by Anne Lang Bundy
Is pornography adultery?
Am I obligated to sleep with a spouse who I do not think loves me anymore and is just using me for sex?
These were submitted as two separate questions. Both might receive a simple 'yes' based on Matthew 5:28 and 1 Corinthians 7:4-5. But addressing sin in context of marital sex deserves far more depth, and three posts are planned to offer some answers:
Part I: Sexual Immorality, Unique Sin
Part II: Sex Drive, Unique Motivation
Part III: Sexual Contrasts, Unique Solution
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SEXUAL CONTRASTS, UNIQUE SOLUTION
"In a relationship conflict,
crying is often a woman's response to feeling unloved,
and anger is often a man's response to feeling disrespected."
~ Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Love and Respect Ministries, Inc.
Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
~ Ephesians 5:33 (NKJV)
The same contrasts between a man and woman which cause differences also have potential to bring distinction to their relationship.
The entire fifth chapter of Ephesians weaves back and forth in discussion of union between the believer with the Spirit, between a man and wife, between Christ and His bride. Paul blurs the lines throughout the section, so that all he says may be applied to marriages both spiritual and human. He ends on the emphatic point of love and respect—Greek agapaō and phobeō.
This verb phobeō (from which we derive the noun "phobia") is translated "fear" every other time it appears in the Bible. There is only one reason to justify the deviation of most translations, which render this verb as "respect" rather than "fear" in this exceptional verse.
Here, phobeō is coupled with love.
Men must be respected by their wives, or they will not feel loved. If a man thinks his wife does not convey respect—whether in her assessment of his judgments and capabilities, or by her words spoken to him and about him—he will not feel loved, and he will have difficulty conveying love to her. She may even think she intends respect, but what will matter to him is what he perceives.
Likewise, regardless of how a man actually feels about his wife, a woman who feels unloved will not only be utterly crushed, but will also have some difficulty showing her husband respect in a way which is meaningful to him.
Few things are as vulnerable as a man’s ego and a woman's heart.
The bedroom has more potential than anywhere else as a place for love and respect to be displayed or denied. Here, where a man and woman are most vulnerable and exposed, a marriage may be bonded or broken.
The man who wants a wife to respect his judgment and capabilities anywhere else will first demonstrate them here. When he unlocks her emotions with his love and tenderness, he finds the key to her passions and responsiveness.
If a woman struggles to show respect to a husband she feels unworthy of it, even that must be communicated with respect. If she would invite him to love her unconditionally, she will respect him unconditionally.
The soul of a man's ego and a woman's heart are where they are most easily injured—or where they find most exquisite delight.
When sin and immorality and injury persist via sex, without repentance, marriage breaks down.
When love and respect flourish via marital sex, they will likely bloom throughout the marriage—with her as his most passionate champion, him as her most devoted lover.
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For more on love and respect, see "For Guys Only."
What questions do you have about Christianity or the Bible? You're invited to leave them in the comments below (anonymous questions welcome), or email buildingHisbody [plus] @ gmail.com
© 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.