“The wife does not have authority over her own body 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.”—1 Corinthians 7:4 (NIV)
Have you ever stumbled upon a Bible verse and thought, “I must have read that wrong.”? I used to think God made a tiny flub when he included 1 Corinthians 7:4 in His Word. I mean, did He not know my marital experience? That in the beginning, getting used to that physical part was slightly challenging, and dare I admit, uncomfortable…even to talk about?
Raised rather conservative, I didn’t want to discuss this thing my parents never spoke of growing up. My spouse didn’t either. We were confused and certainly couldn’t imagine this was going to be an issue in marriage. I meant “I do” to everything except for 1 Corinthians 7:4’s suggestion to give my body to him. Then emotionally, my spouse and I drifted apart. This only added more reasons to neglect his needs altogether.
It took about 10 years of marriage before I realized my mistake. This one biblically ordained act ended up being the event that united us most, the thing that caused my spouse to walk taller, act kinder, and openly discuss topics he previously avoided. After facing those rocky first years, fighting most of the time—we realized something spectacular.
We both benefited from intimacy.
And that’s the secret. That’s why God gave authority to each partner. He knew the power, pleasure, and peace this act offers. We either spend our whole marriage tip-toeing around the topic or we creatively improve with open minds.
One positive encounter changes the heart of the person desiring the event most, causing a behavioral shift to occur. Our partners love eagerness, openness, and they will likely reciprocate the kindness the next day by chatting about random things, or cleaning out your van, maybe even filling up your half-empty gas tank. These little acts of kindness will be his (or her) way of saying thank you for meeting my greatest need.
It’s this secret passageway to their hearts.
It took a major attitude change before I realized why God included this unique statement in Scripture. He knew we’d both benefit. This marital connection solidifies that my spouse belongs to me, and I belong to him. And if my actions directly affect the way he functions, I win.
We both do.
DIG: As believers, we have no problem reading Christian self-help books in whatever area we’re facing, except for this topic. The awesome news is that God has gifted fantastic writers to compile great tips in this area. Challenge yourself to read a faith-based book on intimacy every day for a month and see how this affects your marriage.
DISCOVER: Maybe you’re in an uncomfortable situation and your spouse is addicted to pornography, struggles with substance abuse, or they’ve been unfaithful in the past. Dealing with these types of challenges can derail your marriage. This week, seek guidance from a Christian counselor, even if your spouse refuses to go. The only way to give your body generously to your partner is when you both are freed from these types of entrapments.
DISPLAY: Walk away from negativity. If your friends ridicule the idea of sex, distance yourself from them for one month, or avoid talking to them about this topic altogether. The enemy will try to deter you. He doesn’t want your marriage to be the best that it can be and connecting in this way is the ultimate gift you can give each other. But it may take rewiring your thoughts, reading a few conservative books, and letting down your guard in this private area.