“Do not stare at me...” Song of Solomon 1:6
Solomon and his sweetheart were head-over-heels in love. However, despite their deep affection and attraction for each other, she still felt uncomfortable in his gaze. Lots of women feel self-conscious in this department. And quite honestly, as age catches up with the best of us, confidence-chasms can swallow up guys and gals alike.
Our physiques change. Our expected responses to one another change. And the whole process can be a little less than comfortable, or confidence inspiring. Yet intimacy isn’t just a physical act. It’s a weaving of the hearts; the physical is merely the doorway.
Yes, men and women approach intimacy differently and might place different importance on one aspect or another of the whole process. But good intimacy won’t begin and end with just a physical experience. It just starts with it. The Lord designed physical intimacy to be a melding of much more than just bodies. So if you are feeling less than runway model material, you can still be confident in the love you share with your husband. You can be confident in the joy that awaits you both in intimacy. You can be confident that the Lord has designed sex for your pleasure and the good of your marriage.
When the Lord wired our brains, the process of engaging in sexual intimacy was meant to engage certain brain chemistry in us that induces strong emotion-forming bonds. That’s one reason why the Lord designed sex to be set apart for the life-long commitment of marriage only--so our hearts would be protected from damage brought on by forming bonds that are later broken. But this little scientific fact also supports a truth we can see in Scripture: sex is more than just a physical thing. It’s meant to make two into one.
So if you are struggling with how you feel about your physical appearance, know that the Lord didn’t intend for your marital intimacy to hinge on appearances only. It is true that He wants you to take good care of your body. But don’t heap a ton of guilt on yourself over the whole thing. Remember sex was designed for more than just our flimsy frames. Focus on the spiritual truth that it engages the mind, heart and soul more than just the physical aspect of it.
If you are a woman who has suffered from sexual abuse, you might find confidence in your body’s appearance something utterly foreign to you. If you’re a woman who is struggling with some weight you’ve gained, you might be easily derailed from giving yourself joyfully and freely to your spouse because you don’t feel as pretty or as fit as you wish. If you have a health issue or are experiencing hormone changes, you might feel anxiety over your body’s cooperation. All these things threaten to rob us from being transparent with our husbands and free with them in this department. Ultimately, these wrong emphases will rob us from the emotional intimacy God designed us to have if we let them get in the way of our physical intimacy.
If you struggle with physical intimacy because of a “confidence” issue, pray over the following thoughts:
In all these things, know that our confidence rests in the Lord alone. Our husbands will let us down. We will let them down. And in regard to sexuality, as a culture we are very broken. So in our marriages, there is bound to be impasses of difficulty. We are human and frail. Any time we place our confidence in a person or thing other than Christ, we will be disappointed. We don’t need confidence in our most recent diet-flattened-bellies, gym-toned backends, or our husband’s responses to us. We need confidence in God alone. And confidence in Him will lead us to trust His design and pursue it with faith. He intended for sex to be a beautiful thing in our marriage. As we pursue His design, we will bump into our human nature from time-to-time. However, if we stay His course and trust His good intentions for us, our marriages will grow more and more into a union that reflects His love for us.
April Motl is a pastor’s wife who loves to laugh, loves her man, loves to talk on the phone entirely too long and most of all, loves her Lord. Collaborating with the joint efforts of her husband Eric, the two of them share a ministry dedicated to bringing God’s Word into the everyday lives of married couples, men and women. April writes and teaches for women. When she’s not tapping away at the computer writing, or trying to catch up with the laundry and dishes, she is busy serving as a pastor’s wife. April has been privileged through her own church and ministry outside her local body to share God's Word with women ranging in ages and stages, across denominations, and walks of life. Her passion is to bring God's liberating truth to His Beloved. She teaches God's Word with real life illustrations, humor and practical application. April is a graduate from Southern California Seminary (MRS) and has written for Just Between Us Magazine, Dayspring's (In)courage, and The Secret Place and also writes regularly for crosswalk.com. For more information, visit Motl Ministries at: www.MotlMinistries.com