"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Whole, Not Just "The Part"

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.   (1 Corinthians 7:4) 

This is a familiar verse for husbands and wives alike.  It's part of the standard Bible repertoire for married couples.  One the surface we all know Paul is referring primarily to the sexual union between a husband and wife. 

While that is the primary subject of this verse, I believe there is much more to it.  I believe it addresses every aspect of the married individual and the selflessness commanded of a married person.
While the sexual union primarily involves the obvious parts of the body, the "body" includes much more that those private parts.  My hands, eyes, ears, feet, lips, tongue, hair, mind, and muscles all are parts of my body, which belongs to my wife.  Likewise, hers belong to me.

What does this mean to a husband like me?  

I should do everything with my wife's preferences in mind.  

My hands should touch her in ways that are pleasing to her.If I make a grab for her but she doesn't like that kind of touch, I must change the way I touch her so it gives her the pleasure she wants.

My eyes should look at things of which she would approve. I must not view things that will tear down our intimacy.  Visual temptation is everywhere and unavoidable.  However, if I allow my eyes to linger on tempting images, it is not beneficial to my wife and our oneness, so I must not allow my eyes to linger.

My mouth should kiss her in ways (and places) that bring her joy.  I must use my kisses to please her and must not stop short of the kinds of kisses she wants.

I should use my tongue to build her up.  I must always speak well of her.  The tongue can also be used for physical pleasure (pleasure the Lord declared good).  I must keep in mind that my Creator gave me this part of my body, then declared that it belongs to my wife and should be used for her pleasure.

It also means that I must defer to her preferences.  

I can't just do whatever I want with my hair.  It should be cut in a style she likes.  After all, it's her hair.  

My clothing should never make her cringe.  I should dress in a style she likes.  

I should keep my body physically strong so I can accomplish things she wants me to do (yes, I'm talking about the infamous "honey do" list). 
Does it make sense?  Our bodies is not ours.  Every square inch of our bodies should be used first to please God and then to please our spouses, physically, mentally, and sexually.  Likewise her body belongs to me and should be used to please me in the same way.

1 Corinthians 7:4 not only refers to one organ pleasing another, but two complete bodies giving themselves up to become one entity that uses every part to serve and give unashamed pleasure to every other part until the two become one flesh.

So, as I use my body I must keep in mind if what I'm doing is pleasing to my wife.  I'm not just talking about doing stuff that doesn't bother her. Rather, I'm talking about using every part of my body to bring pleasure to her, using my hands, feet, ears, lips, tongue to please her in ways that she longs to be pleased rather than stopping short because it's inconvenient, or because it removes me from my comfort zone.  

Much growing will have to take place for both husband and wife to truly become one flesh in this way.  I know I have a lot of work to do.  

What about you?


  1. I loved this post! Thank you. From a woman's perspective - I think we've been tricked into believing the feminist mantra about abortion, "MY body, MY choice", and it gets spilled over into marriage, "MY vagina, MY choice." Actually, if you just contrast those two statements with their respective subjects, it's easy to see the faulty thinking.

    1. You're welcome. You're right about feminism having a major influence on how we think about our bodies. And it isn't just the vagina (or penis) but the entire body and all it's teeny tiny parts that are to be turned over for our spouse's good. At first glance this verse seems to be talking only about intercourse, but when we dig deeper God reveals things about His plan that we never would have thought of on our own. He is so good!!

  2. I've not thought of this verse in this way--or at least considered all the implications as you have done here, Thomas. I really like what you've said and feel like it's not a subject that is discussed enough in Christian marriage circles. Great job, my friend. So glad to see that this was linked up with Wedded Wed. :)

    1. Beth, thank you for providing the link-up. It's always a blessing when the Lord provides good words for me to write. And you're right, Christian marriage circles (and the church) don't discuss it enough.

  3. Loving means putting the other's needs alongside our own. Good words. Thanks. http://choosetotrust.com/2013/04/the-accepting-marriage/

  4. Wow I never thought about al of it like that but it is so true wish I knew this 4 yrs ago.So very sad that I did not know this then,wish I had a second chance now to have known this:(

    1. I'm sorry you are trouble. I'm also glad that you were blessed in some way by this post. I hope you do get another chance.