Christian Husbands – You don’t pay for the milk when you own the cow!

cow in front of a white background

As Christians who embrace God’s Word as the guide for our lives, we know that the Bible condones sex ONLY within the bounds of marriage. But unfortunately, since the sexual revolution of the 1960’s our culture has embraced the idea that pre-marital sex is the norm, and that we actually need to try out the person sexually before we are married to make sure that we are sexually compatible.

Our culture’s acceptance of pre-marital sex has been one of the major contributing factors to the decline in marriage, and the rise in cohabitation rates.

Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?

This phrase was coined to reflect the reality that when you make sex outside of marriage culturally acceptable, less people will marry, and the statistics today prove it. The most literal and historical meaning of this phrase meant “why marry a girl, when she will give you sex without marriage?”

I remember growing up in my Church youth group, hearing speakers sometimes say this phrase about the milk and the cow. Obviously they would always start with the Scriptures that forbid fornication – which includes (but is not limited to) sex outside of marriage. But then they would follow up the Scriptural commands, with some practical reasoning, especially to the young ladies, exhorting them to “make these crazy hormone driven boys to wait for marriage” before giving up “the milk”.

I can hear it now – “What about those boys! This is not fair that all the pressure is on the women”. Yes the Scriptures command BOTH men and women to not engage in sex before marriage, and yes they did speak to us as young men about being godly men of integrity, about being gentlemen. However, if you examine the Scriptures closely, you will see that God places the greater burden on the woman to refuse the man. In the Old Testament law, a woman could be executed for not being a virgin when she was married, whereas there was no such punishment for a man that was not a virgin. I realize this goes against our modern “gender equality” ideas, but the Bible supports no such notion.

But once you have bought the cow, you ARE supposed to get the milk for free

One of the problems we face today in the Christian community (but it certainly is not limited to Christians) is that often times, even after we have waited, and “bought the cow” (married our wives), our wives expect us to “buy the milk” as well. I recently wrote a post responding to a Christian teacher’s false belief, that in marriage men do in fact have to “buy the milk”(earn sex), even after “buying the cow”(marrying a woman).

A quick word on the “cow analogy” before we continue – in no way am I meaning disrespect toward women, or saying that cows are somehow equal to women, or that women are less human than men. But Biblically speaking, a wife does belong to her husband (men paid a “bride price” and one the terms for husband in the original languages of the Bible is “baal” which means “owner or master” (e.g. Proverbs 31). I Peter 3 says Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord[master].

The fact is, in marriage, neither the husband, nor the wife, should have to earn sex. While husband’s denying their wives sexually is a problem sometimes, the vast majority of the time it is the wife denying her husband. Ask any pastor (and I have many pastor friends) and they will confirm this. Ask any marriage counselor, and they will confirm this as well.

But there is a difference between flat out denial, which some wives are guilty of, and a woman making her husband earn sex (but both are equally wrong). I once knew a Christian couple, where the only way the man got sex from his wife was when he did the dishes and picked up the house. For other men, it might be buying flowers for your wife, or taking her out to dinner. Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think it wrong for a husband to do these kinds of  things for his wife, but these things should NEVER be a prerequisite to sex.

The sinful sexual pattern of modern women

Husbands listen to me, engaged men please hear me. There is a pattern that takes place in a lot of Christian marriages (and non-Christian marriages). At the beginning of the sexual relationship between a man and woman (which should begin after marriage, but sometimes it sinfully starts before marriage), women will give their husbands all the “free milk” they want. She lets him “taste the goods” so to speak.

But not long into the marriage, the milk is no longer free of charge, it now comes at a cost. That cost looks very different from woman to woman, but there is a cost of some sort. For some Christian men, it might simply be household chores, for others it is buying jewelry or other gifts. For other husbands, it is making a decision the way their wife wants it, but they do not think is best.

What all these different prerequisites have in common is, they require a man to transfer his God given authority over his home, his children, and his wife and yes even his wife’s body to his wife. Only if they do the bidding of their wife, will she give them “the goods”.

