The Marriage Bed
The Marriage Bed is a helpful little book from Ray Rhodes who has also written several titles dealing with family worship. This book[let], weighing in at just 32 pages, is a biblical guide to sexual intimacy. Responding to the inevitable critique that this topic has been covered enough times, Rhodes offers four defenses for writing about it once more: 1) Misinformation about the topic abounds and there is room for a book that falls in the space between legalism and licentiousness; 2) His experience in pastoral ministry has shown that problems with marital intimacy continue despite all of those other books; 3) He has specifically focused on applying the gospel to marital intimacy; 4) The ministry he serves, Nourished in the Word Ministries, exists in part to strengthen marriages and families through biblical teaching and he has written with that kind of ministry in view.
The book’s format is simple, moving quickly through an overview of what the Bible teaches about sex and marriage. Rhodes includes a section on Creativity in the Marriage Bed where he looks to the Song of Solomon but, thankfully, without stooping to a kind of interpretation that seeks to explain each metaphor as a specific sexual act. Instead, he looks to the Song for wisdom on creativity, on enjoying not just the act but the experience of sex. Having done this, he turns next to Hindrances and Remedies to a God-Centered and Intimate Marriage Bed and looks at issues such as fatigue, physical inability, past hurt, immorality and rejection. The remedies he suggests are practical and always grounded in the gospel.
He wraps up the book with a Seven-Day Plan for Cultivating Intimacy in Your Marriage, a useful plan that sets aside seven days to focus on what the Bible teaches about marriage and the purpose of sexual intimacy within it.
The fact that this book is so short is both a strength and a frustration. I was a little disappointed because there is so much more he could have said; yet its short length makes it very accessible. Overall, The Marriage Bed is a helpful little book and one that offers a lot of wisdom in just a few short pages. Best of all, it is grounded in Scripture and full of gospel.