Why unity in marriage has more to do with the wife than the husband

Contrary to popular teachings about unity in marriage, the Bible teaches that unity in marriage is primarily dependent on the actions, reactions and attitudes of a wife toward her husband and only secondarily on the behavior of the husband.

There are a lot of concepts that are given in marriage books today to try and help couples achieve unity.  Some of these concepts, like unconditional love and forgiveness would even be supported by the Bible.  But unfortunately, as with many other things – most teachings today on how to have unity in marriage mix truth with error.

God wants couples to unify by becoming one flesh in marriage

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The Bible tells us about the unity God expects there to be in marriage:

“10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;”

Psalm 45:10 (KJV)

“7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Mark 10:7-9 (KJV)

When a husband and wife come together in marriage – this new relationship takes precedent over all other earthly relationships.  Before they were married their greatest earthly relationship was with their parents and now it is with each other.

There are three important concepts about this unity in marriage that Christ talks about:

“And they twain SHALL be one flesh”

 “so then they ARE no more twain, but one flesh”

“What therefore God hath joined together, let NOT man put asunder.”

Biblically speaking in marriage, a husband and wife are one flesh from the moment of their marriage covenant, yet they are to be becoming one flesh more and more the longer they are married and they are not to stop being one flesh as long as they both live.

In a way, this concept of being one flesh in marriage mirrors our salvation.  From the moment, we are saved we receive Christ’s righteousness and are declared justified by God.  But the Bible tells us “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) exhorting us to progressive sanctification.  In essence the Bible is telling us “You are holy, so be holy”.  In the same way, the Bible tells couples in marriage “You are one flesh, so be one flesh”.

In the next section I will talk about how we can practically make our marriage a true “one flesh” relationship as God desires it to be.

5 Steps to becoming one flesh in marriage

Below I have outlined Biblical concepts that I believe will bring the true unity that God desires for all Christian marriages.  As I outline these steps you may see some things you have never seen in a marriage book or article and you will also see some things missing that you often see in books and articles on unity in marriage.  At the end of these steps I will compare and contrast the Biblical model of unity in marriage with the modern-day model of unity in marriage.

Step 1 – A husband and wife are to have sexual relations on a regular basis

“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”

I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

The act of marriage or the consummation of marriage is sexual union.  This is the most literal meaning of the Biblical phrase “one flesh”.  Sex is to occur regularly in marriage.  An interesting biological fact of sex is that it releases two bonding hormones (oxytocin and vasopressin) which God designed to draw a couple closer together.

On this subject of sexual relations in marriage Christian and non-Christian counselors are usually in fully agreement.  The regularity of sexual relations is the first indicator of how healthy a relationship is. While it is possible to have regular sexual relations but still have disunity in a marriage – it is impossible to have full unity in a marriage without regular relations.

Step 2 – A husband is to know his wife

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

For husbands this is the first step in cultivating oneness with their wife. A husband cannot love his wife as God intended without knowing her and this involves him talking with her and spending time with her.  God thought it was so important for a man to get to know his wife that in the law he gave to Moses for Israel he gave this rule for newlywed couples:

“When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.”

Deuteronomy 24:5 (KJV)

God literally forbade men from going off to war or going away on business trips for the first year of their marriage.  Couples literally had a one year honey moon in Israel!

So, this leads us to another question – why does a husband need to know his wife? The answer is found for us in the last part of I Peter 3:7 “that your prayers be not hindered.” What God is basically saying is “Husbands if you do not hear the concerns, needs and requests of your wife God will not hear your concerns, needs and requests”.

God wants all authorities whether they be Kings, governors, parents, masters, or employers to hear the concerns, needs and requests of those under them. This does not mean that a husband must give his wife whatever she wants or makes the decisions the way she wants him to.  Sometimes God answers our prayers with a “yes”, sometimes he answers them with a “no” and sometimes he answers them with a “wait”. It is the same with a man and his wife.

When a man hears the concerns and requests of his wife and truly knows how she thinks, even if he does not act as she would like after hearing her this helps to build unity in the marriage.

Also, when a husband knows his wife he knows her passions and her interests.  As long as those her interests do not conflict with her primary duties as a wife, mother and keeper of the home he should encourage her in these things.  For example, maybe his wife likes to paint or to sing in church. Maybe she has desire to write for a woman’s blog, maybe she likes to write poetry.  Perhaps she has a desire to run in home daycare.  None of these things would automatically contradict with her primary duties as a wife, mother and keeper of the home.

However if a woman has a passion to be a mega news giant superstar and wants her husband to stay at home and take care of the home and kids(like Fox News star Meghan Kelly for example) her passions and ambitions are at direct odds with the role for which God designed her.  This is by definition an example of selfish ambition on the part of a woman.

See “I wanted a wife and so did she – Ex-husband of Megyn Kelly speaks out about his marriage to the FOX News star” for more on this feminist superstar.

Step 3 – A wife is to learn how her husband thinks

“And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

Not only in spiritual matters, but in all matters of life a wife is to learn how her husband thinks and what makes him tick. A wife knowing how her husband thinks is critical to building the unity God desires for marriage between a man and his wife.

Step 4 – A wife is to submit to her husband

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

The inevitable result of a woman getting to know how her husband thinks is that she will discover ways that he thinks that she disagrees with.  Now a woman has two choices when she realizes these differences.  One is to try and correct or change her husband’s thinking and the other is to submit.  God calls women to do the latter and submit even when they disagree with their husbands.  As long as a husband does not directly ask his wife to sin she must submit to him everything.

Step 4 – A wife should offer her advice in kind way, not in a contentious way

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)

In the previous step, we discussed that in order to maintain the unity in marriage that God desires for couples to have a wife must submit to her husband especially when she disagrees with him. But this does not mean that wives are forbidden from sharing any wisdom they have with their husbands.

But the attitude and method in which a woman shares her wisdom with her husband is very important. The Bible warns against wives being contentious with their husbands:

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”

Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

Even if the words of a wife to her husband are wise, if they are delivered in a contentious or angry manner to her husband they will lose their intended effect and will cause the unity in the marriage to decline rapidly.

Also, a woman should always understand the position from which she offers advice.  She is not her husband’s mother, his teacher or his authority. He is her authority and Biblically speaking his authority over her is even greater than that of her father’s.

A woman should view herself as a subject which gives counsel to her King and remember the Scriptures exhortation to wives to be “in subjection unto their own husbands”(I Peter 3:5).

Step 5 – A wife is to be her husband’s crown

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”

Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)

The Bible tells us that a wife should be a crown to her husband.  What is a crown? A crown brings glory and honor to its recipient. So, what the Bible is saying is that a wife by being her husband’s crown is one who should bring him glory and honor.  She is to be his greatest cheerleader and supporter. The unfortunate truth is that many wives today are more of a dunce cap than a crown to their husband.  Just as a wife being contentious with her husband breaks the unity of the marriage so too a wife failing to honor her husband for the man that he is will quickly break the unity of the marriage.

But there is another interesting aspect of a crown – especially that of a king. It was very common in ancient times that when a King conquered another land he would take the crown of the conquered King and put it on his head to show his ownership and authority over his newly conquered lands.

But what if a King liked the crown of another ruler and wanted to wear it more often but it did not fit his head well? Perhaps it was two small and would almost fall off his head or maybe it was too large for the diameter of his head and it would slide down in front of his face.  So, what would the King do? He would give the crown to his craftsman and have them resize the crown to fit his head perfectly.  Perhaps he would have them add some additional gems and take some gems away that he did not like.  The point is that the crown would be molded to the King’s liking and made to fit his head perfectly.

In the same way wives need to move beyond mere submission to their husbands in their quest to truly be one flesh with their husbands.

Wives need to mold themselves over time more and more to their husbands likes and dislikes and to his various positions on the issues of life.  They need to support and understand his passions whether it is his passion for his job, his ministries at church or his hobbies. This even more just mere submission – will bring the true unity that God desires to the marriage.

This does not mean that a wife may ever come to love everything her husband loves or hate everything her husband hates.  There are some passions he may have that she will never be able to bring herself to share.

But a wife should pray hard each and every day that God would help her to mold herself and fit herself so that in the same way a crown needs to fit the head of the King who wears it – so to a wife needs to fit herself to her husband.

Putting it all together

So, when we look at Biblical principles for unity in marriage we see that unity comes from a husband and wife having regular sexual relations, talking to one another and knowing how the other person thinks, the wife submitting to her husband and the wife molding herself to her husband.

Why does Biblical unity put so much more responsibility on the wife than the husband?

When we take an honest view of the concept of Biblical unity in marriage, truly becoming one flesh with one another, we see that God places a much greater responsibility for unity on the wife than the husband.

In six different places in the Scriptures (Ephesians 5:22, Ephesians 5:24, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:5, I Peter 3:1, I Peter 3:6) God tells wives to submit to their husbands.  Contrary to Christian feminists and egalitarians reading in “husbands and wives” to Ephesians 5:21,  the Bible NEVER EVER calls on husbands to submit to their wives.

Instead in Ephesians chapter five we are told that marriage is to be a picture of the relationship of Christ and his Church.  Christ does not submit to his church; his church submits to him. Christ and his Church are not equals – one is subordinate to the other.  Does the Church mold itself to Christ’s image or does Christ mold himself to image of his Church?

The point in all this is while a husband bears some responsibility for unity in his marriage as God requires him to know his wife – the bulk of the responsibility for unity in marriage comes from a wife submitting to her husband and then trying over time to mold herself more to her husband.

What are some practical ways a wife can mold herself to her husband?

When we discussed a wife being her husband’s crown I brought up the idea that a wife should mold herself to her husband.  Does a King change the shape of his head to fit his crown or is the crown shaped to fit the head of the King? We know the answer is that the crown should be made to fit the head that wears it.  In the same way, God has made a woman’s husband her head and she is to fit herself to him.