How to stop this wicked pattern

For you engaged men, or newlywed husbands it will be much easier if you spot this change in your wife and nip it in the bud right away. If you allow this pattern to go on for years of marriage, it only becomes harder (but not impossible) to break. Whether you have been married 6 months, or 6 years, the fix is still the same.

When your wife tells you “If you do ___________ for me, then I will do that for you”, you need to sit down and take out the Word of God. You must see this as God sees it, as an act of rebellion against your authority over her (and her body), and by extension as an act of rebellion against God himself, because he has given her to you. You need to rebuke your wife’s sinful behavior.

Take her to I Corinthians and read the Word of God to her:

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” – I Corinthians 7:3-5(KJV)

The Bible places absolutely NO preconditions on sex between a husband and wife within the bounds of marriage (contrary to what many Christian books and teachers teach today). In fact the only mutual agreement a couple is called to is, when they STOP having sex for a given period.

As the head of your home, and the authority of not only your children, but also your wife, you will be called from time to time to confront a sinful attitude or behavior in your wife, just as Job confronted his wife’s sinful behavior.

“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” – Job 2:9-10(KJV)

I remember one time in Church my Pastor referenced this passage, and he said “Sometimes we as husbands need to call out our wives sinful behavior, but it might be a good idea to back up a bit before you do, I think Job might have.”

What about the aftermath?

This is a form of discipline, and discipline is never pleasant, but all authority figures must discipline those who are under their authority from time to time. Before anyone goes nuts here, I am not talking about physical discipline here, but there are other forms of discipline that are not physical.

After you confront your wife’s rebellion (not only towards God’s command to her, but by extension the authority he has given you) – she is not exactly going to be in the mood, if you know what I mean. It may feel as though you have been unloving to her, but you are in fact loving your wife when you call out her sin, and call her to repentance, just as God calls to all of us.

In what is often called “the love chapter” of Scripture, where love is defined by God’s standards it says this:

“Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.” – I Corinthians 13:6(HCSB)

Your wife’s rebellion against your sexual authority over her body is by definition “unrighteousness”. You would in essence, be “unloving” to your wife, from God’s perspective, if you allowed her sinful attitude to go unchecked.

But should you still have relations with your wife after such a confrontation?

I believe the answer is yes, if she yields to you (even with the wrong attitude). When I first had to confront my wife with these types of issues, I would confront her, and then just leave the sex to happen another night, because after all, I like most men don’t prefer to have sex with my wife when she acts grumpy about it.

But I realized that the sex still needs to occur, that sex is not about being in the mood, and it is not about feelings, it is about doing what is right. I agree whole heartedly that the best sex a Christian couple can have is when they are spiritually, emotionally and physically connected all at once. But the truth is there will be many times when we don’t have all that in place, but we must still have sex. God wants us to do the right thing, even when we don’t feel like it.

This probably won’t be a onetime thing

As a Christian husband, and really just as a Christian, we must realize that we all from time to time slip back into patterns of sinful behavior. Please don’t think that if your wife seems to submit to your sexual authority over her body after confronting her with the truth of God’s Word, that this rebellion will never seep back up again in her life. This has definitely not been a onetime thing with my wife, and I have also talked with other Christian men who have told me it is the same with their wives as well.

Whenever we see sinful behavior crop backup, whether in ourselves, or wives or children we need to address it.

We as husbands must also realize that, there will be less of a chance of re-occurrences of rebellious behavior by our wives and children when they see that we ourselves are submitting to God’s authority over us. If we are keeping our families in the Word, and in Church this can greatly help to keep the “flare ups” from happening as often.

But if you are husband trying to submit to and follow God’s will for your family, don’t think everything should just fall in place. Your wife may have had a very different upbringing, and there may be some very bad habits and attitudes that are deeply ingrained in your wife’s person, that she has to battle with the help of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.

Can my Christian wife ever say no to my sexual advances?

This is the logical question you as a Christian husband (or engaged man) might ask after everything we have just looked at. The answer to this question is a Christian wife should never give her husband a flat no, BUT she can humbly and gently ask for a delay. There may be legitimate physical or other issues that might prompt your wife to ask you for a delay.  But this must be done humbly and respectfully, and always with the attitude in mind that her body does belong to her husband. But a Christian wife should ALWAYS make good on her “rainchecks” with her husband. Also these “delay requests” from wives should be the exception, and not the normal response to a husband’s sexual advances.

