This is a message especially for wives. Next week we’ll look at the other side – a message especially for husbands.
Should you always say Yes when your husband wants sex? How long do you pursue your husband if he does not pursue you? Is it OK to “just say NO” because you’re “not in the mood”? What’s the big deal about pursuing intimacy with your husband anyway?
There’s been controversy – and sometimes violence, guilt, and shame – arising from Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians:
“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except 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.” (1 Corinthians 7:3-5)
First, some perspective please. This Scripture does not condone marital rape or God-talk domination and condemnation. Its purpose is not to load you with more oppression. We’re talking woman-to-woman here, and let’s be honest that the enemy has twisted this Scripture and incited some to use it to bring enormous destruction and pain.
Let’s also be honest that some of us women have twisted it too. Some have used the “devote yourselves to prayer” as an excuse to refuse sex with their husband. Ok ladies; are you praying for nine months? Or five years? If you’re working a job or cleaning your house or joining girlfriends for coffee, you’re not so “devoted to prayer” that you can’t connect with your husband.
But this Scripture IS in the Bible. What does it mean? Everything God says has a reason, and is for our good. So what is it here?
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Have you ever thought “It’s no use trying to talk about it. We always end up fighting.” Or, “Regardless of how many times I say it my spouse never hears me.” Communication with your spouse can be a source of great frustration – or of great healing and joy.
George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
So let’s uncover the illusion and try to get at what real communication is all about.
Imagine a message – a piece of communication – as an apple. And imagine he wants to get an apple to she. He wants apple pie for dessert, and desperately wants her to get the message. (Well, maybe she would more likely want to get an apple to he. But let’s go with this.) There are many ways he could go about getting that apple to she.
First, he could think about the apple, picturing the apple in his mind, and imagining she getting the apple. He could get emotionally excited (or upset) about the apple. And he just knows that if she gets the apple, she will be excited (or upset) as well.
But he never picks up the apple to toss it to she. And he’s disappointed or even angry when she starts talking about asparagus, or doing laundry.
Principle Number 1: Pick up the apple!
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You know the Bible says you should not be anxious or afraid. But sometimes those thoughts and feelings seem to overtake your heart and mind even when you don’t want them to.
Cooperating with God to overcome your fear and anxiety will involve many things; caring for your physical health, optimizing your lifestyle, learning to take charge of your thoughts, and practicing standing firmly on God’s side in the controversy between good and evil. Of course one of the most powerful tools you can use in this journey is God’s Word.
Here are 10 Scriptures for overcoming fear and anxiety to put in your mind and heart, with some brief commentary. Meditate on these Scriptures, and your mind and emotions will become freer and more positive.
1. Fear is NOT from God.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV
Fear is a natural human response to many things, but it does not come from God. When you feel fear, you can know that it is not God speaking. The mind God has promised you is clear, strong, and more than able to deal with whatever He allows into your life. You can claim that sound mind today.
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When Percy Sledge or Michael Bolton begin to sing “When a Man Loves a Woman” the ladies swoon and scream. And if you as a husband love your wife that way, she’s likely to respond in a similar fashion.
That song, still heard 50 years after it first came out, speaks to something deep in the hearts of human beings, something God put there, something that differentiates a successful marriage from a non-successful one. Regardless of how hard the enemy tries to distort and complicate it, loving your woman well will keep her heart close to yours and make your relationship intimate and strong. That’s something of what it means to love your wife like Christ.
Let’s get the objections out of the way right now. Life is complicated, and human beings are broken. God has given your wife free will also, and she has the option to refuse your love. Women can cause men enormous pain (the song implies that too), and your needs are important. I have some very strong things to say to women who behave badly toward their husbands.
But as a man God has gifted you with the responsibility and the power to be as Christ to your wife. Nothing happens – spiritually, emotionally, or sexually – until you step up. It’s vulnerable, scary, and perhaps overwhelming, but that’s what God has called you to do.
And you can do it!
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What are you so worried about? What are you so afraid of?
The Bible says we should not be anxious or afraid. There are approximately 100 times where God says in some way “Fear not.” Followers of Jesus are not to be carrying worry. Here are just a few such Scriptures:
- “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 MEV
- “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God.” Philippians 4:6 MEV
- “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Mattthew 6:34, NIV
Can you imagine Peter, John, or Paul stressing over where their next meal would come from? Or worrying about what other people thought of the life they were living for Jesus? Or wringing their hands over what the devil might be up to? Or lying awake at night, fearful they would mess up the mission Jesus had entrusted to them?
Of course not!
Fear and anxiety can be expensive, debilitating, and keep you from the Fully Alive life that Jesus came to give each one of us. If fear and anxiety has been your way of life, you know how hard it can be to break free. Your thoughts and feelings can seem out of your control. Doesn’t God know that?
Thank God there is a way out! “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (1 Timothy 1:7)
But how do you get there?
The Path to Fearlessness
The men and women who knew Jesus best didn’t start out confident and unafraid. The disciples nearly lost it in fear when the storm engulfed their small fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. “Don’t you care that we’re all going to die?!” they shouted at Jesus.
In the midst of storm Jesus stood up and rebuked the wind and the waves. And then He rebuked His disciples. “Why were you afraid? Why were you afraid when I was with you?” (See Mark 4:36-41)
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