Participants: Willie Oliver, Elaine Oliver
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000061
00:29 Welcome to Marriage in God's Hands.
00:32 I'm Willie Oliver, Director of Family Ministries
00:34 for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.
00:37 I'm Elaine Oliver, Willie's partner in ministry
00:40 and a Marriage and Family Consultant
00:41 for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.
00:44 We're delighted you've taken this time to join us.
00:48 God expects that certain things should happen in marriage
00:53 and only in marriage.
00:55 Sexuality is one of those things.
00:57 And we're going to be talking to you today about
01:01 the truth about sexuality.
01:03 It's meant for married people, and God gave it as a gift to us
01:09 for our joy, for our good, for our growth.
01:12 The wonderful thing about sexuality that God has
01:15 given us lots of counsel about is that He
01:18 expects that it's something that would be unique
01:22 to the marriage relationship.
01:24 And that's what's so special.
01:25 That He thought so highly about marriage
01:28 that He would give this special gift.
01:30 Keep in mind though, that He expects that
01:32 sexuality in marriage would be respectful.
01:35 That it would take into consideration both parties
01:39 and it would not be an act that is self serving or selfish.
01:43 Also the fact that sexuality was meant to be beautiful,
01:47 it was meant to be exciting.
01:49 Because God didn't just make it just for the sake of it.
01:52 He didn't make it for it to be a necessary evil.
01:56 He was intentional about sexuality.
01:59 Giving it to marriage as a gift.
02:01 And not only that, every detail of sexuality that God designed,
02:05 He did so on purpose.
02:07 So that His plan of oneness in marriage can come to fruition.
02:14 Well like I said, there are so many wonderful text in the Bible
02:16 and we'd like to start with Proverbs 5:18-20.
02:42 It is obvious that God was very clear and distinct
02:47 about what should happen in sexuality.
02:49 First of all, He wanted it to be a marriage.
02:51 And then of course, He said
02:53 "rejoice in the wife of your youth. "
02:56 When I think of this passage, I think that God is
02:59 specifically saying whoever was the wife of your youth
03:02 should still be your wife today.
03:04 And that would make sense, since in marriage
03:07 God wants it to be forever.
03:10 It says, "What God has joined together,
03:12 let no one separate. "
03:14 So when God is saying, "rejoice in the wife of your youth",
03:17 there is an assumption, someone would say,
03:20 that you're no longer young.
03:22 But you're still rejoicing in the wife of your youth.
03:25 Well that can almost be said of me, and even though I
03:28 don't want to say you're no longer young, darling.
03:30 I mean, we've been married for almost twenty-five year.
03:33 So I think we are no longer considered youth.
03:37 We're still youthful though.
03:40 And I like to believe that we're rejoicing
03:42 because of God's goodness to us.
03:44 I like to think so as well.
03:46 There certainly are a lot of instances where God shows that
03:49 sexuality is to play a very major role
03:53 in the marriage relationship and it's not to take a back seat.
03:56 If He intended for it only to be for procreation,
04:01 He would not have given us scripture that talks about
04:05 the kind of relationship, the type of sexual relationship
04:09 a couple should have.
04:11 Well, it's interesting that the language scripture uses
04:14 in this opening text that we just employed,
04:17 is very graphic.
04:18 Some people might be put off by it.
04:20 But it reminds me that God is a real person.
04:24 That He's a real God.
04:26 That what He did, He intended for our joy.
04:28 And what He did, He was very explicit about.
04:31 You know, everything God has given for our good,
04:37 Satan has come in and has come up with a counterfeit.
04:40 Remember, marriage is the first institution established
04:44 by God at creation.
04:45 And then after that, the Sabbath.
04:48 And ever since the beginning of time, Satan has been angry
04:52 at marriage and at the Sabbath.
04:55 Everything God gives for our good, for our joy,
04:59 he tries to denigrate it.
05:00 Everything God gives us to bless us,
05:03 he tries to come up with a counterfeit.
05:06 But scripture is clear that God intended for sexuality to
05:11 be squarely contextualized in marriage,
05:15 and He wanted it to be fun.
05:17 He uses the word rejoice.
05:19 I mean to rejoice, you have to be happy.
05:22 To rejoice, you have to be having a good time.
05:24 To rejoice, you need to be enjoying the experience.
05:27 So obviously, God intended for sexuality to be joyful,
05:33 to be happy, to be respectful, to be a building block
05:37 for the marriage relationship.
05:41 So then, we can glean from scripture that God is
05:43 pretty positive and enthusiastic about
05:45 sexual relations in the marriage.