This has been part 3 of our series “How to be a godly husband”. In the next parts of this series we will address the topics of “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not the mood?” and “How to handle your wife’s sexual refusal”.

Previous Posts in this series:

Does the Bible teach ‘Happy wife, Happy life’?

7 ways to let your wife manage your home

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40 thoughts on “Christian Husbands – You don’t pay for the milk when you own the cow!

  1. If my husband ever tried any of these, I’d file for divorce the next day. “Godly” my ass. If your significant other says no and you ignore that, it’s called “rape”, regardless of whether you’ve “bought” her or not.

  2. Here is another Scripture that shows that the husband owns his wife:

    17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17

    Your neighbor’s wife belongs to your neighbor and you should not covet her.

  3. Insanity,

    Thanks and I totally understand what you are saying about the cows and women, but I went out of my way to explain that in the post:

    “A quick word on the “cow analogy” before we continue – in no way am I meaning disrespect toward women, or saying that cows are somehow equal to women, or that women are less human than men. But Biblically speaking, a wife does belong to her husband (men paid a “bride price” and one the terms for husband in the original languages of the Bible is “baal” which means “owner or master” (e.g. Proverbs 31). I Peter 3 says “Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord[master]“.

    The theme of the article was surrounding the old phrase, “Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?”.

    I stand by the use of that phrase, and the analogy I used. But as I said in the post, I was not saying cows and women are equal, whether it be in God’s site, or man’s – women should be seen as human beings the same as men.

  4. Bee,

    There are many passages in the Bible the clearly treat women as the property of either their father, their husband, or if they were sold by their father, or captured in war as the property of their master. However as I have said many times on this blog, just because women were considered property Biblically speaking, it does not mean they can be treated as animals or inanimate objects. We have a very negative view of people being seen as property in America, because of how terribly slaves were treated in America and other countries in the past(and the slavery of American slavery was different even it is source, as most of the slaves were kidnapped in Africa, something the Bible forbids).

    But the fact is, the Bible prescribed standards for how “human” property was to be treated, both in the Old and New Testament, and you could not do anything you wanted to your slaves. If you abused them you had to free them. If you took a slave wife(concubine), you had to feed her, cloth her and have sex with her else you had to free her.

  5. Good article.

    The terms used to describe a wife who frequently refuses her husband sexual intimacy or makes it conditional on him doing certain things (i.e. earning sex) are refuser and gate keeper. Yes, this is a problem in many Christian marriages. Sexual refusal is a sin that few pastors will address from the pulpit.

  6. Good article, it needs to be repeated. Often.


    The theme of the article was surrounding the old phrase, “Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?”

    I recall reading this phrase in a book written by John Bunyan. The book is called; ‘The Life and Death of Mr Badman’. This book was written in the 1600’s. He used the phrase in the exact manner you have.

    Too many wives manipulate their husbands using sex. And there are very few clerics willing to address this problem, so much so that christians are often seen as sexless fools by outsiders.

  7. Don’t start going wobbly and weak knee’d on us. There are tons of blogs with weasel word interpretations of anything masculine.

    I have never hit my wife.

  8. Ah yes, the old “divide and conquer” method. Well I think that Don and I as believers understand that believers will have differences on various doctrinal issues. But where we agree, we ought to stand together – at least that is my take.

  9. Where you should both agree is Matthew 7:3. Beyond that, the fact that he would unhesitatingly call you a sinner for your current marital state (let’s not forget that your wife committed adultery, not fornication) should at least give you pause for thought in your arrogant approach to your personal interpretation of the Bible. Nothing I have read of yours sounds remotely consistent with the words and attitude of the character Jesus. You only have the support of Paul, who wrote his letters to specific groups of people addressing their particular cultural situation, and who admitted on more than one occasion that what he wrote was his own personal opinion. And if you want to base you life on the Old Testament, I sincerely hope you at least don’t eat pigs. Don’t add the gluttonous consumption of higher level sentient beings to your sins.

