WAKE FOREST, N.C., August 11, 2013 — God intended sexual intercourse to be pleasurable and the ultimate expression of intimacy in marriage. Those who see it as only a vehicle for procreation have not acquainted themselves with the steamy verses found in the Song of Solomon. Read it and see for yourself.
Sexual manipulation in a marriage works both ways. On the husband’s side, it can be as subtle as saying that he needs his wife to do this or that to help him keep the fire and desire burning. Or it may be as un-subtle as telling his wife that he has burning desires that she needs to fill because he doesn’t want to have to go elsewhere to fill them. Either approach is self-centered and manipulative.
The wife may tell her husband that he needs to do certain things in order to be rewarded with sexual intimacy. Or, she may become flirtatious or dress provocatively in public in order to send a clear signal to the husband: “I really don’t need you, because many other men out here would love to have me.” Here again, when sex or sexuality is flaunted or used as leverage against the spouse, it is not only a bad example, but God does not take it lightly. God never intended either husband or wife to use the gift of sex as a bargaining chip, ball and chain, or baseball bat.
If you do not subscribe to Judeo-Christian scripture, the following may not resonate with you, but consider what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth:
“The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” (1 Corinthians 7:4, NKJV)
But Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, elaborated further that neither the husband nor the wife has the right to withhold sexual intimacy from the other. He even says that when the couple wants to have a special, fervent consecration through fasting and prayer, they need to do so by mutual consent. That is, they should not have prolonged periods of spiritual consecration that limits their ability to come together in sexual intimacy without mutual agreement beforehand:
“Do not deprive one another (sexually) except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your (incontinency) lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:5, NKJV)
Turning your feelings of affection elsewhere is unacceptable in the sight of God as well. If you are married, and are drooling and lusting after another, you are wrong. Sexual gratification and satisfaction are to be found within the bounds of the marital covenant:
“Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?” (Proverbs 5:18-20, NKJV)
Much of what scripture says about this is directed towards the man. That’s because God places the primary responsibility of leadership on him. Yes, we are equal in the sight of God, but our Heavenly Father has clearly outlined principles that we must follow if we want to reap His blessings:
“So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:28, 33, NKJV)
To bring it closer to home for some of us, it also emphatically refers to guarding against the ill effects of pornography as well:
It is ridiculous to cite statistics about divorce and remarriage while neglecting the marriage covenant with our spouse. Real lovemaking starts hours before you reach the bedroom. The passion and desire is heated as we speak kindly, touch and caress affectionately, take time to listen, help her around the house without being asked — and ask how to do certain things if we don’t know how. As a minister once said: “In sexuality, men are microwaves; women are crock pots!”
If we, as men, want to know if we’re on the right track, ask her, “If I treated you like I do today while we were courting, would you have married me?” If she’s honest enough to say “no,” ask her, “What will it take for me to turn things around?”
My mother told me years ago, “Son, the best way to show your children that you love them is to affirm and demonstrate love toward their mother.” That goes for women towards the father of her children as well.
A key to keeping the flame burning brightly and properly in our marriage is to let our affection be directed solely toward our spouse. Consider the lyrics in this song:
The bottom line is for us to exercise sexual intimacy in marriage as God intended: in maturation and fidelity, not manipulation and infidelity.
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