surveys I took for my book, too, the people who were most likely to orgasm during sex, and who rated their sex life as the best, were those who were married and had been virgins when they married.

The Christian view of sex actually gives you great sex.

And one other thing: the best sex seems to be had by those who are married from between 16-24 years (I’m in this category! Woo hoo!). Why? Because you’ve had years to perfect it, and you’ve had years together to know that this person is sticking around. Those one night stands are not nearly as fulfilling.

Now, these are statistics. Anyone can beat a statistic. So you could be reading this thinking, “well, I have amazing sex and I’m not married, so you don’t know what you’re talking about!”. Statistics tell us nothing about you individually. They tell us about us as groups. They tell the general, the average, the trend. And in general, those in committed marriages are happier, healthier, wealthier, and far more sexually satisfied. And their kids do better, too. You can assume that you’ll always beat the statistic, but do you really want to take the risk?

So people can laugh all they want at my efforts to try to help us have a truly intimate sex life, but I’m afraid that the more you laugh, the more  you’ll miss out on something so amazing.

There really is more out there than just hooking up. Orgasm is actually better when you’re with someone that you truly know, and truly love, who loves you back. Movies know that. Our culture may like to pretend it’s not true, but deep inside we know it is. And so I won’t apologize for what I write; I’ll just keep talking, and if I get a ton of traffic of people who want to laugh, that’s fine, because, from the stats I can see, it looks like some of those people are actually listening, and thinking, and considering what I have to say. And for that I’m grateful.


If you’re a regular reader, what do you think about the importance of intimacy? Let me know!

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Comments

  1. I guess God knows what he is talking about! Imagine that. GREAT post, Sheila.

  2. I love this post and I love that you don’t shy away from a tough situation and face it head on! I have been a reader for a while, but this is my first time commenting…and I will say that I absolutely agree that marriage makes all the difference. I have been married almost 3 years and while marriage is not always easy, it is absolutely worth it! As someone who “hooked up” previously in her life, I can say with confidence that being married makes everything (ahem ;)) better. It is the security, the openess, and knowing that even though someone has seen all the crazy you have to offer, they still love you and are sticking around anyway. So much more fulfilling that way!
    Katie recently posted…This ChristmasMy Profile

    • Katie, thank you for commenting for the first time! Nice to meet you, and I’m glad you like the blog. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Crazy that you are getting more hits now…. I think its awesome! People need to be reading your blog if only to get them thinking.

    Intimacy is *so very important*. And it starts with emotional intimacy, and then goes to physical intimacy. But that intimacy is based in our commitment to each other. Without that commitment before God and men (marriage), I doubt you can reach the same depth of intimacy.

    And sex is getting better. We’ve been married 5 1/2 years, and find we are still figuring some things out. Most recently is the pregnancy and nursing aspects, which luckily have a fairly set time limit — until the next baby is along.
    Rachael recently posted…Giveaways Galore!My Profile

  4. I agree wholeheartedly! I have also done it both ways, and I can say that sex without the relationship, commitment, and emotional and spiritual connection is like having one dish when you could be eating a 5-course meal. Also, with learning and practice, we married couples up our game over time. I know the notion of virginity until marriage and sacred sex after the I-do’s in our day is radical. But you and I and many other Christians really do want people to experience God’s best for their lives. The studies back up God’s plan as well. Great stuff, Sheila!
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…10 Intimate Things to Enjoy for ChristmasMy Profile

  5. Wow Sheila, great post.

    One thing about married sex is that it’s in God’s will, so for that alone it’s better than pre-marital sex. As women, we tend to build an emotional attachment with sex, and when it’s outside of marriage it can build up insecurity because the woman has no real assurance of her “lover’s” committment. However, when you’re married to the one you love (and you know he loves you), there’s such an excitement and passion because you know that person is there for the long haul and not just a one-night stand. I’m in total agreement with you. Marriage, committment, and intimacy far outweight cohabitating, one-night stands, and just hooking up! :)
    Tiffany Godfrey recently posted…Christians, what are the requirements for Christian marriage?My Profile

  6. I’ve been married 12 years and from my anecdotal experience, you are absolutely correct. My husband has seen me in my very worst moments and he still wakes up next to me every day and tells me he loves me. It’s priceless. God’s way, is the best way!

