Ever on the lookout for additional helpful resources for areas of pastoral ministry, I recently came upon a new booklet by Ray Rhodes, Jr. entitled The Marriage Bed (Books That Nourish, Dawsonville, GA, 2010, 32 pages).
In some thirty years of premarital counseling this little gem is the first manual on sexual intimacy in Christian marriage that I have ever felt the freedom to give to a couple preparing for marriage. Here’s why.
Rhodes faithfully and responsibly addresses the pertinent biblical texts including Heb. 13:4 (at length), 1 Cor. 7:3-5, and selected verses from the Song of Solomon. On the latter the author particularly excels in my estimation. In his quest to exegete faithfully the text, avoiding the tendency to over spiritualize the text, he does not over sexualize the text. He does not find meaning and application where it cannot legitimately be found. I appreciate his fidelity to sound principles of interpretation in his quest to help couples through the maze of proper expression of passion, creativity, and delight in their sexual expression.
Rhodes makes the booklet immensely practical throughout with various applications to the Scriptures he expounds. Most helpful at the end is a seven day plan for cultivating intimacy in one’s marriage, a daily plan to that end that the newest married couple to the oldest will find quite helpful.
He also includes a suggested reading list at the end of the booklet with a recommendation that reveals the gospel heart driving his passion (no pun intended) for promoting healthy sexual expression within the confines of biblical marriage.
I took the risk of purchasing 50 of these booklets in a special offer from one distributor on the strength of these recommendations:
“I highly recommend this book. It is a clear, biblical and practical guide to marital intimacy.”
– Dr. Tom Ascol, Executive Director of Founder’s Ministries
“Get this booklet! In the overly sexualized society that is America today, Ray Rhodes has provided an invaluable service by helping us to think biblically about sex to the glory of God. In a format that is deceptively brief and affordable, Rhodes hands out solid treasures from God’s word that will enrich the lives of every husband and wife who read it. While carefully avoiding the excessive permissiveness or restrictiveness that mar other works, Rhodes is biblical, personal, practical, helpful and enjoyable!”
– Bruce A. Ray, author of Withhold Not Correction and Celebrating the Sabbath, and Secretary of FIRE (Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals). Bruce is Pastor of Juanita Community Church in Kirkland, WA.
“Marital intimacy is one of the Lord’s greatest gifts to his creatures. Sadly, many couples fail to experience the fullness of that gift. Pastor Ray Rhodes skillfully and sensitively brings husbands and wives to the word of the Creator to rediscover his beautiful design for the marriage bed in this wonderfully helpful book.”
– John Crotts, co-author Tying the Knot Tighter: Because Marriage Lasts a Lifetime (with Martha Peace). John is also the author of Mighty Men and Craftsmen
I debated making this resource available on our book table at the SDA on Sundays but thought better of it in the interest of exercising extreme care in not exposing young eyes to content they do not need to see.
If you would like a copy for you and your spouse, please don’t hesitate to contact the office or shoot me a confidential email and request one. The cost is only $3 and I would be happy to see that you receive a copy.