  10. violetwisp
    MAY 5, 2015 AT 11:13 PM

    “Where you should both agree is Matthew 7:3. Beyond that, the fact that he would unhesitatingly call you a sinner for your current marital state”

    No.
    I would not call biblicalgenderroles a sinner. Please don’t pretend to speak for me. If a man is twice married I prefer to consider him a polygamist, unless I know otherwise. If you are interested [I doubt you are] them please have a look at:
    http://oncemarried.net/twice-married-always-married.html

  11. The Jewish marriage ceremony includes two parts, the betrothal and the actual marriage. The betrothal was a stage in which the couple were not permitted to live together, but the two had mutual obligations to each other. Dissolving this bond required a full divorce and payment of the ketuba, a sum of money, to the woman. During this period the husband was to organize the necessities for the wedding feast and the home. The Torah only prescribes execution for a woman who has been unfaithful to her husband or betrothed. It is forbidden to have sex outside marriage equally for women or men, but their is no death penalty for a woman not being a virgin at marriage. It is merely evidence of infidelity during the betrothal period which is being discussed. Later, maybe 1500 years ago or more, the rabbis instituted the custom, still practiced in Jewish marriage today, of performing the betrothal immediately before the full wedding ceremony so as to avoid the danger of forbidden behavior by young folks with hormones. As an observant Jew I could not agree more with your statements on the nature of marriage, but I simply wanted to correct your point on this issue, as it seems to make the law inequitable and unliveable.

  12. I note also this in the passage you quoted, though you didn’t highlight it and didn’t address it:

    and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

    I’m curious your thoughts on the implications of that. So it would be wrong for the husband to deny the wife sex as well, correct? And how does her ownership of his body accord with your notion that he has overall ownership of her?

  13. Jeff,

    Absolutely a wife has ownership of her husband’s body for the purposes of sex. But if we look at the overall context, Paul is speaking of sex in marriage and not depriving one another.

    But the husband is seen as the Master/Owner of his wife consistently throughout Scripture. For instance, in Proverbs 31 where it talks about the Virtuous wife and it speaks of her husband and her doing him good all the days of his life, in each instance the Hebrew word is actually means “owner/master” and some Jewish women today still use this word to reverently refer to their husbands. A Jewish woman did not have the power to divorce her husband – but her husband had to give her a “Get”, or bill of divorce. If he mistreated her by not giving her the rights of marriage due her, he would be pressured by her family or other leaders to release her by giving her the “Get”.

    The New Testament affirms this continued Master/Servant relationship in I Peter 3:

    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;
    2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
    3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
    4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
    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.”
    I Peter 3:1-6

    So yes husbands still own their wives,and it is still, as it has been sin the beginning of creation, a type of master/servant relationship. However in this same passage Peter writes:

    “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” – I Peter 3:7

    So yes marriage is technically a master/servant relationship with the master being the husband and the wife being in subjection to him. But it is no ordinary master/servant relationship, it is more than that. The Husband is call to “dwell with his wife according to knowledge” this is literally means “to know her”. He also must honor her as “the weaker vessel” – he honors her for the role she fulfills as his helpmeet. This verse and some others will be the next part in my series, I don’t want to go into a lot right now, but it is coming. This is a gold mine for husbands as well as some other passages I will allude to. Contrary to what most people are thinking when they come to this site, I do believe has husbands we have heavy role to play in loving our wives, knowing our wives and honoring our wives. And no I don’t think I do everything right, this is just as much for me as it is for every other husband out there.

