A Command for Affection

“The husband must fulfill his [marital] duty to his wife [with good will and kindness], and likewise the wife to her husband.”—1 Corinthians 7:3 (AMP)

I love how the Holy Spirit whispered these words to the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:3, liberating the ladies as equal partners when it comes to our marital obligations.

Let’s be honest. Most women differ greatly in the area of sensual desire than men. Statistically, she takes more preparation, pampering, and time than he does. We’ve been compared to crockpots in that area. It may take time to heat us up, but when reach the right temperature, we’re good to go. No wonder God clarified to the man that he must fulfill his duty with goodness and kindness. Christ already knew Satan’s tactics in this area; that he loves to tempt us into bed before marriage, and he’ll do anything to keep us out of bed (cranky kids, messy house, unmet expectations) once we’re hitched.

Sabotaging this one act of unity hinders the supernatural glue that binds us together. Why else would so many women find reasons to derail intimacy? Satan’s not a fool. He knows that if we’re not meeting our spouse’s needs (affection/kindness for ladies, physical touch for most men), he can tempt someone else to.

But what if we accepted our Father’s instructions and created a win-win for both parties? Sometimes guys, she needs a listening ear, a reaffirming note, or a gentle massage at the end of the day. Maybe she’s a mom and the best act of kindness is to surprise her with breakfast, tidy the kitchen, or encourage her to relax in a warm bath while you tuck the kids in. Her needs differ greatly, and if men knew the sacrificial influence they have in this area, they’d eagerly initiate this kind of love.

Praise God men seem easier to please in this category. Can you imagine if both parties required as much preparation? God knew better. He also knew that in order for the husband to love his wife, she’d need to learn the importance of respecting his thoughts and actions (Ephesians 5:33). Men thrive when they’re valued. Now add in the intimacy he was created for, and you have the best concoction to create one happy man; and in turn, that rejuvenated husband will gladly search out the exact thing that pleases his wife. Win-win.

Intimacy’s unique design binds us tighter than any event. Guard that moment. Make it more precious than any other. He needs you. She needs you. Sharing your affections toward one another is the ultimate way to preserve your relationship.

DIG: Remember when you were dating and all you wanted to do was please each other? Take a few minutes to write down five things your significant other did that truly made you happy.

DISCOVER: If you’re doing this exercise together, take your spouses’ list and swap stories. How did it make you feel when you read aloud those memories?

DISPLAY: That’s the glue. Those romantic surprises you cherished when you met are the things this week you should rekindle. Plan a dinner out, clean out their car, write a love letter, book a hotel, practice speaking with kindness in your tone, whatever makes your spouse feel loved, take the next week to find a way to surprise them and watch how your partner reacts. God’s on to something. We simply have to listen and enjoy His calling for marital affection.

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