Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 1 Peter 3:7
I know that in these times, there are a lot of issues that arise over marital intimacy, the rights of the spouse, consent. Having been a victim of childhood sexual abuse, rape by a stranger, and domestic abuse for two decades, I am extremely sensitive to the vulnerability of women in relationships. These things can highly effect a woman emotionally, and it’s only through the power of the Spirit that we can truly be freed.
I have previously discussed that women should yield their sexuality to their husbands in my article, Held back by fraud. However, after reading a couple of articles on the internet, I feel this issue has become seriously whacked out of shape and wanted to address a couple of issues that I think could use a sensible approach to.
First, the right of a spouse to their partner’s sexuality and the issue of consent. Although this woud really impact a husband and his wife, I try to be knowledgeable that some husbands hold back sex as well, though it would be a rare case that the wife would attempt to force the husband. 1 Corinthians 7 is very clear on the rights of a spouse to their partner’s sexuality.
When one gets married, it’s understood that you are consenting to have sexual relations with that person. A spouse should not have to tell you each time that they are consenting to it. So if a man decides he needs it and his wife is asleep, it would be absurd for a wife to refuse him. I really don’t get why this is a problem. Of course, they might discuss this beforehand, and she might want to be woke up in order to participate. There are times when I would, but if I had to say, work the next day, I might not. But it just seems strange to me that a woman would feel she should refuse him.
If, on the other hand, she says no, which she might for various reasons, the husband should not force the issue. It’s just sensible, and knowledgeable on his part not to force her under this circumstance or any other where she would say no. Better to help her work through whatever issue there is than for him to open himself to bitterness on her part and possibly worse. I am a big believer in submission, but I do think people need to be sensible. I can’t see Jesus forcing himself on a wife.
If this were to become a long-term or frequent problem, the husband or wife should seek counseling from the church, because it is the obligation and loving response of a partner to provide intimacy in marriage.
In regards to real emotional trauma, or physical problems that could hinder a desire for sex, I also advise the husband should be sensible and help his wife. A loving, caring husband is not going to want to cause his wife emotional or physical illness just to satisfy his own needs. I do believe women should take the responsibility to try to resolve issues, because a married couple really does need to be intimate. I read an article recently where Lori Alexander, a prominent Christian author on the subject of submission advised a woman that she was defrauding her husband if she held back sex because of real emotional issues surrounding intimacy. We are called as Christians to be loving toward each other. Love doesn’t seek its own, that is, it isn’t selfish. A woman suffering from emotional trauma should be helped by her spouse to overcome it, and I believe she can overcome it through healing by faith and with a loving caring husband.
There are issues that may also arise in relation to domestic abuse, but in those cases a woman should definitely seek counseling from her pastor or other church elders so that they can advise her on how to protect her own safety.
In situations where it is not dealing with trauma, or physical problems or abuse, the wife or husband needs to realize that they married their spouse and that they are really are called by Christ to provide intimacy for their partner. It is not only a duty, but it’s the loving thing to do.
Pamela Parizo © 2017