1 Corinthians 7:5

This is a beautiful verse about the way a marriage should be handled. I'm still trying to figure out how to get Greek letters in here...

But Young's Literal Translation (awkward but accurate) says:
Defraud not one another, except by consent for a time, that ye may be free for fasting and prayer, and again may come together, that the Adversary may not tempt you because of your incontinence;

A couple of things really popped out at me...

Defraud is just like it sounds. I've done some studies on Old Testament marriage contracts and there were three things that were always guaranteed. A home (the husband provides and the wife maintains), food/oil (the husband provides and the woman prepares) and bed (sexual relations). These three things were so important, if any of these three were denied on a regular basis, it was grounds for divorce. To enter into a marriage and refuse the marraige bed was to defraud the mate of marital rights.

except by consent: this really caught my eye, concerning marriage in general.

sumphonou - sounds like "symphony" and means, in harmonious accord. Isn't that the way a marriage should work? Each half of the whole striving to be in harmonious accord. Just like the word that we get from this, symphony - it doesn't imply that you are in lockstep. Just like a symphony, each partner plays his or her own instrument. One time, one will have the melody, another time, the other will. And each time, their mate will be behind them, harmonizing, supporting. A symphony wouldn't be a symphony if everyone played the same note! So it is with marriage.

pros kairos hina scholazo - for a limited time, in order to give oneself to

fasting and prayer

and again may come together, (be one flesh, husband and wife, give one another comfort and pleasure)

that the Adversary may not tempt you because of your incontinence; How many people have fallen, because their spouse didn't pay attention to the consequences of denying their other half? I submit that a husband or wife that denied his or her spouse is a stumbling block the likes of which few people ever see.

This verse communicates the importance of "one-flesh-ness" and the importance of setting it aside only for the things of God, and then only for limited times.

I would submit that a husband or wife should not have to go without marital relations (unless there are special circumstances that prohibit them) for any longer than they also expect their husband and wife to go without food.  There is no reason for denying one's spouse the comfort and pleasure that a marriage bed should bring.  (The last paragraph has been edited just because it  was an awkward sentence and didn't quite say what I wanted it to say.

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5 thoughts on “1 Corinthians 7:5

  1. I would submit that a husband or wife should not have to go without marital relations for any longer than their wife or husband is willing to go without food.

    Ya had me until this part Ellen.

    Of course, that's ridiculous. I have a friend whose spouse is now in Iraq and will be for another 6 months or more. Obviuosly they are not having marital relations. I had a baby via C section 8 weeks ago and I can tell you there is NO way I could have physically had sexual relations safely for the first two week, or pain free for the first month.

    What about couples where one spouse has a debilitating disease or injury?

    Talking about handing off unnecessary yokes, you just handed off a whopper.

  2. Please tell me (I'm begging) that you can see the difference between a wife that defrauds her husband because "sex makes me feel icky" and a husband who is thousands of miles away from his wife.

    PLEASE!!! tell me (REALLY) that you have the ability to discern a difference between a man who denies his wife because he's putting other things first and a woman who has the medical requirement of keeping her body safe.

    If you seriously and truly cannot discern the difference between [deliberately withholding physical love] and [a physical impossibility] then I don't think there's a whole lot more to say.

  3. I can tell the difference.

    The use of periodic abstinence, mutually decided upon by the husband and wife, for grave and serious reasons is none of the above.

  4. Ellen,

    An excellent response and more elegantly states what I was trying to get across at Metalutheran.

    Unfortunately when the church tries to codify sexual behavior we often get in the mode of what isn't allowed instead of of a depiction of what it should look like. A depiction of sex like this one is a lot more attractive (and not coincidentally how it was designed by God) than the general "SEX IS EEEEVIL" message the church has traditionally given out.

    I preached a sermon on sex awhile back that embraced this view and had a 75+ year old woman point to her husband on the way past me and say "he's still steamy".

    It was awesome.

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