For the woman concerned about lovemaking success, talent, I.Q., and age have little to do with it; her mental attitude is the determining factor. We all have observed people who outperform their natural capabilities. It is our conviction that all Christians, empowered by the Holy Spirit, should outperform their own natural abilities in whatever situation they find themselves.

As a counselor I have been surprised by the number of beautiful women, the embodiment of sexual appeal, who confess that they are completely inept in the bedroom. On the other hand, some "plain Janes," flat-chested or overweight, admit to an exciting love life with their husbands. This proves that it isn't primarily the size, shape or appearance of a woman that makes her a good lover; it suggests that her mental attitude is of utmost importance.

Three areas in a woman's sexual thinking pattern are very important to her: (a) what she thinks about lovemaking; (b) what she thinks about herself; and (c) what she thinks about her husband. Her attitude toward these will determine her success or failure.

Although we cannot endorse the sexual revolution, it may be somewhat responsible for exposing the false concept that married love is "dirty," "evil,' or "for masculine enjoyment only." Such impressions certainly did not emanate from the Old or New Testament or from the early church. They sprang from the "Dark Ages" when Roman theologians tried to merge ascetic philosophy with Christian thought. The pagan philosophy that assumed that anything enjoyable must be evil took precedence over the biblical concept that "marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure" (Heb. 13:4). It is difficult to describe some of the unbelievable and ridiculous distortions to which the sacred relationship of married love has been subjected. .

The Reformation fortunately called Christians back to studying the Word of God rather than blindly accepting dogma. In gaining new insights into God, salvation, sin, and theology, Christians discovered that God is the author of sex, that both men and women have sexual needs that a partner is obliged to fulfill (1 Cor. 7:1-5), and that their fulfillment is honorable and undefiled. Obedient Christians over the centuries have discovered in the privacy of their bedrooms that sexual relations provide the most exciting experiences in their lives. Any young woman who enters marriage without knowing that sexual union is a blessing from her heavenly Father, to be enjoyed without reserve, does not fully understand the Bible.

Confused church leaders of the past are not the only ones who seemed to delight in warping the mental attitudes of young virgins just prior to marriage. Some communities have been disturbed by little old ladies who were self-appointed evangelists of aversion to sex and took it upon themselves to visit brides-to-be before their weddings to inform them of the "facts of life." Their version was something like this: "S-is the worst part of marriage. It is distasteful and disgusting but something every wife must endure." By the time the "evangelist" was through, no young virgin could possibly anticipate the joys of married love. Such sexual misfits are contagious. Having never welcomed the experience, they feel duty-bound to keep everyone else from enjoying it.

One wife who was sexually unresponsive told the following story in the counseling room. About two weeks before her marriage, her Aunt Matilda caught her and psychologically marred her for the first five years of marriage. Apparently her aunt, whose marriage was arranged by her parents in the old country, found herself petrified of sex on her wedding night. When her embarrassed and clumsy farmer husband, who was 20 years older, brought her to their wedding bed, he "stripped me naked and raped me in my own bed. I fought and screamed to no avail. My virginity was gone and I cried for three days. I have hated sex faithfully for 35 years." Her conclusion to her niece was, "As far as I'm concerned, marriage is just legalized rape."

As much as one might feel compassion for poor Aunt Matilda and her equally unhappy spouse, we can hardly envision more unhealthy concepts to pump into the impressionable young mind of a bride-to-be. It is little wonder that it took her niece several years and several counseling experiences to overcome such disastrous ideas.

How much better it would be for the young bride if her mother, whose love relationship for her husband had been accepted by their children through the years, would explain to her that married love is beautiful, exciting, meaningful, and mutually enjoyable. Such young virgins are mentally fortified against the false notions of Aunt Matilda and rarely become women who disdain sex.

.. "I can't stand to have my husband touch me!" Thus began the mother of five who had become infatuated with another man. She confessed, "Ten minutes to five is the most miserable time of my day because as I stand at the sink, getting dinner ready, I know that Tom will be home in 10 minutes and will kiss me when he comes in."

After we seriously dealt with her mental love affair with a divorced man as a sin, Julie got down on her knees and confessed her sins through her tears. Two weeks later my phone rang at 4:55 p.m., and Julie reported excitedly, "God has changed my heart! I'm all dressed up and excited that Tom is due home in a few minutes. I called because I wanted you to know that this has now become the most exciting time of my day."

Love is not a whimsical vapor that comes and goes without rhyme or reason. It is a vital emotion that grows or dies in direct proportion to one's thinking pattern. If a person gripes and mentally criticizes his or her partner in his mind, before long love for the partner will die. If however, that negative mental habit is replaced by thanksgiving for the positive characteristics in the partner's life, love will blossom as surely as night follows day. "Since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet" (1 Thess. 5:8).

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