Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Corinthians 7:2, 4 / ESV)
God’s gift of marriage and sex involves mutual enjoyment. That includes mutual promotion, provision, and protection.
When you get married, you give authority over your body (e.g., sex) to your spouse. Now before you accuse me of heresy, let’s discuss some truth.
Marriage, Paul explains, helps avoid sexual immorality. Understandably, sex is one of many benefits of marriage. However, some “spiritual folks” seem to have a hang-up with that aspect (sex). Mysteriously, the church typically avoids addressing it directly. Then pastors wonder why so many couples divorce. Even worse, they question why so many couples receive counseling for sexual immorality. Sadly, some couples are also victimized by extramarital affairs and abuse.
Mutual Authority & Agreement
For clarity sake, the “authority” Paul describes doesn’t grant full license. Nor does it condone any type of disrespectful behavior. Rather, it portrays a picture of a married couple becoming “one flesh” and having full access to mutually enjoy each other.
Consider the word “cleave” in Genesis 2:24. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.” It means to be stuck together as with glue. Two things glued together become one. In marriage, each spouse is glued to one another. They become one. Each shares individual rights over his/her own body with his/her spouse.
Ephesians 5:3 says, “Sexual immorality…must not even be named among you.” Furthermore, one of the oft-quoted verses in marriage counseling says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25). Using that same spiritual parallel, what did Christ tell the Church? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Both verses yield a reciprocal love encompassing both spouses. Spiritually. Intellectually. Emotionally. Physically.
Biblical marriage creates a union encouraging spouses to rely on each other for the:
- promotion of godliness
- provision of spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical needs
- protection against sin’s tempting vulnerability
- How does marriage promote godliness in each spouse?
- How does marriage protect spouses against sin’s temptation?