Here are some practical ways that a wife can mold herself to her husband:

Take an interest in what he likes to watch on TV

If he likes watching certain types of TV shows – try and find some that you cultivate an interest in.  You may not be able to cultivate an interest in everything he likes to watch and that is ok. But you should try and find some common ground with him in this area. Even if you just don’t like certain shows he likes – never shame him about things he is passionate about.

Take an interest in his extracurricular activities

If you husband likes to play on the church baseball league or he involved in a bowling league – try and cultivate an interest in these things.  Support him and be his greatest cheerleader.

Take an interest in his passions

Maybe your husband is passionate about history or politics. Maybe he is passionate about science or science fiction.  Maybe he is passionate about art, literature or music. Whatever your husband is passionate about – do your best to cultivate a passion for what he is passionate about.  Now there may be some times where differences in intellect or preferences just make it impossible for you to cultivate a genuine desire for your husband’s passion for certain things.  But even in these cases you should still support him in his passions and never shame him or nag him for being passionate about these things.

Cultivate a desire for his sexual preferences

In most cases men and women have very different sexual preferences because we approach sex from very different angles.  A wife should cultivate a desire to dress inside and outside the bedroom in a way that pleases her husband.  As long as what he is asking to her do inside or outside the bedroom is not sinful she should do it. But again, she should not just submit, but over time attempt to truly understand and embrace her husband’s sexual preferences.  Ladies this is probably the single greatest way to instill passion in your husband toward you when you truly cultivate and embrace his sexual desires and this will help to truly unite you and your husband.

Accept and understand his spiritual positions

It is one thing to know and even submit to what your husband thinks on various doctrinal and philosophical positions.  It is quite another to cultivate a desire to truly understand, accept and fully embrace your husband’s positions on various issues.

So, what this means practically speaking is that when a couple is first married a wife may have to submit first and understand later. But as a couple goes on in the years in the marriage and they grow in their unity – a wife should not be having to submit as much because she truly understands and embraces her husband’s positions.

For instance, if your husband is stricter on discipline with the children that you would be if you were leading the family, you need to find a way to not just submit to his methods but truly understand and embrace them. If your husband has different doctrinal beliefs or applications of Scripture than what you were raised with you need to find a way over time to cultivate and appreciation for and fully embrace his positions.

Should a wife lose herself in her husband?

In our culture, today it seems that the greatest sin a person can commit is to not be true to themselves or lose their identity in another.  Our identity as a person comes from the combination of our likes, dislikes, passions and beliefs. So, if a person changes their likes, dislikes, passions and beliefs for another person they are said to be giving up who they are or losing their identity and this is wrong in the view of most people in our culture.

I don’t think a wife has to give up everything she likes to do, her passions or her preferences as long as those things don’t cause disunity in the marriage.  If a wife loves to sing in church but her husband cannot sing at all that does not mean she should have to give up singing unless somehow it was causing a conflict in the marriage.

However, over time while she may not have to completely give up her identity – it will change if she truly strives for the unity in marriage that God desires.  This is similar to how when we become Christians our identity changes, yet we all as Christians are still individuals.  We can see in the Gospels 4 very different individuals who wrote those books so we know the Apostles did not lose their identity by becoming Christians.   But they all changed! They started conforming themselves to Christ and there were changes in their identity so they could become more like him.

In this same way while a wife may not completely lose her identity in marriage, she certainly should go through big changes in her person over the years as she is married to her husband.  If a woman has been married to a man for 10 years and nothing has changed about her likes, dislikes, beliefs, or behaviors I can guarantee you that she is not united with her husband in their marriage as God desires her to be.

I remember years ago, I had a female relative come to me while she was going through a mid-life crisis.  She told me “After decades of marriage to my husband I feel like I lost who I was with him.  What he likes I like, what he dislikes I dislike.  I lost myself and I don’t even recognize the person I am any more with him from who I used to be”.

My response to her was “good – that is exactly what God wanted you to do.  Your husband is a good Christian man.  Even though he is imperfect like we all are – there is nothing wrong with the way you have molded yourself to him over the decades.  What you are listening to is the world telling you that you need to be your own person.  But you need to listen to God who tells you that you need to mold yourself to your husband – keep doing what you have been doing and God will bless you. Stop listening to world.”

What is missing from Biblical unity that the world says marriage needs?

There is a word that you may have noticed that is missing from all the Biblical advice on unity I have just given.  That word is compromise.

The world teaches that unity in marriage is all about a man and woman compromising with each other.  “I will give in to you on this and you will give into me on that.” Now don’t get me wrong – when it comes to things that have nothing to do with morality compromise in marriage is a good thing.  Like when we choose where we go to dinner that is not necessarily a moral decision.  How much is spent on dinner is a moral decision, but whether we have a hamburger or pizza is not.

But I think in most cases what we call compromise on these no moral things is just us being selfless and putting the other person first and that is a good thing.

But when it comes to moral decisions, including financial decisions, career decisions, what church is attended, religious beliefs, discipline and teaching of the children, decisions about sex and other things like this there can be no compromise. A husband is always called by God to do what is he believes is right before God.

A husband should hear his wife and know how his wife feels. But knowing how his wife feels and compromising on moral issues with her are two very different things.

But what about him?

If your first instinct when you started reading through this article was to think “what about him?” then you have revealed that you have an unbiblical view of yourself and your marriage.

Before I continue – yes I did write an entire article last year on this subject entitled “10 ways to know your wife” which you can check out later.

But if you are the “what about him” woman I want to give you the following passages of scripture to mediate on.

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Romans 12:3 (KJV)

“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

1 Corinthians 11:9 (KJV)

After letting the truth of these two passages penetrate your heart I suggest you re-read everything I have written and do not worry about your husband’s part in the unity of your marriage.  Worry only about your responsibility for unity as the wife knowing that you bear the greatest burden in making your marriage truly unified by submitting to your husband and molding yourself to him.

Working class Americans give Trump the Presidency

In a historic presidential election like none we have seen in the past century white working class Americans(both men and women) propelled Donald Trump to victory.

For decades the white working class voting block had been successfully divided by Democrats and Republicans so it was often ignored as a voting block.  Instead politicians pandered to other voting blocks.

On the Republican side fiscal conservatives, social conservatives and libertarians were courted as their primary base.  On the Democratic side blacks, hispanics, the LGBTQ community, teachers unions and workers unions were courted.

But Donald Trump saw something no one else did.  A way to create a new coalition made up of people from the various voting blocks that both Republicans and Democrats were courting.

He saw the working class American voting block as a block of voters that had been ignored since Ronald Reagan was president.  The Democrats were tapping into only a part of this block in courting working class union workers.  Donald Trump saw that there was a vastly larger block if he targeted both union and and non-union working class Americans as one large group.

“Race, as is often the case, played a major role in the election. For much of the election, commentators, particularly in the dominant Eastern media, seemed to be openly celebrating what CNN heralded as “the decline of the white voter.” The “new America,” they suggested, would be a coalition of minorities, educated workers and millennials.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2016/11/09/donald-trumps-presidenti-victory-demographics/#24c222ca79a8

But Donald Trump knew that in order to win he could not win with whites alone as he would never get 100% of the white vote.  So Trump targeted the black community and he actually did increase by a small margin the number of blacks voting Republican.  Even for those blacks who did not vote for Trump – he planted enough seeds of doubt about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party that for many blacks if they did not vote for Trump, they stayed home.

He made a great deal of promises to help the black community and if he carries through on even half these pledges he will likely grow the number of black voters voting Republican in the next election.

He also peeled off a few millennials as well and in doing so he cut into the new democratic coalition “of minorities, educated workers and millennials” while at the same time cutting into a traditional democratic strong hold – union workers.

In doing all this Donald Trump took states that had not been taken since Ronald Reagan took them in the 1980s. He did not hide this strategy but proclaimed that he would expand the Republican base in this way all through the primaries.

And make no mistake this election was about a lot more than getting more people to vote for Republicans than Democrats.  It was about changing the way  Americans think.

Donald Trump basically asked Americans these questions:

Would you rather have a job and be able to earn your own way than receiving a government check for doing nothing but breathing?

Do you want your government to protect your country not only from military and terrorist threats but also from economic threats?

Do you want your government to stop it’s policy of unchecked and unregulated immigration?

Many voters answered a resounding YES to all three of these questions. For millions of voters this election was not about Republicans and Democrats but instead it was about these very important policy questions that affect lives of every day Americans.

But the sad fact of American politics is that except for whites, all the other races in our country seem to vote pretty monolithically for the socialist and globalist policies of the Democratic party.   If Donald Trump is to succeed in protecting the American people and our economy and return us to a lasting prosperity and freedom he will have to find a way to break up the monolithic voting patterns of these other racial groups.

With all this being said I am very excited at this historic opportunity.  Since George H. W. Bush in 1989 we have had an unending string of moderate Republican Presidents or Presidential candidates.  Both George W. Bush and his father, as well as Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney were all moderates.  They did not want to make vast sweeping changes in the government or our policies.  All of them were soft on immigration and all of them were globalists and free traders.

Now we finally have a President who will stand up to the entrenched bureaucracy in D.C. in a way that perhaps no President in our history ever has.  We finally have a President that will return to the historic position of Presidents from a century ago who believed that the government needs to protect the people not only militarily, but also economically.

After decades of deregulating our immigration rules and the utter failure to enforce our nation’s immigration laws we finally have a President who will bring law and order not only to our cities but also to our borders.

He will appoint Judges to Supreme Court and other Federal courts who will upload the founders original intent.  Hopefully we finally have a President who will protect the religious freedom of our people from the onslaught of secularism.

