The top Google search that brings up my blog inevitably contains the words “wedding night.” Christian men and women alike want to know what to expect that first night as a married couple. And even though some couples come to marriage with differing sexual pasts, the wedding night holds much anticipation. Because sex has such high value in God’s eyes, it is protected within the covenant of marriage. The wedding night is, for many couples, their first chance to enjoy God’s design for sex with one another. This anticipation also comes with pressure—pressure to perform, pressure for perfection.
With little information from the culture or the church, Christians are often left wondering what their wedding night might look like.
Every couple has a different story, but here are a few things you can expect on the wedding night that may counter some of your fears.
1. Expect no extremes.
If you come to your wedding night anticipating a Hollywood-style night of passion, you might be disappointed. And if you come to it nervous and afraid, you might not enjoy it at all! The first night together is a learning experience. Expecting one extreme or the other can sabotage what could have been a very meaningful first night.
This doesn’t mean the night is devoid of passion or nerves. But the wedding night is not the culmination of a couple’s life together; it’s just the beginning of a journey. Sex, like anything, takes practice. It changes as a couple grows closer and gets better as they learn how to love one another with true, selfless affection. Both fear and high expectations can damage intimacy. Instead of placing undue pressure on yourself and your husband, expect this to be the first of many nights learning how to love one another—and practice really does make perfect!
2. Expect to serve.
In his book The Meaning of Marriage, Timothy Keller states that marital sexuality works best when we concentrate not on “performing,” but on completely serving the other person. When we focus on loving our spouse with our bodies, sex becomes an expression of love as God intended it. But when we focus on performance, then inadequacy and insecurity assault this very vulnerable part of our lives.
Expect to serve your spouse on the wedding night. Don’t worry about performing or having it all figured out. Simply focus on getting to know him personally, emotionally and spiritually. This knowledge is the foundation of an amazing sexual experience. This service-oriented relationship is why Paul was adamant that we only marry fellow believers: Love—including the sexual expression of it—is truly selfless only when both partners are continually influenced by the love of Christ. As you serve one another in the kitchen and the living room, you will naturally serve one another in the bedroom, laying the foundation for a fulfilling sex life in marriage.
3. Expect a journey.
Sex isn’t about knowledge or technique so much as it is about selflessness, patience and perseverance. It is not a destination, but a journey. Sex changes as we change; it develops with the life stages into which we enter. There will be times where one or both partners are too tired; times when one or both are sick; weeks when you can’t have sex at all (such as after a baby is born); and times when you try new things and they just don’t work. The wedding night isn’t the best sex you’ll ever have. It’s just the beginning!
It is the intimacy of two hearts that makes the intimacy of two bodies so sweet. Couples who use sex within God’s design will cultivate the kind of patience and true love necessary for sex to continually improve. A couple who worships God together is less likely to exalt sex to a level it doesn’t deserve, and will be more realistic in their expectations for one another.
The wedding night is special. The wedding night is exciting, amazing and a beautiful reward for those who wait (and those who have been restored by God!). But the most wonderful thing about the wedding night is that—like any God-centered marriage—it’s just the beginning of an intimacy that only gets better with time.