Physical intimacy in marriage is not only sacred, but it is proper, and it is obligatory. It’s not simply a privilege, it’s not simply a pleasure it is a responsibility.
Well, you say, “I haven’t seen that in a movie. I haven’t read that in a book.” Well, you’ve read in in one book right now, (pats the bible) and I am telling you straight, it’s a responsibility. And it is a responsibility on the part of each partner to give sexual satisfaction to the other. That is our duty. Paul says, “I want you to pay your duty in the marriage framework. Don’t start this nonsense about celibacy as if you were some super Christian.”
Now, this explanation follows in verse four, “The wife’s body doesn’t not belong to her alone.” It does belong to her alone but also to her husband, notice that little word. He doesn’t say that the wife’s body doesn’t belong to her, but it belongs to her husband. It says the wife’s body does not belong to her alone, but also to her husband. And in the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone, but also to his wife.
In other words, by the marriage vow, we did something irrevocably dramatic and life changing for all time. We gave up the exclusive right to ourselves. One plus one equals one we are not only partially what we are alone and the reality of what we are is ultimately only expressed in our twoness. A twoness which is by definition oneness.
Therefore, it is not that the husband can dictate to his wife, “You don’t own your body, I do. Now let’s get to dealing with this. Nor vice versa,” because the wife has a responsibility for her body under God, but not alone anymore. She did as long as she was single, but now that she’s married it’s changed and for the man, the self-same thing.
Now the very practical implications of this are many. Prior says, ” At the practical level, this is a very challenging word to all Christian couples. Many reasons are given for withholding what is due to the other. Tiredness, resentment, disinterest, boredom, etc. For Corinthian husbands, so wedded to their own rights, this very earthy instruction must have been something of a body blow. And it is something of a body blow to husbands whether they live in Corinth or in Cleveland.
It is sadly vital to add to this fourth verse, in our currently increasingly perverted culture, that verse four give no basis to violate our marriage partners walk with Christ in purity, and in wholeness, in account of the fact that we now own a 50% share in their body. Now in case you don’t understand what I mean by that, it is not uncommon for young couples to ask, “Now when we get married and we’re married I’ve heard some counselors say, that it can be a good idea in your marriage to watch kind of uh, pornographic movies, they’ll help. Do you think we should read certain kinds of literature?”
No. A thousand times, no. Because to do that would be to violate Philippians 4:8, “Whatsoever things are pure and whatsoever things are holy, and whatsoever things are lovely, and whatsoever things are of good report…you think about those things, Mr. X and you think about those things Mrs. X, and when you come together with one another you continue to think about those things.”
Marriage does not create some sort of vacuum type cocoon whereby “anything goes.” Anything does not go. We have no right to violate the parameters established by God for purity in our lifestyle just because we got a 50% share in the body of somebody that has determined they will live the rest of their lives with us.
Listen to the rest here.
At the practical level,