05:48 Indeed, and He expects it to be good.
05:53 You know, it's not a half-hearted notion
05:58 or half-hearted gift.
06:00 It's a real gift.
06:01 The problem is that, as I said earlier, every time God
06:05 has given humankind a gift, something good,
06:09 in fact something very good, as He spoke about marriage
06:13 in creation week, Satan always tries
06:17 to come up with a counterfeit.
06:18 And we see that happening today in the proliferation
06:22 of electronic pornography and also in the print media.
06:29 That God intended for sexuality to be a beautiful thing.
06:34 Something that would bring husband and wife together
06:38 in oneness, not only physical oneness but emotional oneness
06:42 and even spiritual oneness.
06:44 Because everything about marriage is holy and spiritual,
06:49 because God made it that way.
06:50 God is spirit, and everything He does,
06:53 He does it out of a spiritual perspective.
06:56 So when we see what has happened to sexuality
07:01 in the secular world, we have to know that Satan is around
07:06 and well, and interfering in the affairs of God.
07:10 Pornography has come in to distort, has come in to destroy
07:17 the beauty of sexuality in marriage.
07:19 Many studies have suggested, that have been done recently,
07:24 that not only is this proliferating in secular society
07:28 but pornography is also proliferating among
07:32 people who call themselves Christians.
07:34 Christian workers, Christian leaders.
07:37 And it's a little scary.
07:39 You know, where are we going with this?
07:41 That means that Satan is so powerful in the way
07:44 he has diverted our attention from God's ideal.
07:48 It's important for Christians to recognize
07:50 that if we're going to do marriage,
07:51 we've got to do it God's way.
07:53 To do it God's way, we have to rely on God's power.
07:56 To rely on God's power, we have to have a daily communion
08:00 and connection with Him.
08:03 And we certainly have to be rooted in God's word.
08:06 And Go, as we said earlier, provides so much counsel for us
08:11 on how to have sexual relations, first of all.
08:15 I mean, He doesn't give us every fine detail.
08:17 But just talking about the respectfulness
08:19 of the relationship and how to stay away from immorality.
08:22 And I think 1 Corinthians says it really well.
08:25 1 Corinthians 7:2 where the Bible says:
08:36 Elaine, I don't know what you see here,
08:38 but I see a number of things.
08:40 One, I see that God is saying that each man is to have a wife
08:45 and each woman is to have a husband.
08:47 Clearly, men are to have wives and women are to have husbands.
08:51 I think that's clear from the text.
08:53 I see that, I see that from the text.
08:55 I also see from the text that God is saying,
08:58 because of immorality He knows that Satan is in the land.
09:02 He knows that sexuality is such a wonderful gift
09:05 that Satan will try to denigrate it, that Satan will try to
09:11 give it a new spin, one that would not honor God,
09:14 but dishonor God.
09:15 Everything God has given us to honor Him,
09:17 Satan has come up with something that dishonors God.
09:20 So God is trying to protect us.
09:22 He's trying to protect us because He knows
09:24 that even though this is a beautiful gift and was intended
09:28 as such, that it could be misconstrued,
09:32 And we could use it in ways that are not going to be beneficial
09:36 to our relationship.
09:38 And it's so powerful where it says,
09:40 "each one should have their own. "
09:42 Each man should have his own wife.
09:44 Each woman should have her own husband.
09:47 So in other words, I belong to you and you belong to me.
09:51 And nothing else should invade that relationship.
09:55 God is very clear that anything that deviates from a man
09:58 with his wife or a woman with her husband
10:01 is contrary to God's plan.
10:04 So God is clear.
10:05 He wants people to know that when it comes to sexuality,
10:08 He made it to be consummated in a union
10:12 of one man and one woman.
10:14 Why? Because when we come together in sexual oneness,
10:18 we in many ways become one.
10:21 Physically one, but also spiritually one.
10:24 And also emotionally one.
10:26 You know, women understand this better than men,
10:29 that for sexuality to be meaningful and to be good
10:32 you have to be emotionally connected
10:34 and spiritually connected.
10:36 Sometimes we men don't understand that very clearly,
10:39 very easily.
10:40 And the older I've become and the more I've read scripture,
10:43 and the more I've studied this issue,
10:45 I recognize how God wants us to be kind and compassionate,
10:51 and to be organically connected.
10:55 And it's not just singularly, it has multiple layers;
11:00 physical, spiritual, and emotional.
11:04 Because we are a unit as human beings.
