In recent years we have seen studies and articles like “After Decades of Decline, A Rise in Stay-at-Home Mothers” from Pew Research. And “More Millennial Women Are Becoming Stay-At-Home Moms — Here’s Why” from Forbes as well as the recent “The Real Tradwives of 2022: Why More Young Moms Are Becoming Traditional Housewives” from Katie Couric Media.
All of these articles and studies have secular humanists, feminists and egalitarians quaking in their boots. Why? Because they show younger woman seeing the flaws of feminism and egalitarianism as exhibited in their parents lives and marriages. They saw the strain their mother’s career put on her trying to balance spending time with them and keeping up with work. They may even have seen how their mother’s career directly led to their parent’s divorce.
Not only are these “trad wife” women rejecting careerism for women, but many of them are also embracing patriarchy and specifically the idea of women submitting to their husbands.
In “The Real Tradwives of 2022: Why More Young Moms Are Becoming Traditional Housewives”, Jo Piazza laments that “A woman submitted to her husband and letting him take agency over her entire life is a dangerous throwback”.
As Bible believing Christians though, we praise God for raising up a faithful remnant of young men and women in this wicked and perverse generation who want to return to his design of Biblical gender roles.
But as young Christian men and women seek to return to a patriarchal life, we must come alongside them and warn them of the fact that not all systems of patriarchy are biblical.
In America, there are two competing systems of patriarchy and those are Chivalrous Patriarchy and Biblical Patriarchy. Chivalrous Patriarchy goes by a new name given to it in late 1980s by John Piper and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. That new name is Complementarianism.
Differences Between Chivalrous Patriarchy and Biblical Patriarchy
Biblical Patriarchy is a Christian belief system which embraces everything that both the Old and New Testaments teach about gender roles and marriage.
Biblical Patriarchy fully accepts the Bible’s teaching that men are to have full dominion over women in all areas of society including the civil arena, the church and especially the home. (Genesis 3:16, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Corinthians 14:35,1 Timothy 2:12, 1 Timothy 3:2)
Biblical Patriarchy sees the husband and father as the God ordained patriarch of the home and the most powerful human authority God established. In the view of Biblical Patriarchy, the husband and father have far greater responsibility and authority over the lives of their wives and children than do civil or church authorities whose powers are more limited in scope. (Exodus 22:16-17, Numbers 30, Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Peter 3:1-4)
Biblical Patriarchy accepts the Biblical commands that women are to be in full subjection to their male head (father, husband or other male) and that women are never to act autonomously outside of some form of male headship in their lives. Biblical Patriarchy fully embraces that a husband is not just his wife’s male head, but that he is her earthly master appointed by God (Numbers 30, Ephesians 5:22-24,1 Peter 3:5-6).
Biblical Patriarchists accept that it is a shame for women to rule over men. Because women are command to be in full subjection to their male heads, Biblical Patriarchists reject rights give to women since the mid-19th century including child custody and financial support in divorce, the ability of women to own property and women having the right to vote. (Isaiah 3:12 ,1 Corinthians 11:3-10)
Biblical Patriarchists accept that the Bible calls husbands to actively discipline their wives. Biblical Patriarchists also accepts the fact that Biblical chastening can be both non-physical as well as physical as long as it follows proper Biblical guidelines and safe guards. (Exodus 21:26-27, Deuteronomy 25:3, Proverbs 26:3, Hebrews 12:11, Revelation 3:19)
Biblical Patriarchy also accepts polygamy as fully allowed by God. It sees man’s polygynous nature not as a corruption of sin, but as the design of God. It also sees the Biblical truth that woman was made for man and therefore sex was made for man. Biblical Patriarchy embraces the truth that women are commanded to sexually ravish their husbands and they do not condemn forced sex by a husband of his wife in marriage. (Genesis 30:18, Exodus 21:10-11, Deuteronomy 21:14, 2 Samuel 12:8, Proverbs 5:18-19)
Biblical Patriarchy categorically rejects careerism for women and embraces the biblical call for women to be keepers at home with men being providers for the home. (1 Timothy 5:14, Titus 2:4-5)
Chivalrous Patriarchy, more commonly known today as Complementarianism, is set apart from Biblical patriarchy in several ways.
First and foremost, Chivalrous Patriarchy is more dismissive of the Old Testament as being an equal source of divine truth on gender roles.
Chivalrous Patriarchy teaches a much more limited form of male headship than the Bible does. Chivalrous Patriarchy ignores the Biblical teaching that husbands are not just male heads over their wives, but they are in fact their wives’ masters. Chivalrous Patriarchy teaches that husbands are merely figure head leaders for their wives and that husbands have no authority or power to compel their wives’ submission. Submission of wives to their husbands in Chivalrous Patriarchy is completely voluntary.
Chivalrous Patriarchy unequivocally condemns polygamy and fully embraces the romantic view of marriage. They see man’s polygynous nature as a corruption of sin. Also, Chivalrous Patriarchy does not see sex as primarily created for man, but they sex as equally created for men and women. Chivalrous Patriarchy teaches men that the goal of sex is to please their wives sexually. This is why Chivalrous Patriarchy teaches that men should never force or pressure their wives to have sex, but instead wait for their wives to be in the mood for sex since the goal of sex is to please their wives.
Chivalrous Patriarchy categorically denies the Biblical teaching that a husband has the right and responsibility to discipline his wife and especially that he has the option of physically discipling his wife.
Chivalrous Patriarchy teaches that it is a sin for a man to cause his wife pain in any fashion even if it is not done without malicious intent and is a result of discipline or as a result of forced sex. Chivalrous Patriarchy condemns forced sex in marriage as “marital rape”.
Chivalrous Patriarchy does not have issues with women voting or having a degree of autonomy from men whether it be their husbands or fathers. And Chivalrous Patriarchy gives women the option to have careers outside the home and does not teach that women must be keepers at home.
Origins of Chivalrous Patriarchy (Now known as Complementarianism)
The assault on Biblical patriarchy began with early church fathers like Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.), Irenaeus (120 A.D. to 200 A.D.) and Tertullian (155 A.D. to 220 A.D) who sought to correct what they saw as an oversight by the Apostles. They specifically condemned polygamy as incompatible with Christianity.
Then in 285 A.D., Rome began to impose the Roman version of patriarchy on all its provinces. The constitution of Diocletian and Maximian prohibited polygamy throughout the Roman empire. The term “Romantic” meant “like the Romans who have only one wife”.
The Jews were among some of the fiercest opponents of the new Roman edict against polygamy claiming their Holy Scriptures allowed this right to all men. This Jewish resistance eventually led to a new Roman law in 393 A.D., targeted specifically at the Jews, commanding them to give up their ethnic custom of polygamy.
At the same time that Roman laws were seeking to wipe out the last remaining vestiges of polygamy, Church fathers like John Chrysostom (347-407) began to assault the ancient practice of wife discipline. Chrysostom argued against all forms physical discipline of wives and instead argued that husbands should always seek to gently correct their wives and then leave them to God. On the other hand, Augustine (354 A.D. to 430 A.D.) argued that if a woman was beaten by her husband in most cases, she needed it.
Around 700 A.D. new laws started springing up throughout Christian Europe requiring rings for both men and women when entering into marriage. In previous societies wedding rings for men would have made no sense because men could have more than one wife. But now with monogamy being strictly enforced – a ring binding a man to only one woman made sense.
Chivalry was a code of conduct that originated around 1100 A.D. amongst medieval Christian knights in Europe. Besides codes of conduct for war and loyalty to the church and one’s nation it also had specific codes of conduct related to how knights would treat women of noble birth.
Eventually these codes of conduct were not just for knights and women of noble birth. The common people also took these customs on so they could feel more like nobility. Chivalry eventually became the “cool” way for men to behave toward women.
The chivalry codes built further on the Roman (Romantic) customs and laws regarding men having only one wife. Now instead of just giving a woman a ring, the man would kneel down before the woman in deference to her. Also new chivalry codes made the common practice of husbands disciplining their wives to become unfashionable in many circles although it was still common until it was outlawed in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The system of Chivalrous Patriarchy was the direct result of centuries of early church fathers, Roman and later Medieval codes all eroding the rights of husbands in marriage and elevating women to a place God never meant them to be. The Chivalrous Patriarchal system with its disapproval of wife discipline allowed 19th century feminism to form nearly unchecked and the Chivalrous Patriarchal system was the direct precursor to late 20th century Complementarianism.
In a way, you could call Biblical Patriarchy “hard patriarchy” and Chivalrous Patriarchy “soft patriarchy”. Biblical Patriarchy is hardcore adherence to Biblical gender roles. The demands of Biblical patriarchy are harder because they demand more from both the husband and the wife.
Chivalrous Patriarchy makes patriarchy more palatable to women giving them all the goodies of Patriarchy (a man providing for them and protecting them) and also him making suggestions for her life that she may or may not take. Ultimately the wife gets to choose what kind of wife she will be and the man simply has to live with it.
But make no mistake – I have met many Christian men over the years of doing this blog that absolutely love Chivalrous Patriarchy. They love it because it is not as demanding on them as Biblical Patriarchy is. They don’t have to worry about disciplining their wife or trying to mold her into the wife God wants her to be. The kind of wife she will be is totally between her and God. They just provide for her and generally try to make her happy while making a suggestion here and there to her about the direction of her life or their family. And these men truly enjoy having to earn sex from their wives and they really believe sex is all about doing whatever pleases their wives.
This is why I sometimes chuckle at how worked up humanists and feminists get over Complementarianism (Chivalrous Patriarchy) because it really is still so soft on women. Women still choose to submit to what they want to and don’t have to submit to what they don’t want. In other words, women still have a great deal of autonomy in a Chivalrous Patriarchal marriage.
On the other hand, I can totally understand why humanists lose their minds when hearing the teachings of Biblical Patriarchy because the values of Biblical Patriarchy are all in complete and utter opposition to the values of humanism.
I also want to acknowledge the fact that I have a lot of Christian friends, including bloggers and Instagram folks, who find themselves somewhere in the middle of these two schools of thought.
For instance, I have many friends who embrace everything about Biblical patriarchy and even husbands being called to discipline their wives, but they just can’t wrap their heads around physical discipline even though the Bible allows it. And I have other friends who can accept everything about Biblical Patriarchy except the biblical allowance for polygamy or the fact that God designed man with a capacity for polygyny which explains a lot of natural male behaviors.
And to those people I say – “I used to be you”. I struggled with some of these same issues years ago. And then I just let go of my 21st century American cultural conditioning and let the Bible guide my feelings on these various moral issues. God can change your heart if you just recognize and let go of your cultural conditioning.
We as Biblical patriarchists need to be looking for these young people in our churches, extended families or online who are hungry to learn about Biblical patriarchy. And we need to catch them as early as possible before they get caught up in Chivalrous Patriarchy which we have shown here is not the genuine article. And even if they have already been caught up in Chivalrous Patriarchy – it is never too late to bring them to the real deal.
