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What Does the Bible Say About..A Spouse's Obligations?

This is rather personal, but do I have to *sleep* with my husband? Don't get me wrong, I love him dearly, but I have a huge fear of getting pregnant (even using precaution) that I just can't enjoy the moment (not to mention the whole month of stressing over it). I had asked one lady from a Christian marriage site and she basically said I was sinning if I didn't *sleep* with him. In her opinion, I should be his steward and offer it as much as he wants so that he won't have a need to cheat (and sin) on me because then I'd be causing him to sin. But, getting it or not doesn't give him any excuse to sleep with anyone else--it's still a choice. I believe that that side of marriage is like an extra (a gift) that's given for being married (if that makes sense). You can partake if it pleases you, but not mandatory. She, however, said this is not so--that you have to have *marital relations* once married or you are sinning because that is why you get married. I have been blessed with a very understanding husband and he would never force me to do anything and I have complete confidence that he will never cheat. We do engage in other things, so it's not like he's in the cold. :) What I want to know is the advice she gave me correct?


My first advice is that you talk to your doctor and to a counselor, preferably a Christian one. I am not a licensed or trained counselor in these matters. All I can do is give what the Bible has to say. I suspect your fear of pregnancy is actually part of a larger problem, but if it is not your doctor may be able to help calm your fears. If you and your husband slept together before marriage, then you need to determine what has changed, or perhaps whether that is the root of the problem now.

I'm not sure I would agree totally with the person from another site. But neither would I disagree totally with her. I agree with you that his fidelity or lack thereof would be his choice. On the other hand, you have a hand in making that choice easier or harder for him.

That said, Paul's comments in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 have some bearing. "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 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." That is how it is translated in the King James Version. To summarize in more modern language, Paul is saying that the husband and the wife owe each other certain obligations in regard to sex in marriage. Neither has the right to deny the other except if both agree to abstain for a short time devoted to prayer and fasting.

This would be balanced to some degree by Paul's comments in Ephesians 5:21-25. "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." A loving husband will consider his wife's needs and feelings. But a loving wife will also consider her husband's needs and feelings.

Is Paul saying it is a sin for married couples not to "sleep with" one another? I'm not sure I would go that far. However, he clearly says that not to do so could cause one or both parties to sin. If that happens, then both parties bear some responsibility in that sin.

Again, please see a counselor/doctor about this, for your sake and the sake of your marriage. As loving and understanding as your husband is, as hard as he is trying to walk in God's way, this situation will be as difficult for him as it is for you. Make sure you involve him in the counseling as much as possible. He may be able to help, and if not he will at least understand better what you are feeling.