11:11 Perhaps what we need to do as Christians too, is not only
11:14 revisit what God's plan is for sexuality, but we may have to
11:19 unlearn some of the faulty notions that we may have
11:23 learned growing up in the church, or maybe
11:25 what our parents taught us.
11:26 We know for a fact that many parents are very uncomfortable
11:30 speaking with their children about sexuality.
11:33 And so what happens is our children are getting
11:37 their lessons on sexuality from books or magazines that
11:42 may not support God's plan for sexuality.
11:45 Or on the street from people who have no idea
11:49 of what God's plan was for marriage.
11:53 And so maybe we've had a taboo on sexuality when clearly God
11:57 is so enthusiastic and excited about sexuality.
12:01 But we have put this cloud over sexuality, in the church even,
12:07 where too often it become a burden, and it becomes
12:12 a source of conflict for couples in marriage.
12:15 It's something that you just hush about,
12:17 you don't say very much about.
12:18 Let's see what else the scripture has to say in the
12:20 book of Songs of Solomon 1:16, it says:
12:32 This is God speaking, and then there's another text.
12:34 And the other text is found in Songs of Solomon 7:10,
12:38 and it says:
12:45 Clearly, from these verses in scripture,
12:47 God knows what He wants us to know about sexuality.
12:51 He wants it to be good, He wants it to be joyous,
12:54 He wants it to be vibrant.
12:55 "Our bed is green. " Not dry, it's green.
12:59 Well we have much more that we'd like to say about sexuality
13:02 and we're going to be talking more about it.
13:04 We're getting ready to go to break.
13:06 And as we talk about this, recognize that
13:10 God has a special plan for us.
13:12 And because of this special plan,
13:15 if we are connected with God's special plan,
13:17 it's going to be good for our lives
13:19 and it's going to be good for our marriage.
13:29 There are many "How To" books available.
13:31 But there's one that's free and perfect for every couple.
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13:37 Bible-based matrimonial advice is given in a light-hearted
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14:03 Welcome back to our topic on sexuality in marriage.
14:06 So thus far, we've been talking about God's plan
14:10 for sexuality in marriage.
14:11 And one of the things that you've brought out very clearly,
14:14 Willie, is that God was exuberant when He
14:17 designed marriage and when he gave us the gift of sexuality.
14:21 Sexuality then, becomes one of the most intimate acts
14:27 of marriage, precisely why God meant it specifically
14:31 for marriage and for marriage alone.
14:33 Because it gives us the ultimate in understanding
14:37 the oneness that God talks about in marriage.
14:41 We've been talking about the fact that marriage is the
14:44 only relationship under the sun where one human being
14:48 will be one with another human being.
14:51 I'm not one with my dad. I'm not one with my mom.
14:54 Certainly not with my children.
14:56 But I'm only one with my spouse.
14:57 And God intends for it to be this way.
15:00 It's a holy thing. It's a special thing.
15:03 And God creates sexuality as a gift for people who are married.
15:08 So that they can enjoy their marriage.
15:11 So that they can understand what He means when He says
15:14 He wants them to be one.
15:16 And literally one.
15:18 In fact even the way God created men and He created women,
15:23 He created them to be compatible in the love making act.
15:27 That's why God says each man to have his own wife,
15:32 and each woman to have her own husband.
15:35 Not biased against anyone, just biased to the will of God.
15:40 And if we are in God's will, especially as it relates
15:44 to marriage and sexuality, our marriage can be blessed.
15:48 We can have a great time, and we can find a place to really
15:54 have joy in the relationship that God has given to us.
15:57 Absolutely, and God is also very clear that there is to be
16:00 mutuality in sexuality as well.
16:04 And in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, this is what He has to say
16:08 about mutuality in sexual relations.
16:42 What's wonderful about this text is that it's very clear
16:45 that it's not one sided.
16:47 God isn't saying that the wife's body belongs to the husband
16:52 and ends there.
16:53 He also says that the husbands body belongs to the wife.
16:57 And He's showing the mutuality that He intends
17:01 for our relationships.
17:02 And that's very powerful because I think it's become a little
17:06 distorted in the real world in our lives where it's sometimes
17:12 a little one sided.
17:13 But God makes it very clear how He wants us to behave
17:16 in marriage, in sexual relationships.
17:20 Well, it goes right back to Genesis when God made
17:23 Adam and Eve, and He brought the man and the woman
17:25 and they became one flesh.
17:27 One flesh... imagine. One flesh.
17:30 What does that mean?
17:31 If they're one flesh, then they are the same.
17:34 The same in that they both have value.