Articles on Stay at Home Moms
“After Decades of Decline, A Rise in Stay-at-Home Mothers”
The vast majority of modern English Bibles have done a great disservice to God by replacing the words “reverence” and “fear” with the word “respect” and by doing this they have nearly removed all of the Bible’s distinctive teachings on reverence. And even when churches teach on respect today, it is a watered down and humanist version that little resembles what the Bible actually has to say on this subject.
This lack of teaching on the Biblical concepts of respect and reverence have led us to several generations disrespectful and irreverent young people who helped introduce moral chaos into every major area of our society including civil government, the church and the home.
The Bible tell Us to Respect All People
In 1 Peter 2:17 of the King James version (KJV) of the Bible it states the following:
“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”
Other versions like the NIV use “respect” in place of the word “honor” as seen below:
“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”
The same Greek word is used in reference both to the king and to all men. That word is Timao.
According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, Timao means the following:
1. to estimate, fix the value
for the value of something belonging to one’s self
2. to honour, to have in honour, to revere, venerate
1 Peter 2:17 is a perfect example of the two uses of timao and its Greek synonyms in the Bible. It shows us that Timao can sometimes mean to value someone (respect and honor them). Respect in this way means that we see that all people have value. But at other times timao can mean more than mere respect as it can also mean reverence or veneration for someone who is of a higher position such as kings.
In Ephesians 6:2, the Bible commands children to timao their parents when it says “Honour [timao] thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise”. Also in 1 Peter 3:7 the Bible uses a Greek synonym for timao, the word “time” (not to be confused with our English word time). Here it commands husbands to give “honour [time] unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life”.
Now let’s bring this back to 1 Peter 2:17 and our discussion of respect. A few more things we must point out. Respect and honor are synonymous in the Bible. Also, you may have noticed a difference in translation between the KJV and NIV where the KJV says “all men” as in “Honour all men” and the NIV says “Show proper respect to everyone”. In this particular case – the NIV is right in its translation of “everyone”. 1 Peter 2:17 does not use the Greek word for males, but instead uses the Greek word Pas which in means “all” or “everyone” depending on the context.
This is not to say the NIV is always more literal the KJV, the truth is the NIV is usually less literal the KJV and NIV has a lot of biased translations in it when it comes to gender. When it comes to the study of the doctrines of gender roles in the Bible – 95 percent of the time the KJV translation is much more literal to the original Biblical texts than the NIV is. We will show this later in this article. I say all this to say in this rare instance – the NIV is more literal in its translation of “everyone” as it is not gender specific in this case. But as someone once said “even a broken clock is right twice a day”.
The point thus far is this. God wants us to have basic respect for all people. All ethnicities, all ages and respect for both genders. And the reason for this is that all human beings have value because man (the male) “is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man” (1 Corinthians 11:7). The male IS the very image of the masculine God we serve, and woman to a lesser extent also contains the image of God in her because she was taken from man to be his helper and companion.
And this leads to me to my next point on respect.
It Is Not Disrespectful to Believe and Say Men and Women Are Not Equal
Every time I bring up 1 Corinthians 11:7 I get people shouting “But it says in Genesis 1:27 that God made both male and female in his image. Women are not any less made in God’s image then men are!”. But does Genesis 1:27 really say that?
Here is Genesis 1:27 in the KJV:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Many scholars and teachers will say “man” (literally “adam” in the Hebrew) in the first part of Genesis 1:27 means “mankind” as in all humanity. It is true that sometimes the Hebrew word “adam” does mean mankind in certain contexts. But the problem in Genesis 1:27 is with the phrase “he him”. The exact Hebrew phrase here is “eth haa-‘adam”. “eth” literally means “same”, and “haa” is similar to our English word “the” or “this”. This Hebrew phrase means “this same man”. So, the KJV’s rendering it as “he him” is much more literal than some modern renderings that translate it as “he them”.
The point is that Genesis 1:27 does not say God created both male and female human beings in his image. It says two things. First it says he created the first male – Adam (and by extension all males to follow) in his image. The second thing it says is that God created males and females. It does not say “in the image of God created he males and females”.
Another way to state the Biblical truth we see presented in 1 Corinthians 11:7’s divine commentary on the Genesis account is as follows:
While male human beings do not have all the characteristics of God in that they lack God’s deity characteristics there is nothing that is characteristic of Man that is not also characteristic of God. The same cannot said for female human beings. There are many traits that are characteristic of women that are not characteristic of God.
When I make such statements based on the clear teachings of the Bible many Christians are deeply offended by them. And I would submit to these people that the reason they are offended is because they have been raised in a humanist culture that is obsessed with equality. In their view, if men and women are not made equally in the image of God and if women are not made in the image of God to the same extent that men are they believe women have less value than men. And this is absolutely untrue. The truth is that God made men and women for very different purposes, but he loves both men and women equally.
And now let’s bring this back to our discussion of respect and honor for all persons. A lot of people today will accuse Bible believing Christians of disrespecting and dishonoring women for simply believing and speaking the truths of the Bible concerning the very real differences between the two genders God created. But it is never disrespectful to believe and speak the truths found in the Word of God.
Therefore, we can say that that it is not wrong to believe and speak the following Biblical truths about the differences between men and women:
Man “is the image and glory of God” – woman is not (1 Corinthians 11:7).
Woman was made for man and man was not made for woman (1 Corinthians 11:9).
Woman was purposefully designed by God to be weaker than man in many ways (1 Peter 3:7).
The husband is the master of his wife (1 Peter 3:6).
God created woman to be a companion and helper to man (Genesis 2:18), to bear his children and care for his home (1 Timothy 5:14) and for man’s sexual use (Romans 1:27) and pleasure (Proverbs 5:18-19).
To believe and speak the truths of the Bible concerning God’s design of gender roles is considered to be “disrespectful toward women” in our modern feminist and egalitarian culture. But God’s truth remains. And we as Bible believing Christians cannot allow the world to redefine what respect for women is anymore than we should allow them to redefine what a man and woman is.
So how should we respect women based on the truths of the Bible? The answer is we respect those two primary positions that God made women for.
We should have the utmost respect for young women who seek to be wives and mothers or women that are already in these sacred positions. And children should be taught to respect their mothers by both the mother’s themselves as well as by fathers. And remember – when we respect something, that means we value it and we all ought to value God’s design of motherhood.
What does it mean for a man to respect his wife Biblically speaking? It means he does not belittle her for being weaker than him and needing his emotional and logical strength to guide her through the trials of life. A man who respects his wife does not diminish the importance of her work in his home preparing meals, taking care of laundry, shopping and caring for the daily needs of his children while he is out working. A man shows his respect for his wife by regularly praising her for these tasks which she does which are so important for having strong and functional homes just as Proverbs 31:28 exhorts him to do.
So yes, the Bible commands us to respect (which is the same as honor) all people. But what respect looks like for our mother, our wife, our father, our boss at work or the President may look very different.
However, in all these cases the root of honor and respect is to assign value to all people and positions within society that God has created.
Respect for the Position Verses Respect for the Person
Many people will ask “But how can we have respect for people who do not act in respectful ways?”. What if someone is living an outwardly sinful life? What if a man has anger problems and yells at his wife and kids all the time? What if a man has an addiction to food, alcohol, drugs, video games or porn? Does his wife still have to respect him?
What if a parent does not properly provide for and care for their child or yells at them all the time? Does the child still have to respect such a parent?
What about politicians? What if a President acts in dishonest ways? What if a President promotes immoral lifestyles which are in direct contradiction with a Biblical worldview? What if a President is simply not good at his job and has no clue how to run a country?
I could go on with many examples. But you get where I am going. The fact is that God calls us to respect the position while we may not always be able to respect the behavior of the person in that position. It is similar to the concept taught in the military that “you are saluting the rank, not necessarily the man”.
Does respecting the position mean we cannot seek to have them removed from that position? Of course not. For instance, if a Pastor is acting in unethical manner there is a process to remove him as an elder (1 Timothy 5:19-20). And in our system of government, if a mayor, governor or even President are acting in immoral or ungodly ways or they are promoting immoral lifestyles we can seek through the impeachment or electoral process to have such leaders removed from office. So, it is very possible to respect the position, but not the actions or beliefs of the person in that position.
However, while pastors and politicians can be removed from their positions, this is not so easily done with husbands or parents.
God does not lightly allow for a child to be removed from their parents. The only allowance would be for gross physical abuse and neglect (not providing food, clothing…ect) based on the basic human rights God gives in Exodus chapter 21. The same goes for a wife being freed from her husband.
What that means is that often we will find that wives and children are called by God to respect husbands and fathers whose character and actions do not merit respect. Instead, wives and children must remember that God calls them to respect the position of husband and father even if the person holding that position does not act in honorable ways.
Another way to sum up this idea of respecting the position even if you cannot respect the actions of the person in that position is as follows:
We must respect God’s institution of human authority whether it be in government, in our jobs, in the church or in the home even if we do not always respect the actions and behavior of people who hold those positions.
And now that we have exhaustively covered the Biblical concept of what respect we will now move on to a Biblical command that is all but lost in the modern Western world today.
Reverence Is More Than Respect
Biblically speaking, reverence is more than respect for someone. And the Bible shows us what reverence is by the word associations it uses alongside or in place of reverence.
Hebrews 12:28 (KJV) teaches us that reverence and fear are inextricably linked together:
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear”
In Proverbs 24:21 (KJV) the Bible uses fear by itself as synonym for reverence:
“My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change”.
What we also learn from Proverbs 24:21 is that reverence is not just something that we should show toward God, but it is also something we should show toward our earthly civil authorities.
Hebrews 12:9 (KJV) we teaches us more about reverence:
“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?”
From Hebrews 12:29 we learn two more things about reverence. The first is that children should have reverence toward their fathers. The second is that we see a new synonym used for reverence. This time instead of using the word fear as a synonym, God uses subjection as a synonym for reverence.
Here is what we know so far from the Bible about this topic of reverence. God does not tell us to reverence all people the way he told us to respect and honor all people in 1 Peter 2:17. So far, reverence is reserved for God, civil authorities and fathers. We also know that reverence involves fear and subjection to the one being revered.
Now I want to introduce you to one other category of people that God commands reverence towards.
God’s Command to Wives to Reverence Their Husbands
Almost every modern version of the Bible tells women to respect their husbands in Ephesians 5:33 as the NIV does:
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
But this is what the King James version (KJV) of the Bible says in the same verse:
“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
The original Greek word from the New Testament being translated as “respect” by most modern translations and as “reverence” by the KJV is Phobeo.
According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, Phobeo means the following:
“1. to be put to flight, to flee
2. to fear, be afraid
3. to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience”
A Greek synonym for Phobeo, the word Phobos, is also commanded of a wife toward her husband in 1 Peter 3:1-2. See below how the NASB (New American Standard Bible) translates it and then how the KJV translates it.
1 Peter 3:1-2 in NASB:
“In the same way, you wives, be subject to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won over without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your pure and respectful behavior.”
