Departments and Ministries
Dear Dr. Smith
15. Dear Dr. Smith,
Should married couples have sex on the Sabbath? Please be clear with your answer.
Dear Concerned Spouse,
This question has been asked at almost every workshop I have conducted. So obviously, it is a common concern among many couples. Everything we read about the Sabbath suggests that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath, in fact the Bible says so. It also suggests that the Sabbath is a period of time that is set-aside for meditation and reflection, for refreshing the soul and rendering praise to God. Therefore, should one have sex on the Sabbath? There are two schools of thought:
1) The Sabbath is a holy day of rest onto the Lord and one should not engaged in sex on the Sabbath: Those who hold to this view, argue primarily from Isaiah's warned against finding one’s own pleasure on the Sabbath:
"If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:" Isa 58:13 They conclude that Sabbath is not the day for sex because sex is finding one's own pleasure.
2) Sabbath is a holy day and Marriage is a holy institution therefore sex can be done on the Sabbath: The supporters of this view contend that both the Sabbath and Marriage were instituted by God and as such sex is definately sacred, especially since God only sanctioned sex in the institution of marriage. They further argue that the Apostle Paul gave strong support for sex on the Sabbath when he said: "Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency" 1 Cor 7:5. The argument is that couples are not required to fast and pray every Sabbath. Some even go as far as to say that since Adam and Eve were married on the sixth day, God would not require them to wait that long before consummating their marriage.
As an order of priority, the activities of the Sabbath should be ones that bring honor to God, ones that promote a spiritual and holy encounter. Since sex is an expression of love, it believe that a spouse may have the need to share his/her love for his wife/husband on the Sabbath. While I would not encourage couples to reserve sex just for the Sabbath, I would also like to encourage those who believe otherwise, to reserve judgment to God. If you feel it is wrong to engaging in sexual activities on the Sabbath, then by all means, avoid doing so, but do not stand in judgment of someone else.
An intimate relationship between a married couple is a spiritual relationship. Marriage is a holy institution; the Sabbath is a holy day. One might ask, if holy people, participate in a holy institution, sanctioned by a Holy God, on a holy day, could that act be Unholy? That's for you to decide!
Sex between married couples is intended to be a beautiful expression of intimacy. While couples may not set out to have sex, it may so happen that they choose to respond to the passion of the moment. Sexual intimacy between married couples should not be scheduled. While one moment may be more conducive than another, it should be a spontaneous response to feelings of closeness and oneness shared between married couples.