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What does the Bible say that a husband or wife should do if their spouse refuses to participate in sexual relationship?


1 Corinthians 7:3 - 5

ESV - 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For 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.

Clarify Share Report Asked October 11 2013 Mini Anonymous

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Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
Continuing to live in faith yourself and love unconditionally has been covered, so I will not get into that, but address steps that may be taken [if both parties are christian].

As awkward as it may be, the two should go talk to their mentor or pastor or an agreed upon third party of some influence in their lives who is known for wisdom and devotion to God. Problems are to be resolved inside the church as much as possible - this is far preferable to going outside the church to get marital counseling, etc.

Every marriage should have breaks and breathers to focus on God - but if refusal is consistent or used as a weapon, then this is definitely something that needs to be brought discreetly into mediation.

Hopefully, the spouse will agree to come with, so that the discussion can be neutral and fair to all parties. If they do not, it is still acceptable to meet with a mentor/pastor/third party in the church - but the spouse may find themselves in the position of being asked to accept a determination that they were not a part of. The benefit of having the couple both there is that they each may present their side, and the councilor/judge may give both of them things to work on or do.

As marriage issues are private and usually involve at least the perception of wrong by both parties, I would advocate treating the resolution not in the format of church discipline (where the one in the wrong would eventually have to face the public judgement of the church if they refused to repent) - but more as civil cases which are brought before the church for resolution and judged privately by those the church or the couple sees as having the authority to mediate and determine the case. This is my own opinion only - but I do not think the public discipline of the church would benefit the reconciliation of a marriage. [However, as marriage does represent Christ and the church, perhaps even marriages are not exempt from this].

If no one can be found to mediate the case, or if the spouse refuses to go or accept the judgement, then it is "better to be wronged" than it is to return evil for evil or to take the dispute to the to the secular world (such as seeking divorce).

(1 Cor 6:1-11)

Lastly, while this does not excuse a marriage partner consistently refusing conjugal rights - it is easy to forget that the other spouse may also be forgetting his/her own duties in a marriage. If either spouse forgets that love is unconditional, they can start withholding their normal gifts of marriage (love, respect, protection, provision,service, etc). A man who withholds protection and affection out of anger that he is never listened to is equally as wrong as a woman who abstains from intimacy because she is angry she doesn't think her feelings are being given enough priority.

Paul wasn't giving an exhaustive list of marital duties, nor even saying that conjugation was the most important one. However, it was a topic that that specific church needed to hear (the influence of Gnosticism led to many viewing themselves as hyper-spiritual if they did not marry, or didn't have sex if they did, as they viewed the physical body as evil).

To summarize: Love unconditionally, check over your own life to be sure you are fulfilling all your own duties, and seek out council or resolution from someone who can act as a mediator or judge in the church.

October 11 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Nicole Merry
Romans 5:3-5
More than that, we if rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love i has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 

Matthew 5:32
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

1 Peter 3:17
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.

It is very difficult to "rejoice" in the suffering of being rejected by a spouse.  But, as you continue to be faithful regardless, you cause yourself no shame.  You are available to them which is right-so your suffering is for doing what is right.  You are staying in a difficult situation.  Daily forgiveness can protect you from bitterness.  Continue to love in practical ways as a service to the Lord.

October 11 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

B8c746f3 63c7 43eb 9665 ef7fba8e191b Kelli Trujillo Supporter Minister, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher, Musician
The verse you quoted in 1 Corinthians 7 is clear about this issue; however, marriage is a multilayered, multifaceted institution with many complex pieces making up the whole. If this is an ongoing issue in your marriage, I suggest counsel.

October 12 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Gregory Tomlinson Minister, husband,father,grandfather,vet., college graduate
"Why?" is the biggest question here: Why is she refusing this due benevolence? Is there a legitimate reason? Using scripture to force frequency or compliance in unordinary circumstance is not wise, nor would it be demonstrating love, compassion or consideration. 

