When my bride and I were in Paris the first time, I was so excited about seeing all the sights that I did not realize she had not eaten since 6AM until she reminded me at 7:30PM that she was hungry. Breakfast that morning was a piece of toast and a small cup of coffee. Being a gracious man, I offered her a sandwich from one of the street venders along The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Their sandwiches looked fine to me. Her reply was, “I need something with some fat in it. I’m starving.” What I needed at that moment was a renewed mind. I was being selfish. Not one of my most debonair moments to say the least. We did find a great Italian restaurant that evening before going to the Eiffel Tower to watch the New Year ring in.
I know I should fast more often than I have in the past because each time I did I was able to hear more clearly from God than before. I have not fasted recently, not because I did not want to hear from God but fasting just makes my stomach hurts. I get really hungry. Our bodies must have food (fuel) to keep going. We can only go about seven days without water and about 45-60 days without food. But why would we ever want to find out how long we can fast until we die?
Now, what does this have to do with your marriage? How can fasting relate to our marriages?
In 1 Corinthians 7:1-6 Paul tells us, "Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them." The Message Bible
You may have noticed the part about abstaining (fasting) from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it? And that period is to be for the purpose of prayer and fasting? Then we are to come back together again (sexual intimacy). Why? Because Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. The amount of time abstaining must be agreed upon, this is vital to your marriage. Don’t let sexual temptation even get close to your mind. We must hold those thoughts captive.
There are many who deprive their spouse of sex for different reasons:
· Too tired – try getting to bed earlier so there will be quality intimate time.
· I’m mad at him/her – We must not go to bed in our anger. “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27. If we go to bed angry with our spouse the devil will tell you all the negative things about them. Don’t give Satan the opportunity. Rebuke him. Ephesians 4 comes before Ephesians 5, the chapter that deals with marriage more specifically than any other in the Bible.
· It may be a control issue. Which can lead to the next bullet point.
· Punishment for not doing something or for doing something your spouse did not like. Maybe for not doing something the way they thought it should be done. Sex should never be used as a punishment. God intended it to bring us together not push us apart.
· Low sexual desire. Please see your doctor about this. It could be your hormones are out of sync. It could also be that you have not forgiven your spouse, or yourself, for something that happened. Forgive so that you may be forgiven, Matthew 6:14. Forgiving ourselves is vital to the marriage relationship.
Whatever the reason one spouse uses to withhold sex this is not what God intended. By withholding sex from your spouse you are giving Satan the full opportunity to bombard their head with thoughts that are not productive and not from God. Such as: This is the best your marriage will ever be, just get sex from someone else, pornography will not hurt my marriage, my spouse must not love me anymore, my spouse must be having an affair – either emotional or physical, what is wrong with my body, etc.
Why men do not want to fast? Especially from sex. Sex makes us feel like a man. It shows us that we are loved by our bride. It is an event. Sex to a man is like food. Yes, we ate yesterday but we are hungry again. Please do not punish us for this. This is a trait given to your husband by God. I believe the reason is so that your husband can be away from you for a period of time, war for example, and still want to come back to you. Not to someone else.
Here are some symptoms you may see if you go more than a couple of days without food. Can you see any correlation to a lack of food and a lack of sex for your husband?
Bad decision making
Decreased sex drive
If a person goes long enough without food they will become very weak and eventually die. I do not believe anyone ever died from a lack of sex. However, I do believe many marriages have died from sexual malnourishment.
If your spouse is always wondering when sex will happen again, just cuddling will be torture to them.
Without sexual intimacy in a marriage, the marriage will become very weak and it may eventually die. Why take the risk with your marriage?
Our marriages are worth dying for, but we have to die to self for it to be the way God designed.