1 Peter 3:1-2 in KJV:
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”
Notice how the NASB translates phobos as “respectful” and the KJV translates phobos as “fear”.
Here is the sad fact. Most modern translations of the Bible as well most teachings on marriage today have completely removed the command of God for wives to reverence their husbands. They have instead replaced the one-way upward reverence a wife is to have toward her husband with the teaching that husbands are wives are to have mutual respect for one another.
What Kind of Fear is Involved in Biblical Reverence?
I have shown from the Bible that at the heart of reverence is fear and subjection.
When the Bible uses fear as a synonym for reverence it the fear is two-fold. The first is of chastisement. Let’s look at Hebrews 12:9 again:
“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?”
The context of the passage above is about the chastisement of God upon our lives as Christians. God compares his chastisement of us to that of our father’s chastisement.
And let’s look at another passage from Romans 13:4 speaking of civil authorities and their God given power to chastise:
“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”
God is saying we clearly should be afraid of doing evil for fear that our civil authorities will punish us.
So far, we have seen that children should fear the punishment of their fathers for doing wrong and citizens should fear the punishment of the civil authorities for doing wrong. But what about wives?
To answer that question, we need to look at two different passages. In Ephesians 5:25 the Bible commands husbands to love their wives “even as Christ also loved the church”. And what is one of the many ways in which Christ loves his church? The answer is that he rebukes and disciplines his church.
In Revelation 3:19, after rebuking his churches Christ says “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”. So, the answer is – yes part of a wife’s reverence for her husband should be that she fears he will chastise her if she is not in complete subjection to him or if she shames in some way by her words or behavior.
But the fear spoken in the Bible in regard to reverence is not just fear of chastisement. It is also fear of not pleasing the one being reverenced or disappointing in them some way.
If you found out that the President of the United States was going to visit your house for dinner – would you not want to make everything perfect for his arrival? Wouldn’t you fear having anything out of place? Wouldn’t you get a list of his favorite foods and drinks? The fact that we would say yes or no depending on what President is in office is a testament to the problem we have in America. We have no concept of what it means to reverence the position even if we disagree with the actions and positions of the person holding the position.
So, let’s make this example easier. Let’s say you love and admire President Trump and you voted for him twice to prove it (2016 and 2020). And you get a phone call from one of his people that he will be coming to dinner at your house. Think of all the things you would do to prepare for his arrival and how you would feel as he entered your home. Would you not have fear of disappointing him? That is a crucial aspect of reverence.
And one final note on fear. Some have tried to use this passage from 1 John 4:18 (KJV) to say wives should not fear their husbands:
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
But those who do this make the same mistake that our Egalitarian friends do when they try to use Galatians 3:28 which says “there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” to cancel out all the commands of the Old and New Testament regarding gender roles. Trying to use 1 John 4:18 to try and cancel out clear commands from God for wives to fear their husbands in Ephesians 5:33 and 1 Peter 3:2 is the very definition of cherry picking the Scriptures. And whenever you cherry pick the Bible, you are sure to create false doctrines.
In the Scriptures there is a good kind of a fear that is encouraged and a bad kind of fear that is discouraged. We are to fear disappointing God. We are to fear punishment from our civil authorities if we do evil according to God’s law. Young children should fear their fathers. And wives should fear their husbands. But we should not fear the evil world system we live in. We should not fear standing for God in the midst of a corrupt and evil culture. We should not be afraid to submit to God. And wives should not be afraid to submit to their husbands. This is what the Bible teaches about fear.
And it is this fear aspect of reverence that naturally leads to our subjection to him. If we are truly fearing God, then we will obey him. A lack of obedience, especially willful disobedience to God is always proceeded by us no longer fearing him. Whether it is only for a minute, a day or for some many years.
God commands that we are to respect all people in 1 Peter 2:17. This means we are to value every human life regardless of ethnicity, nationality, religion, age or gender. All human life has value because all human beings are made in the image of God even if women are made in his image to a lesser extent than men according Genesis 1:27 and 1 Corinthians 11:7.
But the Bible shows us that there is something beyond respect that is owed to certain authorities and this is reverence.
Reverence is first and foremost owed to God the creator (Hebrews 12:28). And most Christians today would have no issue with me saying we should reverence God even if they did not fully understand its meaning.
But as soon I say we are also to reverence certain human authorities that is when many modern Christians begin to resist. Some of this resistance is due to reverence as an association with monarchial forms of government that have gone out of style in the West. But some of it is also due to people wrongly thinking that reverencing someone is the same as worshiping them. Reverence is certainly an aspect of worship just as respect is an aspect of reverence. But that does not make all acts of reverence to be acts of worship.
Worship is reserved for God alone (Revelation 22:9). But God also wants reverence to be given to civil authorities (Proverbs 24:21) by their citizens, reverence to be given to fathers by their children (Hebrews 12:9) and reverence to be given to husbands by their wives (Ephesians 5:33, 1 Peter 3:2).
We must also recognize that reverence will come easier in some relationships than others. In our relationship with God reverence can come naturally as he is the sinless and perfect almighty creator of the universe. Even reverence toward one’s father can come somewhat naturally if that father has lived a life worthy of respect from his children.
There are however two areas of reverence which modern Christians really struggle with. And those two areas are with citizens reverencing civil authorities and wives reverencing their husbands.
As conservative Christians this is truly a struggle for us and I admit at times it has been for me as well. Where is the line between respectful dissent and being irreverent with a civil authority and their policies especially when those policies violate God given rights?
The relationship between a husband and wife is very different though than the relationship between the citizen and their governing authorities. God did not create the citizen for the civil authority, but he did create the wife for the husband. And while God tells us to obey our civil authorities, he tells wives to submit “as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). God tells wives to win their husbands with their silence and subjection (1 Peter 3:1-2) and he does not prescribe the same for citizens with their civil authorities.
And it is in marriage where wives often struggle the most to reverence their husbands. After all he is not their father who may have earned their respect over an entire life. And he certainly is not the almighty and sinless of God of the universe. Their husband is simply a man, and a flawed man at that.
Women must learn to cultivate this reverence for their husbands just as they must cultivate their affection for him as well. And women must realize that if they do come to truly reverence their husbands they are going to stick out from other wives. But wives should never fear to fear their husbands as 1 Peter 3:1-6 teaches.
Women must also realize that often there is benefit that will come to them in their marriages as they obey God by reverencing their husbands. A man who is truly reverenced by his wife will be empowered to go out and conquer his world. It will literally help him in his career. And it will in turn feed his affection for his wife.
On the other hand, when a man’s wife acts as his equal having no fear of him and no submission to him this will discourage him. And it will often affect how he does in his career outside the home and it will negatively impact his affection for his wife.
Click below to go to BGRLearning.com to listen to the two part podcast companion to this article where I speak more on these subjects of respect and reverence from a Biblical perspective.
Below is a profile I recently received from a Christian man seeking a Christian wife who is a sister in Christ as fully believing the doctrines of the Bible concerning Biblical patriarchy.
“My name is Daniel. I reside in North Carolina. And I am a virgin man. Yes, I am. My mom taught me to not have sex until I was married and by the grace of God, I kept to this commitment. I was saved 16 years ago and believe that all Christians should uphold Hebrews 13:4 highly and live it out in their lives as faithfully as possible. The marriage bed should remain undefiled before and even after marriage. Sexually purity is crucial for a happy marriage.
I am in the process of becoming a homeowner and desire a godly wife who wants to be a submissive homemaker and who desires a large family (like at least 10 children). When God said to be fruitful and multiply, he meant it. This woman should already be involved in church activities and be held accountable or be discipled by a more seasoned Christian woman who interacts with her on a weekly & monthly basis.
I work with my hands as a handyman, landscaper and mechanical repair man. (Auto and home appliances to be exact). I also have skills in electrical and plumbing work. I am physically fit and hope the woman I marry would at least value her health enough to stay active in some productive way too. I don’t want a lazy woman.
I am pro-marriage, pro-gun (self-defense), pro-biblical gender roles. And I am also for Biblical Patriarchy, I just believe it should be practiced the way the Church and Christ practice it in their relationship.
Lastly, I love to cook, dance, sing, read books, host people over for meals, evangelize my neighbors and community and even have a online Christian ministry. I currently serve as the ‘precinct chair’ in my community and I am politically conservative and desire the same in my bride.
I am reformed in theology and presbyterian in church government. I am anti-abortion, anti-feminism, anti-LGBTQ alphabet monster and anti-socialism/communism. There’s more, but this is a good start.”
If you are a Christian woman who believes in Biblical patriarchy and is interested in speaking further with Daniel please email me and give me a little of your background and testimony and what you are looking for in marriage. Important details to include are your age, general location (like what state you live in) and background on your faith (please include the Christian denomination you were raised in) and family.
The concept of wife spanking or really a man disciplining his wife even using non-physical means is abhorrent to our modern culture. The reason for this is because we in our modern culture have been conditioned to believe that discipline is only for children and that a man spanking his wife is him treating her like a child.
The truth however, both from a Biblical as well as a historic perspective is very different. The Bible teaches us that chastisement both in the form of corporal punishment as well as taking away various things is ordained by God for both civil government and especially the sphere of the home with the husband and father as its patriarch. And for thousands of years the practice of corporal discipline by husbands and fathers within the home and the marriage was an accepted behavior.
It was not until the rise of feminism in mid-19th century that the historic practice of what American courts called “domestic discipline” came into question.
I first started writing on the need for husbands to return to the Biblical and historic practice of disciplining their wives back in 2015 with my article entitled “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife”. And in recent years I made a podcast series on my podcast site BGRLearning.com where expound more on that article.
As you can imagine, I get a lot of angry emails and comments related to my writings on domestic discipline. I also get the occasional catfishing emails where people send me outlandish discipline tactics which they are using to get my take and those emails go straight to my trash bin. But I also get emails which I believe to be genuine like one I received recently. And it always encourages me to see how God awakens men to the truth of his Word regarding discipline in general and the need for chastisement of wives in particular.
Recently I received such an email from a man calling himself Edward. Below his email that I hope you will also find encouraging.
Edward’s Email to BGR
I would like to share with you what the Lord showed me in the last couple of months, regarding disciplining one’s wife. You might already know all of this, but I thought you might find it interesting.
Firstly, I came to learn that discipline is a huge thing for the whole body of Christ – it’s so big that the very word the Lord chose for his followers (disciples) is even based on discipline! In fact, as one meditates on it, one find that just about the whole Bible deals with a lack of discipline, the consequences thereof and the Lord’s dealings with it – from the garden of Eden through to Revelations.
Here are some things I learned, before I share some additional scriptures.
1. Your point is correct: God rebukes and chastises those He loves. Man is obliged to do the same.
2. There is a great reward in accepting discipline. We should embrace it and actually ask for it.
3. It’s not really optional. As His children, He disciplines us because of His great love for us. In this world, we WILL be disciplined – either by His loving hand, or by consequencial circumstances. Of course, there is also the terrible alternative to be “handed over to satan” as Paul writes to the Corinthians.
