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Bible Commentary Adam Clarke

Withholding Sexual Intimacy from a Spouse* (A Sin of Omission) - Download PDF Article

Sexual intimacy in a marriage is not an option, as many spouses believe but a commandment from Yahweh. The marriage covenant relationship is weakened or broken and in many cases destroyed because a spouse, for one reason or another, elects out of sexual intimacy with their companion. Their reasons may be justified in their sight but will never be justified in the sight of Yahweh. Rather it is recorded as sin on their record. The union of becoming one flesh, as Yahweh designed marriage to be, is interrupted, discontinued or destroyed when sexual intimacy is denied or withheld. The danger of this sin of omission is that it is not recognized as a sin but simply a spousal choice.

(This article is not to those individuals who have mechanical or physiological problems in the area of sexual intimacy. These individuals have the heart and willingness to keep Yahweh’s commandments but presently lack the ability to meet the physical needs of their spouse. These people need to seek physical and mental healing from Yahweh where all things are possible and or professional assistance. The healing of Abraham and Sarah are great examples of the deliverance Yahweh can provide.)

Sin is missing the mark or an absolute standard or law. We generally look at sin as something we are not to commit as is revealed in the Ten Commandments. The phrase, ‘Thou shall not,’ is used nine times in Exodus 20:3-17 and is instructing us in what we are not to do. Keeping the Sabbath and honoring our father and mother are also commandments but rather than forbidding us from taking an action, they require us to perform an action or duty. If we elect not to honor our father and our mother we commit a sin of omission. Omission means the non-performance or neglect of an action or duty.

Yahweh has commanded married couples to have sexual intimacy; “But, on account of fornications, let, each man, have, his own wife, and, each woman, have, her own husband: Unto the wife, let the husband render what is her due, and, in like manner, the wife also, unto the husband,–– The wife, over her own body, hath not authority, but the husband, and, in like manner, the husband also, over his own body, hath not authority, but the wife. Be not depriving one another––unless perhaps by consent for a season, that ye may have leisure for prayer, and, again, may be together,––lest Satan be tempting you by reason of your want of self–control” (1 Cor. 7:2-5). Sexual intimacy is an issue of the heart; depriving a spouse of this communion is a hardening of one’s heart; a rebellion against Yahweh resulting in a sin of omission.

If I refuse to daily honor my parents, which would be a sin of omission, then I sin daily against Yahweh. I am not only a sinner but also a hypocrite, an actor before my brothers and sisters in Christ as I go to Church unrepentant of my disobedience to Yahweh. Yahshua spoke of this sin of omission; “For, Yahweh, said––Honour thy father and thy mother, and––He that revileth father or mother, let him, surely die! But, ye, say––Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother––A gift! Whatsoever, out of me, thou mightest be profited, in nowise, shall honour his father or his mother––and so ye have cancelled, the word of Yahweh, for the sake of your, tradition. Hypocrites! well prophesied concerning you, Isaiah, saying––This people, with the lips, do, honour, me, while, their heart, far off, holdeth from me; But, in vain, do they pay devotions unto me, teaching, for teachings, the commandments of men” (Mt. 15:4-9). Many spouses also think sexual intercourse is a gift that they give to their spouse, once in a while as they feel inspired and or charitable.

If I refuse to have sexual intimacy with my spouse, then I sin daily against Yahweh. I am not only a sinner but also a hypocrite, as were the Pharisees. This daily sin of omission is no different from daily committing adultery. Neither sin is going to physically harm another person or property. Let us compare sexual intercourse to a food dish, such as lobster. One spouse may not like lobster at all or only rarely enjoy it, while the other spouse daily dreams of eating lobster. Since you do not enjoy lobster, you choose not to offer it to your spouse. You are suffering no loss because you do not even enjoy lobster but your spouse is being deprived. Are you going to forbid your spouse from eating lobster with another person since you do not like it anyway?  In other words, are you going to allow your spouse to have sexual intercourse with another person, who also enjoys sexual intimacy, since sexual intimacy does not appeal to you? Or are you the person who will forbid your spouse from having sexual intimacy with you and anyone else? What have you become? Are you, who have been created in the image and likeness of Yahweh, an imitator of Yahweh? Nay, “He, at least, who his own Son did not spare, but in behalf of us all delivered him up, how shall he not also, with him, all things upon us in favor bestow” (Rm. 8:32). Many spouses would say that they would die for their spouse but how can this be if they will not even give them sexual pleasure a few minutes of a day or of a week or of a month? Is it such a monumental endeavor to give sexual intimacy to your spouse; “But, whoso hath this world’s goods [a body that can deliver sexual pleasure], and beholds his brother [spouse] having, need, and shuts up his tender affections from him, how, is, the love of Yahweh, abiding in him” (1 Jn. 3:17)?

Do you daily sin against Yahweh in this area of your life? Ask your spouse! If they confirm your sin against them and Yahweh then repent, which means to change direction and start obeying the commandment of Yahweh, which is to render sexual intimacy to your spouse according to their needs and not your needs! You will be rewarded for your obedience and you will be well-pleasing in Yahweh’s eyes, an example to other couples of what marriages can become. The heavenly host and your spouse will sing your praises!

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(*When quoting scriptures, from the Rotherham Emphasized Bible New Testament, I will substitute the Hebrew word Yahshua for Jesus, Yahweh and Elohim for God and the LORD and Anointed for Christ.)

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