My boyfriend, who believes in God and Jesus, but is unsure of Christianity in general, recently became more devoted and started praying. However, they just found 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, which says:
“3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
They then said they were “very distraught” and so was I. I had forgotten about this passage entirely and after rereading it I felt upset. I read a commentary that seemed to make sense, that St. Paul wasn’t advocating rape but saying that sex in marriage should be for the other person and not based on your own pleasure, but every time I tried to come up with a reasonable explanation my boyfriend just said “I don’t know”. Now I just know, since they’re not very strong in their faith, they’re gonna stop praying and not be devoted to God again. And that really sucks, and I really don’t want it to happen.
So my question here is: why did St. Paul have to write these ridiculous things? Did he really mean the reasonable explanations that can be drawn from them? And if he did, why did he phrase them so badly? It feels almost like he was trying to push people away from Christianity, especially in the misogynistic things in his epistles.