Lust of the Heart
1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NIV)
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do 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.
I do not have any tattoos, but I’ve often joked this passage would be my first. At first glance, it’s very easy to misinterpret and manipulate these verses. Like many guys, I’ve used this passage as a weapon against my wife. I’ve seen guys use this passage to “guilt” their wives into sex. I know I’ve used this verse as a way to convince my wife to help me “move some furniture.” I’ve seen guys use this passage to excuse affairs and pornography. You’ve probably heard, thought, or said something along these lines, “I wouldn’t be watching this porn if my wife would just have regular sex with me.” “I wouldn’t have fantasized about that other woman if my wife met my needs.” “I wouldn’t have had that affair if my wife fulfilled her duty.”
Sex is an important and beautiful part of marriage. Additionally, a lack of intimacy can open the door for the enemy to enter into the marriage. Earlier this week, we discussed how many, if not all, of us have struggled with feelings of sexual inadequacy. The enemy loves to exploit our fears and insecurities. Personally, when I haven’t had “action” for an extended period, I feel that is when I’m tempted the most. That is when my favorite show decides to have elaborate and gratuitous sex scenes or when my co-workers wear the revealing tops or the shorter skirts, or when the ex-girlfriend shows up on the Facebook feed. I doubt that is the case, but that becomes my focus because I am more aware of those things, and that awareness can quickly transform into lusting after those things.
I mentioned earlier that it easy to misinterpret or manipulate the above passage because we typically apply it outwardly instead of inwardly. I know I focus on the things my wife should be doing and not the responsibilities that passage creates for me. It’s easy to focus on the wife not having authority over her body and easy to ignore that we do not have authority over our bodies either. I do not have authority over my body; I’ve yielded that to my wife. I violate her and our marriage if I act outside of her authority. My wife would not and should not grant me permission to watch pornography or lust after other women.
I also want to be very clear. The above passage does not make our wives sex slaves who have to put out on demand. We are commanded to honor and cherish our wives, and making your wife feel like a sexual object does not achieve those aims. It does not reflect us loving our wives the way Christ loves the Church.
Today’s Training: Would your wife approve of you watching pornography? Would she approve of the fantasies or the affair? The answer should be no! Since you’ve yielded authority of your body to her, do not act outside of her wishes. Do not dishonor your wife with your actions. Also, sex is an awesome and important part of marriage (REALLY AWESOME), and regular sex is even better. It can close a door that the enemy loves to exploit. Focus on your wife’s love languages and needs. That might make her more inclined to “move furniture.”