1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NIV) – 3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5 Study Notes – “Sexual temptations are difficult to withstand because they appeal to the normal and natural desires that God has given us. Marriage provides God’s way to satisfy these natural sexual desires and to strengthen the partners against temptation. Married couples have a responsibility to care for each other; therefore, husbands and wives should not withhold themselves sexually from one another, but should fulfill each other’s needs and desires.”
Sex is a taboo subject rarely brought up in open Christian circles. People don’t want to talk about it. Some people are even misled to believe that it isn’t an important part of marriage. But the fact is, sex is important in the marriage, whether you and your spouse have been married for 5 years or 50 years. It was serious enough for God to inspire King Solomon to write an entire book revolved around not only the act of love making, but of the courtship and foreplay as well (see Song of Songs). It was important enough for the Lord to inspire the Apostle Paul to write about it, in several epistles to the Gentiles. From the time of Adam and Eve, sex was a gift of God meant for sharing intimate pleasure between man and wife, and producing children from that blessed union. It should never have been considered an “off limits” topic or a “kept in the closet” act. It was twisted into something unnatural.
True to his character, Satan managed to take the ordained plan for sex and corrupt it into something with no resemblance of its original intent. Today, the economy is slowly attempting to climb out of a recession, but the pornography business has continued to boom despite difficult financial times. Millions of adolescent girls work harder at attaining the perfect beach body than learning the Holy Scriptures. The American divorce rate is at an all-time high due, in large part, to marital infidelity. Single parent households are increasingly becoming the new face of the American family, thanks to society’s acceptance of casual sex. The list stretches on and on. Satan took God’s Holy plan for one man and one woman to share in intimacy, and perverted it into a free-for-all with no inhibitions or restrictions.
Sex has been so thoroughly twisted that, even in the Christian community, couples devalue the importance of God’s gift. Instead, it is actually look upon as an unholy symptom of the flesh needed to be purged from one’s spirit in order to truly be able to submit wholeheartedly to God. Some married couples simply stop talking about it after years of marriage, as if the mention of the word will somehow bring sin into the marriage.
Unfortunately, many Christian marriages do not survive without sex. You don’t have to take my word for it. You can get that information from a book, or a website. In many of these failed marriages, one spouse lost the desire to please his/her spouse. This ultimately led to infidelity. We’ll examine using a few fictitious couples (The names have been changed to protect the innocent, but rest assured, the stories are square business):
Couple No. 1 – Charlie and Vanessa
Charlie works 10 to 14 hours a day in the construction industry. Vanessa works roughly 25 hours a week in the Marketing industry, from her home-based business setup. Parents of three children, ages 3 to 9, Charlie and Vanessa rarely spend time together outside of church and home. The mortgage for their quaint middle class ranch style home, the two car payments and kids’ sports dictate their schedules.
Since he works in such a hectic field, Charlie’s home life consists of late nights and early mornings, 6-days out of every week. Charlie had an outdoor Jacuzzi installed in the back yard 3 months ago, but has yet to find the time to enjoy a relaxing soak solo, let alone with his wife. His Sundays usually involve church services in the morning and tackling the “honey-do” list in the afternoon. He rarely takes the family on vacation.
Vanessa spends most of her time maintaining the home, raising the children and working on the computer for a few hours, 5-days out of the week. By the end of each day, she’s tired. Although Charlie bought her the new Jacuzzi she had been asking for, he hasn’t taken the time to use it with her. While she spent a few evenings alone, allowing the warm effervescent waters to sooth her aching muscles and wound-up mind, she quickly lost interest in the new Jacuzzi. Vanessa is sexually frustrated with her husband’s lack of attention, lately. Although she prays to the Lord to ease her troubled mind, she’s noticed a certain new member to the congregation. He has a lovely, innocent smile; he’s a naturally hansom man; and dresses casually clean, the way she’d like to see her husband dress once in a while. Stanley is his name.