The above is just a summary of my own observations. Following are some additional scriptures that you and others might find interesting – starting with general guidance and ending with an absolute clincher! I must just add that the Lord showed me these scriptures when I sought Him for council in this matter.
1. He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ”
This was a general scripture the Lord gave me that emphasised our responsibility as men to maintain discipline.
2. “…I am consumed by the blow of Your hand. When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth…
3. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. Luke 12:47-48
I laughed when the Lord showed me this scripture in relation to a good spanking. He even tells us when a long, hard spanking is required: When the offence was committed “knowingly”…
4. This was a major eye-opener for me! The whole of Ezekiel 23 is the story of the rebellious sins and judgements of the two sisters Oholah and Oholibah. The chapter draws to a conclusion with this curious verse: “Thus I will cause lewdness to cease from the land, that all women may be taught not to practice your lewdness.” Ezekiel 23:48
Here is the (summarized) meaning and an explanation of the original Hebrew word for “taught” in this verse. It’s exactly the same word that is used for chastisement.
a) to chasten, discipline, instruct, admonish
b) to let oneself be chastened or corrected or admonished
c) to discipline, correct, to chasten, chastise
Strong’s Definition: A primitive root; to chastise, literally (with blows) or figuratively (with words); hence to instruct: – bind, chasten, chastise, correct, instruct, punish, reform, reprove, sore, teach.
The chapter refers to Samaria and Jerusalem as the two sisters, so the common teaching is that the reference to “all women” in the concluding verses should also be interpreted figuratively (as all tribes/nations). In my opinion, the Lord would not have stated it as such if it was not commonplace already to apply chastisement in order to teach women this/a lesson.
Hope you found this as interesting as I did.
Thank you for your obedience to the Lord in maintaining your site/blog. A great reward awaits you.”
Many books and articles have been written on various Christian views about the biblically allowable reasons for divorce. But few books and articles have been written on how to navigate the divorce process once you as a man find yourself in the thick of it. And even amongst the small amount of literature written for Christians on navigating the divorce process – there are none that approach this subject from a truly biblical viewpoint. And that is the problem this guide is meant to remedy.
I went through the process of divorce as a Christian man more than a decade ago. And I received a lot of conflicting advice as well as advice that did not match up with the Bible. I wish I would have had a Biblical guide like this then.
If you as a Christian man want to navigate the process of divorce using Biblical principles then you must first be willing to throw out all your modern cultural conditioning. And when I say “modern” I don’t just mean the last few decades. I mean cultural conditioning that was set in motion in Western civilization more than five centuries ago.
In this guide I will give you a brief history lesson on societal views of divorce starting with Biblical times, then moving to the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods and finally bringing us through the 19th and 20th centuries. I will show you how the seeds for all the changes in marriage and divorce were planted more than five centuries ago. And I will demonstrate how all these changes deviated from God’s design of gender roles, marriage and even his allowance for divorce.
Rest assured though that this guide will not just supply you with knowledge of how the divorce process used to work and how wrong it is today. This guide will also help you to deal with the range of emotions you will experience as a man and how to deal with your hurt and anger in positive ways. And I will supply you with real world advice on how to navigate each step of the divorce process and all of this will be backed by Biblical principles.
Before I get into this guide, I just want to say something about divorce in general. In Malachi 2:16, the Bible says “For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away”. God hates divorce and so should we as Christians. But we must realize that the same God who said he hated divorce also prescribed a process for divorce and he himself divorced his wife (the nation of Israel).
The fact is that God shows in the Scriptures that because we live in a sin cursed world there are some sins which God says can be grounds for breaking a marriage covenant. And because a marriage covenant can be broken by certain sins, there must be a process for how divorce may occur.
The sad reality is that the vast majority of divorces that are initiated in 21st Western civilization are not initiated for Biblical reasons that God allows. Not only that, but most divorces that are filed today are filed by women (they initiate divorce 70 percent of the time). And regardless of the reasons for initiating divorce, the modern divorce process itself has become completely unbiblical.
This is what I will tackle in this guide. I will show you as a Christian man how to biblically navigate an unbiblical divorce process which has been established by our civil governments.
With all that said as an introduction I will now give a brief history of divorce from Biblical times to our present day.
The Divorce Process in Pre-modern Times
For 7000 years of human history, divorce was typically a rare thing in societies around the world. God allowed men to give their wives “a bill of divorcement” and “send her out of his house” in Deuteronomy 24:1. And there were of course small spikes in divorce amongst various cultures. The prophet Malachi addressed one of these spikes that occurred in Israel.
In Malachi 2:14-16 we see that God says that men act “treacherously” if they break their marriage covenant with their wives and divorce them for unjust reasons. Later in Matthew 19:9 Christ would clarify what God was saying about men treacherously divorcing their wives. Christ said if men divorced their wives “except it be for fornication” (sexual sin) then that they were committing adultery against their wives. The Apostle Paul would later state in 1 Corinthians 7:15 that men were “not under bondage” to wives who left them and therefore men could divorce their wives for abandonment as well.
It also important to point out that even in cases of biblically justifiable divorce, the Bible never prescribes a method for a woman to initiate divorce from her husband. Instead, the Bible uses the language of the woman being freed from her husband if he does not provide her with three things required by his marriage covenant. Exodus 21:10-11 says that if a man does not provide his wife with food, clothing and sex “then shall she go out free”.
So how would a wife be freed from her marriage even under these justifiable circumstances? The Bible is silent on this. In Mark 10:12, Christ recognized that Roman culture, which dominated the world at that time, did sometimes allow a woman to “put away her husband” but Christ made no allowance for this.
From Jewish historical accounts outside the Bible, we know that in Israel if a woman was not being provided with food, clothing or sex from her husband that she could approach a male relative (her father, grandfather, uncle, brother or cousin) and then that male relative would act on her behalf to compel her husband to give her a bill of divorce freeing her from the marriage.
But this goes to a larger issue – why does the Bible describe justifiable divorce for a woman as her being freed from her husband? The answer is that under Biblical law a man’s wife is considered his property. One of the clearest representations of this Biblical concept is found in Deuteronomy 22:22 which states the following:
“If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”
The words “married” and “husband” are a translation of the Hebrew word ‘baal’ used as both an adjective (of the woman) and noun (in reference to the husband). The word ‘baal’ means master/owner and it can also mean someone who is owned by a master when used as an adjective. In Hebrew this phrase from Deuteronomy 22:22 literally means “a woman owned by a master”.
The New Testament encourages women to continue to regard their husbands as their masters in 1 Peter 3:5-6 and in Israel today traditional Jewish women still call their husbands baal.
Even before the law of Moses was penned it was commonly recognized that men owned both their wives and children throughout human history. And this is why in most cases even when divorce did occur (which was rare) it was usually initiated by the man because women had no power to do so.
And when divorce did occur, either because the man voluntarily sent away his wife or he was compelled to do so by her male relatives, she usually left with just the clothes on her back. The man typically retained control of the home and the children.
This is one of the strongest reasons that women rarely petitioned their male relatives to help them get a divorce – no matter how much they disliked their husbands. Because to do so would mean leaving their children behind with their husband and unless they had relatives willing to take them in it meant living in poverty.
Now that you have read God’s design for marriage and his allowance for divorce some of the feelings you have been having are starting to make sense. These are feelings you may not want to admit to anyone because they conflict so much with how you have been conditioned by modern western values. You may even be condemning yourself for having them. And these feelings are “She is mine, those are my children and this is my home – this is wrong. She can’t take herself and my children away and she can’t take my home!” Biblically speaking, these feelings which are common in men match exactly with God’s design for how things should be. It is our modern system that has deviated from his design.
How the Renaissance and the Enlightenment Planted Seeds for Changes in Divorce
Before the Renaissance, marriage was seen as a sacred religious and societal institution. Marriage did not come about the way it does today. It was rare for a man to romance a young woman and then have her fall in love with him followed by him asking her to marry him. Instead, parents often arranged the marriages of their children to better their social or economic standing. And if anyone was being asked about marriage – it was a man asking a woman’s father for her hand in marriage often without saying a word to the woman first. It did not matter if she was attracted to the man or not. The father would make the decision based on the character, social and economic status of the man asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
What this meant was – it was extremely common for couples to marry and not “be in love” – meaning they did not at first have strong affection for another. Often the man would have strong physical attraction for the woman – but typically the emotional and romantic affection for one another would come long after the wedding. And sadly, some married couples never came to have affection for one another.
But humanist thinking in the Renaissance began to question how marriage was entered into and why people stayed in marriage. The entire concept of parents arranging marriage for their children came into question. And the radical idea was born that marriage should be entered into based on a man romancing a woman first and then her choosing him based on her feelings.
Plays like Romeo and Juliet (1597) and a lot of other literature of the years to follow would firmly plant in the minds of young people the idea of marriage being based on romance instead of it being based in duty to one’s faith, their family and the good of society.
Near the birth of the Enlightenment in 1689, the humanist English philosopher John Locke would pen a work entitled “Two Treatises of Government”. Even though John Locke was not the first philosopher to write on individualism (Thomas Hobbes did that in 1651) it would be Locke’s treatises on how governments should operate that would lay the foundation for American thinking and modern democracies.
In this work, Locke would propose the radical idea that the husband has “no more power over her life [the wife] than she has over his”. He believed that once human beings reach full maturity (adulthood) that both men and women should have full autonomy. In other words, when we say today of a woman that “She is an adult, she can make her own life decisions” we owe that thinking to John Locke. The idea that women should have full autonomy and control over their lives was a foreign concept to previous generations of humanity.
And it was this thinking – that women should have full control over their lives just as men do which planted the seeds for modern feminism which would then push for changes in divorce laws.
How Early Feminists Fought for Changes in Divorce
The first woman’s rights conference occurred in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York. In their “Declaration of Sentiments”, the women of the conference stated the following:
“In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master – the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement.
He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce, in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given; as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of the women – the law, in all cases, going upon a false supposition of the supremacy of man, and giving all power into his hands.”
The statement above was a declaration of war on patriarchy in society and the Biblical view of marriage found in 1 Peter 3:5-6:
“5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
Most Americans at first rejected the radical proposals of the first woman’s rights conference. But over the coming years, they would wear down societal opposition to these changes. And the way they did it was in appealing to American ideals of individualism which originated in the writings of John Locke.
While the women desperately wanted suffrage (voting rights for women), they knew there was not enough national support for that yet. So, they targeted the next best thing – divorce laws. Under the guise of fairness to women and doing what was “in the best interests of the children” the “Tender years doctrine” was proposed and adopted by courts in the United States starting in the late 1800s.
The Tender Years Doctrine
The Tender years doctrine was actually an ingenious ploy to get women more power in marriage and in divorce. It played on the beliefs of patriarchal society that women are better suited than men to care for the daily needs of the children and the home.
