Guest Post: Sex and the Act of Worship by Nicole Cottrell

Click to visit Nicole's blog!I met the Nicole, also known as the Modern Reject at Catalyst a couple of years ago, just as she was launching. I’ve been amazed at how quickly MR has become a community of people who love to ask tough questions. Nicole is provocative, thoughtful and sharp. Join the conversation at and follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

I didn’t come to Jesus a virgin. Instead, I came to Jesus with far more sexual experience a girl of 16 should have. I also came to Jesus, however, somehow knowing that He didn’t care about any of that. He saw me as a virgin. It was a new day.

I couldn't resist.
I couldn’t resist.

So, I suppose on some level, I expected the church to talk about this fact, too. I expected to hear rousing sermons on the gift of sex, ordained by God, pleasing to Him when experienced between man and wife. I expected to hear exactly what it was I was now waiting for, having once had sex, only to give it up in pursuit of Christ.

But, those messages from the church never came. Different ones did, however.

I think a youth pastor once talked about what not to do–how to not let things go too far with your boyfriend–so as to remain a virgin. You know, since virginity was the prize and all.

Virginity, it seemed, was what all young Christian people were to aspire to.

Need bad theology? Just find a Christian t-shirt!
Need bad theology?
Just find a Christian t-shirt!

It wasn’t the powerful, supernatural, superglue-like bond that formed between two people who had only had intercouse with one another. It wasn’t the protection from emotional damage and even physical ramifications that comes from waiting. It wasn’t the lifelong guarantee of a healthier and more satisfying sex life with your spouse, if both were each other’s only sexual partner. It wasn’t the holiness and clarity that comes from a life surrendered to purity–purity of mind, spirit, and body.

No, those were not the messages I heard. Those rewards and blessings from the Lord were not discussed. It was simply stated within the church that sex was not good. Virginity was good. Sex could wait…you just never knew exactly why.

The world sells the lie that sex is love. Yet, on the flip side, the church sells the lie that sex isn’t love.

Rabbits... teens... there's a joke here...
Rabbits. Teens.
There’s a joke here…

Young Christians swallow this up believing that marriage and sex are somehow not related, somehow not wholly and spiritually intertwined.

Sex, it seems, is simply a byproduct of marriage instead of an integral and intimate part. So, it becomes easy for us to dabble in sex outside of marriage. It becomes easy for us to view sex as just an action or an activity, and not the spiritual, emotional, and physical oneness described in Genesis.

And the two shall become one flesh, is quite literal. Sex is two becoming one and is nothing short of glorifying God.

Of course, when I finally got married at the tender age of 25, I had to unlearn all that I had been taught…and subsequently hadn’t been taught about sex between a husband and wife. No longer was I able to compartmentalize sex or view it as separate from love.

You see, both the world and the church have it wrong. Sex is love but…in marriage.

Song of Solomon. Read it. It's sexy.
Song of Solomon. Read it. It’s sexy.

In the context of a marriage covenant between a man and a woman, sex and love are forever and inextricably linked. You cannot love your spouse without enjoying the gift of sex God has given you both to enjoy. Nor can you love sex, apart from your spouse, whom God gave you to enjoy it with.

God receives glory when we enjoy the gifts He has given us, whether it be good food, a child, a home, a loving spouse, or…sex. To put it plainly, when we enjoy sex within marriage we are worshipping the Lord. Strange to think, perhaps. It was for me, until the Spirit revealed this truth. Now, on Sundays, my husband and I sometimes skip church and choose instead to stay in bed and “worship the Lord.”

YOUR TURN: What were you falsely taught…or not taught about sex? What is the one thing you know now, that you wish you had known then? What would you tell young people today about sex and marriage?

bio-picNicole Cottrell is…a hopeful romantic, baby wrangler, blogger on a mission, wife to her hero. Most importantly, follower of the One. She’s the Modern Reject. Stalk her on Twitter @modernreject or on Facebook at Modern Reject. She’ll be your BFF. 

