In researching and writing about sex from a Christian perspective, there seems to be a handful of popular verses that always come up on the topic. Perhaps the most popular (and most controversial) verse is 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (English Standard Version)
The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement, for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
I’m going to get pretty real here and say, ladies and gentlemen, the Bible is telling us to have sex with our spouse when they want it, because God wants it. Point blank. Part of entering into a marriage covenant with someone is forgoing your body as ‘yours’. You two become one. You are woven together to glorify God. It doesn’t say, “As long as your husband is good and kind, have sex with him.” It also doesn’t say, “Husbands, if your wife doesn’t nag, have sex with her freely.” The word commands us that our own physical bodies are not our own.
1. The Great Treasure
Everything we have comes from God. Our hearts, our souls, and our bodies were created in His very own image. They do not even belong to us. He owns all of it and we use it. Sex and intimacy in marriage is soemthing He owns as well and allows us to take part in. Like a pirate’s booty, it’s treasure. A loot that we are commanded to share and not be greedy with. Ladies, because it is so very precious, we often use it to manipulate. While you may not verbally say it, you may have an inner vow you have sinfully put in your heart that goes something like this…”If he will ___________ (fill in the blank with whatever task, chore, affection, gift, etc you desire) then I will give him some tonight.” Raise your hand if you have done this before. You probably even do it without knowing. The devil is famous for using women to manipulate. You dangle that carrot over his head like a circus pony seeing if he will jump through all the right hoops and if he does, then his treat awaits. If he fails, which he more than likely will, he has to try over tomorrow.
Is this showing love ladies? Is this true intimacy? God does not dangle a perpetual carrot of grace in front of our faces. He gives it freely. Especially when we do not deserve it. The Bible commands us to give our body freely in the same way. Even when our spouse doesn’t deserve it. It’s a shared treasure. Not yours alone or his.
He gave you your husband’s ‘booty’ so that you can bless him, and vice versa. Your booty belongs to your husband so that he can please and bless you. Sex is all about pleasing the other person. If both parties have a goal of pleasing the other then their is no selfishness in the act. If a man’s goal is to truly pleasure and please his wife before himself, then both will win. And the same goes for the ladies, bless your man without fear or restraint. Give freely in the same way that God gives us other gifts.
2. Steward our time, talents, treasures
The Bible is very clear about being a servant of the Lord’s and stewarding all that He has given us. In the same way that we are supposed to give money (treasure) tithes and offerings back to the church, volunteer our time at a women’s shelter, or lead worhip if that is our talent— we are to steward our booty for the treasure that it is. When we become stewards our spouse’s sexuality we view it as God’s plan. If we look at meeting our husband’s sexual needs as fulfilling God’s desires, rather than our husband’s, it takes the manipluation factor out of it.
As women, we spend all day serving and stewarding our time & talents for our friends, church, or child’s school. But at the end of the day, sex is a part of that too. The Marriage Bed, a popular Christian sex blog writes:
A steward is put in charge of something that does not belong to him. The steward is given both authority and responsibility for the thing he’s made a a steward of, and he’s accountable to the one who has made him steward… A steward never puts his own desires above the care of what’s been entrusted to him, and we must do the same with sex, putting the good of our spouse above our own sexual desires.
Sex is all of the above: time, talent, and treasure.
So some questions for you….
1. Are you using sex as a weapon or a tool to get what you want? How is that hurting your marriage?
2. Are you witholding sex from your spouse out of bitterness, anger, resentment, or unforgiveness?
3. Are your freely stewarding your body as something that is not yours, but God’s?
4. What could you do differently today to be more sexually giving to your husband?
***Of course, if there is a true medical issue where sexual intimacy is painful, seek medical as well as emotional counsel. That also goes in the case where there has been previous sexual abuse of one of the spouses.
God, I pray for women and men in marriage. I pray for those who are not being intimate and who are not stewarding their bodies. Thank you for giving me a husband who stewards his body so well for me. I pray that as we age, we will continue to grow in our desire for each other and that our desires would always glorify you, Father. Let women who withhold sex and men who abuse it repent of their sin. Show them the joy of pleasing and blessing their spouse in the bedroom.
I’d love to hear some answers to the above questions or some of your own experiences in this issue. Feel free to contact me using the Contact form if you’d prefer not to post publicly.