Rather than continuing the values that have lead to the weakening of our culture ,economy and military hopefully Donald Trump will return us to the original values that made this country great.

But in the end Donald Trump is just a man, an instrument that God has allowed to come to power.  Ultimately as believers our hope must continue to be in God.

Image Source: Gage Skidmore

Christian blogger says porn use is good for Christians

A Christian blogger is using the Bible as well as statistics and studies to challenge church leadership and secular leaders who oppose the production of or use of porn.  How could anyone in their right mind come up with such a crazy idea? Is it even worth it to read his so-called “evidence” from the Bible and other sources that porn use is not bad?

So who is this Christian blogger making these claims? Well that Christian blogger is me.

Since I started my blog about two and half years ago I have tackled many gender based subjects from a Biblical basis.  During that time while teaching on lust I have stated that I did not believe the Bible condemns the use of all forms of pornography and that some porn use is both Biblically acceptable and good to use.

But my statements on porn have opened up a lot of questions from my readers. I have tried referring my readers to other Christian sites that are completely dedicated to a positive Christian view of porn but I realized over this last year that I need to answer some of these difficult questions directly.

This is a huge topic and I did not want to release it in pieces but instead I wanted to release several articles all at once to answer what I think are the most common questions about porn from a Biblical perspective. This post will serve as the launching pad to several articles on porn that all connect together.

79 percent of men between the age of 18 and 30 look at porn

The fact I just cited is from a 2014 Barna Group survey reported by the Washington Times.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/24/more-than-half-of-christian-men-admit-to-watching-/

The number of men looking at porn drops as men age so when you take middle age men (40s and 50s) and elderly men (60 and older) together the percentage of men of all ages looking at porn on a monthly basis is 64%. But still that is a pretty high number.  So basically three quarters of young men (18 to 30) look at porn on a monthly basis and two thirds of all men across all ages look at porn on a monthly basis.

And if you are wondering about if there is any difference between Christian men – these numbers were from Christian men. The numbers are basically the same between Christians and non-Christians on this issue.

I mention this fact before moving on to talking about the morality of porn use for two very important reasons:

  1. If you are a man and you look at porn you are not in a minority. You are not some weird pervert.  The vast majority of men are doing pretty much the same thing you are doing.
  2. If you are a wife there is a very high probability that your husband is looking at some type of porn on a monthly basis no matter what he tells you and no matter what you want to believe about him.

Just because most people do something does not make it right!

If you believe porn use is wicked and immoral you probably were just shouting the above statement after reading the stats I just showed and you know what? I agree with you.

Just because the vast majority of people do something does not make it right. In fact the vast majority of people could be engaging in a wrong type of behavior. I talk about this all the time on this blog.

But then we have to ask ourselves a question.  How do we know if an activity is wrong? Well for us as Christians there is one answer to this and that is we must measure our every thought, word and deed by the Bible.  The Bible is literally the Canon, the measure by which we must judge our lives. The word “sin” in the Bible literally means “to miss the mark”. So when we don’t do the good God calls us to do we miss the mark and when we do things God tells us not to do we miss the mark as well.

With this being said as an introduction to this highly controversial topic I would ask that you read each of the related articles below in the order they appear as each one builds on principles established in previous articles.

One other thing I want to mention – these articles are primarily written to men in regard to their porn use but I do believe that Christian women can learn a lot from these articles.

10 common arguments against porn

Societies that allow porn experience a large reduction in sex crimes

Porn use is “a way to escape” the temptation of extra-marital sex

The production of amateur porn can actually be a ministry and be honoring to God

How to talk to your teens about porn

Should you tell your girlfriend or wife you look at porn?

How to train your wife not to be jealous

Do you have a Christian wife whose jealous behaviors drive you nuts as a Christian husband? Does she want to know your every move? Does she need to know about every phone call you make? Does she need to know the password for your computer or the electronic devices? Is she jealous of any time you spend with your guy friends or perhaps she is even jealous of time you spend with your children?

If this is the case with your wife, then you may have the first type of jealous wife which is a possessive jealous wife.

But then there is a second type of jealous wife. This the wife who constantly compares how you treat her with how her friends are treated by their husbands.  Perhaps she even compares you to couples on TV and how the husband’s treat their wives. Her comparisons may be about words of affection, or gifts or going places together.

If this is the case with your wife, then you have the second type of jealous wife which is an envious jealous wife.

But aren’t some kinds of jealousy from a wife a good thing?

Jealousy is a bit like anger.  It is often what we do with these feelings that makes them sin or not sin.  However, there are some things we have no right to be angry over and there are some things we have no right to be jealous over.  The Bible tells us that we must compare every thought and feeling we have against the knowledge of God and make it obedient unto Christ.

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

There is actually only one type of jealousy felt by wives toward their husbands that we see is accepted by God and actually can be a force to motivate a wife to be a better wife and that is the envious type of jealousy.  But before you get confused and think I am saying the behavior of the envious jealous wife in my example above is acceptable before God please know I am not saying that at all.

“But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.”

Romans 10:19 (KJV)

God actually took a new bride, the church, in order to make his first wife Israel jealous. God had warned his first wife, he rebuked her and called her to come back to him, he disciplined her and finally had to divorce her (Jeremiah 3:8).  But he still loved her.

The type of jealousy that God was trying to provoke in Israel was not a possessive jealousy because in God’s design of marriage a wife never possesses her husband, but rather he possesses her.  Rather God was trying to prove an envious jealousy in his former wife Israel when she witnessed the affection that God lavished on his new bride – the Church. The Bible tell us that in the future this final act of God to provoke his first wife to jealousy will work and the nation of Israel will return to him (Romans 11:26).

If a wife uses her envious jealousy to make herself a better wife so that she may earn more affection from her husband, then there is no sin in that.  But if she allows her envious jealousy to make her bitter toward her husband for him not showing her certain types of affection or giving her certain things she desires then she has allowed her jealousy to cause sin in her life rather than good.

Wives are forbidden from having possessive jealousy toward their husbands

In the last couple sections, I talked about the fact that the only type of jealousy God allows from wives and even sometimes encourages from wives toward their husbands is the envious type of jealousy.  If only envious jealousy is allowed for wives and even then it must be channeled for self-improvement, not bitterness this then leaves out possessive jealousy.

God actually prescribed a test for husbands when they felt jealous toward their wives in Numbers 5:12-31.  There are many non-believers and even some Christians today who mock this passage as some sort of “Biblical voodoo” but make no mistake those who do so attack the very integrity of the Word of God. While it is impossible for Christian husbands to practice this today as the Old Testament priesthood has been done away with and Christ is now our new high priest and the law has been changed (Hebrews 7:12), it does prove the point that God allows for men to be possessively jealous of their wives.  Can men sometimes be too possessive of their wives? Yes but that is a topic for another post.

But while God prescribed a test for husbands who felt jealous toward their wives if they felt they were being unfaithful to them – God prescribed no such test for wives who felt jealous toward their husbands.  Why? Because in God’s design a wife does not possess or own her husband but rather the husband exclusively owns and possesses his wife.

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”

Exodus 20:17 (KJV)

The English translation of Proverbs 31 masks the ownership of the husband over the wife.  The word that is translated as “husband” in Proverbs 31 is not the normal Hebrew word for husband but rather it is the same word used for owners of slaves and livestock:

“10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband (lit. Owner) doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.”

Proverbs 31:10-11 (KJV)

For more on the topic of husband’s owning their wives and children and the treatment of human property in the Bible see my article “Does the Bible teach the concept of human property?

The reason that a husband owns his wife as well as the reason for the Bible calling for the subjection of women to their husbands is because the husband/wife relationship was designed by God as a symbol of the relationship between himself and his people.

“23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:23-24 (KJV)

Does the Church own Christ or does Christ own the Church? The answer to that question is the same answer as to if a husband owns his wife. This is why we see a bride price being paid for women to their father’s throughout the Bible.  The transfer of a daughter from her father to her husband was a property exchange.   Is this entire concept of men owning their wives and children offensive to our modern egalitarian views? Of course it is. But it is the God’s design according the Word of God.

But it is for the reasons I have just shown that a wife is absolutely forbidden from having or acting on a possessive jealousy toward her husband.  Her husband does not belong to her but rather she belongs to him and he belongs to God.  When a wife allows herself or is allowed by her husband to act in a possessively jealous way toward her husband this breaks the symbolism and roles in marriage which God designed.

Ways to train your wife in regard to her jealousy

Step #1 – Correct her possessive jealousy toward your thoughts

Women are usually far worse about this than men although there are some overly possessive men that are bad in this area.  But many wives want to know or possess every thought in their husband’s head.  They do not have a right to possess these thoughts of their husband.

If you want to share your thoughts with your wife, then you can.  If you don’t wish to then tell her you do not wish to.  She has no right to your thoughts.  Even with husbands I have mentioned that while the husband role has the most power of any human authority God did not give husbands the ability to read their wives’ minds or the power to compel their thoughts.

As Christians we are required to be “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”, rather than making our every thought captive to our spouse, parent or other human authority. Husbands have authority over their wives’ words and actions, not their thoughts. God is the only one who knows our thoughts and can command our thoughts.

Step #2 – Correct her possessive jealousy toward your time

The Bible requires husbands in regard to their wives to “dwell with them according to knowledge” (I Peter 3:7) and this certainly would require a husband spending some time with his wife and talking to his wife. You can’t know your wife’s heart, her needs, her concerns without spending some time with her.

However, you as her husband and the head of your home are the determiner of when you spend time with your wife.  You might have to travel for work or even if you don’t travel you may have to work a lot of hours locally. You need to spend time with your children and you should set aside some alone time for yourself as this is a healthy thing to do.

