Tactic #9: Love Your Wife

by Derek Brown

Read our other “Tactic” articles below!
Tactics: Waging Wise Warfare for Your Sexual Purity – A New Series
Tactic #1: Fight From Your Justification, Not For It
Tactic #2: Recognize that Your Soul is at Stake
Tactic #3: Don’t Despise God’s Good Gift
Tactic #4: Anticipate the Battle
Tactic #5: Anticipate Progress
Tactic #6: Prioritize Bible Reading, Meditation, and Prayer
Tactic #7: Go to Jesus When You Fall
Tactic #8: Find a Wife

If you are married, God has given you a powerful weapon in the battle for purity. Regular sexual intimacy with your wife is one of God’s means to help you avoid temptation to sexual sin (1 Cor 7:2-4). So important is this aspect of the marriage relationship that Paul commands its regularity and instructs couples to never deprive each other of sexual intimacy unless it is for a short, agreed-upon time for the purpose of prayer. After this brief pause in the sexual relationship, couples should come back together precisely to avoid temptation to sexual sin (1 Cor 7:5).

The Goodness of Marital Sexual Intimacy
The book of Proverbs also connects marital sexual enjoyment to the avoidance of sin. Immediately after Solomon lists the various plights of the man who wanders outside his marital covenant to cavort with another woman (Prov 5:7-14), he exhorts his son to “Drink water from [his] own cistern” (Prov 5:15). Solomon then goes on to speak rather straightforwardly about the joys of marital intimacy and the pleasure a man should find in it:

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with the forbidden woman, and embrace the bosom of an adulteress

Proverbs 5:18-20

A joy-filled, self-giving, consistent sexual relationship with one’s wife is not only an exquisite gift that God intends for us to enjoy; it is also a potent weapon against sexual sin.

Love is More Than Sexual Intimacy
Sexual intimacy, however, is not the sum of the marriage relationship: it is the consummation of it. Sexual intimacy, though wonderful and something to be pursued often, involves only a small percentage of a married couple’s time with each other. Most of married life is lived outside the marriage bed.

So, lust’s grip will be weakened as we love our wives with a holistic love (Eph 5:25-33). When our whole beings are involved in loving our wives—our thoughts, intentions, plans, words, and bodies—we will find that our inward affections and sexual desires will be more consistently aimed in the direction of our wife and away from the forbidden woman (i.e., anyone not our wife).

Again, this doesn’t mean that temptation evaporates when we love our wives with a full-orbed love. We must beware of making one particular practice (or tactic) the solution to our struggle with purity. As I noted in the introductory article to this series, sin utilizes a multifaceted scheme to overthrow our defenses. We must be ready to meet sin’s varied approaches with an equally diverse resistance.

Nevertheless, by loving our wives with a Christlike, well-rounded love, capped off by regular sexual intimacy, we will be walking in accordance with God’s design and will for marriage. The fruit of this obedience will be growing affection for our wives that will help us direct our steps away from sexual sin. When our daily thoughts are toward our wife and her happiness, and when we are regularly planning to bless her with surprise dates and gifts, our attention won’t be as easily captured by other women.

Make Time to Plan for Her Joy
Such love, however, takes great intentionality. We don’t drift into Christlike love for our wives. Yes, God is at work in us, but this spiritual power leads us to work out our salvation and apply ourselves to thoughtful obedience (Phil 2:12-13). Practically, I find it useful to set aside time each week to think about my wife, pray for her and her walk with the Lord, ponder how I can pursue her joy and earthly happiness, list out various items and activities she enjoys, and make plans for dates and other outings. Actually, disciplined time of deliberate reflection and planning is crucial for me loving my wife with a holistic love.

Regardless of how you organize your week, the cultivation of a well-rounded love for your wife will require you to make space in your life to think over how to care practically for her. But this labor will pay off. As we love our wives with this well-rounded, Christlike love, our Savior will be glorified, our wives will be blessed, and our hearts will be guarded against temptation to sexual sin.           

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