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Can a spouse have a time where they are not available for sex, without it being sin, other than "a time for prayer, and only by mutual agreement"?

How does God fit into our sex lives?
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SeekingChange
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Can a spouse have a time where they are not available for sex, without it being sin, other than "a time for prayer, and only by mutual agreement"?

Post by SeekingChange »

I have what I call my “no zones”…. meaning the times that I have asked my husband not to initiate sex with me and give me a break or space.  My “no zone” times are on Sundays, the first 48 hours of my period, and if I am sleeping.

Many of us here know 1 Cor. 7:5, "Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." (NASB)

Do you believe that to have relatively short times (from my example, no longer than 48 hours) in a day, week, or month, that says “I am unavailable.” fits the definition of depriving” = to defraud, rob, despoil; destitute, kept back by fraud, found in 1 Cor. 7:5?  

If so, does this mean a wife (or husband) needs to be available, at a drop of a dime, to have sex, whenever the spouse so desires?  Unless, of course, she/he asks, “Can I have a time of prayer?” and the husband (or wife) agrees.  

How does this fit with loving your wife as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25) and living with your wife in an understanding way (1 Pt 3:7)?

If the spouse is not fully in agreement, or even completely against the "no zone" (designated time for a break and space), does that change whether it makes it right or wrong?

 

Edited: to take out most personal references, and for the sake of peace.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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Re: Can a spouse have a time where they are not available for sex, without it being sin, other than "a time for prayer, and only by mutual agreement"?

Post by BroadSword »

If your husband loves you as the Bible decrees (as Christ loves the church) then I don't think he'd have a problem acquiescing to your "no zone" requests.   I view that command more as something where spouses are not to be vindictive and withhold sex as a weapon to punish.  But in your case you've presented reasonable requests that I don't think come across as weaponized.  And, in the end, if this is something you and your husband have worked out together and both of you are content with your decision and feel no spiritual guidance that it's sinful then it's really no one else's business.
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Re: Can a spouse have a time where they are not available for sex, without it being sin, other than "a time for prayer, and only by mutual agreement"?

Post by EyeAboveTheStorm »

I think it’s fine.
The greatest thing is love, and in an understanding marriage with God at the center, the husband and wife will do their best to accommodate each other’s unique needs.
I think most people would not want initiation while asleep. My wife would most likely punch me if I tried lol. People have boundaries and also get tired or have health issues. It’s a part of showing love and understanding to know when they need a break to rest.
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Re: Can a spouse have a time where they are not available for sex, without it being sin, other than "a time for prayer, and only by mutual agreement"?

Post by Deleted User 499 »

Most men would only dream of what you are describing. I know I would be thrilled. Regardless, my wife still thrills me. Marriage is a friendly competition to outdo the other in showing love. I’m happy to do that, and it looks like you are too SC.
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Re: Can a spouse have a time where they are not available for sex, without it being sin, other than "a time for prayer, and only by mutual agreement"?

Post by one_woman_man »

I appreciate you seeking to be faithful to Scripture and be open to the discernment of the larger group (body of Christ) in this. In addition, it is healthy and helpful for the rest of us to work through this kind of topic.

From what we have learned (from you) of yourself and your marriage, we have much to commend you for. Your transparency and sincere desire to be faithful to Jesus in your life and marriage give us reason to honor you. Considering how you have submitted to God and the work of His Spirit in living out “seeking change” in your own life and marriage, your life is exemplary, if not instructive for us. And in this forum, you are serving many of us out of the generosity of your heart and the growing pains of your own life experience.

Part of me is asking, why is this being raised? (I know you are doing it because someone asked the question of you. And I’m not asking that person to explain their reasons. It’s a fair question.) I might be wrong, but aren’t we in danger of working our way into a legalistic observance of scripture if we are questioning the “agreement” that you have made together with your covenant partner? I believe you have processed it well with your DH and this question is not really for your benefit. It is more for ours. And, as I said, to allow us to speak into the discernment process for the benefit of the larger community.

There is a danger on either side of this discussion: (The two sides being, the freedom to set boundaries and the privilege to enjoy the blessings of a covenant relationship.) I see a danger in pushing hard for a definitive answer to the rightness or wrongness of this issue if the motivation is rooted in a rights-based type of mentality. If that is the case, there is little room for grace or understanding or discussion, etc. On the other hand, demanding the fulfillment of one’s privileges in the covenant relationship, goes contrary to scriptural instructions to put the interests of the other before your own. Again, grace might be lacking.

For instance, if it is the higher-drive spouse seeking to assert their “rights”, or to abuse their spouse’s “right” to at least partial authority over their body, on the back of this verse, I would question the motivation. Is it love? Or if it was the lower-drive spouse seeking to shirk or avoid their covenantal responsibility, again, I would wonder about the driving motivation for that. In either case, the biblical approach isn’t so much to use a verse to judicate as much as it is to keep our eyes on Jesus and live out His truth in harmony with one another. That involves mutual submission and sacrifice, not the promotion of one’s rights.

Isn’t a giving wife free to enjoy a Sabbath day of sexual rest? (If that is what she needs, requests, etc. Doesn’t the Sabbath exist for us?) Or to make a case for not having period sex during the first 48 hours?

