Our guest today is Francie Winslow. Francie hosts the weekly Heaven in Your Home podcast where she offers fresh, biblical ways of thinking about married sex and what it reveals to us about God.
We just endured a brutally exhausting Christmas break. We had high hopes for a fun, relaxing family vacation. However with 6 kids, a host of viruses that flew through our home and several chronic illnesses that have been a part of our story, Christmas vacation was anything but a vacation.
It was the night before school was to resume and already in the course of that day I had gone to my room several times for a good cry as my body tried to process the utter exhaustion and overwhelming heaviness I was experiencing in this season. Wyatt and I were dragging ourselves to the finish line of that hectic day, and as he came into the bedroom, he said, “Francie, let’s have comfort sex.” It was far from a romantic, candle-lit, warm-fuzzy-feeling night. It was a night filled with feelings of defeat, insecurity, worry, and weariness. But in that place of vulnerable weakness, we leaned into the gift of sex as comfort.
We often think of sex in categories that are culturally familiar. Maybe we put it in a category that mirrors what we’ve seen in movies—as steamy, as passionate. Or maybe even something heavy, like a duty or a chore. But what about seeing married sex as an avenue of comfort?
For the first decade of our marriage, we went from one mountain peak to another. We had our share of challenges as we lived overseas as missionaries and navigated a very young marriage, but we felt victorious and strong through the hardships. The past several years have been a completely different story; these years have been filled with trial after trial. Sickness, heartbreak, trauma, struggle, and pain. What has been most amazing to us, however, is that the gift of sex has been just as powerful in the painful seasons as it was in the pinnacle seasons.
In the valleys, physical intimacy has been an invitation to connect in weakness, in vulnerability, in need. It has shown us that when vulnerability and pleasure collide, there is an overwhelming intimacy that erupts. And in some ways, the intimacy of these difficult years has been even more powerful, more meaningful, and more beautiful than what we experienced in the previous seasons.
…when vulnerability and pleasure collide, there is an overwhelming intimacy that erupts.
Sex is a gift made for marriage by God and is a powerful God-revealer. This idea of intimacy in the midst of struggle shows me a window into God’s good heart that makes me want to worship Him all the more. It shows me that biblical sexuality is much deeper than any idea of sex that the world offers. God’s heart for intimacy supersedes our understanding of “romance” and reaches into the core of who we are and who we are becoming as we journey through the highs and lows of life. True intimacy invites closeness in the midst of weakness, pleasure in the face of pain, comfort in spite of the crisis.
When God designed sex, He had magnificent, holy, powerful, meaningful, erotic, comforting, healing, unifying, and heavenly experiences in mind for His people. Sexual intimacy was a garden gift, an Eden dream, and an overflow of the heart of our Maker; and He called it good. It was a gift that was meant to fuse the hearts of a husband and wife, during the good times and the hard times. A gift that makes room for connection when words are not found, when tears flow, and when questions have no answers. Sex in hard times reveals a comfort that flows from genuine intimacy that, if we have eyes to see and a heart to receive, can point us to the greatest comforter of all—God Himself.
Want to learn more about how God’s design for sex? Check out these resources:
- Java #160: Why God Created You to Be Sexual
- Passion Pursuit, a study through Song of Solomon
- Sexual Pleasure Isn’t Shameful (Juli’s blog)
- What Kind of Lover Are You? (Juli’s blog)