Judaism affirms both the physical and spiritual aspects of marriage. The question is how to combine them, and Judaism provides the answer: Rather than being an end unto itself, sexuality must be a means of expressing a couple’s spiritual bond.
Marriage is a holy covenant leading to “pleasure, delight, love, brotherhood, peace, and companionship,” as we declare in the blessing under the wedding canopy. The Torah describes the love between husband and wife in eternally beautiful language. It regards the pleasure and delight of marriage as a supreme virtue.
This includes marriage’s sexual side. Judaism exhibits no negativity toward the physical foundation of love. Yet marriages fail when the choice of a partner is guided primarily by one’s senses. Emotional immaturity and unbridled desires can delude a person into thinking he loves his partner. Only later does he come to his senses and realize his mistake.
Nor can the decision to marry stem only from a sense of spiritual connection. While marriage cannot be based purely on physical attraction, neither should it be devoid of it.
Judaism therefore affirms both the physical and spiritual sides of marriage. The question is how to combine them, and Judaism provides the answer: Sexuality, rather than being an end unto itself, must be a means of expressing the couple’s spiritual bond. It is through this joining of body and soul that holiness is achieved.