The Marital Rights of the Wife

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:3 ESV)

Husbands Encouraged

Conjugal rights, or sexual rights, are a protection for the benefit of the wife as well as the husband. Paul encourages husbands to make sure they fulfill their conjugal responsibilities to their wives first and then, secondly, encourages wives similarly.

Every word, and the placement of every word, in the Bible is strategic. Young’s Literal Translation puts it like this, “To the wife let the husband the due benevolence render,” (emphasis added). The sentence starts “To the wife” suggesting that husbands were neglecting their wives in this area in Corinth.

This verse makes it clear that the conjugal rights of a wife are not to be neglected by her husband. She is to receive the attention she deserves from her husband.

Not Just for the Husband

Yes, the husband usually has the stronger sex drive although not always. But his sexual aggression should not be mistaken for needing sex more than his wife.

The sex drive per se has nothing to do with sexual need and fulfillment. Sex fulfills many things and we make a mistake of thinking that it’s physical only. When we think this way then we wrongly conclude that sex is primarily for the man since he has the greater sex drive.

But sex is more than physical. It involves the body, soul, and spirit. Sex is a renewal of a spiritual covenant commitment, brings order to the chaos of the day, reconnects the disconnected husband and wife, fulfills an intense emotional need in both, and re-establishes an exclusive relationship – and so much more.

The problem is when wives don’t generally think of sex as a need or at least as a need like their husband. God’s Word suggests sexual intimacy is a need of the wife as well as if the husband.

God’s Moral Law and Conjugal Rights

Let’s look at a curious passage in Exodus. This is God’s moral law concerning the conjugal rights of the wife. It is not binding now of course but clearly expresses what God considers right and just about a wife’s conjugal rights.

If he marries another woman, she retains all her full rights to meals, clothing, and marital relations. If he won’t do any of these three things for her, she goes free, for nothing. (Exodus 21:7-11 for context MSG emphasis added)

In summary, if a man bought a Hebrew woman as a slave to be his wife and then decided to marry again, he could not diminish her conjugal rights but would have to maintain the same frequency of sex as before he took a second wife.

For example, if the first wife was used to sex twice a week then he was obligated to continue the same frequency. If he didn’t maintain the same frequency, she could go to the authorities with her complaint.

This is the Old Covenant, of course, but it points out God’s concern for the wife’s conjugal rights.

Bible Thought: God is very concerned about the conjugal rights of wives.

Prayer: Father, help me to see sex from a biblical perspective instead of from the perspective of today’s culture. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Just do it,

Rene & Gloria

“I Do” Means “I Will”

26470436 - peerless decorative feather  vector“I Do!” Means “I Will!”

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Corinthians 7:3,4 ESV)

Remember saying, “I do”?

Did any of us understand the sexual implications of that promise on our wedding day? Certainly not many, and not fully, we suspect. We didn’t.

The moment you said “I do” you gave up a lot of your rights and took on a lot of responsibilities by your own free will. Your conjugal rights became your spouse’s responsibility and your spouse’s conjugal rights became your responsibility.

When you get married, in effect, you lay aside many of your rights and take up many responsibilities for your spouse. Primarily, you became responsible for your spouse’s sex life when you said “I do”. Whoa, I didn’t plan on that!

For example, the moment you are brought into the Kingdom by God, you are no longer your own but bought with a price by the shed blood of Jesus. (See 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 ESV) In a similar way, the moment you said “I do”, you are no longer your own.

“For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” You are now part of a unique union called “one flesh” by God.

At the moment of your vow, and subsequent consummation, your body was united to our spouse’s body in “one flesh”. This is your new status.

Your status was “single” but now your status is “one flesh” from God’s perspective.

Each spouse is now responsible, not only for their own body, but for their lover’s body as well. On the other side, each spouse now freely surrenders their body to their spouse in fulfillment of their wedding vow, “I do!”.

The responsibility now is to nourish and encourage each other, never to put down or abuse.

Giving control of your body to someone else is not natural, it is supernatural! We can’t do this on our own. We need Jesus and his gospel. Be patient, pray and trust God.

Bible Thought: The moment you said, “I do”, you gave up many rights and took on many responsibilities.

Prayer: Father, help me to fulfill my responsibilities toward my spouse with kindness and love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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