17:37 They both have regard, certainly by God.
17:41 So when God allows for the apostle Paul to write
17:45 in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, that there's mutuality in marriage,
17:50 certainly mutuality in sexuality,
17:52 it says something to us about God.
17:54 It says that God wants us to have fair play
17:58 in our marriage relationships.
18:01 Invariably, sometimes culturally, we tend to have men
18:06 in charge of women.
18:08 And right here, it clearly shows that that's not the case.
18:12 That there is mutuality. That it's a two-way street.
18:15 That the husband's body belongs to the wife,
18:18 and the wife's body belongs to the husband.
18:20 Why? Of course, because they're married.
18:24 Because they're in this unit, this holy unit
18:27 that God has devised.
18:29 I also like the fact that it speaks about the fact
18:32 that we shouldn't deprive one another.
18:35 In the world, many times sexuality in marriage
18:39 is a power play.
18:40 Somebody is using something for power,
18:43 to hold power over the other one.
18:46 And in the vernacular, in the common vernacular we
18:51 invariably hear about women holding sexuality as a
18:55 power play over men.
18:57 "Well, if you don't do this, nothing is going to happen. "
19:00 But that's not what God is saying.
19:02 God is saying that marriage is to be a relationship
19:06 of mutuality.
19:07 Mutual caring, mutual love, respect, honor, and beauty
19:13 between a man and his wife, between a woman and her husband.
19:18 Well, when we read the text and when we see all that God
19:21 has planned for sexuality, and He was very intentional
19:25 about it, it was not by accident.
19:27 You said earlier about the fact that He designed our bodies
19:30 just so, so that we will complement each other.
19:33 So He's given us the gift of sexuality, and I like to say
19:37 then it's a gift that we give to each other.
19:39 It's a gift that we give to each other.
19:41 And if we can get on the same page and we recognize
19:45 that it's not a weapon, or it's not a weapon of dominance,
19:51 then we recognize that this is about us,
19:54 this is about our relationship.
19:56 About giving to each other. What we feel for each other.
19:58 It's about giving and receiving.
20:00 And truly, it is better to give than to receive.
20:02 And if we're both going into the relationship that way,
20:05 then we both benefit greatly.
20:07 And you know, the other thing that I want to stress
20:10 very clearly as we have this conversation
20:12 about this topic, that even though the word of God
20:15 is very clear about what God intends for sexuality in
20:19 marriage, we need to be careful not to ever use the Bible
20:23 as a weapon.
20:24 So, we shouldn't come to our spouse and say, "Well look,
20:28 this is what it says in 1 Corinthians 7
20:30 that you should not deprive me. "
20:32 Because that's not going to go over very well.
20:35 for sexual relations in the relationship.
20:38 And at the same time, the scripture is clear.
20:41 It says, "Do not deprive each other",
20:43 I like what it says, "except by mutual agreement
20:47 for a time, so that you might devote yourself to prayer. "
20:51 Somebody might be funny and say, "Well you know,
20:54 how long can you pray? And it's by mutual consent. "
20:58 What I think God is saying here is,
21:00 don't hold it as a weapon over each other.
21:03 Talk about it, be on the same page about it.
21:06 Be of one accord.
21:08 Be agreed on, and how you're going to negotiate
21:12 the whole matter of sexuality in your own marriage.
21:15 Why? So that one person is not in charge,
21:18 or the other person isn't in charge.
21:19 Or the other isn't holding it over the other one's head.
21:22 But it's a togetherness.
21:24 Because that's what marriage is.
21:25 It's togetherness.
21:27 Husband together with wife, and wife together with husband.
21:30 And it's just another vehicle to the oneness
21:33 that God intends for our marriages.
21:35 And so if we look at it in that regard, then it becomes
21:38 a point of pleasure, it becomes a joyous thing,
21:41 it becomes a fun part of our marriage.
21:45 So we recognize that this is not a burden,
21:48 but it is an enjoyable part of the marriage relationship.
21:52 There's also something else that it said in the text
21:55 towards the end there in verse 5.
21:57 And it's speaking about the fact you're going to agree
22:00 by mutual consent to stop the sexual relations for prayer.
22:08 In other words, it's saying life is not only about sex.
22:11 Life is also about remembering that God gave you sex.
22:14 So you're praying to God, you're thanking God.
22:17 And by praying and by putting prayer in there,
22:20 it makes the whole context of sexuality a spiritual thing.
22:26 Spiritual thing... God gave it to us, so it's spiritual.
22:29 But there's something else.
