“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”---Genesis 2:24-25 (NKJV)
Naked: being without clothing or covering; nude; defenseless; unprotected; exposed; plain; simple; unadorned; not accompanied or supplemented by anything else; exposed to view or plainly revealed; plain-spoken; blunt
Unashamed: not ashamed; not restrained by embarrassment or consciousness of moral guilt; open; unconcealed; unabashed
OK, Ms. Benbow...you encouraged this (I think for now, I will “counsel” in print), so for all of the people who are wondering why they are all of a sudden being inundated with this kind of information, take it up with Candice...oh, and God. :-)
Something told me (actually it was the Holy Spirit) that when God gave me the “365 Things to Do for Your Man During the First Year of Marriage” assignment/idea, that this was gonna be a series. A short one, though...I think. Maybe 10-12 preparation tips on how to start your first year off with a bang (pardon the pun)!
Let me just say this...especially to the men: If marriage is the last thing on your mind right now, file these in a folder somewhere. You may not need this info now...or, it may not be for you at all, but rather someone you know who is seeking the Father's face on this matter. Either way, know that it is NOT A COINCIDENCE that you are receiving these. Consider it a “Celestine Prophecy” moment. (If that's over your head, get the book!)
Anyway, so as I was praying about the next step in this tip series, the lead verse is what the Holy Spirit took me to. (Luke 12:12) It really is surprising how much your perspectives on things can change once you know what the definitions of certain words actually are. Maybe it's just me, but for years, whenever I read “naked and not ashamed”, I figured that Adam and the Woman were naked and...well...not ashamed of being naked. Oh, but it's so much more to it than that.
Hebrews 13:4 tells us that the marriage bed is undefiled. That means that it is pure. THAT means that it is “free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind”. Something that one of my married friends recently said to me is, “Shellie, you have no idea what it's like to be in bed with your husband and about 12 other people.” She was referencing memories of past relationships/sex partners...porn...fantasies of other people, etc. I feel her. As someone with my own “sordid past”, something that has kept me “two years clean” is that I know, especially as a creative person, that I already have a vivid imagination. I DON'T NEED ANY HELP BY ADDING PAST MEMORIES (OR FUTURE PEOPLE) TO IT. I want to be able to give myself to my husband free and clear of all of the drama. And I'm gonna tread softly on this, but if you didn't “do it right” on the front end, stop now, give it a year or so (Luke 13:6-9), and your body really will restore itself, ladies. YOU'D BE AMAZED! God can restore what locusts have eaten.(Joel 2:23-25)
But you see, here's the thing. To REAP a marriage bed that is naked and not ashamed, you must SOW those kinds of seeds. (Galatians 6:7) Marriage and sex makes you one, but that doesn't automatically make you pure. (Let that marinate.) In other words, just because you've been “kickin' it” and then decide you would rather “marry than burn” (I Corinthians 6:9), that doesn't automatically absolve consequences of disobedience. The Bible says that if you sow to the flesh, that you will reap...PERIOD. (Galatians 6:8)
While speaking at a church in Seattle in October, the pastor and his wife (really cool couple of 10 years) told me that their first three years of marriage basically sucked when it came to sex and it was because they had so much of it (with each other) before marriage. It was the “forbidden-ness” of it all that made it appear “fun” and so, once they could do it, they were pretty much like “For what? It's no fun now.”
Oh, it's always a set-up, ain't it? When the Word says that the Enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), you can best believe that since God is not a supporter of fornication UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES (Ephesians 5:3) that Satan is all for making a mockery of God and his gifts by tempting us to do...in this case, “it”. Why?
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”---James 1:14-16 (NKJV)
I've been lied to and fallen for it. Counterfeit sex got me nothing but drama, heartache, self-image issues, fear and the death of four of my children. Sex has a purpose...none of those things are it. And so, once again, as it relates to this “prepare tip”, there is an instruction for the men and for the women.
Men: The “naked” definition that most applies to you (as least as it relates to this message), is “ not accompanied or supplemented by anything else”. When it relates to being unashamed, what you need to focus on is being “open”.
NAKED: I used to watch porn and I work with a porn ministry, so I'm just gonna put it out there: GOD DOESN'T NEED OUR HELP IN BRINGING ABOUT SEXUAL PLEASURE...no tapes...no dildos/vibrators...no extra women (or men...or memories of those women or men)...no fake breasts...NOTHING. One song that I have always thought was so cute was John Mayer's “Your Body Is A Wonderland” and when it comes to the woman God has PURPOSED for you (yes, even when it comes to sexual pleasure/fulfillment), HE KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING. From the marriage blog series, two of my favorite statements from husbands are 1) no matter what is going on, my wife's body always responds to me and 2) when the Lord made my wife, he had me in mind.
