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When you thought about getting married and when you anticipated having sex with your husband, did you ever think about how often you’d be saying “no” to him? I know of a few women who decided before they married that they would never refuse their husbands and who have, admirably, stuck to their promise. For the rest of us, though, “no” is a word we use far more than we ever would have thought possible (or desirable). Maybe we say “no” with our words, whether kind or gracious; maybe we say “no” with our attitudes or body language; maybe we say it with our wardrobe or simply by going to bed long before he is tired. We grow adept at finding new and creative ways of refusing sex.
We are not completely comfortable with rejecting him but at the same time, he wants so much! Can’t he see that I’m too tired? Can’t he see that I’m just not in the mood? Can’t he back off just for tonight (and maybe tomorrow night…and the night after that…)?
In chapter one we touched on what sex means to your husband and its importance in married life and in chapter two we tried to figure out what sex is all about anyway. In this chapter I want to focus on an area in which many women harm their husbands. I want to talk about how a wife is to respond to her husband’s advances. How does the Bible want her to view sex? Is she never to reject him? Is she called always to have sex when he is in the mood? What does God want from us in all of this?
You are probably familiar with these words from 1 Corinthians 7: “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer, but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” According to this passage, under what circumstances are you allowed to stop having sex? By mutual agreement, for a limited time and to devote yourselves to prayer. (This is why you always say “no,” right? Because you want to pray? “Not tonight, honey, I think we need to pray…”) Take out the exception clause and it reads as a straightforward command: “Do not deprive one another…so that Satan may not tempt you.”
As I understand it, this command does not necessarily speak to saying “no” to sex tonight; it refers to rejection. Let’s draw a line between these two things. The inability to have sex tonight is not the same as actually depriving him (perhaps you are feeling sick or you actually do have a bad headache or you’re just absolutely worn out in every way). You can turn him down for noble reasons and he will survive until tomorrow. But what may be sin in your heart and what may tempt him to sin is your rejection. You can say “no” without rejecting him. But do you? Today let’s talk about rejection and see what rejection does to you and what it does to your husband (Challies, False Messages, Pg. 13).