But what you need to emphasize to your wife is that yes you recognize that you need to set aside some time to spend with her, but she does not possess your time and it is your discretion as to when you will spend your time with her.

Step #3 – Correct her possessive jealousy regarding other women

The position I take based on my understanding of the Scriptures on this particular type of jealousy is going to be the most controversial and it where I will spend the most time on this topic.  Most Christian preachers and teachers today will teach that wives have a God given right to be possessively jealous toward their husbands regarding other women.  They teach this based on these beliefs:

  1. Polygamy was a corruption of God’s design for marriage. So if a woman’s husband has any sexual thoughts about other women, or enjoys visually taking in the view of other women or if he desires to marry a woman as an additional wife this is not based on a God given desire but it comes from his sin nature.
  2. Because they believe man’s polygamous nature is a corruption and not by design they believe all his sexual thoughts and energy must be solely directed at one woman – his one and only wife.
  3. While many Christian teachers believe the first two points I have just given on this third point they will disagree. If a man’s desire toward a variety of women (polygamous desire) is a corruption of God’s design of his sexual nature, then does his wife have the right to confront him and force him to focus all this sexual thoughts and energy on her? Those who believe a wife has the power to confront and rebuke her husband’s sin will say yes.  Those who believe a wife has no such power will say she must pray for her husband and leave him to the Lord.

But regardless of whether they embrace all three beliefs most Christian teachers will maintain that a wife’s possessive jealousy toward her husband is justified because she is simply reacting to her husband’s violation of God’s design of marriage.  They just disagree on what she can do based on that jealousy.

But these beliefs in the justification for wife’s possessive jealousy toward their husbands in regard to other women do so in defiance of the Scriptures.

To reject the polygamous design of man is to reject the weight of the Scriptures

The three most common arguments that anti-polygamy advocates attempt to use to support their belief that polygamy is a corruption of God’s design of marriage and sexuality are:

“God only gave Adam one wife in the garden of Eden, not many” (Genesis 2:21-24)

“God says a pastor must be the husband of one wife” (I Timothy 3:2)

“Look at all the jealousy that was caused between wives because of polygamy” (Genesis 29 & 30)

The first argument is faulty based on rules of Scriptural interpretation.

Whenever we are trying under God’s will on any subject we need to follow certain rules.  The New Testament interprets the Old Testament, commands outweigh examples and the weight of Scripture interprets Scripture. The anti-polygamy stance of the modern Christian church is a violation of the last two rules.

Anti-polygamists give us the example of God only making one wife for Adam as proof that polygamy is against his design yet they ignore examples of God saying he gave David his Saul’s wives (2 Samuel 12:8) and the example of God picturing himself as a polygamist husband to two wives two passages of Scripture (Ezekiel 23:2-4 & Romans 10:19).

So right there we have examples that God does in fact allow polygamy.  But the evidence does not stop there. Rather than just example we actually have a direct command from God allowing men to take other wives as long as they care for their first wives (Exodus 21:10-11).

The second argument regarding the qualifications for bishops is faulty as well. God’s restriction on pastor’s having one wife is not worded as a condemnation of polygamy or a change in God’s position on polygamy. If it is referring to a restriction against polygamy, then it is a restriction for pastor’s only just as priests in the Old testament had stricter marriage rules than other men (Leviticus 21:14).  It could just as easily be referring to the fact that a Pastor must not have divorced any of his wives as there is similar wording for widows serving in the church that they had to have “been the wife of one man” and this was referring to divorce.

The third argument regarding jealousy is perhaps the weakest of the three arguments against polygamy. It assumes that the jealousy of these wives toward each other and their husband lay at the feet of the practice of polygamy. Often the story of Rachel and Leah from Genesis 29 & 30 is one example of jealous wives that anti-polygamists use.

The funny thing is this story if you examine it closely actually works against anti-polygamists.  In this story we have Jacob who is madly in love with Rachel yet he tricked into marrying her older sister Leah who is less attractive first. God sees after he marries Rachel that Jacob is not showing the love for Leah that he should so makes her fertile and he makes Rachel barren. Leah has an envious jealousy toward Rachel and she tries to have as many children as she can for Jacob so that maybe he will show her the affection she so desires.

Eventually Leah does something that would make modern women today cringe.  She actually gives her husband her servant girl as a wife and God actually rewards her for it by giving her another son.

“And Leah said, God hath given me my hire[or reward], because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.”

Genesis 30:18 (KJV)

But anti-polygamists would have us to dismiss all these Biblical examples of God condoning polygamy and his express command allowing it based on their arguments from the creation example, the qualifications for a pastor and the fact of jealous wives.

The fact is God designed men with the capacity and desire to have multiple wives in the same way he designed women with the capacity and desire to have multiple children.  Until the Roman empire outlawed polygamy after the time of Christ society did not condemn men desiring multiple wives. And until the dawn of the feminist movement over a century ago society did not condemn women for desiring multiple children.   Now society condemns both.  But God’s design has not changed.

For more on the discussion of polygamy see my series “Why polygamy is not unbiblical” as well as my article “Was polygamy a sin God overlooked in the Old Testament?”.

So how do you as husband confront this type of possessive jealousy in your wife?

First you need to teach your wife the Word of God.  Take her through the Scriptures I have mentioned here regarding the polygamous nature of man. Let’s face it – most men in our culture will never be able to actually marry multiple wives both because of economic reasons and the societal taboos against it.  And yes, polygamy has been made illegal but the governments of man have no business in an institution that God created.  Laws against having multiple wives are about as valid as laws against having multiple children(China). Yes, we are to obey man’s laws as long as his law does go into areas God did not give the government power over (examples would be marriage, family and the church).

But regardless of whether or not your wife accepts the evidence from Scripture that God created you as a man with a polygamous capacity and nature she must accept that she is not your head and you are not accountable to her but to God.  If she disagrees she must accept the disagreement and agree not to hound, you about enjoying the beauty of other women.  Now as anyone who has read my posts on polygamy and sexuality knows I am not talking about men gawking at women everywhere they go.  That is rude. I am talking about me taking tasteful glances of beautiful women.

Step #4– Help your wife channel her jealousy into a positive force for change

Previously I had mentioned that a woman’s jealousy can actually be a positive force.  In this last step I want to elaborate on that with examples. Now I purposefully had to hold this step for last because I needed to discuss the polygamous nature of men in step 3 first.

This last step I am going to write in a way that you could present it directly to your wife.  Even if your wife rejects the Scriptures I have shown proving the polygamous nature of man I believe she still could channel her jealous energy into these steps and she may find that you look at other women less if she is constantly getting your attention in other positive ways. So with that being said here is a list you can give your wife with ways for her to channel her jealous energy into positive actions.

  1. If you see that your husband seems to be looking at red heads the perhaps dye your hair red.
  2. If you see that your husband seems to like a certain type of blouse or skirt on a woman, then go and buy a blouse and skirt similar to that.
  3. If you see your husband looking at women that are thinner than you then you have to ask this question – “Am I way overweight compared to when he met me?” Now obviously with having children and age women gain weight and some of it is almost impossible to lose and you have to recognize your limitations. Maybe you will never be the weight you once were but have you given up? Have you lost as much weight as you can for your age and body type? So instead of being angry at your husband for looking at women that are less overweight perhaps you can channel that jealous energy into losing weight.
  4. If you are walking through the mall and you see your husband glance at a couple of women in their early 20’s and you are mom of 4 in your mid 30’s how do you compete with that? The answer is you don’t. You will never be that young again. But you have something those women do not have. You have experience. You have a history with your husband and that counts for something. I believe Christian wives should have sexy selfies standing by.  Maybe your husband glances at a few young women and instead of getting mad you send him a selfie from your personal library with a sexy note about what he has to look forward to when he gets home.
  5. And here is the toughest and most controversial one of all. According to a survey taken in 2014 as reported on in the Washington Times “79 percent between the ages of 18 and 30 said they watch pornography at least monthly, while 29 percent of them said they view it daily.” So if you are married to man 30 or under there is almost an 80 percent chance that he is looking at some kind of porn (whether softcore or hardcore) on a monthly basis. So the question is whether you agree or disagree with this practice will you grow bitter and angry toward him and allow your pride to make you feel justified as so many women do today? Or will you channel your jealousy into more positive actions? If you catch your husband looking at porn why don’t you show him the real thing right there and then if possible? Or perhaps you might look at some porn yourself just to get an idea of different things you could do to spice things up in the bedroom.

Every one of these steps requires a woman to humble herself and realize that she does not possess her husband but instead he possesses her. God did not make him for her, but rather he made her for him (1 Corinthians 11:9).  It calls on her to put all of her pride and insecurities to death and for her to instead channel her jealous energy into positive things that will strengthen her husband’s affection for her rather than diminishing his affection for her.

Your wife can look at this list and even listen to all the other principles I have put here and choose one of two paths.

The path of pride

Your wife can choose the path of pride and allow her jealousy to grow into bitterness toward you as her husband.  She can comfort herself with this thought:

“I don’t have to change; I don’t have to compete for my husband’s affection.  He owes it to me no matter what I do! The way I look is the way I look – I am not changing a thing whether it is how I dress, how much I weigh or what I do for him sexually. He is supposed to be completely satisfied in whatever I do or don’t do.  He is supposed to be a one-woman man and that one woman is me!”

The path of humility

Your wife can choose the path of humility with this simple thought:

“My husband was not made for me, but I was made for him (1 Corinthians 11:9). God made his nature different than mine and I will accept it even if I don’t completely understand it. Whether I agree or disagree with all his actions my duty is to be the best wife to my husband that I can be according to I Peter 3:1-6. That means if I see my husband looking at other women whether it be as we go shopping in a store or him looking at images of women on his computer I am going to strive to channel my jealous energy into a positive force to bless my husband and I will do everything I can do to draw him closer to me and not push him away.”

