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Journey through Passion Pursuit

Pursuing Passion in Your Marriage

Why God doesn’t feel squeamish about sex—and why you don’t have to either

I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable about the topic of sex. (I can remember shopping with my older sister who had just gotten married when I was in my late teens. I couldn’t believe that teddies had snaps down there!)

As my own marriage approached I knew, of course, that sex would be a part of it. I looked forward to it with some fear and trepidation. After years of hearing I should say no, I wasn’t sure I’d be that great at saying yes. Turns out, I wasn’t. Sex was difficult. It resulted in more pain than pleasure and more conflict than oneness.

What God has asked me to do is to be willing to pursue passion in my marriage.

I am many things as a wife—committed, faithful, a good friend. One thing I could never see myself as? Sexy. So, how in the world did I find myself co-authoring a Bible study called Passion Pursuit? God often works through our weaknesses more powerfully than when we teach from personal strengths. I’m on a journey, like many wives.

I’m not sure what your “hang ups” about sex are, and I won’t share mine. However, I’ve become convinced that a thriving sex life is a key component to a strong marriage. Does this mean that you have to swing from chandeliers or send your paycheck directly to Victoria Secret? Thankfully, no.

What God has asked me to do is to be willing to pursue passion in my marriage. I’m a determined, goal-oriented person. While I had channeled that determination into being a wife, for many years it didn’t make it into the bedroom.

Most things in life take effort and determination to master. You won’t cook like Julia Child without time in the kitchen. As naturally gifted as you may be, you will never play tennis like Venus Williams without dedicating your life to the sport. Why should sex be any different? Your body has all the right “equipment,” but developing a satisfying sexual relationship takes time and resolve to work through roadblocks.

Let me ask you a personal question: Have you ever set aside time to talk, pray, and work on your sexual relationship with your husband? I’m not talking about just one night. I’m suggesting a few months of prayer and searching.

For many Christian women, the thought of praying about sex seems odd. Sex, even within marriage, often feels tainted. Lingering messages of guilt and shame related to sexuality find their way into bedroom. When we scratch below the surface of sexuality, we often find fears, pain, and questions that haunt us, stealing the joy of sexual expression in marriage. Does God really want you to experience that much pleasure? Can he truly forgive your past sexual mistakes?

Fortunately, God included a book within his Holy Word that is all about passion and sex in marriage. The book is one that you don’t often hear preachers talk about. While God isn’t squeamish about sex, Christian leaders sometimes are.

A primary message in Passion Pursuit is one that I needed to learn and digest: God has given permission to a husband and wife to pursue fun, fulfilling, and exciting sex. The church is so strong in its defensive message about what we shouldn’t be doing that we often forget the importance of playing offense. God is honored and glorified when a husband and wife devote themselves to the full expression and enjoyment of sexuality within marriage!

Click here to read the next article in Juli's series, "Journey Through Passion Pursuit."

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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