Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God

That little book slaughtered my sinful soul.

Recently, I had the privilege to meet CJ Mahaney.  He dined at Mitchell’s Fish Market, the restaurant where I work, on February 10, 2011 and I was able to serve his table.  About two weeks later I received a stack of books in the mail from Mr. Mahaney with a note indicating that he hoped that they would be useful for my life and ministry.  I was unbelievably excited (who wouldn’t be, they were free books!); since I wanted a break from studying from my classes at SBTS I picked up one of the books that he sent me that I had not yet read, Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God (SRGG), and left to go exercise, I had no idea what I was about to read.

After I finished reading page 104, I remember thinking to myself a plethora of thoughts, “I need to enjoy my wife and the life that the Lord has given me in Christ.  I need to take myself less seriously.  The Lord really wants me to honor him by joyfully loving my wife and family.  God wants Meghan and me to not only have a robust theology of marriage but also a romantic and joyful life of intimacy as we endeavor to picture the Christ-church union in our marriage and the key to that kind of intimacy is touching her heart and mind before I touch her body.”

Through that book and some serious soul work the Lord revealed to me that I am a husband struggling with forbearance toward my wife (to be honest, for sometime he has been using Eph 5:25-33; Col 3:19; 1Pt 3:7 to bring me under scriptural conviction).  He also has revealed to me that I am becoming a man who has stopped pursuing the heart and affections of my bride.  He revealed to me that I am far too often a self-absorbed man driven by the calling to preach and to pastor, so much so that I am not actively and intentionally romancing my wife.  Though it is a good and noble desire to pursue such a calling (1Tim 3:1), I am often blinded and forget that the Lord has entrusted me with a wife and child, both of whom I am to care for or I am worse than an unbeliever (1Tim 5:8) and unqualified for gospel ministry (1Tim 3:5).

That said, I have been warring with this for some time.

Crushed, I asked the Lord and Meghan for forgiveness and have been actively repenting since.  I want my wife to know that there is no one other than Christ who rivals her; that no dream will eclipse her (not even the aspiration to pastor).  Now, I am trying to find creative ways to let her know that I love her and that I am thankful for her.

Here are some of the thoughts that I jotted down after reading SRGG to reflect on:

1)      Meditate on Eph 5:25-33; Col 3:19; 1Pt 3:7 as a way to remember that Meghan is my lover, bride, best friend, cherished companion, and fellow heir of the grace of life.

2)      Remember that the way that I love Meghan publically, especially before our children, will have eternal ramifications for the gospel – I am leaving a legacy whether I know it or not.

3)      The fact that we will both die should motivate me to love Meghan more lavishly and more passionately.  Therefore, considering that our life is but a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (James 4:14), endeavor to ask for forgiveness from God and Meghan whenever I sin against her in word or deed; labor to live a joyful life with no regrets, regardless of our financial means, so that I do not stand over her casket one day and think, “If only I would have spent more time showing and telling Meghan how much I love her.”

4)      Carefully compose spontaneous sayings and poetic words that communicate my appreciation, affections, and passion for Meghan in a way that is meaningful for her.

5)      Occasionally write Meghan letters as a way to try and express my love and deep affections for her with words.

6)      Study Meghan so that I can randomly surprise her with her a favorite snack, a desired book, a new piece of clothing, a dinner for two, etc.

7)      If possible plan a yearly vacation/getaway so that we can have unhurried and undistracted time as we labor to invest in one another and cultivate an intimate and romantic lifestyle as a married couple who cherishes each other.

8)      Try to establish a weekly or biweekly date night as a way to focus on one another and cultivate romance in our marriage.

9)      Try to call Meghan at least once a day while at work or at school to see how she is doing and to let her know that I love her.

10)  Have family worship at least 4-5 times a week with Meghan and Abigail as a way to cultivate spiritual intimacy in our marriage.

If you haven’t read Mahaney’s book, I would encourage you to read it (especially if you are a married man or an engaged man or a man who ever hopes to marry a woman!).  The wife’s counterpart to this book is Carolyn Mahaney’s “Feminine Appeal”.

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2 thoughts on “Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God

  1. I have been waiting anxiously for a new update. As tears fill my eyes I had been giving this same subject alot of attention this week, only I cannot get a second chance. I know that this book is directed towards men, but a wise woman should heed it’s contents. Sadly just a few moments ago I felt like #3. I would give anything to have Dad say let’s go to Fort Walton to see my family. This will never happen but if it did with what I know and feel now, I would add , let’s stay the night. Be grateful to Our God for the wisdom He is so lovingly teaching you. And yes your children are watching. Prayers always, Mom

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