  14. This is the second time I have asked a legitimate question and my post had been deleted. Can you please tell me why?

  15. I am a believer and I do agree with some of what you wrote, but there are something’s that just didn’t seem right to me or I have miss understood. The way you put it in your post seems to me to be more of a selfish demand rather than a loving correction. Since the beginning God has given man choice, with Adam he put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden and told him not to eat of it and told him what the consequence of the wrong choice would be ( Genesis 2:16-17). In Deuteronomy 30:15 God gave the Israelites a choice He said and I’m paraphrasing, I set before you life and death blessing and cursing, oh that you would choose life. God is never demanding of us, He wants us to choose to do right because we love him. God sent Jesus so we could choose right Romans 8:1-2 empowers us to choose right and there are more scriptures that empower us to choose right as well. There are consequences for choosing wrong, your wife has every right to choose. Jesus fulfilled the law, we are no longer under law but under grace. A man should be like God, loving his wife encouraging her to do right but allowing her the freedom to choose, Galatians 5:13 For brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh but by love serve one another. I would certainly not respond well if my husband did to me what you suggest to these men in your post. When my husband ” corrects” me he is kind and loving and not demanding, he doesn’t act entitled to my obedience and is grateful that he has my body as his. You have missed the mark to me and worst of all you’re giving advice to other men and need to be careful what and how you advise them. Men are the head of the household I agree, but just the same way you can push your kids away from obedience, you can do that with your wife. If you don’t like being treated like a child by your wife, don’t treat your wife like a child that needs to be corrected. she was created for you and is your helper in life (Genesis 2:18) and she can be your biggest fan. Trust God with your wife, pray for her, and pray for God to help her and help you “correct” her in the right way with the right words God knows her better than you. It also bothered me to see that you didn’t tell these men to pray first. In any and every situation you always bring it to God first. Matthew 6:33, Proverbs 3:5-6

  16. nogr8trlove,

    Prayer is a given for any Christian when they face difficulties in life. I think you may have missed this statement i said in “Christian husbands the ball is your court”:

    “You need to pray and ask for God’s guidance in trying to truly discern if your wife’s “not in the mood” problem is a true mental or physical health issue”

    So I agree a husband should always be taking these things, as well as any other decisions for his marriage or family to God first before he ever takes action.

    Let me first say, I agree with many who have written me, that there are many times these issues of a wife not being in the mood can solved by a husband softly and gently talking to his wife, looking for problems in their marriage with him making changes he needs to, and her making changes she needs to and the problem is solved. But there is such a thing as stubborn and rebellious wife, and none of these things will make any impact on her.

    I also agree that God gives us a free will to choose, and that is why I would never advocate for a man to physically force himself upon his wife, even if he feels his wife is being selfish and rebellious with her body(and her refusal is not for legitimate health or mental issues). Sometimes a wife can be giving and generous in every way, except with her body, and even wives that are generally giving with their bodies can fall into times of selfishness.

    Even though God does not force us to choose a certain way, the Bible does say that when we choose wrongly, as believers God does bring consequences into our lives to bring us back to him. You yourself pointed out “there are consequences for choosing wrong.

    This will be the topic of my next post – what if a husband has tried talking with his wife, tried counseling, has his Pastor talk with his wife and she still has stubborn and unbiblical views of sexuality?

  17. Yehoshua Friedman
    MAY 21, 2015 AT 1:33 PM

    The Jewish marriage ceremony includes two parts, the betrothal and the actual marriage. The betrothal was a stage in which the couple were not permitted to live together, but the two had mutual obligations to each other. Dissolving this bond required a full divorce and payment of the ketuba, a sum of money, to the woman. During this period the husband was to organize the necessities for the wedding feast and the home. The Torah only prescribes execution for a woman who has been unfaithful to her husband or betrothed. It is forbidden to have sex outside marriage equally for women or men, but their is no death penalty for a woman not being a virgin at marriage. It is merely evidence of infidelity during the betrothal period which is being discussed. Later, maybe 1500 years ago or more, the rabbis instituted the custom, still practiced in Jewish marriage today, of performing the betrothal immediately before the full wedding ceremony so as to avoid the danger of forbidden behavior by young folks with hormones. As an observant Jew I could not agree more with your statements on the nature of marriage, but I simply wanted to correct your point on this issue, as it seems to make the law inequitable and unliveable.

    Thanks for your comments Yehoshua [love that name].
    I didn’t mean to misrepresent the Jewish law, and I apologise for making it sound inequitable. The passage I was referring to [Deut. 22:13-21] was the example of a girl who misrepresents herself as a virgin prior to marriage when she wasn’t, thus adding deception to her previous fornication. The solution described in Deut. was death by stoning, I think Jesus allowed divorce instead.