Conclusion

There is good jealousy in wives and bad jealousy in wives.  Often times it comes down to how they channel their jealousy.   Will she channel her jealousy into being a better wife or will she allow it to cause bitterness in her heart? The choice is hers.

But this leaves us with the question of “What if my wife refuses to see that her actions based on her jealousy are not a positive force for change but a negative force that will tear the marriage apart?” This is a very real possibility. I am going to leave that question for my next article that this article is a prelude too.

I have mentioned porn in this article as well as some previous articles over the last year or so.  I have had many Christian men and women email me over the last year asking for a detailed answer to the question of porn use by believers.  I have been working on this article on and off for the past year writing it and rewriting it many times. I am hoping to publish it within the next week or so.

Does the Bible allow a husband to spank his wife?

“My husband spanked me and then grounded me because I wanted a break after having 6 children in the first 5 years of our marriage. Do I have Biblical grounds to divorce him for treating me like a child instead of his wife?” This was part of an email I received from a young Christian woman name Kathy.

The emotional response that most non-Christian Americans and even many Christian Americans would have to this woman’s question of divorce would be a resounding YES! No thought should be needed on her part, she should just pack her bags and leave. Not too long ago I would have considered myself in this crowd had the same reaction without ever giving it a second thought.

The reason for this knee jerk reaction to wife spanking is twofold.

The first is because in our modern culture we automatically associate the physical punishing of an adult (whether male or female) with physical abuse.  Most people cannot conceive of any type of physical punishment toward an adult that would not be abuse.

The second reason many would have a knee jerk reaction to this takes both the spanking and grounding into account.  The worst sin that can be committed in our culture is for a man to do anything that could even be remotely conceived as him acting like a father figure to his wife. Words like “incestuous” and “infantilizing” are raised if a man attempts to teach or discipline his wife.  The common phrase “You are not my father” that many American women use with their husbands when their husbands exercise authority over them comes to mind. We will see later in this piece that Kathy uses that language toward her husband.

Wife spanking may be wrong, be we need to look at it from a calm and Biblical perspective to discover why it is wrong if in fact it is wrong. But then we have some secondary questions posed by Kathy.  Can a Christian woman divorce her husband for spanking her even it is wrong? Can a Christian woman be forced to constantly be pregnant by her husband?

Last month I wrote a post entitled “Do Christian wives have to submit to bondage and sadomasochism requests from their husbands?” and I made my position clear there that I believe bondage violates the Biblical principle of free will that God has given to us all.  He always presents us with a choice and then we face the consequences of our choices but he never removes our ability to choose in this life.

I continued that same theme in my last post “Is it wrong for my Christian husband to make me wear a chastity belt?” There again in that post I stated that a husband forcing his wife to wear a chastity belt violates the Biblical principle that God has created mankind(men and women both) with free will.

Honestly I was so ready to move out of these issues of discipline into the topic of jealousy which will lead me to a much larger topic I wanted to cover in more detail(it is still a secret but I have spoken on it briefly before).

But God seems to be pulling me back into this subject of men disciplining their wives with emails I am receiving that I just can’t ignore and I feel I must address another discipline practice here.

In the past I have written many positive articles articulating how husbands not only have the right, but they have the duty to confront wrong behavior in their wives just as they have both the right and the duty to confront wrong behavior in their children.

I call this confronting of wrong by husbands toward their wives discipline. Why do I call it discipline? Because that is exactly what it is.  It is one thing for equals to confront wrong doing in each other. If you tell your friend you think they are wrong that is not discipline – it might be rebuke or it might be correction but it is not discipline.   But when a manager tells his employee they are wrong, or a parent tells their child they are wrong and yes even when a husband corrects or rebukes his wife this is also a form of discipline.

I have said before that I think the discipline of a child and the discipline of a wife while sharing some similarities should not be identical and I think this issue of wife spanking really will allow me to show this distinction between the two types of discipline.

God has really lead me, because of this email from Kathy, to have to really work about my beliefs about this uncomfortable and controversial top of wife spanking from a Biblical perspective. But before I do that let me share Kathy’s complete story.

Kathy’s story

“My husband spanked me and then grounded me because I wanted a break after having 6 children in the first 5 years of our marriage. Do I have Biblical grounds to divorce him for treating me like a child instead of his wife?

I’m a 26 year old female and married 5 years ago to a wonderful Christian man- the problem is we have 6 children under the age of 5 which as you can imagine is quite tiresome as I’m at home looking after them all day and then I need to prepare for my husband’s return from work and by the time I’ve finished settling the kids and cleaning up after dinner I’m just totally exhausted. My husband seems to think I should be sexually available to him whenever he touches me but for the past few months I’m just so tired- so tired in fact I went to my doctor and got a prescription for birth control pills to prevent another pregnancy- I didn’t tell my husband because I know he feels it’s his choice whether I am pregnant or not.

He had begun to get suspicious as to why I’m not pregnant again as we never had a problem before and our youngest is now 6 months old and we usually have three months between delivery and subsequent pregnancies, I had begun to avoid him sexually and there was a pretty tense atmosphere between us until it all exploded after a Sunday service a few weeks back when my parents in Law took the kids for the afternoon and my husband said he wanted us to spend time together alone which I dreaded.

Anyway to cut a long story short he took me home and started to quote scripture about how I was being disrespectful and disobedient, he said in his 37 years on earth he never witnessed a woman treating her husband with the disregard I was treating him except on one occasion when his mother back answered his father, he then told me having spoken to his father about our situation and after much prayer he felt it was time to pull me back into line, he then proceeded to spank my behind with his hand while I screamed and begged him not to- he stopped and I thought it was over but he then removed his belt and gave me 20 more lashes which he said were for the birth control pills he had found.

He then told me how much he loved me and wanted to save our marriage but for the moment he has forbade me to leave the house unless accompanied by one of his parents.

Do I have grounds for divorce because of what he has done to me?

I am still young enough to start again but don’t want to live with the fear of being seen as ungodly for seeking divorce or should I let him seek divorce based on irreconcilable differences, I have been much kinder to him since he disciplined me out of fear of it happening again which he has warned me it will if I step out of line and I don’t think he has any right to spank or whip me- he is not my father.”

My Response to Kathy’s dilemma

First let me say I can completely understand how exhausted you have felt after having 6 children in only 5 years of marriage. My first wife had our five children in 8 years and it was tough on her (and she was a stay at home mom too).

Your body does need recovery time between pregnancies while it is debatable how long that is in young women. I think it also depends on your mental situation and how you are feeling about having children.  My niece lost her first child (a daughter) a few days after she was born and wanted to get pregnant as fast she could again and ended up having another child just under a year later and both she and the baby did just fine.

As far as women having children back to back – that was actually very common not too long ago in decades past.  My father-in-law comes from a family of 13 children all from the same mother and I have worked with many Catholic people who came from families of 10 or more children.

I am not saying every woman has to have that many children, but I am saying that God has given women the ability to do that under the right circumstances.

What both Kathy and her husband have done wrong from a Biblical perspective

I think in order to answer your questions we first need to apply the three following Biblical principles to your situation:

Principle #1

Wives are to submit to their husbands in EVERYTHING

“24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:24 (KJV)

Principle #2

Husbands are to love their wives by protecting their wives and caring for their wives physical needs as they would their own bodies

“28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:”

Ephesians 5:28-29 (KJV)

Principle #3

Husbands are to dwell with their wives according to knowledge

“7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

God always starts with those under authority (like servants, slaves, children and wives) and then goes to those in authority (governors, pastors, fathers, husbands).

So first we have the Biblical principle that wives are to submit to their husbands in everything and yes I believe it was wrong for you to go out on your own and make that decision to take birth control. That is something that should first have discussed with your husband.  I know you might say that you already would have known his answer but going and doing it secretly was not right.

I do believe your husband from a Biblical perspective has the final say in all matters.  I also think you have to come to the realization that you allowed some bitterness to grow in your heart toward your husband because of his lack of considerateness toward you in regard to you getting pregnant.   So you have two areas to apologize for – one for being deceitful and going behind his back with the birth control pills and the other in holding bitterness towards him.  Yes he was wrong to (and I will get more into how he was wrong), but two wrongs never make a right.

Now let’s deal with what your husband did.

God calls husbands to love their wives as their own bodies and to dwell with their wives according to knowledge.  I do not believe your husband has been loving you as his own body by him not being considerate of your physical and mental condition as it relates to your pregnancies being so close together.  He should of as a loving husband being looking out for your physical and mental well-being which apparently he was not doing.  I am sure he honestly thinks he is but he is blind in this area to what is really going on.

Is wife spanking a sin?

Wife spanking in and of itself is not sinful but it could quickly become sinful if it is done under the wrong circumstances or done in an improper way.

The issue of whether a particular act of wife spanking is right or wrong hinges on the Biblical concept of free will and consent. Contrary to the views of my critics, I actually do believe that a husband should seek his wife’s consent on some things.

God’s respect for our free will and consent is clearly shown in this passage of Scripture:

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Revelation 3:20 (KJV)

God does not force himself upon us but rather he knocks – and in his knocking he is asking for our consent to come in.  Now should we all give our consent to God and is there a consequence for us not giving our consent to God in this situation? Absolutely! The consequence of not consenting to God’s request to come into our lives is hell! But contrary to what some Christians believe, God never forces himself on us in this way – we must freely choose, we must consent to let him in.

In the same way husbands should learn from God’s example.  When it comes to our wife’s body and her very person she must give her consent before we touch her either in a sexual way or in a disciplining way.

