Listen:  140.4

To answer your good question, let’s read 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”  In Con tun  an See

I continue to be amazed at how thorough the Word of God is.  It really addresses every need we could possibly have.  There is no situation we can encounter that we cannot find something from the scriptures to teach and guide us.  Here in this portion, the Lord addresses the physical aspect of the marriage relationship between a man and his wife.  To get a clearer understanding of this portion, let’s read 1 Corinthians 7:3from the NIV translation.  That says, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.”  In the marriage relationship, the husband and wife are responsible to fulfill the sexual needs of each other.  Of course, this is addressed to believers, so that would automatically eliminate any sexual desires or practices that are contrary to what the Christian marriage is supposed to be.  Neither spouse would be expected to fulfill any ungodly sexual fantasies or lusts, but each is expected to fulfil the sexual needs of their marriage partner. 

What does it mean that “The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife” as we read in verse 4?  In the proper Christian relationship, the man and woman are made ‘one’ as we read in the institution of marriage in Genesis 2:24which says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”  The husband and wife become one in the eyes of the Lord, they complement each other; neither are complete without the other.  The husband takes care of his wife’s needs and the wife takes care of her husband’s needs.  When both give of themselves to make the other happy, a wonderful and fulfilling relationship is begun and maintained. 

Perhaps, after being saved, some of the Corinthians had begun to think that sexual pleasure was not proper for a Christian.  Paul speaks plainly to this, teaching each married couple that they should not ‘defraud’, or deprive, their spouses of the proper intimacy that belongs in the marriage relationship.  Of course, there may be times when intimacy might be set aside.  Perhaps one feels a necessity to enter a period of fasting and prayer without the interruption of sexual pleasure.  This would be okay, but even then, both partners must agree to it.  Then, the time apart should be limited.  Satan is always working to dishonor the Lord and he could tempt a marriage partner to commit sexual sin if they are apart too long.  Incontinency, or the lack of self-control, could result.   It would certainly dishonor the Lord if His redeemed people were to commit sexual sin.  So, it is vital that the husband and wife be of ‘one mind’ about any interruption in their normal physical relations.  May we, as Christian married couples, seek to serve the Lord together.  May we be of ‘one mind’ so that we can truly allow Christ to be the head of our homes.  May we be very sensitive to the needs of our partners and try to fulfill their needs, whether they be physical, emotional, or spiritual.  (140.4)