The Tender years doctrine was accompanied by child support laws and a new expansive reading of “domestic cruelty”. Depending on the judge, all some women had to do was cry on the stand in court regarding their husband’s cruelty and they would be granted a divorce and awarded with full custody of their children, child support and alimony payments. With all these historic changes to the divorce process, a woman could now for the first time in human history be able to tell a man “If you don’t make me happy in this marriage – I will take our children and you will be paying me support for decades”.
It should come then as no surprise that divorce rates surged from 3 percent in the mid-19th century to more than 13 percent by the time of women’s suffrage in the early 20th century. Divorces again jumped as women incrementally gained more and more economic rights during World War 1 and World II and by the end of the 1970s the divorce rate had climbed to near 50 percent. It was only in the 1980s that divorce rates began to drop into the mid 40 percent range because of the rise in cohabitation and the subsequent drop in marriage rates.
There is some good news for men on the Tender years’ doctrine front. Starting back in the 1980s when divorce was at its peak, lawyers for men in divorce began to directly challenge the Tender years doctrine on the grounds that it violated the Equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. And the courts began to gradually accept this argument. But it would be naive for anyone to think the Tender Years doctrine has been completely eradicated from our family courts. It is still very much present even if it must be hidden by court representatives. However, at least now men have a chance of getting joint custody of their children.
Now that we have looked at the history of divorce and societal changes which changed the divorce process, we will look at how the modern divorce process violates God allowance for divorce.
The Modern Divorce Process Violates God’s Allowance for Divorce
The Scriptural truth is that God designed marriage to be a union of a man and woman together for life. But sin corrupted that design so God allowed for divorce. He did not allow for divorce for any reason like modern no-fault divorce laws allow. But even in the case of divorce for reasons God allowed, God prescribed a process for how divorce would occur.
In Deuteronomy 24:1-2 God prescribed the following process for divorce through Moses:
“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.”
The process of divorce that God allowed was simple. If a man found “some uncleanness” in his wife he was to “write her a bill of divorcement”. This bill of divorcement would let the community know and other potential husbands for her know that she was no longer his wife. He no longer had the obligations of a husband toward her and she did not have any obligations to him as his wife. Her marriage to another man under these conditions would not be considered adultery – but would be approved by God.
Over time some Jewish men abused the “some uncleanness” clause and began to divorce their wives for any reason. It could be that she was a bad cook, she was argumentative or perhaps bad in bed.
In Matthew 19:3 the Bible says “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”. So, Jesus answers a very specific question and that was does God allow a man to divorce his wife for any reason? We need to be clear on the gender here as many modern Pastors and Christian teachers wrongly apply Christ’s answer to both men and women. It is specifically given to men.
Christ’s answer is found in Matthew 19:9 where he states the following:
“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery”.
So, Christ answered what God meant in Deuteronomy 24:1 by the phrase “some uncleanness”. God was saying that a man could divorce his wife for sexual immorality. He could not divorce her simply because she was a bad cook, not a great lover or even if she was contentious and unsubmissive.
But notice that nowhere in the Gospels does Christ modify God’s process for divorce – that a man must write his wife a bill of divorce. Christ only clarified when divorce was allowed, not how divorce would happen.
Previously we mentioned God’s allowance in Exodus 21:10-11 for women to be freed from their husbands if the husbands did not provide them with food, clothing and sex. But the Bible is silent on how women would be freed from husbands who violated their marriage covenants in this way.
The reason the Bible does not prescribe a way for a woman to write her husband a bill of divorce is because she is the property of her husband. So, the only Biblically allowable way for a woman to be freed from her husband (divorced from him) is for him to give her a bill of divorce freeing her from the marriage.
Men Are Always to Lead the Process of Divorce
The Bible shows that men are to lead women in all aspects of marriage. Fathers have the responsibility to give their daughters in marriage (Jeremiah 29:6) and to refuse their daughters in marriage to men they deem unworthy (Exodus 22:17). And husbands are to rule over their wives (Genesis 3:16, 1 Peter 3:5-6) and oversee all aspects of the marriage (Ephesians 5:24) and they are also called to oversee divorce if it is necessary – whether they are the ones at fault or the wife is at fault.
As I mentioned earlier, we know from Jewish history outside the Bible that if husbands were neglectful of their duty to provide for their wives that the male relatives of those women would pressure the man to divorce their female relative. And no Biblical principle would prevent male relatives of wives from forcing husbands to fulfill their Exodus 21:10-11 obligation to free their wives in the case of their neglect to provide food, clothing and sex.
The principle that men are to oversee and lead the process of divorce is clearly established in the Old Testament and remains unchanged in the New Testament. And it is the widescale abandonment of this crucial principle that has led to the explosion of divorce rates in Western society over the past two centuries. Allowing women to take charge in the divorce process has proved to be one of the worse societal decisions in the history of mankind. When men were completely in charge of whether divorce occurred or not divorce was almost non-existent.
Even in the case of a woman who was truly wronged by her husband and had allowable reasons for divorce, her male relatives (father, brother, uncle…) would have to agree to pressure her husband to give her a divorce. This process provided a failsafe against the emotional whims of women. It protected marriage as a crucial societal institution rather than just a “relationship” for the sole purpose of the mutual happiness of two people as it is seen today.
The Bible Does Not Cancel a Man’s Ownership of His Property in Divorce
In Deuteronomy 24:1-2 God prescribed the following process for divorce through Moses:
“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.”
When God prescribes the process for divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1-2 he says that he shall “send her out of his house”. Notice the husband does not send his wife out of “their house” but rather it is “HIS house”. The entire idea of splitting all the assets of a husband with his wife upon divorce is a completely foreign concept in the Bible.
The Bible Does Not Cancel a Man’s Ownership of His Children in Divorce
And speaking of a man’s property. Besides his wife what is a man’s most precious property? That would of course be his children. And it is in this area of child custody that our modern divorce process yet again go contrary to the principles and teachings of the Bible.
In Exodus 21:7 the Bible says “And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do”. You cannot sell that which is not your property to sell. God allowed Hebrew fathers to sell their sons and daughters as indentured servants. And while our modern society may look on such a custom today with disgust – this ancient custom allowed for many families to escape poverty by selling the services of one or more of their children. The period of service could be no longer than six years and the difference was between how sons or daughters went free. Sons automatically went free but daughters had to be redeemed because women were to remain the property of men if possible. So, the daughter could be sold back to her father or bought by another man to be his wife.
The point here is that biblically speaking children are the property of their father, just as the wife is the property of her husband. And just because a woman is freed from her husband in divorce does not mean she gets to take her children with her. This is why until the invention of the modern Tender Years doctrine, men maintained full custody of their children in divorce.
But Shouldn’t the Best Interests of the Children Guide the Divorce Process?
This whole “best interests of the children” philosophy is what lead to the creation of the Tender Years doctrine as we previously mentioned. The “best interests of the children” approach to divorce is an application of the humanist doctrine of individualism.
Here is a brief reminder of what secular humanism is according to secularhumanism.org:
“As a secular lifestance, secular humanism incorporates the Enlightenment principle of individualism, which celebrates emancipating the individual from traditional controls by family, church, and state, increasingly empowering each of us to set the terms of his or her own life.”
The main difference between Humanism and Biblical Christianity could be summed as follows.
Biblical Christianity places God and the interests of his institutions of marriage (the family), the church and the nation above the interests of the individual. On the other hand, Humanism places the interests of the individual above the institutions of marriage, the church and the nation.
For 7000 years of human history, why did men stay with mean and cruel wives and why did wives stay with mean and cruel husbands? The answer was they put the interests of the institution of marriage and family above their own happiness as individuals. And when families sacrificed to support the pastors of their churches and missionaries what were they doing? They were putting the interests of the institution of the church above their own interests as individuals. And when men went off to war in defense of their nations, they were putting the interests of God’s institution of the nation state above their own interests as individuals.
Humanists are more than willing to see marriages and families destroyed, churches closed or even nations destroyed in their pursuit of the best interests of the individual. This is why humanists had no problem shuttering churches during Covid – because for them the supposed interests of individual health come above that of the institution of the church. And this is why humanists have no problem at all with allowing unregulated and illegal immigration because they do not care about the wellbeing of nation states. In fact, for most humanists, they would love to see all nations go away and instead go to a one world government.
The Bible shows us that God cares more about the preservation of marriages and families than he does about the interests of individuals within those families.
This is why God only allows men to divorce their wives for sexual sin or abandonment and it is why he only allows wives to divorce their husbands for failure to provide the food, clothing or sex. While husbands and wives can sin against each other in many other ways, it is clear that God considers a woman’s sexual faithfulness to her husband to be core to the institution of marriage and he considers a man’s provision for his wife to be core to the institution of marriage.
And now let’s return to the best interests of children. There is no argument that women are best equipped to care for children. God has specially equipped women to be able to nurture and care for children. The Bible says in Isaiah 49:15 “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?”. Women are equipped by God with natural instincts for caring for children. Now does that mean there are no bad or neglectful moms? Of course not. There are some women whose natures are so corrupted by sin that they neglect and abuse their children. But the fact remains that women are usually better suited to caring for children than men are.
However, we must also consider that while women are better suited to caring for children, that children still need fathers in their lives even at young ages. And divorce will impede this involvement. What that means is that the best interests of the children doctrine in divorce is really just trying to choose the better of two bad choices when it comes to the children.
What is actually best for children is to have a loving father and mother whose marriage pictures the relationship of Christ to his church.
But we need to remember as Christians that this entire paradigm that we must do whatever we think is in the best interests of children (ask best interests of individuals) at the expense of the institution of marriage is wrong.
In Isaiah 3:12 the Bible says “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths”. Does that not describe the society we find ourselves in today?
As Bible believing Christians, instead of looking out for the best interests of children and women as individuals, we should be looking out for what is best for rebuilding and preserving God’s institutions of marriage and patriarchy.
The Bible declares God’s institution of patriarchy in 1 Corinthians 11:3 when he says “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God”. God has ordained male headship for all areas of society including but limited to the home and church. We need to return to this order.
How much do you think the divorce rate would drop if women knew their husbands would automatically get fully custody of the children? If we were to return to the policy of civilizations before the 19th century Tender Years doctrine, we would return the rights of men and given women a strong incentive not to seek divorce from their husbands. In other words, returning to a policy of men retaining full custody of their children in divorce would rebuild and strengthen God’s institution of patriarchy and at the same time help preserve his institution of marriage.
What About Situations Where the Man Is Physically Abusing His Family?
While the Bible does not specifically address physical abuse in the home between husbands and wives or parents and children it does supply principles about how to address physical abuse which would absolutely apply to the home as well.
In many ways Exodus chapter 21 is the basic human rights chapter of the Bible. It speaks of private property rights, including the concept of human beings as private property. It speaks of children being the sellable property of their fathers (vs 7) and wives being the property of their husbands (vs 8). And it speaks of slaves being the property of their masters (vs 21).