Guest Post: Thriving (Not Just Surviving) Married with Children by Tiffany Malloy

Tiffany and her husband Jake are some of my oldest friends. Not only do they have an awesome marriage, but they are two of the best parents I’ve ever met. Tiffany blogs about books and spirituality at her blog and also co-runs the parenting blog Play. Eat. Grow. Check ’em both out, and follow her on Twitter.

Tiffany and Jake on a date day
Tiffany and Jake on a date day

When Jake and I first got married, there was no such thing as our own space. We didn’t want our own space; instead, we were one of those nauseating couples who simply wanted to be together every single minute.

But as we dreamed about a future family, I started to imagine daily “me” times, weekly date nights, weekend  “family times” and regular one-on-one times with each of my children. All planned out at the beginning of the week, posted on our perfectly accurate family calendar (wahahaha).

What we learned as we started having kids, however, is that “life” often threatens to get in the way of the spaces we so desire to create for ourselves and for each other.Continue reading

Guest Post: Redeeming Bad Memories by Paul Dazet

Paul is a fellow pastor who blogs on the side, so we get together and swap notes as often as we can (which isn’t often enough). He blogs over at When you’re done with his story, you’re going to want to go check him out. And while you’re at it, follow him on Twitter.

DP - Beach 1

My wife and I had just celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary when I was diagnosed with cancer. That was four years ago, and in August we celebrated our 20th. We have been through some difficult seasons in our marriage, and at times I didn’t think we would make it. Due to the challenges we have faced, we have learned some valuable lessons about ourselves as individuals as well as our relationship with each other.

Paul's wife, Stacy, deep in thought about the unknown future.
Paul’s wife, Stacy, deep in thought
about the unknown future.

I would like to share with you one of the lessons my wife and I discovered: redeeming bad memories.Continue reading

Guest Post: Cupcakes and Candlelight and the Truth about Marriage by Nicole Unice

Click here to visit Nicole's blog
Click here to visit Nicole’s blog

It was supposed to be a long, lingering dinner, one where Dave and I grow more in love with one another as we pass on sage words to the newlywed couple invited to our home. We would smile knowingly and touch hands as we listened to them talk about the adjustment to married life. And when they would finally head home, more in love then when they arrived, Dave and I would cuddle and stare into one another’s eyes and reaffirm our deep love for one another, fifteen years into wedded bliss.

Except I forgot that I don’t live in a movie scene.Continue reading

My Wife Married the Wrong Person

Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become “whole” and happy. The assumption is that there is someone just right for us to marry and that if we look closely enough we will find the right person. This moral assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage. It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person. We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, being [the enormous thing it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary problem is . . . learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.
— Stanley Hauerwas, quoted in The Meaning of Marriage (emphasis mine)

The day we both married the wrong person. Good Decision!
The day we both married the wrong person.
Good Decision!

Yesterday, we talked about what it means to marry the stranger, how marriage sanctifies us, and what it means that we always marry the wrong person. So I had to write about my own marriage, and the glorious truth that my wife married the wrong person.

For everything my wife Amanda and I have in common, we are pretty different people. I’m an attention hog who loves the spotlight and has a tendency to run over people. She’s a behind-the-scenes servant who puts herself last no matter what. I always have to have a plan; she’s go-with-the-flow. I squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom, she squeezes from the middle.

But what we fight about most, ironically, is fighting. Amanda and I have very different conflict-resolution strategies.Continue reading

Brave Sacrifices Accuracy for Romance

The movie Brave sacrifices accuracy for the sake of Romance
The movie Brave sacrifices accuracy for the sake of Romance

Though today we marry for “True Love”, that’s a relatively new concept. Throughout most of human history, people married to ensure a stable society. Pixar’s latest film, Brave, is a contemporary fairy tale.

Though Brave is set in pre-modern Scotland, its take on the purpose of marriage is thoroughly modern. Brave demonstrates how our attitude towards marriage has shifted.

In the pre-modern world, more than 90% of humans on the planet lived in small agrarian communities of fewer than 200 total persons. With child survival rates as low as 50% and life expectancy around 40, the very survival of the community depended on individuals marrying and procreating as quickly and often as possible. With such a small community, a person’s marital options were limited.Continue reading