For instance in the area of sex I do not believe a husband should ever force himself sexually on his wife but should only do so with her consent.  Now should the consent be given except for rare medical issues that would prevent any sexual contact? Absolutely it should be given.

Now this brings us into how a wife’s consent connects to wife spanking.  I regularly correspond with some Christian couples where the husband spanks his wife.  But in each case they talked about this before marriage and she agreed to this form of discipline.  She also freely consents to it again each time even after they were married and without this consent he will not spank her. These women feel that this is a powerful tool to bring them back into submission to their husbands.

Now other Christian women see this as dishonoring to them and a violation of the Biblical principle that husband is to honor his wife:

“7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

The question that everyone will be asking now is do I spank my wife or did spank my ex-wife? The answer is no.  I personally have never spanked either my first wife or my second wife and it was not an issue of me asking for consent and it being declined.  It is a matter of my personal preference in regard to discipline methods.

In fact I have not even spanked my children once they reached the teen years. I personally feel this is beginning of young adulthood and I understand how it might feel humiliating to them because of the culture we have all been raised in. There are plenty of other forms of non-physical discipline I can and have used.

The Bible tells us as fathers not to provoke our children to wrath and I believe forcing physical punishment on a young or pre-adult (which is technically what a teenager is) could very much be a case of “provoking your child to wrath”:

“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

Colossians 3:21 (KJV)

But even if a Christian husband feels his wife is wrong in objecting to being spanked on the grounds of it being humiliating and dishonoring to her he cannot violate her consent to her body in this way.  Instead he will have to use other non-physical forms of discipline.

But isn’t wife spanking abusive?

Wife spanking is not automatically abusive. As I previously said if a wife consents to this type of physical discipline then there is no sin and there is no abuse. But even if she does not consent this does not automatically make wife spanking physical abuse but instead it may be a husband abusing his authority.

You might be scratching your head now so let me try and explain the distinction.

If a husband spanks his wife without her consent, but does not causing any serious or lasting damage to her body this is not physical abuse, but rather an abuse or misuse of his authority which is still sin. If a husband spanks his wife with or without her consent but in the process causes serious or lasting damage to her body then this would be both an abuse of his authority as well as the act of physically abusing his wife’s body.  If a man physically abuses his wife this is a clear violation of the Ephesians 5:29 principle that a man is to care for and protect his wife body as he does his own.

So what is the distinction between the discipline of a wife and child?

The question that someone might ask “So if spanking is not automatically treating your wife as a child then what is?”

In many ways especially when it comes to the discipline of teenagers the discipline of a wife by her husband and the discipline of children by their father will often look similar.  But there are two key differences between the way discipline occurs between a parent and child and between a husband and his wife.

The first difference is honor.

“7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

The Bible tells husbands in I Peter 3:7 that they are to give “honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel”.  A husband must give proper honor to his wife’s position when disciplining her.   This means whenever possible a husband should not verbally, physically or in any other way discipline his wife in front of his children to whom she is also an authority.  He should discipline in her private wherever possible.  Now there may be some instances where public rebuke is called for by a husband toward his wife if she is publically disrespecting him or undermining his authority with their children.

The second difference is consent.

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”

Proverbs 29:15 (KJV)

A parent does not need a child’s consent to physically discipline them. Children don’t get to make choices over their own bodies – parents make medical and all decisions regarding their children’s bodies except in the area of sexuality.  A parent has no right touch their child in a sexual way – this is a sin before God. A wife on the other hand must give consent to her husband for him to physically access her body either for sexual pleasure or for discipline.

And now leaving the topic of discipline and specifically wife spanking let’s move on the topic of a husband forcing his wife to get pregnant.

Is a husband wrong for forcing his wife to get pregnant year after year?

Again we come back to consent.  In the same way a wife must consent to any physical contact including sexual or disciplinary contact she too must consent to getting pregnant. Should she consent? Just as with sexual relations I think in most normal cases she should.  But a husband must also love his wife as his own body and care for her physical and mental needs and not force her to get pregnant if this would not be mentally or physically healthy for her.

“He is not my father”

Kathy – I think you need to be careful with the attitude of “he is not my father”, I know where you are coming from because you think he is treating you like a child by grounding you and spanking you. But realize your husband actually has more Biblical authority over than your father because of his sexual access to your body.  I do think husbands can under certain circumstances take away certain privileges from their wives, but ultimately I don’t think a husband can keep his wife a prisoner in her home.   He could take away credit cards and access to money so there is little you can do when you go out.

I know it is a tough situation to be in with the pregnancies so close together and him expecting more children. But while I do see sinful behavior on his part in his neglecting to love you as his own body considering your mental and physical wellbeing with having so many children together I don’t see it as rising to the level of allowing for divorce.

And you really need to consider that you have five children that will grow up in a divorce situation.  I have been there.  I have five children and I had to divorce my wife for unfaithfulness (she had an affair with an ex-boyfriend) and I had to raise them in a divorce situation.  It is not easy. And don’t think second marriages are easy because they are not.  Your next husband may not ever spank you or ground you or want you to have kids every year but he will have other problems that won’t come out until after you are married.

However even though I think divorce is not warranted, I think separation might be.

Kathy – It is one thing if your husband is doing things that might upset you, but don’t affect you in such a personal way.  For instance maybe your husband gambles but he still provide food, clothing and shelter for you.  Maybe your husband looks at porn privately but never makes you watch it and he regularly has sex with you. Maybe he drinks too much, but he never drives drunk and he only drinks in his off hours at home. Maybe he is a workaholic.  You get my point.  These things affect you but none of these things have to do with your consent.

You husband Biblically speaking does not have to get your consent to do things for himself (whether they be right or wrong in your view).  Whether he works too much, looks at porn, drinks, or does a host of other things he does not have to have your consent in any of these matters.

However he DOES have to have your consent to your body and your person.  He cannot go against your consent in this way even though in many cases God requires that you give him your consent.

If your husband is making you have children every year that affects you and your body and mind in a very personal way.  If he is spanking you without your consent that type of discipline affects your body and mind in a very personal way.

It is because his behavior in these areas so profoundly affects you in these personal ways that you may need to show him that through separation.  If he fails to see that he must have your consent in these areas then perhaps he will just divorce you. I hope it does not come to that and that your husband will see the error of his ways.

If God does not force himself on us, but rather he knocks and asks for our consent how can we as Christian husbands think we have more power than God?

Does I Corinthians 7:4 contradict the concept that a wife must give her consent to her body?

Some of my fellow Christians to the right of me might say I Corinthians 7:4 contradicts my teaching here about husbands needing the consent of their wives in regard to their bodies.

“The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.” I Corinthians 7:4 (KJV)

I have used this verse often on this blog to show that the Bible say husbands and wives should not deny each other sexually.

However I Corinthians 7:4 does not remove consent either on the part of the husband or the wife. Let’s look at the larger context:

“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 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.”

I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

Notice that the word “consent” actually occurs in verse 5. But really in these three verses there are two types of consent. Verses 3 and 4 show a REQUIRED consent.  I know that seems like a contradiction but it really is not.

Let me show you why the concept of required consent is not a contraction. If a police officer pulls you over thinking you might be drunk driving you are required to give your consent to a breathalyzer test.   If you fail to consent to that the consequence of your failure to consent is that you get arrested and taken to jail.

In marriage yes a wife must give her consent to her husband for him to have sexual access to her body as she must get his consent to get access to his body.  But make no mistake this type of consent is required. Failure to give consent to sex over a long period of time may result in the injured spouse exercising their Biblical right to divorce for sexual denial – both men and women have this right.

The second type of consent where the word “consent” is actually used in verse 5 is talking about a mutual or optional consent as opposed to a required consent. A husband and wife must mutually agree to periods where they will not have sex for various reasons but then they need to come together again soon to avoid sexual temptation.

So in conclusion – no I Corinthians 7:4 does not cancel out the fact that a husband must have consent to his wife’s body especially in the areas of sex, discipline and her getting pregnant.

UPDATE: 8/21/2016

After reading my post on her dilemma with her husband Kathy wrote me back with this response:

“Thank you for your reply,

I have read your answer and you have made some very good points about areas I should look at. I guess taking birth control without discussing it was a bad move as the only reason I didn’t really want another child was not because I didn’t feel mentally or physically able but because I wanted control of the choice even though prior to our marriage we agreed we would not use any form of birth control and let nature decide.

We also agreed that I would be sexually available to my husband as required so he has never actually taken me without consent as he has never asked for permission.

I have never and would never refuse him but I have being grudging and unwelcoming to his advances.

I have found your advice excellent and I guess the spanking was a last resort for him as his words didn’t seem to be having the effect on me he wanted- he is a wonderful father to our children and excellent provider for us and he works so hard to ensure I don’t have to work or worry about finances which I’m sure would be very stressful if I had to worry about work and bills and such things.

I will pray on this situation and ask my husband for forgiveness for my disobedience and shameful behavior and I will thankfully and joyfully position myself under his rightful authority again as the head of our home and bedroom and hopefully this will return us to the peace and calm that reigned in the early years of our union.

Kind Regards

Kathy”

Is it wrong for my Christian husband to make me wear a chastity belt?

chastity_belt

“What are your feelings about a husband placing a chastity belt on a wife to prevent masturbation or fondling?” This a question I received in an email from a woman named Mary.

As I told her in my emails to her this is the first time anyone has ever written me about this.  I knew what a chastity belt is but usually we think of this as some medieval device long since gone out of use.

There is a great debate amongst historians as to if chastity belts were ever actually used in ancient times or if they were simply urban myths meant to scare women into guarding their sexual purity.

But there was an actual incident this year where an Italian woman had to call the fire fighters to cut her out of her own chastity belt because she lost the keys:

“Chastity belts might sounds as though they belong in the Middle Ages, but this week an Italian woman was forced to enlist the help of local firefighters after she became stuck in her own iron number.

