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Marriage: Foundations & Principles – Lesson 10: The Sexual Union

Scripture Verse: I Corinthians 7:3-4.


Differing views regarding sex have confronted Christians, especially in recent years. Some say sex is simply for procreation; others say it’s for pleasure; others say it’s a primitive instinct that can’t be helped. As Christians, we should be concerned with God’s view of sex, and how His view affects our lives. We need to first realize that sex, in the context of marriage, is good. Since the time of Christ, Christians have had to deal with the lie that sex is bad because it appeals to our physical desires. In I Corinthians 7:3-5, Paul commands married couples to consistently and unselfishly serve the sexual needs of one another. God wants His children to experience blessings, one of which is the sexual union.

Not only are sexual relations good, they are a significant part of the man and woman becoming one flesh. When a man and woman truly share their lives together, it not only includes the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of life, it includes the sexual. The primary picture of a man and woman becoming one flesh is the sexual union, as seen in I Corinthians 6: 15-20. This is why adultery is so devastating. Two people who have become one flesh are literally ripped apart when one spouse commits adultery.

One of the most disturbing issues related to sex is that most Christians don’t see it as a spiritual experience. For most, it’s a deeply emotional experience, but it’s not spiritual. Removing or ignoring the spiritual aspect of sex relegates it to a pleasurable act, rather than a spiritually unifying experience. The intimacy between a husband and wife, which includes the sexual union, is so spiritually significant, God deliberately chose it to symbolize the loving relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:31-32).

Lesson Questions:

  1. What are the three purposes for sexual relations in marriage, as found in Genesis 1:27-28, Proverbs 5:15-19, and I Corinthians 7:3-5? Can it be concluded that having children isn’t the only reason for sex?
  2. What do the following verses teach about the sexual union in marriage? Hebrews 13:4; Proverbs 5:15-19; Ecclesiastes 9:9; Deuteronomy 24:5; I Corinthians 7:3-5; Acts 20:35; Malachi 2:13-16.
    Note: The husband’s primary purpose in pursuing sexual relations should be the fulfillment of his wife’s needs; and vice versa. Husbands and wives need to take each other’s temperament into account when serving one another sexually. For instance, women tend to be stimulated over a period of time; men tend to be stimulated in a very short period of time. These differences should be kept in mind.
  3. Based on Song of Solomon 4:1-7 and 5:10-16, is it good to enjoy, anticipate, and be excited about sexual relations with one’s spouse?
    Note: True sexual unity and fulfillment is simply an outworking of the intimate spiritual and emotional relationship between a man and woman. Sexual fulfillment shouldn’t be the goal of marriage, but should be seen as the result of a godly marriage.
  4. What kind of marital and personal problems can interfere with the sexual relationship? Ephesians 4:31; Matthew 5:23-24; Colossians 3:8-10; James 1:19-20; 3:5-6; Psalm 32:3-4.
  5. Paul seems to refer to sexual relations as an obligation for both husbands and wives in I Corinthians 7:3-5. Are sexual relations an obligation in the Christian marriage? Should they be regular and continuous?
  6. How does God view adultery, in action and in attitude? What devastating consequences can result from this terrible sin? Hebrews 13:4; Matthew 5:27-30; II Samuel 12:10-15; Judges 16:16-18.
  7. What does King David’s example in II Samuel 11:2-4 teach us about adultery and the man’s responsibility to guard himself? Answer the same for Bathsheba. Also consider the following verses: I Corinthians 6:15-20; I Timothy 5:2; I Peter 3:3-6.
  8. What role does Scripture play in sex education? Titus 2:3-6; Proverbs 31:1-2; Deuteronomy 6:6-9; II Timothy 3:16-17.