“Sex Is Not the Primary Purpose of Marriage
Another common misunderstanding is that marriage exists for the purpose of legitimizing sexual relations. Marriage should never be equated with sex because sex is not the primary purpose of marriage. Sexual union is not and never has been the same thing as marital union. Marriage is a union that implies and involves sexual union as the establishment of a blood covenant, a central obligation, and a pleasure (see 1 Cor. 7:3-5), but the three are not the same.
First of all, marriage involves commitment. Sex has very little to do with commitment; it is a 100-percent physical response to physiological and biochemical stimuli. Sex is one expression of commitment in marriage, “but it never creates commitment. By itself, sex neither makes nor breaks a marriage. Marriage is broader and deeper than sex, and transcends it. Marriage is perhaps one percent sex; the rest is ordinary, everyday life. If you marry for sex, how are you going to handle the other 99 percent? “For many years it has been a common belief that adultery breaks a marriage. That is simply not true. Sex does not create a marriage, so how can it break a marriage? Adultery is sin and, according to the Bible, the only legitimate grounds for divorce for a believer. Even then it is not automatic. Divorce is not mandatory in such instances. Adultery does not break the marriage. Breaking the marriage is a choice.
Recognizing that sexual union and marital union are not the same is absolutely essential to any proper understanding of marriage. It is also essential in understanding divorce and remarriage. Marriage is bigger than, distinct from, but inclusive of “sexual union. Absence of sexual activity will never unmake a marriage, nor will its presence alone turn a relationship into a marriage. Marriage and sex are related but they are not the same.
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