As a single man, this is the time to ask God to clear your mind/body/spirit from what you thought, due to the world's teaching (I Corinthians 3:19), is a “good thing” and let him REPROGRAM YOU. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Shoot, I'm a girl and I can attest to the fact that it's not going to be easy (although I am claiming that the reward(s) will be GREAT), but here's the thing: God said in his Word that it's in our weakness that his strength is made perfect...that his grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) As a woman who is FINALLY coming to see my value...as someone who no longer desires to give my “holiness” to the dogs (Matthew 7:6), you can best believe that if I am going to submit myself to you (Ephesians 5:22), if I'm going to allow you to have authority over my body (I Corinthians 7:4), then you better be submitting to God...you'd better be letting him have authority over you! That doesn't come overnight. THAT TAKES PRACTICE. This would be the time to put that practice into action.
OPEN: If you can't talk about it, you shouldn't be doing it. Guys, you know that we as women are emotional beings. We don't just want to connect with a man physically; we want to connect with his entire being. If you feel that, even in this season of dating/mate searching, that the women you are PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN, you have to hide stuff from, either she is not the gal for you or you are not ready to be a husband. I've often wondered if I would “care” about my future king's sexual past. After all, a Shellie R. Warren original quote is, “Don't worry about his past. It brought him to your present.” You know how it says that in heaven, we will be able to see the Judgment Book to find out why certain people didn't make it? I've always believed that I won't care...so long as I get there. I believe that when it comes to a lot of my husbands past stuff, I will feel the exact same way. BUT, I do take issue with him if he CAN'T tell me things. If we are one, then that means I have bonded myself to all of who he is. If he can't trust me to reveal that...we may be having sex, but we are definitely not being intimate...AND I DESERVE INTIMACY.
Seemingly, guys don't have a problem physically DISCLOTHING themselves, but sex, the way that God intended it, is about you also “taking off” the ego, the facade, the fears and insecurities and sharing them with your helpmate (uh...to help you through those things). NOW is the time to start processing, or as my mother calls it, “unpacking” that reality.
Women: We are SO not off of the hook! “Naked” for us, in this message, means “unadorned” and “exposed to view or plainly revealed; plain-spoken”. If you can't, as a single woman, honestly enjoy looking at yourself totally naked in the mirror right now, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT...RIGHT NOW. It is a manipulative and dysfunctional spirit to not like you and then want a man to 1) like you, anyway and 2) fill the voids of your self-identity that you couldn't even fill yourself (or allow God to help you fill). You don't like your gut, but darn it, he'd better. You are always down-talking/picking at your skin, but he'd better not be irritated by the piles of make-up that you put on to cover up YOUR insecurities. It's so over the top---and ridiculous. When it's time for us to be “naked” with our husbands, we need to be exposing ALL OF OURSELVES, which means we need to be comfortable now with getting to a place where that is not an issue. WHAT YOU DON'T LIKE, be plain-spoken with yourself and your Heavenly Father, pray about it (for wise counsel) and then FIX IT (...if it needs to be fixed...I've come to accept my “overbite flaw” as a blessin').
I know someone, who, to this day, will not have sex with her husband in the daytime...whaaaaat? I thought the Bible said not to withhold, unless you are fasting, period. (I Corinthians 7:5) I mean, really...what?!? You don't think the Enemy can tempt your man during daytime hours? Surely, you must be kidding! Pamper yourself, NOW. Love on yourself, NOW. Celebrate yourself, NOW. When your husband comes along, he should be joining in on the party 24/7...and it shouldn't be a pity one.
On the “unashamed” tip, the definition that we need to spend some time meditating on is “not restrained by embarrassment”. When I was having “single sex”, performance scores (we're all grown here, so let's get it out and over with) was pretty much my biggest concern. It took an ex of mine telling me that it wasn't enough---to enjoy sex physically with me---that made me realize and accept that men are not just physical specimens...they are emotional creatures as well. When it comes to sex, YOU HAVE FOREVER TO GET IT RIGHT. Don't put barriers up because you are afraid that you won't be Jenna Jameson (If you don't know who that is...GOOD FOR YOU) or you are not as “educated” as Zhane (same as what I said about Jenna). In the wise words of one of my favorite sex authors, Tim Alan Gardner (“Sacred Sex”), sex isn't (just) about orgasms, but oneness. Orgasms are the icing on the oneness cake. EAT IT ALL.
Now? Of course, not. But what you can be doing right now is letting go of all of the anxiety that comes with walking and waiting in purity AND making sure that you are actually pure (clear, complete, germ-free, purified, real, refined, transparent, true, unadulterated, undebased, unmingled, wholesome). Just because you don't have intercourse, doesn't mean that you are pure...fondling, oral sex, sleepovers, dry humping (I haven't used that in a devotional...perhaps ever!) are all things that should be reserved for one man and one man ONLY. And you know what? I've polled my male friends and they agree. A girl who hasn't had intercourse but has “serviced” in other ways...that doesn't give them warm fuzzies....that doesn't reassure them of her purity...her continence...HER HONOR (look up synonyms for “purity”...you might be surprised). The Bible says that wives are to be honored as the weaker vessel (I Peter 3:7). To have the title without the qualifications is kind of pointless, wouldn't you say? Me too.
Well, there goes #2 in the “Marriage Prep Instruction” series. I'm sure that these will only open the door to deeper PERSONAL revelations, but as I was just telling one of my spiritual sistahs, there's no point in graduating (getting married) when you never went to class (prepared for it)!
©Shellie R. Warren/2009