The middle-aged woman, who can’t be named for privacy reasons, had lost the keys to her belt and asked firefighters to help cut her out. They investigated whether she’d been forced into wearing it – but it turned out she’d had chosen to wear the belt to prevent herself from embarking on a sexual relationship.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/chastity-belts-the-odd-truth-about-locking-up-womens-genitalia/

So with all that being said as a background here is Mary’s full story and then I will respond.

Mary’s Story

“What are your feelings about a husband placing a chastity belt on a wife to prevent masturbation or fondling?  Does he have that authority?  He believes that if I self-gratify myself, that I am taking away from our mutual pleasure.  The device is a belt, from which a shield covers my private parts and is locked on…allowing for urination, but not for fingers.  So, it works, but I always worry someone will find out, which would be highly embarrassing.

And I am grateful he cares so much for our intimacy.  But, it does have that medieval bondage aspect to it.  As I already stand out in my manner of dress, I feel like it is just another distinction I have from my friends and fellow Christians.  Then, I wonder if there are other Christian wives out there who have to follow rules like me, and I will never know because of their secrecy.  Make sense?

I am sure the issue of consent will be raised by commenters.  I do consent (even though I cannot remove it, if I wanted) but the question is do I have to consent to such a request by husband as a Christian wife?”

An update from Mary

A couple weeks after Mary sent me the original email you see above she then sent me this update:

“I wanted to give you an update.  I have not been a fan of wearing the belt and shield, but I see the wisdom in it.  Since early July, Jim has had me wear it each day.  It is amazing to me how much I had been sinning by consciously or unconsciously gratifying myself.  Obviously, the belt prevents me from using my fingers or an object.

But, I found out that I had been sitting and leaning against things to evoke that same stimulus without realizing it—but the shield prevents that.  For example, when in the kitchen waiting on something to bake, I would stand on one leg and draping my other leg over a bar stool in the kitchen.  With the belt/shield on, I suddenly realized that I was, passively, doing this to give some light pleasure to myself.   Because, the belt/shield prevents this, I realized that I had formerly been doing this as a way of comfort, and that this posture made no other sense.

Make sense?

Our intimacy has been greatly increased when he unlocks the belt.  I still have mixed emotions about why I was so weak to necessitate him doing this.  However, I love that he jealously wants to protect our intimacy and relationship.”

I respond to Mary’s seeming acceptance of this practice of wearing a chastity belt asking her why she thought she had “been sinning by consciously or unconsciously gratifying myself.” This was her response:

“My thoughts were that gratifying myself can be wrong under the following circumstances:

  1. Hurts our spouse: Like you said, if I gratify myself often enough, then I do have much less sexual desire for my husband.  This did get to be a problem for us (not proud to admit it)

  2. Gratifying myself retrained my brain away from my husband: When I gratify myself, I have a couple or routine fantasies I dwell upon.  Well, those fantasies do not involve my husband, but other scenarios or people.  So, when I have sex with my husband, my body was not reacting to him like my body was reacting in my fantasies.  I guess I was training it to respond to a certain stimulus in my fantasy, and my husband is just not able to provide that same stimulus in real life.

  3. By dwelling on circumstances or people outside my marriage bed to feed my fantasies, would that not be considered mental adultery, and thus make it a sin?”

My Response to Mary and other Women who are forced to wear chastity belts

I think we really have two issues here.  The first is the issue of whether masturbation is Biblically right or wrong and the second is if chastity belts are an appropriate response to masturbation if in fact it is Biblically wrong.

Now what percentage of chastity belts are worn by women trying to guard themselves from sexual temptation and what percentage are from husbands who make their wives wear them? Who knows?  But in either case it is apparent there is some subculture no matter how small that is employing the use of these devices.

The first question we need to answer is about the morality of masturbation.

Is Masturbation wrong for a Christian?

This is a huge subject that could take a whole article by itself which is why I wrote an entire article dedicated to answering this question from a Biblical perspective entitled “Is Masturbation a sin” a while back.

The short answer is that masturbation is not a sin in and of itself and the Bible never condemns it.

Rather than repeat everything in the article I wrote on masturbation here I will just address the most popular argument that has been used to say God does not approve of masturbation.

“9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.  10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also.”

Genesis 38:9-10 (KJV)

This story in Genesis 38 is about a man named Onan who was called upon to fulfill his duty to enter into levirate marriage with his sister-in-law after his brother had died and not left her a son to be an heir for his estate.  Instead of fulfilling his duty to give his dead brother’s wife an heir, he had sex with her and then pulled out at the end.

God did not kill Onan for masturbating.  God did not even kill Onan for pulling out.

Neither are sinful activities. Onan could have refused to take his brother’s wife as his wife. Yes it would have been a shame on him but this would not have been worthy of death.  What was worthy of death was the fact that he enjoyed his brother’s wife sexually “he went in unto his brother’s wife” but his intent was fraudulent and that is why he pulled out (“spilled it on the ground”).  This is the wickedness for which God killed Onan.

Can masturbation become sinful?

I have shown from the Bible that masturbation in and of itself is never condemned in the Scriptures.  However there are many things that are not sinful in and of themselves but they can become sinful if they become the central focus of our lives or if they cause us to sin by neglecting our duties.

For instance I play video games with my kids on Friday nights – that is family night for us.  There is no sin in playing video games during our fun time together on the weekend.  However if I were to play video games during the week to the neglect of my job or spending time with my wife and children in other ways it could become an obsession and sinful.

We need to eat.  There is no sin in us desiring food and eating on a daily basis.  However, if we live for food and constantly over-eat simply for the pleasure of eating we commit the sin of gluttony.

Masturbation is actually much closer to us eating food than to us playing video games.  There is no biological imperative to play a video game.  There is however a biological imperative to seek sexual release.

Some say masturbation, sexual thoughts and sexual intercourse are not needs but simply wants.  After all – no one ever died from not masturbating or not having sex right?

What these same people miss is that while not having sex will not kill an individual – it will however kill a marriage and lack of sex if done on a consistent level worldwide would kill off the human race.

So in the same way that we are compelled as individuals to eat so we will not die, we are also compelled as spouses and as a human race to have sex so as to build intimacy in our marriages an ultimately to preserve the human race.

But can masturbation become sinful? Absolutely.  If we do it too often to the neglect of our other responsibilities then it becomes a sin to the extent that we overdue it. If we come to the point where as a married people we would rather masturbate than have sex with our spouse then we need to look at how often we are masturbating.

But as I have often argued on this site in other places I believe that as Christians our sexual fantasies, the use of SOME types of porn (not all porn) and masturbation can in fact be used in positive ways to increase our desire for our spouse or help us to understand our bodies better.  Masturbation can also help teens, college students and other singles to stay sexually pure and not seek sexual relations outside of marriage. Masturbation can also make up for differences in sexual desire between spouses.

So up to this point we have established three very important truths.

Masturbation in and of itself is never condemned in the Bible.

Masturbation when done in moderation can have positive benefits.

Masturbation can become sinful if it is overdone causing the neglect of our other responsibilities and especially if it causes us to neglect our spouse sexually.

Mary’s case is a prime example of masturbation impeding a person’s sexual desire toward their spouse.  She admits here that her masturbation was interfering with her desire for her husband.  Mental fantasies, the use of porn and masturbation can all become wrong if those things decrease our desire for our spouse.

But how should Mary and her husband handle her masturbating too much? Is a chastity belt the right answer to this problem?

Is the use of chastity belts by Christians wrong?

I believe the use of chastity belts by Christian women whether the use is voluntary by the woman or compulsory by the husband is in fact wrong and sinful.

It is sinful for two reasons.

Chasity belts are wrong because they remove free will and place people in bondage

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

II Corinthians 3:17 (KJV)

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Galatians 5:1 (KJV)

Bondage is the complete opposite of freedom and a chastity belt is a form of bondage. God wants us to freely choose to do what is right. Bondage takes away that choice.

Now are there consequences for wrong choices with God? Yes!

God gave Adam a choice regarding the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:16-17.

God gave the Israelites a choice in Deuteronomy 30:15-18 to serve him or disobey him and he told them what would happen based on their choice.

Christ presents us with a choice to believe in him or not we are told the consequences of that decision in John 3:18 as well as many other New Testament passages.

There are few and rare times where the Bible allows for bondage or slavery.  In the case of prisoners who have committed crimes or in war captives may be taken.  If a person was born a slave, or sold themselves as a slave in order to pay their debts this would be allowed. Parents could sell their children as slaves and often times this was to bring their families out of poverty.

But nowhere does the Bible say that husbands can treat their wives as prisoners which is in essence what this practice of a man forcing his wife to wear a chastity devise does.

The practice of using chastity belts is a harsh and cruel treatment of the body

Here are several passages of Scripture which forbid us from being cruel to or harshly treating our bodies:

“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”

Leviticus 19:28 (KJV)

“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”

Ephesians 5:29 (KJV)

“20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”

Colossians 2:20-23 (NASB)

What Mary and her husband are doing with her wearing a chastity is direct violation of Colossians 2:20-23.  It is textbook “self-abasement and severe treatment of the body”.

What should Mary do?

I have shown here why I believe Mary’s practice of wearing a chastity belt is wrong whether she does it by choice or is compelled by her husband to do so. Mary is not to submit herself this type of bondage and cruel treatment toward her body.

But Mary does have a problem with masturbating too much and allow her fantasies to get out of hand to the point that she cannot have good normal relations with her husband.

Instead of placing herself in bondage – Mary needs to exercise self-control and discipline.  She needs to choose do the right thing without having a chastity device to compel her choice.

