God-given Sexual Parameters Within the Marriage Relationship

In today’s text (Eph 5:1-7), we primarily look at sexual prohibitions.  God prohibits sexual immorality and impurity (that is: all sex outside of a marital relationship between one man and one woman).  Rather, than delve deeper into these prohibitions against sexual immorality, which have already been well covered in today’s sermon, let us consider our own potential sexual parameters (or limitations even) within the marital relationship.  Keep in mind that we have been called to glorify God in all that we do (1 Cor 10:31).  That applies in this arena too.  My Marriage Counseling professor at seminary, Stuart Scott, gathered the following principles of limitation for a married couple’s sexual activity from Scripture.  I have taken the liberty to expand upon them.

(1) Unselfish love must always be the motive (1 Cor 13:4-7).  Love does not insist on its own way.  Love is not about what you can get, but about what you can give. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

(2) Your relationship in this matter must be based on mutual agreement, preferring the other (Phil 2:1-4). Do nothing out of selfishness, but regard the other as better than yourself. Let each of you look not only to his or her own interests, but also to the interests of others (in this case, your spouse).

(3) Apply the principle of mutual authority (1 Cor 7:2-5): your body does not belong to you; the Bible wants you to flee temptation by giving one another your conjugal rights.  Unless you have mutually agreed to refrain for a time (for the purpose of prayer), both should be willing based on the other’s perceived need.

(4) Do not cause your spouse to violate his/her conscience by asking them to do something sinful (Rom 14:23).

(5) Demonstrate self-control in between your time together.  In other words, there must be no self-fulfillment (Prov 5:19).  This robs you of intimacy and an ability to see your sexual relationship as self-giving, rather than self-taking.