And yes, contrary to American values that we fought a civil war over, the Bible actually explicitly allows slavery. The Southern preachers were absolutely right on that theological point. What they were wrong on was that the Bible does not prescribe slavery based on race. It does not teach that Whites had a natural right to enslave Blacks. On that point the Southern preachers were absolutely wrong. And the South was absolutely wrong in its abhorrent treatment of its slaves.
And it is the humane treatment of slaves which provides the basis for the humane treatment of all human beings and especially those who have owners.
The concept of human property is an idea that humanists simply cannot comprehend. For them the starting basis for human rights is that all people must be completely free and have the same rights. They grant a little less rights for children based on their lack of maturity. But as for adults, in the humanist mind, they must all be social equals. For any human being to have less rights than another human being, regardless of their gender, religious beliefs, ethnicity, immigration status or any other social status is blasphemous to the religion of humanism.
Secular humanism claims to be nonreligious because they don’t believe in supernatural gods (or anything supernatural for that matter). But make no mistake, they have a god and that god – the thing they center their lives on – is humanity. And they have formed doctrines, just like that of other religions, around the worship of their god.
Now we will return to the subject of the humane treatment of slaves as prescribed by the Bible. In Exodus 21: 20-21 & 26-27 the Bible states:
“20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. 21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money…26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. 27 And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.”
Exodus 21: 20-21 & 26-27 teaches us that it is not inhumane for a person to own a slave or even to use corporal punishment on their slave. But these Scriptures also reveal that corporal punishment can be taken too far and that masters can held liable for doing so. In other words, the passage above recognizes the concept of physical abuse by masters of their human property.
And when we realize that the Bible explicitly calls the husband the master of his wife (1 Peter 3:5-6) and it implicitly makes the father the master of his children by giving him the power to sell them (Exodus 21:7) then we understand that these rules for the humane treatment of slaves also apply to a man’s wife and children. Therefore, we can rightly say that the Bible does actually condemn a husband physically abusing his wife and children.
And as side note, no a man’s wife and children are not slaves. They are owned, but have different rights and a different social status than slaves. This is another concept that utterly confuses our humanist friends. In their view, for a person to be owned is for them to be a slave. They cannot fathom how someone can be owned, yet not a slave. But I digress.
And now we must be clear on what actually constitutes physical abuse according to Bible. Physical abuse Biblically speaking is when someone causes a serious injury (such as the loss of any eye, a tooth, a broken bone, internal bleeding…ect). It is not simply causing someone a bruise. In fact, the Bible says the following about causing bruises during corporal punishment in Proverbs 20:30:
“The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.”
So, bringing this back to our subject of divorce the Scriptural principle we can derive from Exodus 21: 20-21 & 26-27 is as follows.
If a man as the master of his wife and children physically abuses them according to Biblical standards of physical abuse, then the wife and children can and should be freed from his ownership. In other words, a man who physically abuses his wife and children forfeits his ownership rights of his wife and children. This issue of physical abuse would be a perfect example of when male relatives from either side of the family should be stepping in to protect the wife and children and force the man to give them up.
And now that we have presented God’s process for divorce and how our modern divorce process deviates from his process – we will get into how you should approach the divorce process as a Christian man.
8 Biblical Principles for Men Going Through Divorce
What follows are eight biblically based principles along with real world situations that will help Christian men to navigate the modern divorce process.
Principle #1 – Modern Divorce Is a War
Christ said in Matthew 10:36 that “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household”.
The first principle that you need to grasp is that you must regard your wife, the woman whom you once loved and perhaps still have feelings for, as your spiritual and legal foe during this divorce process.
You need to see divorce as a war in the defense of your family and that your wife is no longer a part of your family.
On one side of this war is your wife backed by state laws and a family court system that is heavily slanted toward women. And on the other side is you trying to fight both her and an unbiblical legal system which gives women rights and power that God never meant for them to have.
You might ask “What if I don’t have children? Should I fight just as hard?” And the answer is absolutely YES! The decisions you make here could financially cripple you for years to come and impact your future wife and children.
Also, because this divorce process is not just a spiritual war, but a legal war – you definitely should seek out an attorney to assist you. But as you get an attorney and listen to his advice on what to ask for remember that it is just that – advice. You get to choose whether you will listen and act on each part of their advice or if you want them to do something different. Some attorneys are great and others are lazy and will just try and get you to settle as quickly as possible. And still other attorneys will purposefully pursue actions they know you will loose simply to run up your tab. So yes, get an attorney – but also be careful with your attorney.
Thankfully I had a great Christian attorney during my divorce. And he did everything he could to keep my bill to a minimum. In fact, out of all the men in my divorce support group, I had by far the smallest bill at the end of my divorce. One of the things he had me do was to think of questions I had for him all week long and write them down on a pad of paper. So, I would only call him once a week after I had organized all my thoughts and questions. And if I remembered another question, I would just write it down for the following week’s call.
And now I have one final thing I want to say on this principle of divorce being a war and me saying your wife must be regarded as your foe.
Notice I said spiritual and legal foe. Don’t take this as an actual physical battle and go looking to get into a physical altercation with your wife. In fact, that is the very worst thing you could ever do during the divorce process and will not only land you in jail, but if you have children, it will most likely result in your wife getting full custody of them.
Principle #2 -A Christian Man Must Fight for What is His
In Nehemiah 4:14 the Bible says:
“And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
God calls men to fight for their children, their wives and their houses.
Fight for Your Wife
First let me address fighting for your wife. Should you as a Christian man fight to save your marriage? Absolutely!
And biblically speaking there are two ways you can fight for your marriage as a man.
If your wife is divorcing you for Biblical reasons – for things you have done which God says allows her to be freed from your marriage, then you definitely should try to fix these issues and reconcile your marriage.
And this is the first way you can fight for your marriage. If you have been a lazy husband who refused to work to provide for your family or if you were systematically sexually denying her or were physically abusing her (by the Biblical definition of physical abuse) then you should fight for her by repenting of these sinful things you have done toward her. Confess your sins to her and to God and turn from these wrong behaviors.
But what if your wife is divorcing you for reasons that the Bible does not allow? For example, what if she is divorcing you because she has “fallen out of love for you”? Or maybe she is divorcing you out of rebellion against you because you started to exercise your God given dominion over her?
Or perhaps you are the one filing for divorce against her because she committed adultery with another man or has systematically sexually denied you throughout the marriage.
Should you seek to appease her in her sinful behavior to get her to come back to you?
Some Christian preachers and teachers wrongfully teach that the answer is yes – that you should appease your wife and do whatever it takes to get her to come back to the marriage. I received this wrong counseling in the early stages of my divorce before I recognized that it was wrong.
And some will falsely point to this passage where God says the following in Hosea 2:14 to his wayward wife, the nation of Israel:
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.”
But what these pastors and teachers are missing is that in the first part of the chapter before this verse God speaks of his punishment of his wife Israel. He says he divorced her for her unfaithfulness to him (vs 2) and says he will punish her more even after putting her away. That he would strip her naked and humiliate her before all and take away what food and other things she had left (vs 3-4 & 9-13). It was only after this because she would seek to return to him because of her misery (vs 7) that he would allure her and speak comfortably to her after she repented.
And this is the second way you can fight for your wife and your marriage while you are going through separation and divorce. If your wife is in sinful rebellion against you and by extension God who has placed you over her – you fight by making her life miserable just as God did with his wife Israel.
What was God doing by removing his wife’s food, clothing, silver and gold in Hosea chapter 2? He was reminding her of what he had provided her in their marriage. And this is one of the reasons she said it would be better for her to return to her husband (God) because she had all these things when she was with him.
One final note on fighting for your wife and your marriage. If your wife has committed sexual sin (either by having sex with another man and/or by systematically sexually denying you), you can choose to take her back and restore your marriage but you are not biblically obligated to do so. Yes – this is what God was offering to Israel, to take her back after her unfaithfulness. But Christ allows men to exercise their right to divorce their wives for unfaithfulness in Matthew 19:9.
Fight For Your Children
Our post-feminist society is completely stacked against men and one of the areas this is most clearly seen is in our family court systems.
I can tell you both from my firsthand experience dealing with this (I divorced my wife for adultery) and from countless men I have spoken to in person and online over the years that this is the case. The court arbiters and even sometimes a man’s own lawyer will try and get him to settle on various issues when he should not.
More often than not it comes down to the Judge overseeing the case. Many judges are heavily slanted toward women no matter what they did in the marriage. A few rare judges actually treat men fairly.
When I was getting divorced, my divorce attorney who was a Christian as well, told me to pray for a particular judge in our county to be assigned to our case. That he was not slanted toward women and fairly judged between men and women. And thanks be to God – we got the judge we were looking for assigned to our case. And he was more than fair with me.
It cannot be overstated that the fairness of the judge is crucial and very much affects custody arrangements, alimony and distribution of marital assets.
I have a friend who is currently going through divorce in the same county I got divorced – and he unfortunately ended up getting a horribly feminist judge. This judge gives women every benefit of the doubt, yet does not do the same for men. The court ordered a psych eval of both my friend and his wife and the court appointed psychologist confirmed his wife’s diagnosis of schizophrenia and her horrible paranoid delusional episodes and the fact she does not faithfully take her medicine that she had been prescribed. She had record of false police reports and a host of other bad behaviors.
Yet my friend had to fight tooth and nail just to get 50/50 custody with his mentally ill wife who says delusional things based on her paranoia to her children all the time. They were trying to give get him to agree to a 70/30 split with his wife having their children 70 percent of the time. This is how slanted the system is toward women when it comes to child custody. Now if a psychologist had confirmed that my friend (the husband) had paranoid delusional episodes and he was not faithfully taking his medicine you can rest assured that judge would have granted his wife full custody.
But throughout his divorce process I have encouraged my friend to fight for his children. I have made it clear to him that he does not have to settle just because the court arbiter or even his attorney has said he should. And on several issues after fighting his way through, even with a very slanted judge, he has won one on some issues. Other things he did not. But I told him “At least you fought and did all you could”.
In the beginning he was seeking full custody of his children because of his wife’s mental issues and her not faithfully taking her medicine. His own lawyer and the court arbiter tried to pressure him into 70/30 custody telling him it was most realistic because he was the sole provider for the family while the mother was full time at home. He sought full custody, but settled for 50/50 which was still better than the 70/30 that was originally proposed to him.
My point here men is this – do everything you can to fight for your children. Maybe your wife is not mentally ill. Ok. Then go for 50/50 custody. That is a reasonable request in most divorce situations even though the system tries to get men to accept less.
On this issue of child custody for men another issue needs to be addressed. There are times when men do not fight for 50/50 custody and they actually want 70/30 or even 80/20 arrangements where the mother will have the children the majority of the time. Why do men do this? Most of the time it is out of fear. They don’t know how they will manage so much time taking care of their children on their own, especially if they had a stay at home wife.
I was in this situation where I was in a divorce with a stay at home wife (she had been having an affair with an ex-boyfriend so I filed for divorced). But at first it was scary to me that I would have to be taking care of my kids on my own with no help from her so many days a week. But with God strengthening me I never showed that fear to either my ex-wife or my children. And I fought hard and won the custody of my children that I thought was right.