Tonight, Charlie walked through the back door of the house at 9:15pm, smelling of engine oil and sawdust. As usual, he carried a roll of construction plans; his homework for the night. By this time, the children were tucked away in bed. Despite his horrible smell, Vanessa sauntered downstairs, to the bench-seat where Charlie was sitting. His head rested in the palms of his large hands; elbows on knees. It had been another stressful workday for her man, and she quickly made plans to relieve his tension, if he was up for it.
“Long day, babe?”
“Yeah. A new guy started today. This kid has no clue what he’s doing. He set my crew back by two days. I need to figure out how to offset this disaster, and get my guys back on schedule.”
“Oh, you poor baby,” Vanessa said, as she gently began to massage his thick shoulders. “Momma’s got something that can make you feel all better. How about we go outside and…”
“Honey, please. I really don’t have time for this, right now. I have to figure out a whole new estimate on manpower because of this kid. I need to look at tomorrow’s schedule of work. I have a million things I should be thinking about, on top of the hundred things I have to think about tomorrow.”
Dejected, yet again, Vanessa backed away from her husband.
“I see. Well…don’t stay up too late, babe. Your dinner’s in the microwave.”
“Yeah, thanks honey. I’ll grab it in a few minutes.”
Late in the morning hours, after crying, Vanessa pulled open a dresser drawer, and removed a small pocket calendar. Scrolling to yesterday’s date, 4/30/2013, she marked an “X” with a blue highlighter. It’s the latest in a slew of “X”s dating back to 2/15/2013; the last time she and her husband made love. It was passionless, but something was better than nothing.
After tucking the calendar away, she returned to the empty bed. Charlie had not yet called it a night, from his homework. Vanessa lay her head down, closed her eyes and drifted off to troubled sleep as she wondered what Stanley would be dressed in, come this Sunday.
Couple No. 2 – Cassey and Bressa
Cassey was a born menace, who was no stranger to danger. By the time he was 18, his own mother expected him to be killed before his 20th birthday. Then, he met Bressa and his whole lifestyle seemed to change overnight. Cassey began attending church with Bressa. As the Lord began to work in his life, Cassey denounced his sinful ways: no more drug-selling; no more alcohol; no more frivolous women. For their 5 years of dating before marriage, Cassey had put Bressa through hell, as he fought between the allure of the flesh and the truth of the Gospel. Eventually, he laid it all down for good, and married Bressa on his 25thbirthday.
Bressa had been a born and raised church girl. The daughter of a preacher, she was familiar with the Scriptures, but somehow still managed to fall in love with an unsaved thug, when she was 17. Bressa had decided to save Cassey, and faithfully stuck by him as he continued to struggle with the temptations of the world. But his frequent indiscretions came with a price: Bressa’s heart grew ever weary, with each new lie and excuse Cassey concocted. Still, she married him before God and the pastor, when she was 22. But her heart had grown cold; tired and vengeful from all the years of his philandering. Once upon a time, all she wanted was him. But now, he wasn’t enough.
The first time Cassey discovered his wife had been unfaithful, he brushed it aside. He figured it was God’s judgment on him, for all the years he had betrayed her trust, before their marriage. Besides, she had repented and genuinely seemed to want to work things out between them. But 4 years later, Bressa was caught again. This time, through prayer, fasting and counseling with the pastor, the couple once again reconciled and moved past her adultery.
It’s been 10 years since Bressa had a setback. Together, the couple has grown in the Lord. But as they age, Bressa has lost her desire to be intimate with Cassey. He tries to respect her decision to forgo love making but, deep down, Cassey is sexually frustrated. Compounding his frustration is his wife’s sudden bouts of jealous rage. She questions every move he makes, she tries to discourage him going out with friends. She questions his need for a gym membership. Everything is scrutinized.
While on the job one day, Cassey was recently approached by a woman he once dated in high school, before Bressa. Maria Gonzalez, was now married and went by Maria Cruz. Cassey planned to tell his wife of the encounter.
