All too often, in today’s world, husbands and wives fail to heed the biblical mandate to stay connected sexually.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NIV) says,
The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.
Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
As Christian married couples, we are to exercise a level of discipline in the frequency of our sex. Does that surprise you?
Over the past years of marriage, we have been amazed at the number of couples we’ve encountered who do not make a point of staying connected sexually. We have learned that many couples do not have sex for weeks and months on end. This is not good for a marriage, and neither is it God’s best.
From a Woman’s Perspective
For many women, it is easy to become disinterested in marital intimacy, especially as the demands of motherhood pile on, or as hormones shift. I get it!
However, when I recently re-read these verses, I was surprised by the fact that failure to come together sexually is categorized as “lack of self control.”
As a thought about that, it made sense.
So often we think godly self-control means refraining from sex. It does if you’re not married to that person! But when you are married, godly self-control means having regular sex intentionally so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you.
So when I’m tired or feeling disconnected, or just not all that interested for one of many selfish reasons, I must choose to be self-controlled and choose to give authority over my body to my husband.
I must seek to master my self-centered human nature and rise above tiredness to engage with my husband.
As hard as that can be in the moment (I may have to dig deep to find the self-control needed), the long-term benefits to marriage are undeniable.
How does that work practically?
As women, we should:
- Choose in advance to say yes to our husbands in those moments of disinterest
- Allow ourselves to mentally and emotionally engage in sex (not just physically), even when it wasn’t our idea to begin with
- Be willing to initiate sex if it’s been a while (in our marriage, I define “a while” as 5-6 days)
- Develop a mindset of love toward our husbands regarding sex. Real love means we are more concerned with the other’s needs and interests, rather than our own.
From a Man’s Perspective
For many guys, it’s natural to want to have sex with regularity (although that’s far from being a given). I don’t find these particular verses difficult to adhere to personally.
However, what I see as an important take away from 1 Corinthians 7 is that Paul exhorts husbands and wives to be concerned for the other spouse’s sexual desires rather than one’s own.
When we are pursuing sex out of purely selfish motives, we fail to glorify God and nourish our marriage. And ironically, we create an environment that will ultimately be less enjoyable.
From what I see, it is our biblical duty to meet and exceed our wife’s expectations and desires, and to take the lead on creating a mutually rewarding, healthy, nurtured sex life.
How does that work practically?
As men, we lead by:
- Cultivating a healthy sexual rhythm in our marriages
- Initiating sex with our wives in a loving, serving way
- Listening to what our wives are telling us and asking questions, so that we can better understand their needs
- Being unselfish with how we approach our sexual relationship and the expected outcome of an encounter
We must be committed to having frequent sex with our wives, but we must do this in a way that is humble and loving. Figure out what she needs and what works best, and you’ll never want to think about yourself again!
We hope you’re encouraged to exercise self-discipline in a new way – not just abstaining from sexual desires that are outside of God’s will, but also accepting the mandate to connect sexually with your spouse regularly and on purpose!