Summary: Is your bedroom a place of joy or duty and reward?
1 Cor 7:3,4
3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. KJV
In my years of ministry and biblical guidance sessions, I have found this to be a serious problem in many marriages because one of the spouses has a stronger drive or appetite than the other. Sometimes a women feels that after she gets the children she wants she is done with this physical stuff. I heard one woman, who I hope was not a Christian, say that she did not care where her husband got what he wanted as long as it was not from her yet she was not seeking a divorce. She appeared to like the stuff and comfort marriage provided, but not really interested in a fulfilling marriage for both partners. I have known some ladies whose husbands are not as interested in this area as they are and it causes frustration.
While this is not all that is needed for a great marriage it is hard to conceive that in a relationship where heart, mind and soul are intimate that there would not be an equal desire for physical intimacy unless there is some physical impairment or health issue. Sex without love, permeates the culture and even Monica said she had hoped that her liaison would have consummated in a normal sexual relationship albeit immoral one. How then can someone in a true loving and biblical relationship where the bed is undefiled not want to have an intense intimacy there? (You can defile the marriage bed with with defiling activities so that does not mean anything goes for those who use this passage to force a spouse to do things “untoward” as the KJV says. )
I fear that it is because we have reduced it to a mere biological act and use it more as a punish and reward system than as an expression of vibrant love. To do so is a corruption and perversion of why God made it the way He did. Indeed, the primary purpose of the reproductive system is to reproduce, but He could have made it a seasonal rut thing like deer and other animals where there is no affection, just function. Yes, I think part of it may have been that had He not made it pleasurable we might be looking at the near extinction of the human race rather than wondering about ZPG since we would have been just as disobedient to “be fruitful and multiply” as we are of every other command He has give for our good.
Yet, I believe that since He says that the marriage relationship between the a man and woman represents the relationship between Christ and the Church/Believer I feel it was to have a spontaneous, loving and pleasurable sharing of the gift of life. God has always desired to be spiritually, emotionally and intellectually intimate with His creation for we see Him walking in the Garden with Adam and Eve, walking with Enoch and just taking him on to Glory and seeking to communicate on every level with mankind after the Fall and the Flood. He wants us to be close to Him and speaks of believers being in the Body and in Christ as well as being friends and children. He calls man and woman’s physical union a one flesh relationship. Two shall become one. We are one in the Spirit as a Church. All of these things are intimate descriptions not words of alienation or corporate unions/mergers for assets and heirs to the assets. Thus conjugal love is to be a pleasurable part of the intimacy equation in a marriage.
We allow the stresses of life to draw us away or hinder us in this intimacy rather than it driving us to seek the bonding that comes from it. God even built in health benefits along with the pleasure element. Participating in physical intimacy aids prostate health and there is an element delivered to the woman by the male that aids in reducing depression according to a study I have read recently as well as increasing the spiritual bond between a man and wife. Many bonds break because couple cease building that bond. Makes you wonder if the cases of prostate problems and depression would dramatically decrease if intimacy increased. Seems like it would be a lot more fun, as well as beneficial, than popping meds.