Pulling up into the driveway, Cassey watched as his wife knelt over the flowerbed to pluck a few fresh roses. Bressa looked absolutely stunning in her sun dress and giant sun hat. Sitting behind the wheel of the car, his eyes traced the line of her hips, up to her breasts. He paused, thinking about how long it had been since last he’d seen her naked and yearning for him. It seemed like ages. God surely had some since of humor. Beside her, lay her Bible. It was opened to Song of Songs. Cassey opened the car door, and Bressa looked up.
“Hola Chica Hermosa (Hello beautiful girl),” Cassey said as he walked toward the flowerbed.
“Hmph. You’re not slick, mister. You must want something.”
“Oh yes I do, senorita, but the question is: will you give me what I want?”
Cassey grabbed Bressa around the waist, and moved in to kiss her neck. Bressa batted him off.
“Stop it, you lunatic! What will the neighbors think?” Bressa said.
“Fine, fine. Baby, you’ll never guess who I ran into at the downtown market today?”
Bressa turned to walk toward the back yard, but called out, “Knowing you, it was probably an ex-girlfriend.”
“How’d you know that? Man, there must really be something to that female intuition stuff.”
Bressa stopped and slowly turned toward Cassey. He saw a contemptuous look, replace the look of beauty across her face.
“Ex-girl, eh? So who was this tramp?”
“Hey, hey, that’s no way for a nice Christian woman to speak about someone. Anyway, do you remember Maria Gonzalez? The one I used to…”
“Yeah, I remember her. She was the one who tried to pull my hair out when she found out I was dating you. Of course, you did fail to mention to her that you’d broken up with her, now didn’t you?”
“Hey c’mon baby. That was a different life. You can’t possibly still be sore about that.”
“Hmm. Well anyway, how did your girlfriend look?”
Cassey let that cheeky comment slide by without a second thought.
“Actually, she looked good. She found the Lord Jesus, cleaned her life up, married some dude named Juan and they have 3 kids. I told her about how you led me to the Lord, and how happy you make me these days, now that we can be totally honest with each other.”
“She looked good, eh? Maybe you should have stayed with her then, instead of marrying me!”
Cassey ran to Bressa and gripped her in a bear hug, from behind. She struggled but eventually calmed down.
“C’mon baby. I just told you, I told thatwoman how happy I am with you. All you heard me say was, ‘she looked good’. What’s the matter with you, Mami? You know you’re the only girl for me. Let me take you upstairs and prove it to you.”
“No, I think maybe you’d better go and take a cold shower. I’m not in the mood for any of your smooth talk today. Maybe you should go back to the market and find Maria Gonzalez!”
Bressa broke free of Cassey’s grip and stormed through the back door of the house, leaving her Bible lying next to the flowerbed. Cassey stood in the driveway shaking his head, frustrated.
“That’s the problem. You’re never in the mood anymore! Maybe I will go find her. She gave me more attention, in 15 minutes, than you have in 3 months!”
Cassey hopped into the car, backed out of the driveway and sped off toward downtown.
Sex in Marriage
The idea behind marriage is one man joins with one woman, in the presence of God, for life. FOR…LIFE! Do you understand how long that can be? God wants the marriage experience to be a blessed union, pleasurable for both man and wife.
Frankly, I can’t imagine going through the rest of my days without sharing intimacy with my wife. If she were to purposely hold out on me, not due to any illness preventing her from doing so, but just plain old human spite, I would fail. I can’t lie. I would fail. Eventually, Satan would win. And in winning, he will have succeeded in ripping my family apart, because my wife might not be able to forgive me for stepping outside of our marriage. Now I don’t know that for a fact, and I’m not willing to find out. But I think this is the course of events that would transpire simply by the two of us, man and woman, neglecting to share ourselves with each other.
The Apostle Paul knew the frailty of the human spirit when it comes to matters of the heart. He told the Corinthians, “Do not deprive each other, lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Intimacy is a part of love between a married-couple. How can sex be viewed as a sinful act between a man married to a woman, when God’s Word preaches that a man’s body belongs to his wife and his body belongs to her? Folks, we have to seriously take stock of our marriages and ask some tough and uncomfortable questions from time to time.
