Sex, Romance, & The Glory of God

Mahaney, C. J. Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know. Wheaton: Crossway, 2004. 139 pp.

Husbands often forsake or ignore the delightful duty of romance God has ordained for them to share often and well with their wives. As far as intimacy goes, sex is often the primary concern of many husbands to the neglect of both the romance God has designed her to receive and perhaps even the celebration God has intended it to be for his glory. In Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God, C. J. Mahaney, president of Sovereign Grace Ministries, promotes a biblical understanding of not only the intimacy shared in the bedroom (glorious as God has created it), but also the romance that ought always and persistently to precede it. As he susinctly repeats throughout the book, “Before you touch her [your wife’s] body, touch her heart and mind.”

Mahaney begins with a biblical understanding of sex, being sure to highlight that it is part of God’s good creation and a result of his wise design for the marriage relationship. For this reason, it ought to be celebrated to his glory and used often to both serve and strengthen the marriage relationship. With repeated reference to the Song of Songs, and explanations accompanied by good Christian scholarship, he shows how this book both aides in and grants hope for the fruitfulness of biblical intimacy in the husband’s relationship to his wife.

Before Mahaney tackles the “sex chapter”, however, he first emphasizes the role and responsibility of the husband in learning, leading, and loving his wife. To put it plainly, great sex is the result of a healthy, intimate, covenant relationship that is cultivated long before a married couple enter the bedroom. With some of the most godly wisdom, practical suggestions, and humble exhortations, Mahaney devotes several chapters to ensure husbands are aware of their responsibilities in studying their wife (i.e. deliberately being interested in, knowing, and understanding all aspects of their physical and spiritual well-being), leading her in a godly marriage relationship (e.g. in theological knowledge, with spirtual disciplines, and toward closer levels of intimacy), and loving her with biblical affections (e.g. by kindling romance or winning her with “carefully composed words”).

His book concludes with an exhortation for husbands to “let the unifying, unquenchable power of covenant love continually strengthen your marriage in every way, that you and your wife mighty testify to the world and to one another the goodness of God” (104). An added bonus for the wife is also included at the end. This short chapter is titled, “A Word to Wives from Carolyn Mahaney” (which is also called “The Purity of Pleasure”, chapter 5 in her book Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother).

Overall, Mahaney’s work is well worth every Christian husband’s read. It is biblical, thoughtful, and practical. It is also a fairly quick read, one well worth repeated readings throughout the marriage (I just finished my second.). It supplies husbands with a biblical understanding of sex, romance, and their design to glorify God in marriage intimacy, and provides excellent advice/ideas that will cotinually strengthen the relationship.

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