In our day, power struggles seem inevitable within marriage. Husbands put the thumb screws on their wives. Wives try to manipulate their husbands. Mutual respect and love vanishes in jealous competition for power. This ugly manipulative spirit pervades our age. It asserts itself most fully on what was intended to be the most beautiful expression of love ever conceived, the marriage bed.
The marriage bed, however, should be the place of greatest mutuality between husband and wife. Look at what the Bible says about it. “Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does” (1 Corinthians 7:3-4).
Within marriage there is a duty to engage in sexual relations. Outside of marriage there is a duty to abstain from sexual relations. This is a place where practice beforehand does not help. Those who live together before marriage have a higher divorce rate than those who do not. Such people generally think their bodies are their property and they can do with them as they please. Marriage partners who lovingly give themselves to each other know they belong to their spouse. The divisive desire for control is replaced by selfless love.
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