Having a F.I.N.E. MarriageNovember 5, 2012 at 11:14 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage, I Corinthians | 10 Comments
Tags: 1 Corinthians 7, Christian marriage, controlled burning, fornication, marriage, marriage counseling, physical intimacy, sexual intimacy, single Christians
In a previous lesson I looked at some verses from I Corinthians 7, as they relate to remaining single or getting married.
Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
I Corinthians 7:1-2
But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.
I Corinthians 7:32-37
Let me sum up the “practical application” of these verses: The temptation of fornication in the form of premarital sex can be remedied by marriage. There is no other legitimate outlet for taking care of those desires.
That is a lesson that we parents must hammer into the souls of our children – even though they may be living in the midst of a generation where they will be the only ones who believe or practice it. We must also hammer into our own souls that physical intimacy in marriage is not a block to fornication or adultery – but that it is a safeguard.
Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
I Corinthians 7:3-5
For maximum effectiveness, marital intimacy must be F.I.N.E.
F.requent: “Due benevolence” means what is “owed.” You owe it to your spouse to satisfy him or her sexually within Scriptural limits. Failure to do so is fraud – unless it is mutually consensual – and then it must be for spiritual reasons and only for a short time.
I.nviting: Because my body belongs to God, I must keep it healthy. Because – on a secondary level – my body belongs to my spouse, I ought to try to keep it attractive.
N.atural: “Render unto” means it is done willingly – which also means it should not be contrary to emotions. Our emotions must be brought into conformity with truth. God says physical intimacy in marriage is “good,” so we need to believe it is good. If we believe it is good, we will start to feel like it is good.
E.xciting: Although “due benevolence” is a duty, it is not merely a duty.
But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
I Corinthians 7:9 (emphasis added)
It is “better” to marry than to “burn” when you are engaged to be married. But, once married, it is great to burn. “Burn” means passion and excitement: Song of Solomon-type, exuberant, looking-forward-to-it-almost-all-day-every-day-type passion. I highly recommend a recent movie called Fireproof, which is about “fireproofing” your marriage against divorce. The fires of marital discord are horrible and should be guarded against. “Controlled burning,” though, is something completely different. It is a passionate, mutual burning that is the result of a Scripturally-prescribed fire that you know is going to be quenched within the God-ordained bounds of marriage. This is embarrassing to talk about, but that type of “quenching,” and the physical pleasure attendant to it, is one of God’s greatest temporal gifts to His children. But there has to be fire for there to be quenching. “Better to marry than to burn” doesn’t mean the burning stops after the honeymoon. It means that God has now authorized the burning because there is a safe, God-ordained way to start and stop the fires of passion, and that way is physical intimacy in marriage.