Love and Marriage

1 Corinthians 7:1 “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”

The things written to Paul involved rampant sexual misconduct in the church.

Men should not touch women, and vice versa – it is good for a woman not to touch a man. These days it is almost as common for women to ask out or make sexual advances on a man, which was taboo even when I was growing up.

2 “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”

Marriage between one man and one woman is the Biblical prescription against sexual immorality.

3 “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.”

Benevolence means good will, being charitable, or an act of kindness or love out of the desire to make someone happy.

In a marriage, both the husband AND wife are to demonstrate benevolence to one another. In far too many marriages, charity and grace seem to flow one direction, when it is supposed to go both ways.

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.”

In marriage, your body and the actions taken by your body are no longer yours. Marriage goes beyond the “golden rule” where you treat others as you want to be treated. In marriage, because you are one flesh, you are treating your spouse as yourself because they are yourself.

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.”

Unless it is a mutual decision, you should not deprive your spouse of intimacy for a long time – and it should really only happen when engaged in a time of fasting and prayer. If you and your spouse are physically apart for too long, it gives the Devil a chance to tempt one another with wandering eyes, adultery, pornography, and all kinds of lust and impropriety.

8-9 “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”

Paul was a single, unmarried man. He did not advocate for marriage at all. In fact, he believed that it would be better to remain single and perform the Lord’s work than to be married and start a family – which certainly makes traveling to spread God’s word much more difficult.

Marriage was meant for those who could not contain their sexual lusts.

10-11 “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.”

If we cannot be single and celibate like Paul, then we should be like Jesus Christ in marriage.

God should be the center of a marriage. As Christians, we are the “bride of Christ,” so we should look to how Jesus loves us to better understand how to love our spouse.

Jesus Christ loves each of us unconditionally. When we mess up, no matter how badly, He forgives us of our sins. Because we are saved, we need not even ask for forgiveness – His grace is given automatically. Just as sex in marriage makes us “one flesh” with our spouse, salvation makes us “one spirit” with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17).

If Christ can forgive us, why can we not forgive one another? Are we better than Him? Do we have better judgment than the Lord? Do we believe that a sinful spouse is worthy of Christ’s forgiveness, but not ours?

How prideful is that?

The Lord commands our faithfulness to our spouses and divorce should never be an option. Reconciliation is always the way to go.

The best reconciliation would be in reading the Bible together, praying with one another, and being benevolent. Charity, grace, and forgiveness go a long way.

Another route would to be to meet with a local pastor for Biblical marriage counseling.

Either way, when there is a problem in our marriages, we are to reconcile with one another and grant grace to one another, as the Lord does for us.

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