“Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:5 NKJV)
If we take Paul’s advice in this passage of scripture, then our attention should only be withdrawn from our spouses with consent. Other than that we should be emotionally, socially, physically, and relationally available at all times. This one concept is vitally important to marriages because any disconnection or depravity in the relationship leads to temptation from Satan as we seek to get our needs met.
We need to talk about and agree on the activities we engage in outside of our relationships. Consenting conversations will actually help bring those activities within the secure confines of marriage. These are the conversations that keep us together.
For example: if my wife wants to go with “the girls” she shares it with me and we discuss it to insure its not a strain on our relationship. What do I mean by “strain”? Well, if we’ve both been super busy and haven’t spent much time together during the week, then it’s a real sacrifice for us to give up our time together for her to go out. In that case we would need to mutually consent on that activity.
And it goes both ways. For the sake of my marriage I humble myself and discuss with my wife the plans I make to go places with my friends. I’m not asking for permission. I’m protecting my marriage and seeking consent. Is it a sacrifice? Yes, but my wife and our marriage are worth every sacrifice.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,” (Ephesians 5:25 NKJV)
Some may feel like that’s too much and it’s taking away from their individuality and freedom. I will say this: individuals who are always striving to maintain their freedom in marriage eventually end up completely free in divorce.