Before we jump in, I am not sure I have ever been this cautious writing a post before. I know that this is going to get pushback from women who 1. Hate God’s Word 2. Come from a painful experience and will speak from that and want to make excuses for not obeying God’s commands 3. Are progressive “Christians” who twist feminism into the Word.
So let me say with a lot of love and having covered this topic in prayer before ever writing this:
When I say “on purpose” I am speaking to the choice of laziness or out of anger. Things like that. I am not saying that if you have a physical issue that it is wrong to withhold sex.
To the women who have had very traumatic and painful experiences with husbands who are abusive, I am so sorry. I am so sorry any woman would go through something so terrible. It should be unthinkable but it’s a very real thing some women experience. I don’t want you to feel dismissed by this post. God sees all and knows all. Revenge is His. He has also given us Biblical instruction on what to do when our husbands are sinning. We do not submit to sinfulness, ever! This post is speaking to women who use sex as a punishment or withhold from laziness or selfishness. I do not advocate, nor does the Bible, to submit to sexual sin – abuse or sexual immorality in the bedroom. I pray your husbands sought repentance and that you’re now safe and in a marriage being sanctified under God’s great grace.
Also, I do not speak to husbands. Yes, this goes both ways but ladies – we have GOT to STOP looking at our men when we are being addressed. There are Godly men who speak to these things. Paul Washer being one of them. Costi Hinn as well. I will not be addressing husbands. I am addressing the wives.
Let’s jump in.
“…since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 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. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” – 1 Corinthians 7
Ok, ladies – when we become married – our bodies are no longer just ours. They are God’s first and foremost.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV), he asks, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
As wives, we become one with our husbands and like Paul says in chapter 7, our bodies belong to our spouses. The word yield there is very significant.
Take a note from Pastor John Piper:
This is analogous to Romans 12:10 where Paul tells us, “Outdo one another in showing honor.” I will try to honor you and you will try to honor me, and who will have the greater joy of honoring the other more? It is a mysterious dance of love in the Christian community as we lay down our rights and our demands, and seek to outdo one another not in what we can get but in what we can give.
Similarly in marriage. We are seeking mainly to please the other. She wants to please him, and so is prone to give what he desires. He wants to please her, and so is prone not to demand what she finds unpleasant to give. And vice versa.
Ladies, we should desire to please our husbands. Love is not self-seeking and it is patient. 1 Corinthians 13. It also keeps no record of wrongs. To withhold sex from them out of anger or frustration is not to show them true love. And this needs to be the emphasis here.
We can get caught up on whether or not God is saying that a woman should always say YES to her husband if he asks for sex OR we can not automatically go into self-preservation and trust that obeying the Lord is always the right thing to do!
We obey Him when we, as wives:
- Think of your husband more highly than yourself. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” – Philippians 2:3. When our husbands ask for sex – unless we have a physical reason to say no then we should think of them more than we are thinking of ourselves. This is obeying God’s Word ladies. Do not puff yourself up. We need to be HUMBLE. Sex is a GIFT in a marriage – this is your husband – the man you’ve vowed yourself to. We need to love them, BIBLICAL LOVE, more than we love ourselves.
- Forgive our husbands and not hold a grudge. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…” – Ephesians 4:26 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 There are so many passages about God not forgiving us when we don’t forgive others. This is scary sisters. We cannot act like our husband’s offenses to us are more than how we offend the Lord and yet, He has forgiven us of ALL our unrighteousness. We obey the Lord when we forgive our spouses and show them grace.
- “Let” God deal with our husband’s sin. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12. “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” – 1 Peter 3:7. Ladies, GOD SEES US. He knows your husband’s sin better than we ever could. He sees us and knows whats going on. Get out of the way and stop trying to be the Holy Spirit. It is not our job to punish our husbands – especially by withholding sex.
- Not be an instrument used to tempt him to sin. Ladies, this one breaks my heart to even think about. Our husbands, as men, are so visual and sexual temptation is EVERYWHERE around them. Paul says not to separate so neither of us (husband and wives) are tempted sexually. When we are withholding sex, we are opening a door for satan to tempt our husbands: with lust, with the desire to fantasize and masturbate, or to even pursue an affair. Is his sin his responsibility? YES. But ladies, let’s stop playing dumb. Seriously. I say this with great care. We definitely can contribute to our husband’s sin. 1 Thessalonians 4 talks about not being a sexual temptation to our brothers and sisters in Christ. “In this matter no one should violate the rights of his brother or take advantage of him, because the Lord is the avenger in all these cases, as we also told you earlier and warned you solemnly. 7 For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. 8 Consequently the one who rejects this is not rejecting human authority but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” We are a sister in Christ to our husbands too. We are their closest sister – their helper!! We should not be making it easier for the evil one to tempt our husbands. How wicked. It is impure to withhold sex from your husband. There is no getting around this. To do this purposefully is sin.
- Do not deprive our husbands. This is a command ladies. We cannot enter into a marriage when God says our bodies are no longer only ours and then hold them captive from our husbands. This is not honoring to the Lord. It is sin to know the good you ought to do and then do not do it. James 1:17
Sex is so intimate and I encourage women to have open communication with their husbands about their sex life. Pray over it. Encourage your husband in the things he does that feel amazing and lovingly instruct him on what he could do to make the whole experience feel better for you. Men feel pleasure when they’re pleasuring their woman. So, open up. It will only enhance the experiences.
If your husband and you are constantly fighting and making intimacy hard, please don’t just hope the problem goes away. Go together and speak to your pastor- someone trusted and Godly. (Ideally older and wiser.) Seek wisdom and discernment, accountability and encouragement. If your husband wont go, then tell him kindly you are going to be speaking to someone and go yourself. Involve a woman – meaning, do not confide even in your Pastor without another woman. No man who is not your husband should be getting insights into your sex life without 3rd party accountability.
When our husbands are sinning, we do not submit to that sin. We have been given the freedom by and in Christ to deal with it Biblically – go to him first, then go to a Pastor or an elder, and if change is still not happening (repentance) then take it before the church.
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” – Matthew 18
The answer is not to sin back. So, if your husband is sinning – don’t add to the problem by sinning too. It will NOT fix anything and it will only lead to more damage and destruction. YOU – OBEY! We never ever have to be afraid to obey the Lord. Ever. It may not always feel good but His grace is sufficient – ALWAYS.
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” – 1 Peter 3
This is what we’re instructed to do ladies – to be OBEDIENT.
So, not having sex with them – to punish them or to teach them a lesson, to be selfish in laziness or to hold onto anger – is sin. This is not how we are to be as Christian women. We need to be conforming to Christ and He continually thought of others. His love is the love we need to be showing our men – 1 Corinthians 13. It’s not selfish. It holds no records of wrongs. It is patient. It is kind.
We need to humble ourselves before the Almighty and forgive our husbands when they sin.
We need to be their helper and yes, we can help them resist temptation by not having them deprived in the bedroom. This is SOOOOO loving ladies!
We can even contribute to winning them over in Christ, not by our words, but by our behavior- being Godly women.
I pray this is encouraging to you. DO NOT FEAR OBEYING THE LORD. We can trust that it’s ALWAYS right! Pray for your husband and over your sex life – even during sex if it’s not feeling the best or you’re feeling sinful in your heart. God knows everything you’re thinking already – bring it to Him and watch how His grace can transform your marriage, your sex life, and your heart towards your husband.