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. (I Corinthians 7:2, 4 / ESV)

God’s gift of marriage involves mutual promotion, provision, and protection spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically.

Did you know that when you get married, you give authority (rightful claim or access) over your body to your spouse? Now before you accuse me of heresy, let’s discuss some truth, shall we?

Paul explains that marriage helps to avoid the temptation of sexual immorality. Understandably, there are many benefits to marriage; however, us “spiritual folks” seem to have a hang-up with the physical aspect of marriage. Mysteriously, the church typically avoids addressing such a topic directly – yet wonders why so many marriages end in divorce and why so many couples receive counseling for sexual immorality or are victimized by extramarital affairs.

For clarity sake, the “authority” Paul describes doesn’t grant full license for, or condone, any type of disrespectful behavior or treatment. Rather, it portrays a clear picture of a married couple becoming “one flesh” and having full and rightful access to mutually enjoy each other physically.

To understand it more clearly, consider the word “cleave” in Genesis 2:24. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife” (KJV). The word means to be stuck together as with glue. When two things are glued together, they become one. In such a marriage union, each spouse relinquishes the individual rights over his or her own body and shares it with his/her spouse.

Ephesians 5:3 says, “Sexual immorality…must not even be named among you.” Furthermore, in the same chapter we find one of the most quoted verses in marriage counseling – “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church” (v. 25). In using that same spiritual parallel, what did Christ tell the church? He told His followers to, “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). Carefully studying both verses yields a reciprocal love that encompasses a married couple spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically.

Biblical marriage creates a union where spouses rely on each other for the: promotion of godliness, provision of spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical needs, and protection against sin’s tempting vulnerability.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does marriage promote godliness in each spouse individually and as a couple?
  2. How does marriage protect spouses against becoming vulnerable to sin’s temptation?