Now, if the questioner isn’t so much into rights, but primarily into what is biblical, allow me a few more words.

My understanding is that, among the many issues going on in the Corinthian church, one was the notion or practice of withholding sex from one’s spouse as a result of the thinking that to refrain from sex was a way to “be more spiritual”. Paul speaks against depriving one spouse, and I would say, against thinking that way.

One is not more spiritual because they have no sex, or less than others. Rather Paul is saying that one is godly if they do not deprive their spouse (and I would add, their marriage) of regular, generous sexual enjoyment and fulfillment. And I would say, if my understanding of the context is accurate, especially if it relates to correcting one’s efforts toward self-righteousness (and the deprivation of the other). The way to be more spiritual would be to pray more. Maybe even to pray that one would no longer deprive their spouse!

The case before us is not a question of depriving. Or about self-righteousness. Or even asserting one’s rights. In fact, it is about someone who is seeking to bless her marriage by offering abundant and generous sex. And to be enabled to do that another six days.

Maybe 1 Corinthians 7:5 doesn’t apply to this situation.

 

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Re: Can a spouse have a time where they are not available for sex, without it being sin, other than "a time for prayer, and only by mutual agreement"?

Post by SeekingChange »

Thank you for the encouragement and seeing the heart.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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Re: Can a spouse have a time where they are not available for sex, without it being sin, other than "a time for prayer, and only by mutual agreement"?

Post by Redman »

SeekingChange,

Wow!  I’m just getting to read the forum this morning for the first time after several busy days.  YOU HAVE JUMPED TO A CONCLUSION!!  Unfortunately, you have made a an error.  Instead of asking me to clarify my question to your post which I did in a comment section, you POUNCED!

You posted above: I was then asked “Is this biblical?” while being quoted 1 Cor. 7:5.  With the implication that it was not, therefore I am in the wrong (aka sinning.)

I NEVER IMPLIED THAT IS WAS NOT BIBLICAL  I ASKED A QUESTION FOR SOME CLARIFICATION !

I NEVER IMPLIED OR STATED THAT YOU WERE WRONG!

I NEVER IMPLIED OR STATED THAT YOU WERE SINNING!

One of the things that I wanted to get clarification on from your post in the other thread was...there needs to be mutual consent. That wasn’t clear from your original comment. I asked a question.  I see now, that it is by mutual consent and that is awesome.  In fact, knowing what I know from your posts on this forum, you are a teacher. You want to share things here so others can learn from you.  I was hoping to get you to amend your post to make it crystal clear that your “no zones” were with the consent of your husband.  That has been done now, however, you have made me our to be an accuser.  As I have stated above, that’s unfortunate!

I'm not trying to blow this up, however, I need to correct the record.  Go back and check what you said.  You never mentioned mutual consent.

As to the answer to this question.  YES!  My wife and I call them “Rain checks”. Perfectly OK. With mutual consent.   Many times the rain checks are asked for by me!

I’m certainly saddened by your approach to me in this situation.  You have made me out to be some kind of insensitive male pig.  Please, please STOP!
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Re: Can a spouse have a time where they are not available for sex, without it being sin, other than "a time for prayer, and only by mutual agreement"?

Post by SeekingChange »

It was not my intent. Will you forgive me for making you feel like you were personally attacked? I was very intentional not to mention you by name, or link back to the comment I even asked someone to please edit and delete a personal attack against you, as soon as I saw it, because that isn't what this is about.

I did NOT post this to get pats on the back, I actually wanted the questions answered, not for my sake, because I have a clear conscience, but for others' sake. I have been around enough to know there are men who believe this way, so it's a challenge to what is truly Biblical. Both wives and husbands need to look at this, from both perspectives.

Now for some clarification :) Going off of your current comment, it sounds like the answer to my final question, that if a husband was AGAINST it, then suddenly taking those times becomes wrong and her sin because of that verse, and in your belief of what "deprived" means, is that correct?
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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Re: Can a spouse have a time where they are not available for sex, without it being sin, other than "a time for prayer, and only by mutual agreement"?

Post by Redman »

I do not believe that a husband should “force” himself on his wife.  If she refuses, he should stop!  However, according to 1 Cor 7:5 it’s God’s intention that any refraining from married sex be “by mutual consent”.   It’s  quite clear and simple.  For example, as I stated above, I have had to ask for the rain check several times in the past year os so.  And my understanding wife grants it. If she didn’t I would have a responsibility to engage her.  One time, she knew that I needed it more than I knew and she pushed through. And, I’m glad she did! As far as making me feel like I was personally attacked, you, in fact, personally attacked me.  Don’t hide by the fact that you didn’t use my name or quote from the post.  Please, admit your mistake.  We all make mistakes and we all need to admit when we are wrong.  Saying that I implies that you were sinning is the farthest thing from the truth. I am trying to hold you accountable.  Whether it was intentional or not, you attacked.  

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Re: Can a spouse have a time where they are not available for sex, without it being sin, other than "a time for prayer, and only by mutual agreement"?

Post by Duchess »

I had planned to comment on this question after Hubby told me about it last night, but I see it seems to be more of a personal argument. Both SeekingChange and Redman speak such wisdom on this board, and I enjoy reading both their comments. I sincerely hope there are no lingering hard feelings.
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