  7. Sheila, It’s great that people are clicking to you to laugh at you. I will share a little testimonial with you: One day in 1995, I was bored and I tuned into a Christian radio station aimed at the Montreal area so I could snicker at the southern “Holy Rollers” I expected to hear…. On the morning of Jan 4th 1996, I pulled my car to the side of the road and I said the “Sinner’s Prayer” and received Christ, at the behest of Woodrow Kroll as he does his radio “altar calls” after “Back To the Bible”. All ths to say, you may lead a few hostile people to Christ in the process!
    Neal Ford recently posted…Why Leona Dombrowsky Lost in Prince Edward-HastingsMy Profile

    • Thanks, Neal! That’s actually very encouraging. I guess I sometimes forget that stuff like that is even possible, but God really can use anything–and if he uses people laughing at me, so much the better!

  8. Shelia, I just found your blog via Twitter and I have to say thank you. I’m a blogger, as well, and I write often about sex in marriage. Tomorrow I’m actually writing part 2 about virginity and why waiting, while difficult, is crucial.

    I want to commend you for your persistence in writing about these topics. I know, as you stated, that while some might laugh or criticize you, others are having their ears, eyes, and hearts opened to God and His will. That is no small thing…
    Nicole Cottrell recently posted…What Does God Think of You?My Profile

    • Great to meet you, Nicole! Come on back tomorrow and link up to Wifey Wednesday with your new post–it sounds great!

  9. Like I said, enjoy the numbers and trust that someone will gain something of value from what you have to say.

    As for the topic of your post, I do believe that sex in marriage gets better over time precisely because there’s a sense of security and plenty of time to perfect it. It’s sad that young people are not getting this message.

    Good post.
    terry@breathinggrace recently posted…It Was Crude, But I Understand the SentimentMy Profile

    • Thanks, Terry! But believe it or not, these links are even worse than the ones I told you about–and coming from a different direction. It seems like I’m getting it from all sides lately!

  10. 18 years of hard work have gone into our marriage and the sex is fantastic and fun. You are right on.

  11. Hi Sheila!

    I found your site through Roo Mag, which I love by the way! I was pleasantly surprised when I read through your blog. I love that you do not shy away from topics that seem “embarrassing” to others. Sex is a very important topic to discuss. I’m a newly wed myself, been married 3 months in 10 days. So far it’s wonderful, but I do know that marriage is work and that we both understand that. So again, thanks for the blog! I’m a daily reader now!

  12. I have a different take on this (as usual). I absolutely believe that sex within the confines of marriage is best because that is what God has asked of us as Christians. But if a person doesn’t believe in God and doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus, this isn’t going to make sense to them and I don’t think trying to convnice them with stats or stories is going to convince them. The only thing that is going to change a person’s mind is Jesus.

    And if a Christians messes up in this department before marriage, God forgives if they repent.

    • Absolutely, God forgives. And I agree that this won’t make sense to them. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not true. Even people who aren’t Christian enjoy sex more when they’re married; and people who are virgins when they marry–regardless of religious affiliation–tend to have better sex than those who are more sexually experienced. That’s just the truth. It may not make sense to people, but it is the truth. And deep inside all of us there’s a desire for intimacy. Of course, we’re not going to convince people to become Christians based on these stats, but that was never my point. I was writing posts for Christians, and they came across those posts! But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true, even if it makes no sense to most people.

  13. 41 years of marraige, 36 years of being a christian……..and our sexual intimacy is just better and better!! Thankful for those of you out there that spread the word that sex for christians is wonderful.

  14. hippie4ever says:

    I absolutely agree, intimacy is what enhances sex. I think perhaps that is why sex gets better the longer you are married. You have a greater knowledge of your spouse and have built up years of trust; of course the practice doesn’t hurt ;) My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years and it just keeps getting better :)
    I wanted to post to encourage you. There will always be scoffers but God told us there would be. Don’t worry, keep doing what God has called you to and let him handle everything else.

  15. I think that if it didn’t seem like you were conflating Christianity with monogamy/marriage I would like this a lot more.

    • I’m not entirely sure what your critique is, because Christianity does call for monogamy and marriage (or chastity for the single person). So to a Christian, the two are connected. If you’re saying it’s because I’m saying that monogamous people, or those who believe in marriage, should also be Christian, then I understand your point. But this blog is a Christian one, and is written primarily for Christian women. That’s my purpose!

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.

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