  18. i spent 22 years married to a woman who constantly rejwcted me. I didn’t divorce, I didn’t cheat. I suffered. She claimed she had been abused by her dad as a child and that’s why she was frigid.
    Turns out she was having affairs behind my back since before we were married and while we were having her 3 kids.
    Her favorites: Latin lovers, South Americans and H1-b visa applicants.
    You think I’m kidding – it’s true. (During our divorce, she got her boyfriends to harass me to try and get me to move out of my house and abandon my kids – I did not leave.)
    Now I get to spend the next 22 years trying to explain what happened to my kids.
    My wife is not a Christian but always claimed to be an honest person.

  19. Wrong, rape is when someone(usually a woman) is physically forced to submit to sex. Even if she originally said no(which is sinful and unbiblical without a just reason), the sex was consensual if she willingly yielded her body to him when it began instead of him forcing himself physically upon her. Also, EVERYTHING in this article is Exactly what a Godly husband would do. You were wrong on all points.

  20. If his marriage ended for biblical reasons it was not sinful for him to remarry. Divorce for sexual immorality or abandonment are God-given reasons for divorce and remarriage after them are are perfectly alright.

  21. @Beth Meadows No, I’m not, YOU are because you would do unbiblical things! Everything I said and thats written in this article is ALL Scripture-approved and just, what you and @Christine Mire have said is NOT and sinful. Plus, I highly doubt you could kick him to the curb anyway, unless he let you wishing to be a gentleman rather that resort to physical or otherwise force.

  22. DerekMathias,

    OK let’s talk about remarriage. Technically speaking, for a man there is no such thing as “remarriage”. Men were allowed to take more than one wife.

    “If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.”
    Exodus 21:10 (KJV)

    So the concern with a woman being wrongly divorced is not about a man marrying another woman, as that was already his right to do. It was about him abandoning his duty to his first wife in taking another.

    “And I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
    Matthew 19:9

    Christ’s words are connected back to a passage in Malachi.

    “14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
    15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
    16 For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.”
    Malachi 2:14-16 (KJV)

    The question that is asked is – if a man can could take more than one wife, why would he divorce his first wife for invalid reasons and deal “treacherously” with her? The reason is that Jewish men were wanting to marry heathen wives and these heathen wives did not want to share their home or their husband with another woman. So basically they gave these men an ultimatum – “If you want me – you have to divorce your Jewish wife – I am not living in the same house with her and I am not sharing my home with her.” So Jewish husbands were divorcing their wives,not for legitimate reasons that God allowed, but so they could marry heathen wives.

  23. Derekmathias,

    You say “NONE of these verses makes the qualifiers you claim exist” – but you keep leaving out the one that does. When I studied in Christian school one of the first rules of interpretation of Scripture we learned is Scripture interprets Scripture, and the whole of Scripture interprets Scripture. This principle is especially important when it comes to the correct interpretation of the Gospels. We have many parallel statements in the Gospels on various subjects, and divorce is one of them. So the only way we can understand Christ was saying is to take ALL of his statements on a particular subject and judge it from there. You may not like the exception clause – but it is there and with good reason – God recognized since the beginning that sexual immorality could break a marriage as it strikes at the heart of the marriage covenant.

    “Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” – Matthew 19:8-9

    I will let the readers determine for themselves if your interpretation of Matthew 19:8-9 makes sense because this is what you are saying it means:

    “Anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality commits adultery. And anyone who remarries whether his wife committed sexual immorality or not commits adultery”.

    Then there is my interpretation:

    “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, unless his wife committed sexual immorality.”

    We will let the reader decide for themselves.

