Why would the Apostle Paul insist that married couples have regular sex "except [for one reason only] by mutual consent and for a time (of prayer)" when there may be other factors such as sickness, busyness, or fatigue? 1 Corinthians 7:5 1 Corinthians 7:5 New International Version (NIV) 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
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To me, Paul is saying that, whatever the cause of the couple's sexual inactivity may be, as long as they have a shared understanding and are both agreeable to the situation (in other words, as long as there is mutual consent), then that is the primary consideration. Problems and temptations arise when that agreement is absent, and either spouse persistently and/or unreasonably refuses to accommodate the other with respect to sex (which is a natural, normal human desire, and for which there is no other outlet of which God approves besides marriage). Such persistent, unilateral refusal would be contrary to Paul's statement that, with regard to sex, the husband does not rule over his body, and the wife does not rule over her body.
1 Corinthians 7:5 don't cheat one another. Paul prompts wedded Corinthian devotees not to deny each other of sexual relations (see on 1 Cor 7:1); doing so could lead them into enticement. Even though 1 or both of you may be sick, busy, and/or tired, focus on addressing each other's needs—enthusiastic, profound, and sexual (Paul is exceptionally real to life about the last in 1 Cor 7:3-5). 1 Cor. 7:5. Cheat … not—specifically, of the marital obligation "due" (1 Co 7:3; think about the Septuagint, Ex 21:10). --10: "If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights."
I disagree with the premise of the question; I don't read it that Paul is INSISTING anything about a married couple's sex life. The church evidently had written to Paul about something that had to do with sex. The first verse of 1 Cor 7 is the evidence; Paul suggested that it would be best for all if they didn't have sex. But since that would lead to immoral behavior, the woman was to consider the man as having authority over her body, and the man was to consider the woman as having authority over his. I don't think that's how a happy, fulfilling love life functions. In fact, I know it doesn't. But that's not Paul's calling; he isn't even married; what could he possibly know about a love life? He isn't concerned about a married couple's love life. He even says it's best for a man to abstain from having sex (1 Cor 7:1). He's trying to get the church to realize the value of what they have in the Lord. He says things like, 'If you're single don't try to get married, and if you're married don't try to get separated from your spouse.' He's saying, 'Being married and being single both have their issues; they both cause anxiety,' and he wants the people to be free from anxiety (vs 32). Paul's whole focus in this chapter of the epistle to the church at Corinth is for them to be secure in their undivided devotion to the Lord. He doesn't want marriage, sex, single and unbetrothed, circumcision, uncircumcision, being a bondservant or a freedman, or anything else to cloud the believer's view of what it means to be in relationship with the Lord. Here it is: having sex is unimportant; being married is unimportant; being single is unimportant; getting circumcised is unimportant. Paul doesn't care anything about anybody's sex life! He's a preacher of the gospel, and a writer of scripture. If he's going to insist on anything it'll have something to do with people getting saved from death and destruction! Listen to how he frames it: He who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better. A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is (widowed). (1 Cor 7:38-40) As much as it might sound like it, Paul wasn't trying to get people to stop marrying and procreating. He wasn't trying to referee the believer's love life. A husband or a wife who cites scripture to their spouse to get them to sleep with them has a lot to learn about life. The same is true for a man or a woman who tries to use the scriptures to get out of making love to their spouse. Good marriage counseling will concentrate on trying to teach couples how to communicate with each other. That's where most of the problems are for people who once couldn't get enough of each other. Either they somehow lost the ability to communicate properly, or it was never there in the beginning. Reading what Paul wrote two millenia ago, about how to come to an agreement on how often to make love won't fix it...
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