“Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:5 NLT)
I find that most Christian men love the verse 1 Corinthians 7:5. We feel a sense of encouragement when we read the affirmation on how important sex is to marriage. We know sex brings our marriage connection, and intimacy and so much more. Many men, especially when sexual frequency is tested in their marriage, cling to this verse as a life line.
Kate recently wrote, “Emotionally Protecting Your Man” and one of the thoughts I had when reading her title was, “oh no is this going to be telling wives how to get their husband’s to be emotional?” Fortunately, it wasn’t that post, and Kate did a great job of encouraging wives to understand ‘man emotions’. So what does 1 Corinthians 7:5 have to do with emotionally protecting you wife?
Many men would agree that sexual intimacy is a life blood of their marriage. With it removed their marriage is very tested. But guys, we have to recognize that emotional connection is the fuel that allows for sexual intimacy.
Let me say that again, for your wife, emotional intimacy is fuel for sex.
I don’t like the idea of rewriting scripture passages, but I don’t think the intention of this verse would be substantively changed if it said, “Husband’s do not deprive your wife of emotional relations, unless you both agree to refrain from emotional intimacy for a time”.
What Is Emotional Intimacy Anyway?
I know that some guys reading this have absolutely no clue what I mean by emotional intimacy. I’ll admit it isn’t as easy to define as sex. There is not a clear-cut, yes it happened moment. However, it is as important to the health of your marriage.
Emotional intimacy is the deep connection you feel with another person when you take time to share your thoughts, ideas, goals, dreams and yes even feelings. Here is the thing it isn’t exactly a simple thing to sit down one evening and “do” emotional intimacy. It’s difficult, time-consuming, and vulnerable.
Refuel Your Wife in 3 Steps
So you recognize that you need to spend some more time pursuing your wife emotionally. Great! Now the question is how!
Step 1: Time
Distance happens at times in every marriage. Busy schedules, work demands, kids, sicknesses, and a million other things can come at times and take time from your marriage. Emotional intimacy takes time. Without it, those emotions will just get shoved to the side and drain your wife. The key here is communication. If you know that you have a crazy busy week, then talk about how and when you are going to create time for your spouse! Make time for talk, and you will be refueling your wife.
Step 2: Stop Denying it
Listen, back when you were dating you were Casanova. Bringing out all these lovie dovie emotions all that time. We all do it, when we are courting we somehow tap into some inner emotional pool that quickly gets covered as soon as we say, “I do”. Guy we need to stop denying that we have emotions. Maybe we’ve hidden them for years, but there are there, Kate encouraged our wives to protect them, so it’s time to dig in and find them again. Purposely not sharing your heart for any reason is wrong. Look guys, this verse doesn’t say, “as long as your marriage is going great, make sure you are having sex”, so in our bit of a twist I think we can accurately say the same goes for emotional intimacy. The fact that things are difficult in your marriage is no excuse for denying your marriage emotional intimacy.
Step 3: Start Listening
Once you’ve made time, and rediscovered that pool of emotions that you have, it is time that you start to really listen to your wife’s emotions. You need to become a student of your wife, and you need to get an “A+”. What makes her happy? What makes her sad? What confuses her? What makes her feel weak? You need to be looking for these answers in what she says and how she acts. Be a student of her emotions and you will fill her emotional tank!
Three things, Time, Open Up and Listen. Are they easy? Heck no! But hey, we are men, we didn’t sign up for easy!