“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.” -1 Corinthians 7:5
The Apostle Paul gives two reasons why couples should not withhold intimacy from a each other.
1) “Defraud ye not one the other” – He equates it to defrauding your spouse. Bluntly, Paul makes the case that withholding intimacy is equivalent to stealing. This is why he would use the phrase “due benevolence” in verse 3. Benevolence is owed to both parties involved simply because they have covenanted together to each other in a marriage contract.
2) “that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” – Withholding intimacy can often open a door for temptation. If a person is not being treated pleasantly at home, Satan will definitely make sure that someone outside of the home acts pleasant to that individual.
Two final observations:
First, not all temptation comes because a home is unhappy. There is not enough time to cover every possible variable that exists. This is simply a Bible based exhortation that helps safe guard from some material problems.
Lastly, this principle spans further past the context of 1 Corinthians 7. Though important, a marriage must be more than just physical intimacy. This principle also applies to emotional and spiritual benevolence that should not be withheld wrongfully.
Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Originally published March 2017