Gospel Intimacy in a Godly Marriage, Preface
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In the first part of this study, I will lay down some foundational perspectives. We will spend some time considering the doctrine of God, the early chapters of Genesis, and some foundational realities that pertain to marriage. Considering the foundational issues will challenge us. Although this is not an “academic” study, we will be required to think hard about deep truth. Unless we think about biblical truth, we will not have the biblical wisdom necessary to live that truth out in practical ways in our marriages. After we work through some foundational issues, we will see how the gospel teaches us to love our spouse, especially as we contend with our sin which so readily threatens our intimacy. We will conclude our study by considering how to overcome some practical obstacles to marital intimacy. There are many practical obstacles to intimacy. I have selected four: the challenge posed by our culture’s confused and rebellious notions of authority; the challenge posed by our inclination to selfishness; the challenges involved in communicating biblically; and the challenge posed by the approach of death.
Throughout the study, we will be asked to think and to act biblically. With renewed minds, we would present ourselves to God to prove His good and acceptable and perfect will (Romans 12.1-2). Thinking and acting biblically is necessary if we would grow in marital intimacy and enjoy marriages that glorify Christ Jesus, our Lord.
My “target audience” is Christian couples. I realize, however, that unmarried singles might read this book as well. I would ask my single brothers and sisters to remember that I am addressing married couples. The single reader will read some statements that may sound a bit imbalanced, and may cause him to wonder whether I give biblical legitimacy to the single state. I assure you that I do. To include the teachings of Jesus and Paul on singleness would be to exceed the limits of this study. My focus is that special intimacy known to couples in marriage, specifically Christian couples. In my zeal to extol marital intimacy, I express myself in a manner that will no doubt sound extreme. This is because I am extremely convinced of the wonderful blessings which Christ gives to those couples who strive to obey His Word in their marriages.
My vantage point on our subject is decidedly masculine. My perspective on marriage is that of a husband and I speak, more often than not, to husbands. The husband is particularly called to cultivate marital intimacy. He is charged to love his wife (Ephesians 5.22-33). Were we husbands to love our wives with “gospel love,” our marriages would be characterized by greater intimacy. Obviously, intimacy will not be achieved without the engagement of the wife, but the command to love is explicitly given to the husband. I speak to Christian couples, but I especially address the husband. So, gentlemen, I am giving you advance notice!