-As a man(woman), am I pleasing my wife(husband) emotionally, spiritually, and physically?
-Is it possible that I may have placed my wife(husband) last on my list of importance?
-Am I driving my wife(husband) into the arms of Satan’s temptations, by neglecting her(his) physical and emotional needs?
-Is my marriage in trouble because my wife(husband) may actually be unfulfilled?
-Yeah, she(he) wants me to do that, but it’s just not my thing. She’ll(he’ll) just have to get over it. Is that my attitude?
Now I understand that these questions may turn some heads, but that’s okay. We’re all adults here. And the idea is to remind each other that intimacy with your spouse is a very necessary gift in the game called marriage. You simply cannot deprive your spouse of it without there being dire consequences. This is why Satan corrupted sex to begin with. If he can marginalize one of God’s gifts to mankind, then he can easily destroy one of God’s greatest bonds: the family. Yes! It is that simple.
My wife once worked with a nice woman who seemed happily married. Then we found out that they divorced suddenly. The culprit? Her husband was a 40-year old man caught in intimacy with a 19-year old girl.
I recently saw a preview for some talk show, where the guest speaker was going to be the pastor of a church. The topic of discussion was going to be how his congregation felt about him fathering a child outside of his marriage, while still leading the congregation. His wife and the mother of his illegitimate child were going to sit next to him during the discussion.
In recent years, a local church “released” the senior pastor from service. It was discovered that 20 years ago, he engaged in an adulterous affair with one of the members of the congregation, while he and his wife were on staff at the church. Time played no part in his favor. Once the truth came out, the vote was unanimous.
Make no mistake, intimacy is needed in a marriage. Paul considered it a portion of marital duty on the part of both the husband and wife. If one reneges on the duty, the marriage falls into jeopardy. No one wants to find out that their spouse is fighting against sexual temptations. But the truth is, many spouses are, because there just isn’t a sense of importance placed on the role of intimacy in the marriage. Somehow, it falls way behind the categories of, “okay the bills are all paid”, “the kids are all set for the next 6 months”, and “I can relax for a few minutes”. Then it’s, “Oh yeah, I guess I better give my spouse a few intimate moments now”. Shame on us.
Today, I was seriously questioning God on why he would have me write such a touchy-subject piece. And then I got my answer. After reading Ephesians 5:22-33 as my morning Scripture (sign #1), I set off for work and listened to Pastor John MacArthur preach a word about marriage and intimacy (sign #2). Late in the morning, I listened to “Focus on the Family”, where the guest speaker was a woman who just so happened to write a book on intimacy in Christianity (sign #3). By that time, I had figured out that God wanted me to write on the subject. But he didn’t stop there. He literally drove the point home for me.
In my line of work, I use a 10-Lb sledge hammer to crack open man hole covers. This afternoon, I swung that hammer and cracked open a particularly tight sealed cover.
“Bam! Honey you hit that thing like you was mad at it,” some woman yelled from a close-by car.
“Yeah, I gotta get them open.” I replied.
“Tell me something: do you swing your *explicit* the way you swing your hammer?” she asked.
“Pardon me?” I asked.
“I said, do you swing your *explicit* the way you swing your hammer? Because, I need to know.”
That was my cue to break down my equipment, pack up and beat it. Obviously, Satan was up to no good.
If you’ve read through this whole article, then I’d like to congratulate you. I expect some won’t make it this far. But for those who have, I want you to ask yourself the questions.
-How important is sex in your marriage?
-Are you pleasing your spouse the way God instructed us to?
-If you know you’re holding back, do you expect your spouse to simply live with unfulfilled desires?
-Are you the frustrated spouse?
-Are you the frustrated spouse?
-If so, have you talked candidly with your spouse about your need for intimacy?
You might want to think about it, because out there in the world, there’s a Jezebel who’s not ashamed to go after your husband. There’s also a devil out there who’s eyeing your wife. If you fail at God’s plan for your marriage, your family could be destroyed. Chalk up another victory for the enemy.