Monday, October 15, 2012
Day 15—Whose body is it? (Stewards Only, …Part II)
On Day 13, the topic discussion centered on our bodies being living sacrifices to God. Although it may appear that today's passage may not currently touch everyone in your family as it is directed toward the married person, it is still worth consideration.
I Corinthians 7:3-4—"The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife."
Now you may be asking, "How in the world am I supposed to talk about that to my children?" We will get to that. However, let us start with you. Physical contact between a man and a woman is to be limited, if not strictly guarded, before marriage; yet after marriage, not only are a husband and wife allowed physical intimacy, they are commanded to have physical intimacy. A married person's body is not his or hers alone any more. It belongs equally between the spouses to be enjoyed by both—a gift to be appreciated and cherished. Going beyond the fulfilling of a physical need, this trusted intimacy helps bond the couple together in an exclusive way that no others are allowed to trespass. Married life can be hard. Have kids? Then it is even more stressful. Sometimes the bond created in these private moments is the only earthly thing that keeps a couple talking to each other. Thus, if you are married, your body is not really your own.
What about the single adult? For those comments, check in tomorrow. Back to the married person: Does this then mean your spouse can do whatever he/she wants to do with your body? Let us look at a couple of other passages.
Ephesians 5:28-29—"In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—"
Although these particular verses address husbands, I believe it can be applied to wives as well. You are to lovingly respect and care for your spouse's body as much as you do your own. There is no room for abuse or unreasonable demands in the relationship. The example given relates husbands' caring for their wives the same way Christ cares for the church. That is a selfless example. For more details on Christ's love for the church, read all of chapter 5.
Matthew 7:12—"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."
Not only does this passage guard against abuse (or anyone's perception that abuse is acceptable), but also it brings in the requirement to listen to and respond to your spouse's wishes and/or desires for and/or against a particular behavior. Don't we all want to be heard and given proper consideration? Then that is what we should provide to our spouse, which sometimes means not getting everything we want.
In no way am I advocating anyone to be a "doormat!" Yet, when this type of consideration is given, no one should be put into a position where he or she is feeling someone is taken advantage of him or her.
Your turn: Can you discuss this topic in detail with all your children? Of course, not. You would scare your younger children, and your teens would probably hide under their covers pretending to be asleep until you go away. On the other hand, you can discuss the need for your children to be prepared to consider the desires and wishes of their future spouses and to be willing to not get what they want the way they want it all the time. You do not need to give sexual references.
Stick with something that is relevant to them, such as picking out a movie to watch together. You know your kids have fought about that! As you referee the next movie fight and help teach them problem resolution skills, remind them that these skills (including putting others first) will be valuable all of their lives, especially when they get married. They are not going to always want to watch the same movie that their spouses want to watch. It is not just one spouse's choice; it is a choice shared—a choice that belongs to both.
Later, when they are married, they will be able to make the comparison between sharing movies and sharing their bodies all on their own—and also hopefully with help from their daily Bible reading. See, the attitude of not being the sole-owner of our choices (bodies) does touch your family even now.
If you would like more ideas on helping your children (and yourself) develop a Biblical worldview or to find out how to win a Wal-Mart gift card, go to the 31 Days Giveaway (Intro. Part II) post for more Touching Families blog links. If you want to check out other 31 Days' topics, see The Nester.