Last week in our study group discussion we looked at 1 Corinthians 7: 1-10, we used the message version of these verses because I like how the verses are worded. The following verse is one that strikes me every time I read it and it has caused me to view my marriage differently.
1 Corinthians 7:3 The Message – The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality – the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband.
The context of this verse is Paul answering a question about sex, and I agree with what he is saying, but I feel that this verse has so much more to say about a marriage than just what happens in bed. If you take the word “bed” out of the verse, it opens up a whole new set of possibilities. These things should be happening in bed, but they should also be happening out of bed.
Some definitions for mutual from Merriam-Webster are: directed by each toward the other, having the same feelings one for the other, and characterized by intimacy.
This verse has caused me to meditate on the mutuality of my marriage on more than one occasion. I have asked myself: Are Greg and I are on the same page? Are we moving in a direction that is toward each other while moving toward God’s plan for us? Is our marriage characterized by intimacy? The answers to these questions are not always easy to come by or to define, they ebb and flow as we go through life together.
I would like to say that the answers to these questions is always yes, but that would be fluff!
Enter the rest of the verse, “the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. I love how this is worded on so many levels! The word seek is used, and to me that means purpose and putting forth an effort, I am often reminded of the scene in fireproof where there is discussion about Kirk Cameron studying his wife.
Some definitions for seek from Merriam-Webster are: to search for, to try to find, to try to get or achieve, and to ask for.
Seeking characterizes an action, a purposeful journey to find something and maybe just to ask for what you are seeking. At any rate, I feel that this means I should be being more deliberate about finding out what satisfies my husband, not just out of bed, but in it also. Sometimes I will spin my wheels wondering why my husband didn’t enjoy something I did or didn’t notice. I will get upset sometimes thinking he just doesn’t care.
But then I have to ask myself, “Am I speaking his language?”
Did I take the time not only to seek out things that satisfy him, but to determine what satisfy means to him! I know that my husband and I would have very different answers if asked that question and I feel it is my responsibility to try to figure out those answers for both of us. Not only should I seek out what satisfies my husband, but I should be able to answer him about what satisfies me if and when he comes seeking.
The last tidbit in this verse is that ladies are not first.
I think this verse is worded purposefully by putting the man seeking first, and then the wife seeking. The man is to act as the head of his household and to lead by example. I feel both of these qualities are captured here with how this verse is worded, it gives direction to men on leading first and in what they can be leading to achieve something they long for.
If mutuality is achieved in a marriage, I think mutuality in the marriage bed will follow. If mutuality is achieved in the marriage bed, I think mutuality in the marriage will follow.