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

I Corinthians 6:12 (KJV)

Photo Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fomfr_chastity_belt.jpg

Do Christian wives have to submit to Bondage and Sadomasochism requests from their husbands?

“My husband has begun to practice your “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife” plan on me because I will not participate in the BDSM activities that he desires. I want to have sex with him! Just not with BDSM.” – This is part of an email I received from a Christian wife who calls herself Olivia.

So is refusal to participate in BDSM activities as a form of sexual foreplay the same as sexually denying one’s spouse?

What is BDSM?

This is the definition of BDSM according to Wikipedia:

“The term BDSM is first recorded in a Usenet posting from 1991, and is interpreted as a combination of the abbreviations B/D (Bondage and Discipline), D/s (Dominance and submission), and S/M (Sadism and Masochism).”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BDSM

This is another definition of Bondage from Wikipedia:

“Bondage is the practice of consentually tying, binding, or restraining a partner for erotic, aesthetic, and/or somatosensory stimulation. Rope, cuffs, bondage tape, self-adhering bandage, or other restraints may be used for this purpose.

Bondage itself does not necessarily imply sadomasochism. Bondage may be used as an end into itself, as in the case of rope bondage and breast bondage. It may also be used as a part of sex or in conjunction with other BDSM activities. The letter “B” in the acronym “BDSM” comes from the word “bondage”. Sexuality and erotica are an important aspect in bondage, but are often not the end in itself. Aesthetics also plays an important role in bondage.

A common reason for the active partner to tie up their partner is so both may gain pleasure from the restrained partner’s submission and the feeling of the temporary transfer of control and power. For sadomasochistic people, bondage is often used as a means to an end, where the restrained partner is more accessible to other sadomasochistic behaviour. However, bondage can also be used for its own sake. The restrained partner can derive tactile pleasure from the feeling of helplessness and immobility, and the active partner can derive visual pleasure and satisfaction from seeing their partner tied up.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bondage_(BDSM)

So in summary BDSM is when one person consensually allows themselves to be tied up and possibly punished by another person and may even endure physical pain either for their own pleasure or for someone else’s pleasure. BDSM may or may not be used as foreplay for sex.

Before I give my response to Olivia’s dilemma here is her full statement to me.

Olivia’s Story

“BGR,

My husband has begun to practice your “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife” plan on me because I will not participate in the BDSM activities that he desires. I want to have sex with him! Just not with BDSM. He says my unwillingness to submit to BDSM practices is a form of sexual denial and I’m not fulfilling my Christian duty if I don’t do this for him. We have been married for 18 years. I have followed his desires and tried to even initiate sex for all our 18 years of marriage. I even tried the BDSM stuff a few times to see if I could do it. I hate it! Every possible scenario. Sex doesn’t happen until he has finished “the game”. I’m done!

I want a normal (whatever that is) sex life. No more “games”. Just us in the bedroom with nothing but skin. Mad passionate sex! Yank each other’s clothes off, can’t wait to touch you, sex – which has never happened. I’m going through menopause, he says I don’t have any sexual desires right now. I do, it’s just not what he wants. I have prayed, cried out to God for wisdom, we went to marriage counseling, nothing has changed. And now he sends me links to your site and gives me the ultimatum.

He says his “needs” aren’t being met and I’m sexually unavailable for him. I’ve already gone through the steps you have given on what to do. Talked with our pastor (with him), counseling, confront him, pray. I’m not an outspoken kind of person, just someone who is trying to save” her marriage. He is a good man, he has some control issues, but most of his actions are from a Godly heart. Any help would be great.”

My Response to Olivia and the issue of BDSM as it relates to Christians

Requests for BDSM come not only from some husbands as is the case in Olivia’s story, but sometimes they actually come from Christian wives too.  I know of a Christian man whose wife left if him for another man because he refused to practice BDSM as sexual foreplay.  She wanted to be tied up and gagged with a ball in her mouth and she wanted to act out rape fantasies with him. She wanted him to be rough with her and choke her during sex.  He thought this was disgusting and refused to act out these fantasies with her.  So she found another man who would and eventually left her husband for that man.

So how should a Christian husband or wife respond to requests for BDSM from their spouse? I believe the answers are clear when we understand the Biblical associations of bondage and pain.

Christians should not seek pleasure through bondage and pain

The Bible associates bondage and pain with this world that has been corrupted with sin.

“Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

Romans 8:21 (KJV)

“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”

Galatians 4:9 (KJV)

“To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16 (NASB)

No Christian ought to take pleasure from being bound or binding someone else. No Christian out to take pleasure from causing themselves pain or causing pain to others.

Christians should embrace liberty and healing

Rather than seeking enjoyment through bondage and pain, Christians should seek freedom and healing both for themselves and those around them.

“18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Luke 4:18-19 (KJV)

 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Revelation 21:4 (KJV)

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Galatians 5:21 (KJV)

What about fluffy handcuffs and silk ties?

When I talk about Christians not submitting themselves to bondage for sexual pleasure I am not talking about a wife playfully taking some clothes and tying her own hands around the bedpost or using fluffy handcuffs that she can easily get out of it.  These are playful things.  Just check out those links above and you will see the disgusting types of bondage activities I am talking about (warning some images on Wikipedia regarding BDSM are graphic).

What if my spouse refuses to have sex with me without BDSM?

I am not sure but I believe this may be the case with Olivia. If your spouse refuses to have sex unless you engage in BDSM foreplay then it is they who are in fact sexually denying you.  If this is the case and you are a husband I suggest you follow the steps outlined in my article “8 Steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal”.  If you are a wife and this is the case then I suggest you follow the steps outlined in my article “4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal”.

Get counseling for people who have BDSM fetishes

If your spouse is willing to –encourage them to seek out a good Biblical Christian counselor who can help them overcome these sinful desires.  In many ways people who have BDSM desires are really no different than those who have homosexual or bisexual desires.  These desires are all sinful corruptions of the natures that God gave us.

“If you don’t think wife’s can refuse sex to their husbands you must be into BDSM!”

I can’t tell you how many times I have been accused in emails of being a person who enjoys BDSM with my wife because of my view that a wife cannot sexually refuse her husband. Let me be perfectly clear.  I have never nor will I ever engage in BDSM practices with my wife.

People write me on almost a daily basis with statements like “Why would any man want to have sex with a woman who does not want to have sex with him?” My answer to them is simple – no normal man wants his wife to be refusing him for sex.  No normal man enjoys sex with his wife when she does it grudgingly in the way he enjoys it when she gives herself freely to him. But he realizes that sex must occur in marriage for many reasons even when his wife may not be in the mood.  This is not the optimal situation and this is not what a loving husband wants.

But let me be clear that a husband accepting his wife’s grudging and reluctant consent to sex and then engaging in sex with her under those conditions is not the same as a man who takes pleasure in forcing BDSM activities on his wife. 

In the first case – the husband gets no pleasure from acting against his wife’s will, in the second case the majority of the husband’s pleasure actually comes from acting against his wife’s will.

And just for all the rape accusers out there.  When I say a husband “acting against his wife’s will” I am talking about her mood and desire for sex.  I have said it repeatedly on this site that while I do not believe that Biblically speaking there is such a thing as “marital rape” I do believe that a husband who physically forces himself sexually on his wife is engaging in physical abuse and he is abusing the authority God have given him over his wife.  When I say a husband is “acting against his wife’s will” in the first case – it is where she reluctantly or grudgingly gives CONSENT to sexual relations, but make no mistake consent is given.

And sorry rape accusers – consent does not have to be “enthusiastic consent” or its rape as you like to say.   Grownups realize that whether it is comes to sex, or going to our jobs or doing many other things in life – sometimes we consent do doing things unenthusiastically because we know we should even though we don’t feel like it.

Conclusion

If your spouse tries to do what Oliva’s husband has done and attempts to say you are sexually denying them because you refuse to participate in BDSM activities as foreplay to sex you need to let them know your conviction that these acts violate your conscious and you feel that God would not want you as a Christian participating in them. Be sure to be loving when you do this.  Especially if you are a wife you need to really do this with a great deal of respect and reference for your husband.

What Olivia so longs for with her husband – “Just us in the bedroom with nothing but skin. Mad passionate sex! Yank each other’s clothes off, can’t wait to touch you, sex” is a desire that has been given to her by God and she should feel no shame in that. Her husband on the other hand, needs to realize that his desires for BDSM foreplay with his wife are not desires that God gave him.  They are a corruption of the original nature God gave him and he needs to recognize them as such and repent.  He most likely needs to seek out a Biblical Christian counselor to help him to deal with these sinful desires to cultivate a natural sexual desire for his wife as she has natural sexual desire for him.

If her husband refuses to have sex with her until she agrees to BDSM as foreplay to sex then she practice the steps outlined in my article “4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal”.

And just a closing note to husbands like Olivia’s. Never on this site have I ever told men they can divorce their wives for sexual performance issues – only sexual denial.  Those are completely different things.  I have men all the time writing me asking me things like “If my wife won’t perform oral sex on me can I divorce her for sexual refusal” and I always answer them with a resounding NO!

Many men and women may lack in the sexual performance area but just because your spouse won’t perform sexual acts (outside of intercourse) does not mean you can leave them.  You need to first examine if what you are asking for is Biblically acceptable sexual behavior. If it is then speak with them gently about it.  If they refuse then pray for them.

In other words as Christian husbands we should NOT punish our wives because they won’t do certain things like wear lingerie, act in sexy ways toward us or perform oral sex on us.  

However I do believe that we can use positive reinforcement to encourage our wives to act outside their comfort zones in the area of sexual performance.  Basically you let your wife see by your actions (not your words) that when she “steps it up” in the bedroom by doing things outside her comfort zone that in response you “step it up” outside the bedroom by doing extra nice things for her.