Christian Education and Missions for All
May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. - 2 Peter 1:2
Naked But Not Ashamed
You’re (now) married! Wow! Congratulations!
Or, you’ve been married for a while or for long? Great! So, you’ve had varied experiences – the thrills and the trials; the pleasures and pains; the mountain top experiences that feel like … oh, this is so so sweet and the bottom of the valley moments when you wonder how you got yourself into all the mess and feel like throwing your hands up in the air?
Mmmmmm. Life has its ups and downs. So does marriage. The good news is:
- You are not alone.
- There is a way forward.
Thoughtfulness from the Start
Marriage, as God planned it, is that place where you are completely naked and not ashamed or embarrassed. It’s a place of complete honesty, sincerity and openness. You are naked the same way you came into the world. This is why choosing the most suitable spouse is crucial. It’s the most important decision of your life, next only to choosing the salvation Jesus Christ offers. We recommend that you read our page, How to Become a Christian and the pages on Christian Dating before going on to this section on Marriage and Family Health. They provide the foundation for the discussions here.
Nakedness in all Dimensions
Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. –Genesis 2:25
Adam and Eve, like children, were fully naked and unashamed. There ‘wore’ no guilt and no fear. They had a child-like innocence and freedom with each other. It should be the resolve of a couple in a Christian marriage to be fully naked to each other in all dimensions. There is nothing to hide.
The nakedness that goes with marriage is in all dimensions:
- Any Other Area
For a responsible believer, declaring to someone of the opposite sex, “I love you” is a serious and deliberate expression as well as experience that comes after a prayerful and sober journey. Revealing your deepest emotions of love, and later, fears and concerns to your spouse begin while dating. It continues to grow during courtship. It remains an important aspect of the connection between both of you throughout life. Both of you must feel comfortable to share your emotions, positive and negative, with each other without any sense of shame. You both need to assure each other of your constant love, care and devotion. You both need to feel secure to share your feelings, thoughts, dreams, and frustrations. Trust is an essential foundation here. You must be trustworthy, dependable and reliable. Your spouse must be able to have confidence that you would not belittle them, laugh at them, take advantage of them or betray them. They are going to show their deepest vulnerability and you need strength to encourage or inspire them while keeping things in confidence.
And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. – 1 John 4:17-18
Verse 17 makes it clear that as we live in God, our love grows. We cannot afford not to live in God. Similarly, we cannot afford to choose a spouse who does not have it as a priority to live in God. It is imperative that the husband and wife mutually experience continuous spiritual growth. The more we grow spiritually, the deeper our love for each other grows and matures.
We are spiritual beings. We have a spiritual life as individual Christians before meeting our spouse. We are expected to be growing in our faith before marriage and we should continue to do so throughout life.1 Peter 2:1-3, Hebrews 6:1-3. As we share our lives as a Christian couple, we get to know our strengths and areas that require improvement in our walk with the Lord. A truly thriving Christian couple feel comfortable to share this aspect of their lives as it is the very foundation of their relationship. Without having a real spiritual experience of being born again, we cannot lay claim to being Christian nor say we have a Christian marriage. Both the man and the woman must have a clear and continuous walk with God as their Father, Jesus as their Saviour and the Holy Spirit as their Guide into all truth.
The Bible is clear that we must not marry an unbeliever. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. An unbeliever can never understand your spiritual direction, convictions, dreams and aspirations. They cannot appreciate your calling, consecration and commitment. They cannot respond to or support your spiritual growth and maturity. The power of agreement in prayer with your spouse as your closest (and closet) partner would elude you, so your spiritual power and progress would be limited. In some cases, the unbelieving partner becomes ” a snare and a trap to you, a whip for your backs and thorny brambles in your eyes…” and may yield to the devil to destroy your spiritual life and testimony. Joshua 23:12-13. So, it is a serious matter to be watchful, sober and serious minded as to who you choose to be your life partner as you both need to share your spiritual lives together. It goes beyond just sharing the Word of God and praying together or even going to church and other Christian programmes together. It involves mapping your spiritual journey together, encouraging and supporting each other, ensuring that your partner is empowered to be their best for God. Proverbs 27:17. Als0:
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? – Ecclesiastes 4:9-11
There was no way Delilah could have fulfilled the right spiritual role in Samson’s life; she was alien to God’s covenant. She succeeded in pulling him down s-l-o-w-l-y. He did not even realize it until it was too late. He opened up all his spiritual vulnerability to the wrong spouse and she used it to destroy him. The problem was not so much in sharing his spiritual secrets but in sharing them with a spouse who had no similar spiritual values. Samson had had an earlier similar problem with his original bride. In the same way, Nabal was a misfit for Abigail. Judges 16:4-22, Judges 14, 1 Samuel 25: 2-38
We have great examples of couples who served the Lord together in Zachariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1) and Acquilla and Priscilla (Acts 18:1-3, Romans 16:3-5). Zachariah ministered to the Lord as a priest with a faithful, supportive wife, Elizabeth. This was despite their unfulfilled dream of having children, which God eventually brought to pass miraculously. Acquilla and Priscilla were co-workers with Paul and had a church in their home. It is awesome to find a couple who jointly love and serve the Lord. It typifies Christ’s relationship with His church on one hand, and the relationship between God, the Father and God, the Son on the other. Ephesians 5:21-27, John 10:30, John 5:30, Matthew 18:18-20
A Christian couple must be familiar with each other’s social life and social contacts. Neither of them has a friend the other is unaware of. No ties to friends and even family can come between them. They cherish the uniqueness of their relationship and would not allow anyone anywhere to interfere with their precious bond or come between them. This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.Genesis 2:24
“This” in verse 24 means something happened earlier. Going back to verses 22-23, we see God creating the woman from the man’s rib or side. Adam sees Eve as an integral part of him, hence they leave to cleave; they become united into one in verse 24.
A couple must, therefore, share and enjoy their social life together. Planning their leisure, sports and entertainment together is important. Your spouse should be your best friend, your playmate and soulmate. You must feel comfortable in each other’s presence, enjoy healthy humour and laugh together. Yet, you must be able to cry on each other’s shoulders as well. The older your relationship gets, the stronger and deeper your friendship should grow. Proverbs 17:17
(To Be Continued). Do come back for more on this topic. Thank you.
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