In the past few blogs about physical intimacy, we have discovered that God created marital sex to be a good thing, that He created it for important reasons (procreation, pleasure, intimacy, and symbolic reminder of our love relationship with Him), and that surveys indicate 88% of couples derive pleasure from their marital sexual encounters.
Then, is it any wonder that God gives his command in First Corinthians 7:5 when he is talking about sex within the confines of a marriage: “Do not deprive each other except perhaps 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”.
Notice the reason why having regular sexual encounters within the marriage is a good thing — “so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control”. Now, please remember that the apostle Paul wrote these words around 60 A.D. in a time when men and women did not work together in an office like they do today all dressed up, in a time when you could not connect with old flames through Facebook, and when there was no internet where you could click and see beautiful pictures of sexy women right before your eyes. Back then, men and women were not even permitted to sit together at church. If Paul encouraged couples not to deny each other THEN, how much moreso would he encourage that NOW, in this sexually charged culture?
Maybe you might be one of those people who think that “Satan” isn’t real or his minions don’t “tempt”. Think again. The numbers are staggering. Many estimates I read are that about 50% of the men suffer from some kind of pornographic addiction; about 1 in 6 couples will deal with infidelity in their marriage. 1/2 in couples will divorce, and a vast majority of the rest of the couples are not really happy.
And, do you think this is just for non-Christians? Think again. In most surveys, the numbers do not dramatically change for those calling themselves Christians.
The temptations are real. That is why Paul gave his readers (and us) a command so direct and to the point. Do not deprive each other the physical encounter. So, what can one do about it to ensure that temptation does not trip you up?
First, husbands, realize that most wives are not wired like you are. They are not usually hormonally driven for sex as much as you are. Instead, what increases their desire to be with you and to respond to your physical needs are the actions you take to show your love, care, protection, and cherishing of them. How can you ask your wife to desire to be physically intimate with you when you don’t treat her well? It is that simple. You see, the Bible is presuming here, husbands, that you are living the Christian life and laying down your life for your wife (Eph 5:25b), resulting in a wife who is drawn to be with you physically. It is much harder for your wife to be excited about being with you sexually when you treat her like a roommate. So husbands, please don’t use this verse in First Corinthians 7:5 as a weapon against your wife unless you are first fulfilling the command in Eph 5:25b to lay down your life for your wife.
However, if the husband is making strides to cherish his wife, then there is second step that you can take. With regard to sex, most husbands are like a microwave and most wives are like a crockpot. Most wives need time to “warm up” to the idea of a sexual encounter. Therefore, husbands, one technique that usually works is to give your wife some time off from all of her responsibilities and duties of the family – no cooking, no kid duties, no cleaning, no responsibilities, no nothing – give her 4 hours to do what she wants to do (read a book, go shopping for herself, rest, relax, sit in the tub). In those 4 hours, ask her to do only two things: First, think positive thoughts about a sexual encounter with you. Second, come back home ready to have sex.
If you’re having issues in this regard, try it. I know many couples for whom it works wonders. You may have to adjust your schedules and give something else up because sex is important. I think that’s why God says we should not deprive each other inside the marital relationship. I kind of like that command — and I think Satan doesn’t.
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