The Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18, esv).
The word sex has become so maligned by our culture’s mishandling of it that even the letters themselves—S-E-X—are hard to picture without conjuring up the neon signs of an adult bookstore or red-light district.
That’s why, when referring to exclusive sexual intimacy between husband and wife—the kind the Bible talks about when it says to “let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4)—I prefer using the Greek word eros. Not only is it free of the complicated connotations of the word sex, but it provides a fresh opportunity to discuss God’s highest and best intentions for this sacred element of marriage.
“One of the ways back to sexual wholeness is found in realizing that God’s original design for eros is good.”
When Adam and Eve arrived brand-new in the Garden of Eden, the Bible says “the man and his wife were both naked and unashamed” (Genesis 2:25). And God, surveying this scene along with everything else He’d made, declared, “behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Not just a little bit good, but “very good.”
The only thing that was “not good,” according to Genesis 2:18, was the situation that existed in the time between the creation of Adam and the creation of Eve—a situation He solved by giving the man “a helper fit for him.” Together with this woman, they became a biblical, Genesis 2, before-the-fall reminder that when God made humankind with both the anatomy and inclination for married eros, He intended it as a very, very good thing.
Perhaps, like many, you’ve spent years trying to outrun or outgrow the effects of a fallen world in which this “naked and unashamed” eros has been defiled. Maybe it’s resulted in a tendency toward prudishness—the idea that most any talk of sexual matters is inappropriate and off-putting. Or maybe, on the other hand, the prominence of sexually-driven visuals and innuendo throughout modern society has contributed to making sex an almost constant subject on your mind. Maybe your past (or present) has involved one or more descents into promiscuity, or struggles with perversion like pornography and other shame-inducing abuses of God’s established purpose for eros. Maybe it’s affected how you relate to God, and how you relate to others.
But what I want you to hear today is this: one of the ways back to sexual wholeness is found in realizing that God’s original design for eros is good. It’s always been good. And if eros has grown dormant or infrequent in your marriage, think of it as a good way He’s given you to rekindle your love for one another.
Yes, the process of opening yourself up again to the pure, healthy, fulfilling enjoyment of eros may likely require some deliberate humility. Where perhaps you’ve been rejecting it or working around it, you may need to repent to your wife or husband for the cold climate you’ve allowed to be created. Honest communication is probably needed to clear the air, allowing vulnerability to reverse the effects of unspoken misunderstanding.
But the eros aspect of marriage, when experienced within the boundaries that God has established, is not only beautiful, but it’s important and necessary. Eros between husband and wife is good, because eros between husband and wife is from God. It’s part of His plan—His good plan. And like every other good thing He’s given you, it’s sure to be what’s best for you.
Father in heaven, You are good. You always have been and always will be. Thank You for loving me and giving good gifts with which to enjoy life and experience ongoing fullness in relationship with You. May I never cease trusting You or fail to thank You for all You’ve provided to help me give and receive love in life. Please show me how best to honor You in my relationships. Thank You for the truth that every good and perfect gift comes from Your hand. In Jesus’ name, amen.