22:31 You're doing it, and you're coming back together
22:33 so that you're not tempted.
22:35 God knew that despite the fact that this was a holy gift
22:39 that Satan would try to use it as a destruction of humankind.
22:46 And so He says, come back together
22:48 lest you be tempted and fall.
22:50 Why come back together?
22:52 Well, because someone might become careless and feel,
22:54 "Well you know, I need to take a break. "
22:56 By mutual consent, by mutual consent.
23:00 Why? So that you're on the same page.
23:02 So that you are together on this matter.
23:04 So that there's no temptation and no immorality.
23:08 So that we can give honor and glory to God.
23:13 Well, let's share some tips that come from the word of God,
23:17 but we've presented them in a way that is more
23:21 practical, I shouldn't say more practical, because God's word
23:24 is very practical.
23:25 But perhaps our audience can relate to the fact that
23:31 we've got to make the time.
23:32 And God is saying that very clearly in that text I believe.
23:36 That we've got to make the time for each other.
23:38 And we've said this so many times
23:40 in so many of our other segments,
23:43 where we've talked about putting the relationship first,
23:47 making our marriage a priority.
23:49 And that's the only way we're going to preserve
23:53 sexual oneness in marriage is if we make the time for each other.
23:56 There's something else we need to do on this
23:58 beyond just making the time.
23:59 Preserve the time from conflict.
24:02 This is not the time to talk about
24:04 things that you don't like.
24:05 This is not the time to talk about taking out the garbage.
24:08 This is not the time to talk about bills.
24:10 This is not the time to talk about the children.
24:11 It's a time to engage in the gift of God.
24:16 So, protect the time from conflict.
24:19 Let it be a Sabbath, a time of sanctification.
24:22 for the relationship.
24:24 Remember also that improving your spiritual and emotional
24:28 connection will also improve your physical connection.
24:31 So it's really important for couples to be
24:34 working all realms of oneness.
24:36 And the more we spend time together,
24:39 the more that we nurture each other,
24:41 the more our physical oneness will be nurtured and
24:44 we will be greater connected to one another.
24:46 Another point is to pay attention to being affectionate.
24:50 Not only in the sexual play but throughout the day
24:54 in your relationship with your spouse
24:55 so that you really have a good relationship.
24:57 It's not only about being gratified sexually
25:00 but it's about having a good marriage.
25:02 It's about really enjoying your mate and respecting your mate.
25:05 And trying to make your relationship good.
25:09 It's also important for us to be able to communicate our desires.
25:13 To be able to talk to one another.
25:14 To say what we like, what we don't like.
25:17 And it's really important that we're respectful of one another.
25:21 If someone says that they don't like a particular act
25:25 then we probably should not do it in our marriage
25:29 relationship, or any other relationship for that matter.
25:32 And of course, part of the marriage relationship is to
25:36 communicate to your spouse that he or she is valued.
25:38 That you love them, that you care for them,
25:41 that you appreciate them.
25:42 It's a part of the oneness that God expects
25:45 to take place in marriage.
25:47 Value, appreciation.
25:49 And not only because you want to engage in the sexual act.
25:53 But because you really care and want to nurture each other.
25:57 We can also learn to be passionate and creative.
26:00 And we can do that by reading good Christian books on the
26:05 topic and there's so many out there.
26:07 But especially the Bible.
26:09 When we read the Song of Solomon,
26:11 it is very clear that there are two lovers in this book who
26:15 love and appreciate each other, and who respect each other.
26:18 And what I have always found interesting in this book
26:21 is that they're not just engaged in the act,
26:24 they're talking to each other.
26:26 They're sweet talking each other.
26:28 They're being affection with each other.
26:30 So there's so much that we can glean from the Bible
26:33 on the topic of sexuality.
26:35 They're actually flirting, aren't they?
26:36 They're flirting with each other.
26:38 They're having a good time.
26:40 And it's more than just the act of sexuality,
26:42 but it's the act of being married and enjoying your mate.
26:47 What does Ellen White have to say on this topic?
26:49 Ellen White in Happiness Homemade has this to say.
27:15 So God wants us to do marriage in a way that will not
27:19 only give us joy, but bring honor and glory to Him.
27:23 For us to be able to do so, we need to trust Him.
27:26 And so I am always delighted that we have the
27:29 promise of success.
27:30 Philippians 4:13, "We can do all things
27:32 through Christ who gives us strength. "
27:35 And if we trust Him and give our relationships to Him
27:38 and place them in His hands,
27:40 we're going to have a wonderful time in marriage.