Mutual Affection in Marriage (1 Cor. 7:3-4)

According to surveys conducted yearly in the United States, most people want to get married and look forward to it. At the same time, what drives many couples to get into relationships is the sexual attraction that they feel for each other and the driving desire to consummate their connection. In fact, this drive is so widespread—not only in Western countries—that a culture of ‘hook-ups’ (casual sex without having a committed relationship) has become customary, and most people getting married these days have already had sex with several partners.

Interestingly, once married, sex seems to be one of the most prominent areas of conflict for couples. Invariably, one partner seems interested in having sexual intercourse more frequently than does the other, becoming the principal cause for the low levels of marital satisfaction experienced by many.

In this passage of the Scripture, the apostle Paul aims to help married couples understand God’s intent for sexual intercourse as a unifying gift to them, and their responsibility for developing sexual patterns that are mutually satisfying and a blessing to each other. The quicker couples understand the value of sexual intercourse as something they do for each other rather than a commodity they demand from their partner—making patience and kindness central to this process—the more fulfilling their marriage will become, and the easier they will honor God.