It may be surprising to most people that the biblical euphemism for sexual relations is the phrase “to know.”  This term is first used in the Hebrew Bible in Genesis 4:1, “Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain . . .”  Over and over again in the Bible when a man and woman had sexual relations, in reality they “knew” each other in the most intimate of ways.  Yes, it is true, they also “became one flesh,” but in so doing they also exchanged intimate knowledge in a way that cannot be reproduced in any other way.  This biblical insight leads to some powerful implications for each of our marriages or perspective marriages. 

1. Sex Creates an Exchange of Personal Knowledge

The first implication is that each and every time a one-flesh relationship is experienced, an exchange of personal knowledge takes place between the couple.  But there is a grave difference between this exchange of personal knowledge within the sanctity of the marriage covenant and outside of this covenant.  When sexual intimacy is experienced within the loving and holy boundaries of a marital covenant, the exchange of personal knowledge is infused into the relationship, nourishing and enriching it.  A husband and wife get to know each other in a way that transcends the merely physical.  Their personal knowledge of each other expands into the spiritual, mental, emotional, and social areas of life.  They not only grow deeper in their married love, but they also grow deeper as individuals and in their relationship with God.  They have not merely “made love,” they have also experienced intimacy with each other and with God.

On the other hand, when sexual relations transpire outside of the bonds of a marriage covenant, there is still an exchange of knowledge between the couple, but since it is not within the protective boundaries of a marital commitment, that knowledge has been compromised .  The couple may have “had sex,” but they did not experience intimacy.  This kind of sexual experience may give a couple an immediate sexual “fix,” but in the long run it will drain and deplete the relationship until it is only a hollow and empty shell leading each partner to move onto the next sexual “fix.” 

2. Sex Enhances “Unmitigated Monogamy”

A second implication is that sex within marriage strengthens the bond between husband and wife, making monogamous relationships stronger.  God knew exactly what He was doing when He established marriage as the fundamental building block of society.  No society has ever survived when the fabric of its marital institutions has unraveled.  And the institution of marriage is based on a covenant commitment before God and a growing, intimate knowledge between husband and wife.  In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis has captured the essence of God’s mandate for His gift of sexual knowledge when he said that this demand “takes the form of a dilemma: either complete abstinence or unmitigated monogamy.”  God is no Cosmic Killjoy.  Being the Supreme Creator of the one-flesh relationship, He alone knows that sexual knowledge can only be truly experienced and sustained in the bonds of a committed marriage covenant.  Again, it is Lewis who reminds us of this awesome reality, “The truth is that wherever a man lies with a woman, there, whether they like it or not, a transcendental relation is set up between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured.”  Unmitigated monogamy, enhanced by a godly sex life, is a building block of civilization.

3. Sex Is an Opportunity for Deep Intimacy