Sexual Intimacy & Abstinence
I would like to start today’s blog with a Biblical scripture referencing sexual relations with your spouse:
“Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have the authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise, the husband does not have the authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another 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 lack of self-control”. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5
Let’s contemplate on the above verses for a moment to help explain what St. Paul was attempting to convey to the Corinthians. He was taking a direct approach to help couples recognize that despite conflicts in a relationship, it is not acceptable to permit any other partner that would result in sexual immorality. He specifically states that the wife and husband are the only ones that have ‘authority’ over their partner’s body. In simple terms, it means, when the marriage experiences difficult challenges, it is vital to keep Satan away by agreeing on a specific amount of time to place sexual intimacy on hold. When is it permitted to seek sexual pleasure outside of your marriage? The answer is simple, NEVER! If you are experiencing significant challenges that have been difficult to resolve, it is strongly suggested to seek counsel (pastoral and/or professional). Neither partners should deny sexual pleasure from each other because this is the time when the enemy will use weakness as an opportunity for an individual to fall into sin. Your marriage deserves the best You and includes purity, especially when your relationship is in distress. Remember, with God everything is possible.
Many married couples may believe that the grass is greener on the other side, however conflicts will follow you wherever you decide to go. It may feel better in the beginning, but once the newness of the relationship wears off, you will be faced with a similar, if not worse, situation. Sexual intimacy must only be experienced with your spouse as God had intended it to be. Do not use “sex” as a tool to get revenge or as an expression of anger. A healthy dialogue about core issues that is causing one or both partners to feel unhappy is likely to result in positive outcomes. Be open and honest with your partner about your concerns, disappointments, and fears. Internalizing your negative emotions may result in built up resentment and cause you to have angry outbursts. Once you are able to share your thoughts and feelings with your partner, allow safe emotional space for your partner to share their thoughts and feelings. Agree when it would be appropriate to return to each other sexually.
As St. Paul expresses, it is vital to a martial relationship to ensure that once your conflicts are resolved, to come together again to avoid sexual temptation from outside partners. Pray together and request God to strengthen you during times of weakness. Protect your marriage as you would wrap a fragile piece of glass from breaking.