Mark Driscoll on Intimacy & 1 Corinthians 7

I was listening to some Mark Driscoll sermons not too long ago, and thought his commentary on these verses was helpful.

"Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband." -
1 Cor. 7:2

"If you have strong biological desires for intimacy, if you're a lady, you need a husband; if you're a gentleman, you need a wife. And in marriage, you don't deny one another; you have a lot of fun. It doesn't feel like one is winning and one is losing. You're both satisfied; you take care of one another. God's answer for your desires is marriage." - Driscoll

"The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does." - 1 Cor. 7:3-4
"Once you get married, you take care of one another. She wants to snuggle? You're snuggling. He wants to be together? You're gonna be together. That's biblical." -Driscoll

"Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by mutual agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of a lack of self control." - 1 Cor. 7:5
"If one person in the marriage always feels like they're on offense, and the other's always on defense, and one always has desires, and is always getting declined, Satan is going to destroy the marriage with bitterness and temptation. You should take care of each other in every way, including the physical." - Driscoll

(All quotes taken from Mark Driscoll, "Dating", from the Religion Saves and 9 Other Misconceptions sermon series.)

Definitely simple and to the point. But I thought it was worth highlighting. Any thoughts?


Terry said...

I think this is good information that all men and women, single and married can benefit from.

The first psrt, which addresses singles and temptation is important in light of the current trend of delaying marriage as lond as possible, creating more opportunitites for temptation.

The second part is important for married folk who want to have a happy marriage. Sex may not be the most important part of a marriage (as most women would say), but I'm sure a man being deprived would disagree with that perspective, as would a woman starved for affection.

Short post, but straight to the point, Jess. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Poignant. And just what I was 'meant' to come across as I was regretfully thinking of yet another old friend of mine about to be married... why didnt no one tell me all that stuff i'm reading now about living together before marriage doesnt work and bla bla.. its so unfair. I feel like no one told me. Yes it may be obvious.. but I wish someone had told me! Anyway this probably isnt making much sense so I'll sign off now.. Love your work Jess your fabulous and truly a woman whose purposeful for God xox

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Hmm, this is interesting, and seems to make at least a little sense.

Anonymous said...

good comments - It can be a challenge, as a Christian woman (and as a man I'm sure), to not deprive one another; especially during difficult times, when our pride sets in, during sickness or even in a pregnancy. Thanks for taking the time to share Driscoll's thoughts

Kim said...

If you have strong biological desires for intimacy, if you're a lady, you need a husband...

Okay then...this is me, so WHAT do I DO about it?!?!

It gets tiring (and this is not directed at you, Jess, by any means, so please know that) for people (and it's multiple) telling me that I need a husband, but then walking away. I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR 10 YEARS. I obviously don't know how or where to find one. Obviously I don't know Mark Driscoll. But it's like...shouldn't the church have SOME responsibility for shepherding it's single people in this matter?


Sorry. I'd love to hear your thoughts back on this.

(I absolutely agree on the content matter of this post, by the way. :))

Catherine R. said...

Kim, I totally agree that the church should have some kind of responsibility in shepherding singles towards each other. I am honestly quite irritated when I hear all the "gift of singleness" rhetoric. All that is is the church aligning itself with our horrible cultural trend of delaying marriage for all the wrong reasons and then putting a Christian spin on it. I am glad at least you have people telling you it's okay to want to get married! I know many Christian women feel ashamed for wanting to get married these days and I've even seen some Christian men make fun of them for it. Things are getting complicated in a bad way these days.

The frustration is still pretty fresh for me as I got married when I was 27 which is like 97 by Christian standards. : P If I can offer any piece of unsolicited advice; I will testify that Christian dating websites are nothing to be ashamed of. I met my husband on one and he is high quality. We live in tough times what with all the technology barriers between human interaction and all the ways Christianity is changing to accommodate a post-modern world.

I use to get so discouraged too when I would hear the "find a husband" thing. It is no piece of cake with the way things are today. I really think the church needs to make it a priority to get singles connecting and offer a better/ less worldly perspective on it.

Domestikate said...

Thanks Jess, just what I needed to hear today!

Anonymous said...

Kim...remember- GOD IS FAITHFUL...He already has that special someone picked out for you :)Just keep praying and, here comes the hard part, be patient :)

Jess said...

Actually, Kim, you'd probably love Mark Driscoll. On this issue at least. He's a pretty fiery character... but his views on marriage are excellent. He virtually has a church full of Seattle singles (and in contrast with the average church in America, a majority of those are young men) and he talks strongly and often about the need for marriage.

You're right, though, that the church has dropped the ball on this. Although, it's really more accurate to say that the church DROPPED the ball on this. It's the lack of discipleship and intentional parenting in OUR generation of youth that has produced a crop of spiritually immature, marriage-unready, adult-aged kids. It saddens me to see so many of my friends (you among them) desiring husbands so strongly and yet unable to have that desire fulfilled (at least at present) because the crop of potential candidates is just so low (or even nonexistent in some places).

I don't have any easy answers for you, Kim-- (obviously, or I'd have shared them in our e-mails long before now). But I continue to pray for God to give you a husband... and there's nothing wrong with things like Catherine suggested-- putting yourself in places intentionally to meet a husband. But then, ultimately faith and trust come into play- which I know you face and struggle with every day.

Wish I could hug you. It's been almost 5 years that I've been praying alongside you... and I'll keep doing that. I'm sorry words like this can hurt or wound, even while you acknowledge them as true.

Hang in there.

dcrmom said...