Communication is the key here. If there is no willingness to work this out, seek help through counseling. I get the impression there is a larger underlying issue here other than intimacy. Quoting a scripture will not help with resolution if you can not get to and identify the actual issue of "why?"

For example, is there a physical issue or an understanding and perception of the purpose for rendering due benevolence? There are some who believe its purpose is for reproduction only and pleasure is wrong. Is there a physiological reason? Is there someone else?

You can not begin to heal or apply spiritual resolution without understanding. Do not give up, seek Gods help through prayer and fasting and counseling. God is still a miracle worker, and has your best interest at heart.

November 17 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

My passport new Arun Kumar Engineer, Chennai, India
It is very uncommon for a spouse to lack libido, unless he/she has some medical issues or an extra marital relationship. Or there might be also some misconceptions about sex and sexual relationship due to some bitter experiences during his/her childhood. Otherwise, our body's hormones will work hard to make us long for sex.

In such cases, the other spouse is to analyse what the reason should be. If it is psychological, he/she should be taken to a psychological counselling which might also extend to psychiatry. If it is due to hormonal imbalance/deficiency or due to pain during the intercourse, a medical intervention might be required or hormonal repalcement. 

Finally if it is due to extramarital relationship, since God has forgiven us our sins, we are obliged to forgive our spouse for his/her sin (Matthew 7:1) and we have an option to accept him/her on grounds on repentance and reconciliation. A divorce is possible only on grounds of adultery/unfaithful activity. Repeating it again, even if it is adultery, a mature believer would surely consider forgiving and accepting him/her.

Last one, if all the above conditions does not apply and if the reasons are hard to be analyzed, if the other spouse is me, I would pray to God to strengthen me to have control over my libido and I would try to establish firm friendship with her. This is not very easy but God would certainly help people under such commitment.

November 18 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

84924d6f 9be5 4261 9e07 ab5f6a8c5842 Lena Wms Student @Christ Gospel Church, S.S.Teacher, Observer
As I have read all of my Brothers and Sisters answers, I have only to add that through much prayer and supplication this can be overcome. It is not something you are fighting alone. Isa 59:19

I do recognize this as a battle, not only of the body, but also of the mind, therefore of the spirit. Eph 6:12 This is where the enemy can begin to destroy you as an individual and further complete his diabolical workings to destroy your marriage, It all begins with thoughts. Leads to feelings, then manifests itself with deeds. Isa 55:8-9

Sometimes I wonder if we really understand the importance of marriage? Do we fully comprehend the magnitude of Truth that Paul spoke of when he compared our natural marriages to Christ Eph 5:32 loving the church, Eph 5:25 giving His life for the church? How we should not defraud one another? 1Cor 7:5

Do we understand that as a husband and wife joined together, the marriage bed undefiled,Heb 13:4 we represent the PUREST LOVE of ALL? Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, than he lay down his life for his friend." John 15:13 

The Apostle John saw a Bride coming out of the New Heaven, clothed in White Linen, who followed the Lamb wherever He went. Jesus, the Slain Lamb of God, will have a Bride one day, Rev 21:9 

This is what our marriages represent. The relationship between the Bride of Jesus Christ and Her Beloved Bridegroom, the LORD Jesus Christ. Rev. 21:2, 9

Who are we then, as individuals, {me too, for I am just as guilty} to not portray this to one another? As one of my Sisters said, we should not harshly judge one another, yet there will come a day of judgement. We shall give account for ever thought, feeling and deed we have done. Favorable or Unfavorable. Unless we have repented and ask for forgiveness for these things, we shall be held accountable, to God! 2 Cor 5:10

In 2008, there was a movie called Fireproof, a Christian movie. It seems a long time ago now, yet the message rings very real and true! I encourage you to prayerfully and sincerely take the LOVE DARE 40 Day challenge. 
You have nothing to lose and Everything to gain!

P.S. This is one of the dares: Love is Honesty with yourself first! 

Be Blessed

December 02 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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