You should lust after your bride.
Lust? Really? Yes, lust. You see, lust has a bad rap in our language, but not in Greek at the time of Christ. The Greek word used by Jesus in Mt 5:28 “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” [ESV] is epithumeo. The word epithumeo is not a sexual word, nor does it indicate sin; it actually means nothing more than a strong desire. The word is use 16 times in the NT, including:
“For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people epithumeo [longed] to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” [Mt 13:17 ESV]
“And He said to them, ‘I have earnestly epithumeo [desired] to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.’” [Lk 22:15 ESV]
If Jesus said He “lusted”, then I think it’s okay for us to do it*.
Why have I taken the long way around on this, why not just call it something else? Because we need to understand it is not strong sexual desire that’s wrong, it is the target of the desire that makes it sin or a good thing. Lusting after your spouse is not just allowed, it is expected. If you don’t lust after her, something is wrong. You should want her, sexually, in a very deep and physical way.
Of course, if all you feel for her sexually is what happens in your pants, you are still missing the mark by a long shot. Lust is also emotional and mental – it is a deep craving that goes beyond your body; a hunger that remains after your physical desire is spent. This is how God created our sexuality; it’s not some sinful creation of Satan, he just corrupted what God made. I am convinced God intends you to desire your wife more strongly than any sinful sexual desire you have ever had or imagined. I am also convinced He intends her to desire you just as much (albeit not in exactly the same ways).
One big obstacle to this is women think sex is something to enjoyed in moderation or a necessary evil. We’ve taught women lust is bad, even when it’s lust for her husband. The desire to be right with God then clashes with the lust God Himself put in her heart, mind, and loins. This clash is a major part of the sexual struggle many (most?) women face. Beyond the direct effect it has on them, wives put this onto their husbands – criticising him for living out the lust God put in him. Maybe he buys into that, or maybe he just backs off to avoid the hassle; either way he starts holding back what God put in him. This leaves her without an example, and leaves him tempted to express his God given sexual lust in ways and places he should not.
I challenged some of the lady bloggers I know to deal with this subject – links to those who have already posts something along these lines below (with more to come I hope).
Pursue Me Sexually, Dear Husband by Julie of Intimacy in Marriage discusses a woman’s desire to be pursued. (Grunting “You wanna?” does not, apparently, qualify.)
3 Reasons You Should Pursue Your Husband Sexually also from Julie, and the one you really want your bride to see.
When Your Spouse Isn’t Interested in Sex: Communicating Your Needs by Sheila of To Love, Honor and Vacuum is a follow up to two posts for women with husband’s who don’t want sex, or don’t want enough sex. (If your bride needs those posts, PLEASE do something to fix the situation!)
When Your Spouse Withholds Sex also by Sheila is for the really bad cases.
What’s On Your Playground? by Lori “The Generous Wife” (aka my bride) talks about separating the good and the bad, and enjoying the good.
Lust: The Pigpen or The Feast? by J of Hot, Holy and Humorous adds dimension with other uses of the Greek word in the NT.
* Yes, I know, Jesus could have spoken those passages in Aramaic, Hebrew, or Greek, and Matthew may have been originally written in Hebrew. Regardless, if one accepts the Holy Spirit as the ultimate “ghost writer” then we have to take the Greek words as significant.