Men you can do this. Don’t give into fear about how you will manage caring for your children. You can do this. And you will come to regret it one day if you let fear win instead of fighting for as much custody of your children as you can get.
Principle #3 – A Christian Man Must Provide for His Children
Jesus said the following about fathers providing for their children in Luke 11:11-13:
“11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
The Bible says in 1 Timothy 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel”.
One of the most important ways that a man images God in the lives of his children is in his provision for them. This crucial aspect of fatherhood cannot be interrupted during the divorce process or after the divorce is final. This is a man’s sacred duty toward his children.
Ways You Can Look to Provide for Your Children During and After Divorce
The first way is through child support (which is required). You must present earnings statements to the family court (and if your wife works, she must provide these same statements as well) after which the court then inputs your incomes with the number of overnights you will each have your children and then they have a formula which calculates who owes child support to whom and how much is owed. In most cases the man is the higher bread winner and the mother has more overnights than the father. And that is why in most cases the father will be paying child support to the mother.
The second way you provide for your children is also required. In most divorces it is the husband who is forced to get another place while the mother stays in the marital home with the children. This means you get another place, most likely an apartment, and then need to get clothing and furniture for your children.
While it is true that the wife must buy out her husband’s half of the equity, courts are very lenient with women as to the timing of when this must occur.
For instance, with one of my friends from my divorce support group, the judge allowed three years for the wife to refinance their marital home to buy out his equity share. I remained friends with him after our divorces were final and even three years later, she got additional extensions from the court and did not pay him his equity share until more than 5 years after the divorce was final. And she was not a stay-at-home mom when they divorced – they both worked and made similar incomes.
This is of one of the hardest things for men to deal with – the concept that that they must literally provide a home, food and clothing for their children in two separate homes. I and many of the men in my support group went through this mental frustration. If both the husband and wife worked before the divorce and her income was not much less than his, than the hit will be less to the husband. But in the case where the man makes substantially more than the wife and especially if the wife was a stay-at-home mom – the financial hit to the man can be devasting.
But there is also a third way that a man can provide for his children that is not required – but I fully recommend.
At that is helping them with things their mother should be paying for but is not. This happened to me and many of my friends over the years. The mom does not buy them a new coat or shoes when they need it or equipment for their sports they will play in. She will tell them she can’t afford it and send them to you – their father.
Now at this point you may be thinking “Isn’t that what I pay that massive child support check for?” and you would be right in thinking that. And besides that, the court requires that the mother also contribute to providing for the children out of her own means apart from your support check.
But it is in these times of need that you have a unique opportunity to show your children that you love them and that you are the one they can come to for provision and help in their life. I can’t tell you how many times throughout the years after my divorce that I was presented with this situation and I paid for things for my kids that their mother should have paid for. But it paid huge dividends with my children later as they got older.
Does a Man Still Have to Provide for His Wife During Divorce?
Providing for your kids is one thing. But do you still have to provide for your wife during and after divorce? Biblically speaking the answer is that there is no requirement for a man to provide for his wife whom he is divorcing. Really in the Bible divorce was very simple and happened in one day. The man gave his wife a bill of divorce and sent her out of his house. Case closed.
However, in our modern months long divorce process (takes at least six months or more in most cases) the answer to this question from a legal perspective will depend on several factors.
In previous decades when women were forced to be economically dependent on men, child support and alimony awards from family courts were far more generous and women were not forced to work as often as they are today.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics as of 2021, only 25 percent of wives are unemployed and completely financially dependent on their husbands. But with the 75 percent of wives who do work, only about 30 percent of them earn more than their husbands.
This means for women who already work and make less than their husbands, that even with your child support and alimony she is going to have to find additional sources of income.
And if you married a wife who wanted to be a stay-at-home mom but then wants to pull the divorce card you – she is in for a really rude awakening. The judge is going to force her to go out and get some skills and work. Staying home and just collecting alimony and child support payments won’t be enough in most cases.
Some family courts have adopted a policy where one party in the divorce cannot be impoverished in order to support the other. However, this policy is not consistently implemented and it very much depends on the fairness of the judge involved. The sad fact is many men still today are impoverished by court ordered support and divorce settlements that they must pay to their ex-wives.
And speaking of alimony. In the 1960s alimony was awarded in about 25 percent of divorces to women. Now courts award alimony in less than 10 percent of divorces and in many cases and they put limits on the amount of years alimony must be paid out. Also, the policy of not impoverishing one spouse to support the other comes into play here and sometimes men who are not wealthy but have good lawyers can get alimony payments significantly reduced or dismissed altogether.
So here is the bottom line when it comes to financial support to your wife during and after divorce. If you are the only breadwinner or even if she works and you make significantly more than her – expect to be ordered to support her at least through the divorce process. But definitely fight alimony. The divorce process usually takes at least six months and that is plenty of time for your soon to be ex-wife to get a job. However, when she does get a job, you may actually be ordered to help pay part of her child care expenses if she will still make significantly less than you.
Should A Man Report All His Income to the Family Court?
This has always been a topic of big importance in the men’s divorce support groups I have participated in over the years whether they were in-person groups or online groups.
Obviously if you have a normal hourly or salary job and or even a regular contracting job you will get a W2 or 1099 which clearly shows your income. We are not talking about men not disclosing these forms of income as they are easy for courts to get records of. What we are talking about is cash income or other types of income (such as bartering) where there is no paper trail of such income.
The 9th commandment in Exodus 20:16 states “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” and in Colossians 3:9 the Bible says “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds”. And in Numbers 23:19 the Scriptures state that “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”
It is passages like the ones above and many others in the Bible about the need for Christians to be truthful in their lives that have led many Christians since the early church to believe that all forms of deception are sinful.
And it is these same passages which have led many Christian men to believe that they must disclose every form of income they have to family courts during divorce proceedings.
But Christians who believe lying and deception are always wrong for a Christian make the same mistake that those who say divorce is always wrong for a Christian.
Let me demonstrate by putting the following two passages together:
“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” – Colossians 3:9
“And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” – Mark 10:11-12
What do both these passages have in common? By themselves they appear to teach that it is always wrong for someone to lie and it is always wrong for someone to divorce their spouse.
But when we examine the Scriptures as a whole, we find that this is not the case for either lying or divorce.
For instance, with divorce, we see that Christ made an exception for men divorcing their wives when he said “except it be for fornication”. And we also see later in 1 Corinthians 7:15 that Paul makes an exception for divorce when he states if a Christian man or woman’s spouse abandons them, they are “not under bondage in such cases”. And there are several other exceptions for divorce given throughout the Bible. So, biblically speaking it would be correct to say that divorce is a sin in most circumstances, but in some circumstances it is not. And this is not moral relativism to say this.
It is absolutely morally wrong for someone to divorce their spouse for reasons that God does not allow. But if they divorce for reasons that God allows, then there is no sin. And in the same way, it is absolutely morally wrong for someone to lie or practice deception in a situation in which God does not allow lying. But if someone lies in a situation in which God allows deception to practiced, then there is no sin.
In other words, in most cases the actions of lying or divorce are sinful in the eyes of God, but in some cases these actions are not sinful. In fact, in the case of lying, it is sometimes holy and right to practice deception.
In Exodus 1:15-21 we see the story of the Hebrew midwives. In this story the Pharoah orders the Hebrew midwives to kill all Hebrew baby boys as soon as they are born. It says in verse 17 “But the midwives feared God” and saved the baby boys. When they were confronted by the Pharoah, they could have told him the truth that they refused to follow his order because it would have been a sin against God for them to do what he said. In fact, they could have refused at the moment he ordered them to perform this wicked act. But what did they do instead? They lied about what they did saying the Hebrew women delivered before the midwives could arrive to help.
The truth was that the Hebrew women, just like the Egyptian women, needed midwives to help them deliver and without midwives the children and the mothers faced a much greater chance of death during delivery. So, if the Hebrew midwives would not have practiced this great deception and had refused and been killed for doing so, many Hebrew women and Hebrew babies would have died during child birth without the help of the midwives.
And the Bible tells us in Exodus 1:20 that “God dealt well with the midwives” for their deception which saved many innocent Hebrew lives.
In Joshua 2:1-20 we see the story of Rahab the Harlot who lived in Jericho. Rahab not only hid the Israelite spies from being found out by her government, but she also lied about them leaving and sent them in the opposite direction. In addition to this she continued to keep the coming invasion of Israel a secret which stopped Jericho from preparing for the siege of the Israelites.
For this act of deception on her part, the Bible enshrines in her name alongside other heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11:31 and in James 2:25 the Bible says “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?”.
It is clear from the stories of both the Hebrew midwives who saved innocent children with their deception and Rahab who saved Israelite spies with her deception that God does not consider lying to be wrong in all situations.
The principle that we learn from story of Rahab and the Israelite spies is that deception in war and lying to protect your family from harm is not a sin in the Bible.
Rahab took sides with the Israelites and lied to protect both the spies and her own family from harm from the soldiers of Jericho. And you must do the same with your family. Remember that divorce is a spiritual and legal war with your wife on one side trying to form her own new family and you on the other side trying to protect your family.
I have personally seen men I knew from support groups who were forced to live in poverty for years because of property and alimony agreements they made during their divorces. Their wives were wicked and while they may have had boyfriends, they purposefully never married them so they could keep their large alimony checks.
And I have seen Christian men hampered from being able to court other women and being able to start new families because they are paralyzed by the financial devastation of their divorce arrangements.
It is for these reasons that I absolutely encourage Christian men going through divorce to practice deception when it comes to their assets and income wherever they can while they are in this spiritual and legal war otherwise known as divorce.
Practically speaking this means you need to find ways to lower your reported income in every way possible. But please don’t think you think you can quit your job as a mechanical engineer and go work at McDonalds. The family court when looking at your income will look at your education and work experience to determine what they think the range of your income should be.
So, if you are a mechanical engineer, you may want to move to another engineering company to make less money. But when you make the move – you have to show the necessity of the move. So, one of the reasons you could give for the move might be because you now have to pick up your kids from school and have to be closer to the school or work less hours. Or perhaps you could even arrange it with your current employer that you need to be laid off which forced you to get another job. And then that job “just happened to be making less money”.
And you can do the same things with collections and other assets you have besides your home. You might have tens of thousands of dollars in various collectibles. Can you sell all of them and just hide the money? No. The family court will catch that. But can you syphon off some collectables and other assets that your wife may not know about or just a small enough amount that she would not be able to verify? Yes.
So yes, as man involved in the war that is divorce you need to practice deception. But you need to do it in a wise way that cannot be easily detected by either your wife or the family court.
And one final word on this topic of men employing the art of deception during divorce. Some may say “Even if deception is Biblically allowable in some cases, God always wants us to obey our governing authorities and the family court is a governing authority”.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:13 to “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake”. But Jesus said in Matthew 22:21 “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”. Notice the language Christ used. He did not say render to God the things that are God’s and everything else belongs to Caesar (the government).