Jess, you are so right about this.

"You're right, though, that the church has dropped the ball on this. Although, it's really more accurate to say that the church DROPPED the ball on this. It's the lack of discipleship and intentional parenting in OUR generation of youth that has produced a crop of spiritually immature, marriage-unready, adult-aged kids. It saddens me to see so many of my friends (you among them) desiring husbands so strongly and yet unable to have that desire fulfilled (at least at present) because the crop of potential candidates is just so low (or even nonexistent in some places)."

It's such a shame, really, and I hope to raise my son differently.

These are some great quotes, and I need to remember them.

Kim said...

I didn't mean to take over your comments about this. :) (I feel sheepish now.) :)

I definitely agree with the article - I think that people use sex as a weapon too much in marriage, when it needs to be a normal part of marriage - even if it's not daily. It needs to be the norm, whatever the "norm" is for each individual couple.

I just find it difficult to hear (and I don't mean that I am hurt by it or that it's offensive) that if I have strong desires for intimacy I need a husband but then am given no avenues for which to biblically find one. I guess that's where part of my frustration lies. If all that makes sense. :)

I was so encouraged that in a meeting with a parent at school the other day, one of the other teachers mentioned to the parent that some of the skills that we needed to foster in her son (responsibility for appearance, actions, etc.) will make him a good husbnad. Yay teacher! :)

Anonymous said...

I struggle with this message, and I adore Mark Driscoll. To tell me that I must have sex with my husband whenever he wants it is akin to telling me that I must eat steamer clams with him (which he loves) even though they make me physically nauseous. Does he have the right to demand I participate in an activity that I dislike to the point of physical side-effects?
I don't understand how any woman could WANT to be intimate with a man.
Maybe God will bring healing in this area. But, if not, is my husband justified in leaving me? Committing adultery? I would hope the biblical answer is no.

Jess said...

I'm so sorry that your intimate times with your husband have been so disappointing that you don't enjoy them in any way. That sounds just awful.

Your question attacks this from the wrong angle, though-- it's not that he should have to "demand" anything. Biblically, your body is not your own. When we marry, intimacy is an inherent part of the deal-- the two becoming one flesh isn't just figurative. It does signify the oneness of our lives and our souls, but it's also explicitly literal.

I find myself wondering if you've dealt with rape, incest, or other sexual abuse in your past that would make sexual activities so loathesome to you. God made our bodies to find not only physical pleasure (from the actual nerve endings in highly sensitive areas), but also to have an emotional/psychological reaction as well as endorphines are released during intimate times. He made it for bonding a couple together.

Is your husband "justified" in leaving you or committing adultery if you refuse him in this area? Justified isn't the right word, and he would be held accountable for his sins against you and against God. But it's biblically explainable. See, when you marry, you're agreeing to the whole enchilada-- not just a buddy, not just someone to sit down and watch "The Apprentice" with, not just someone who'll cook or mow the lawn... but intimacy is a critically inherent part of the marriage relationship. That's why verse 5 of this plainly links a lack of regular intimacy with temptations and attacks from Satan. It is painful and detrimental for a spouse to be continually spurned by the one God has made them "one" with. The point is-- he shouldn't be demanding it... you should be *offering* it, and enjoying it.

I would strongly encourage you to seek out counseling and work through your views of this area of your relationship. Relationships can be made or broken by this area of intimacy, because it's such a critical part of our oneness with our husbands. Additionally, if there are things HE's doing that make this so distasteful to you, it would certainly be appropriate to go through counseling together and work through your issues so that sex can be a beautiful expression of God's designs in your marriage.

The point of my writing is this: in the situation you've described, you are the one in my mind who is not biblically justified in your actions towards your husband. To take time to heal from negative interactions in your past, or to deal with issues together in your marriage-- OK. But just to withhold sex because it's as distasteful to you as eating clams is not what your husband signed up for.

Again, I would *urge* you to seek counseling for your problems with sex-- it's not normal, and it's not good to not want to be intimate with your husband. I hope you'll seek help and receive restoration and healing from God in this area of your life.


Mrs. Anna T said...

Dear Jess, I agree with Mark Driscoll's views on intimacy in marriage, and I believe that when husband and wife seek to please each other, and are sensitive to each other's needs, mutual pleasure is greater.

As a side comment, I also met my husband on a dating website (for Jewish singles). We are both shy, not very outgoing, so what were we supposed to do? When parents aren't involved, dating websites can step in, but one must be very careful. I met some fishy types on those websites.

Peter said...

Yeah, right, Mr Driscoll. What planet do you live on?

Jess said...

Wow, Peter. Clearly you don't agree with him, but you leave us without any discernible reason why you feel that way. I think he hit it on the nose.

If you care to come back and leave real commentary, I'd be interested to hear it.

Peter said...


Sorry for my rather caustic response. My problem is not that I disagree with Driscoll's commentary. Quite the opposite, in fact, and I commend him. I was commenting, rather badly as it turned out, on the large gulf between the Biblical truth Driscoll is proclaiming and the reality of too many Christian marriages. If women were reminded of these verses as much as we men have Ephesians 5:25 rammed down our throats, maybe I'd be less cynical. I'm not holding my breath.


Jess said...

Well we've talked about it a lot here, Peter. And I've seen it (these verses) talked about more and more in the homeschooling forums and message boards I'm a part of.

Chin up... more and more people are hearing this. Whether or not they're acting on it, they're hearing it. And hearing the Word of God is always a good thing-- acting on it is even better.