In Micah 2:1-2 God says this about governing authorities using their power to violate the property rights of their citizens:
“Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand. And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.”
The government has God given obligations to protect property rights as God has assigned them. And God never allowed the government to take away a man’s property or income to give to his wife in divorce.
What this means is as a Christian man you should fight to preserve your heritage (your income and property) as much as possible during the divorce process. Even if that means using deception to do so.
And one final thing I want to say on this subject of income for men during divorce. Seek out additional cash income sources otherwise known as “work under table”. This serves two purposes. First it will help to offset the financial devastation you will most likely experience during divorce and as long as you are careful that your wife does not find out – you won’t have to report it. But there is a second added benefit – keeping yourself busy will help to take your mind off the troubles of your divorce.
Principle #4 – A Christian Man Must Discipline His Children
Proverbs 13:24 says “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
It is not uncommon for men to waver with disciplining their children during a divorce. Often times the fathers have the children for less time than mothers and they want to make the most of the short time they have. But children need the discipline of their fathers even in divorce situation.
Now may the discipline have to be modified? Yes. If a man has a wife that is looking for any reason to lower his custody time or if she is looking for an excuse to get full custody then he may want to alter his discipline methods. Specifically, if he was engaging in corporal chastisement as the Bible allows and recommends, he may have to switch to non-physical discipline.
The last four principles that Christian men who are going through divorce need to follow come from one of the simplest yet most powerful passages of the Bible:
In 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NASB) the Bible states:
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
Principle #5 – A Christian Man Must Be on Guard Against Threats to Himself or His Children
You must be on guard to threats against yourself or your children which may come from your wife. The following are some things you need to be on guard against:
Your wife may try to clean out your joint bank account and move the money to a new account she has by herself.
Your wife may bring in a boyfriend after you leave the home during the separation and divorce process – what kind of man is he and how is he with your children?
Your wife might make up abuse allegations against you to try and get full custody of the children.
In a fit of rage, she may destroy your personal belongs she knows you hold dear.
She may try to poison your children against you telling them things she made up or even if some things are true, they are inappropriate things for children to hear about their parents.
She may try to seduce you to get a better divorce settlement and then turn around and threaten to say you raped her if you don’t give her what she wants. Be very careful of this one. Even if she does not use the false accusation of rape threat, sex can be a powerful tool for a woman during the divorce process. Many men because they were desperate for physical connection during the divorce have actually signed on to horrible divorce settlements because their soon to be ex-wives kept using sex during the process to manipulate them.
And here are ways you can protect yourself during the divorce process:
Never be alone with her during the divorce process. Make sure at least the children are present and try not to go into her house where she can accuse you of doing things in her home. Have her bring the children out of the house to the car when exchanging them for parenting times. Also never let her in your apartment or home for the same reasons.
Make sure all communications are via email. Many family courts today have special communications systems for husbands and wives to discuss all issues. If you talk on the phone -she can say you said anything she wants. Reserve phone calls only for emergencies with the children and even then, ask for them to follow up the phone call with official communication via email as proof of the event for the court.
If you have a wife who will not follow the rules of communicating via email and insists on calling you or coming to your apartment or house – record the conversation. Consider investing in cameras for the outside of your home as videos of her going nuts on the porch may be golden. One word of warning on this – the majority of states allow “one party consent” recording between private persons meaning if you are taking part in the conversation, you can record it without the other person’s knowledge. But some states require the knowledge of both people to record conversations so you may actually be breaking the law by recording your wife. Check your state laws first.
Make a preemptive strike on the bank account by opening a new bank account and moving the money there along with your direct deposits from your job. Continuing paying the bills as you normally would and giving your wife money for normal things like groceries and other household needs. Make sure you have a record of the money you give her – maybe take a cell phone picture and have her sign a receipt for the money. When it comes time to come before the family court judge, he will most likely order that you place your wife on the new account. And at that point you can explain to the judge why you did this and now that your bank statements will be monitored by the court – you feel safe in adding your wife to this account.
Principle #6 – A Christian Man Must Be Strong
The strength mentioned in 1 Corinthians 16:13 is not speaking of physical strength nor is it saying that all men must be body builders. But rather it is speaking of a man’s spiritual and emotional fortitude. Even in the face of the destruction of your family in divorce, you must lean on God and other men to maintain your spiritual and emotional strength.
These are the stages of grief that most people go through when getting divorced:
Since 70 percent of divorces are filed by women it is the men who usually experience these stages the hardest. Most women have gone through at least some of these stages for many months or even years before they finally pull the trigger and file for divorce.
But for the men in most cases – divorce hits them like a freight train they never saw coming. And when you also add to this the fact that most men compartmentalize and suppress their emotions – it makes it that much harder on them. This is why suicide rates during divorce or just after divorce are much higher for men than for women.
So, what do we mean when we say men must remain strong? Do we mean that a man cannot express any emotion during divorce? No. In fact, it is good and healthy for men to express their emotions – but this needs to be done in the right place and setting.
The men in my divorce support group were an invaluable resource to me during my divorce. I highly recommend to any man that is going through divorce that he finds some kind of church sponsored men’s group. You might have to find one at a different church or even a different Christian denomination than the one you attend and that is ok as well.
But it is here in these men’s groups that you can and should pour your heart out as a man. Some weeks you might just want to listen to other men and hearing their struggles helps to validate yours. Then other weeks it will be you that needs to speak and you talking will help other men as well. Sometimes you just need to vent. And this is a great place to do that. These groups will help you as a man get through the stages of grief much faster than you would have without being in them.
Being strong sometimes means being strong enough to face your emotions and to express them in the proper setting (like a men’s group). But at other times, being strong means being in control of your emotions and not expressing them.
For instance, while it is perfectly good and healthy for you as a man to express your emotions in private settings with other men whether it be one on one or in a group – it is not good for you do this in other settings. It is not appropriate for you to be breaking down crying or going into a fit of rage in front of your wife, your children or especially in arbiter meetings or court hearings. This is where strength means controlling and holding in your emotions.
Your children need to see strength from you. They look to their father for safety and security and you breaking down crying all the time in front of them or going into fits of rage in front of them will not make them feel safe or secure.
And the reason you don’t do these things in front of your soon to be ex is a little different. You don’t break down in front of your wife because you don’t want to let her see you sweat. A man losing control of his emotions in front a woman demonstrates weakness to her – whether she realizes it consciously or not. And throughout the divorce process you to project nothing but strength with her.
One final note on remaining strong. You will have failures in this regard. Very few men go through divorce without their children ever catching them crying. It’s going to happen. And very few men go through divorce without overhearing their father losing about the divorce – either with a friend on the phone or talking to their mother.
But just realize it when you do this and determine to do better next time. Act like a man and be strong.
Principle #7 – Flee Sexual Temptation
In 1 Corinthians 6:18 the Bible states:
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
And in 1 Corinthians 6:15-16 the Bible says:
“Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.”
You may have remained sexually pure before you married your wife and you may have never been with another woman while being married to your wife. But when you are going through the emotional roller coaster of divorce you will be sexually tempted. And you need to be on guard against this.
The obvious sexual temptation spots for Christian men to steer clear from would be strip clubs, massage parlors, bars and night clubs. But there are other areas of sexual temptation as well during divorce. You need to be very careful of pouring your heart out to single women you know, whether they are at your job or at your church as you may easily fall into sexual immorality in these situations as well.
Also even if you are taking steps not to be alone with a woman, you need to avoid getting into any relationships with women during the divorce process. Biblically it is not sin to do so as men are allowed by God to practice polygamy. But it is not wise to do so. While it may bring a lot of emotional comfort during the divorce progress it could also bring problems. You may not think as clearly as you would otherwise and simply give your wife whatever she wants be it money or child custody because you want to move on to your new life with a new woman. Leave this for after the divorce.
Principle #8 – A Christian Man Must Be Firm in His Faith
1 Corinthians 16:13 tells that a man must “stand fast in the faith”. To “stand fast” means to plant one’s feet and not be moved. It is means to hold the line.
As you are going through this divorce there is no more important principle to remember that to stand firm in your faith and to be unwavering no matter what comes your way during the process. It is your firm faith which will help you to fight for what is yours, to continue disciplining your children, to keep your guard up and to be strong.
You need to be in the Scriptures daily – especially the Psalms to look for daily encouragement. Remember that God is sovereign and he knows the end from the beginning. And know that he can bring you through this trial and make you stronger on the other of it – if you will only let him.
And please do not forget to pray daily. Pour your heart out to God often during this process.
Modern divorce is part of a larger war on Biblical patriarchy. The modern divorce process utterly denies men the rights which God has bestowed upon them. On one side of this war is your wife who is backed by the state which has bestowed power and rights upon her not given to her by God. And on the other side is you who stand alone against the state and your wife (ok not completely alone if you have a lawyer – which you absolutely should!).
This war will have many battles. Some you will win; others you may lose.
Someday, long after the divorce is final, you and your wife may be able to be cordial and you may even be somewhat on friendly terms. And if you can get to this point it will be helpful with parenting your children.
But the divorce process is not the time for civility. You must accept that during the divorce process that you and your wife are in a spiritual and legal battle against one another. You are no longer team mates. You are opponents.
You need to realize that God does not just expect you to roll over and give your wife whatever she wants in the divorce. God says a man is one who fights for what is his and he is one who is strong and stands firm in his faith. A godly man must always be on guard against physical, spiritual and legal threats against himself. And very importantly a man must realize that during the divorce process his wife is his spiritual and legal foe. He must protect himself from possible threats from her at all times.
During your divorce you will face battles on many fronts. You will face many battles in your own mind. You may face dark thoughts of suicide or sometimes even dark thoughts of hurting your wife. You may feel depressed and feel that you will never marry again. And this is why it is good for you to seek out a men’s support group to work out these feelings. We men can often be loners. But divorce is no time for a man to be alone. We need the brotherhood of good Christian men around us to lift us up during this difficult time.
And while it is not wise to engage in any new relationships with women during your divorce process – there is nothing wrong with holding on to the hope that you will have another wife in the future after the divorce is over. Just make sure you don’t rush into a marriage to another woman without fully vetting her.
Click below to listen to the 5 part companion podcast series to this article (a subscription is required).
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With the news we heard this week that there is a strong chance that Roe vs Wade may be overturned we as conservative Christians cannot miss the bigger picture.
Abortion is simply the tip of the iceberg of feminism. In this podcast, I will discuss what societal changes laid the ground work for abortion and how feminism in America has dismantled God’s order of patriarchy piece by piece for almost 170 years. I will also discuss how we as Bible believing Christians can return our society to God’s design.
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Young people are having a harder time getting married today than at any point in human history. In a new 3 part podcast series on BGRLearning.com, I take the Bible and show how our modern society’s rejection of patriarchy has caused finding a spouse to be much more difficult. But I also show from a Biblical perspective how young Christians can be putting obstacles in their way and keeping themselves from getting married.
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