  24. @derekmathias I’m going to make one, FINAL attempt to explain to you the truth of these Scriptures before giving up. I don’t ASSUME anything. I KNOW it has no contradictions since it can’t be the perfect and indisputable Word of God otherwise. Nothing in it could be true if there were, and because I’ve been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and therefore EXPERIENCED the opposite, I KNOW there are NO contradictions in the Bible. My interpretation of those Scriptures is what they mean unless someone can prove otherwise, which I doubt they can. The “extra meaning” as you call it ISN’T an extra meaning, its actually in there. Just not in literal writing and therefore takes prayer and revelation of the Holy Spirit(and also commonsense) to be able to realize. Thats the thing about the Holy Scriptures; their divine meaning and purpose can’t be understood without both being saved and actually trying to understand it through the Holy Spirit. As I said before, my conclusion that that is what they mean came through this and prayer, with me asking God to have it revealed to me that I’m wrong if I am by showing me. He hasn’t done so yet. I have no burden of proof since my claims regarding the Bible are not the invalid ones. Yours are. You claim the Bible has contradictions, and thats wrong, which means you statements regarding it mean NOTHING. As to someone reading Mark before Matthew, they’d probably come to the wrong conclusion since they read the Bible out of order, and theres a reason Christ said and taught thing in the order he did. First, in Matthew He stated that except for sexual immorality, a man or woman divorcing their spouse, and also marrying another after if they do, is adultery and causing their spouse to commit adultery. Then in Mark and Luke, he went into general teaching regarding marriage and divorce, being aware many people thought they could divorce for any reason, and pointed out that divorce for such reasons would be adultery. Here, he was not addressing for sexual immorality, but for rather divorce for just any reason at all which in Mark was actually how he was asked about it, But NO, divorce and remarriage for sexual immorality and abandonment IS permitted. Last time I reply to your comments and say this.

  25. Tyler,

    Sorry to delete your comments(along with mine) to Derek – but debating whether the Scriptures contradict is not something I usually let go on this site. On this blog we start with the assumption that the Bible is the perfect Word of God and it NEVER contradicts itself. All Biblical interpretation must start with that premise, or we really can’t have much of a discussion. Now even amongst those of us Christians who accept that premise – we will have debates about interpretation and that is OK. Occasionally I will even let professed Christians who are haters of the Apostle Paul through(because they hate his writings on gender roles) but I do that with great discretion. If Derek wants to debate whether the Bible contradicts itself there are plenty of Christian sites and forums dedicated to that discussion and he spend his time there.

  26. Don’t sweat it. You were doing a great job explaining it. At some point in the future I am going to dedicate an entire post to the subject of Biblical reasons for divorce. You and I are pretty close on the subject.

  27. I agree that in marriage sex should not be some sort of carrot on a stick- or a form of coercion. It’s purpose is both unitive and procreative- it’s what gives you a family, and a glue that bonds and strengthens your marriage. That said, I think this article overgeneralizes women considerably…. the Biblical prescription is a two-way street: “The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also THE HUSBAND HATH NOT POWER OVER HIS OWN BODY BUT THE WIFE.” The preceding verse also tells us we should be “BENEVOLENT” towards each other- that is, seeking the other’s good. When we married, our priest told my husband and I we should not refuse each other except for immorality, (like, if one of us wanted to do something immoral to the other) but also always communicating our needs with love and compassion. So like, if I ask one night, and he’s really tired or has to get up super early for a work thing–out of ‘benevolence’ I might just say, ‘that’s ok’ and we’ll make it a top priority the next day, and likewise he does the same for me (though that doesn’t have to happen too often😉 ). We don’t believe in using any form of contraceptives, so when trying to avoid pregnancy (using NFP for financial or medical reasons) there’s about 10 days a month that we can’t do it– but it makes it all the more special the other 20 that we can, and we tend to prioritize it more and really value it- making sure we are intimate as often as possible in those times not because we have some “right” to each other’s body [even though we do], but because we love each other and like to show it.

  28. Shannon,

    Thanks for you comment. I admit the article was written from a husband’s point of view, and in the future I will address sexual denial from a wife’s point of view(I promise it is coming – just got pulled in many different directions). There are many women who would not do the things mentioned here, and willingly give themselves to their husbands – except for rare occasions for legit reasons as I think based on your words you do.

    I also like that you have the idea that if either of you has to turn down the other for legit reasons – you do so gently and make sure that it is a top priority the next day as follow up is very important.

    I also agree with you that sex is actually one of those areas where it truly is a equal between the husband and wife – they both have the right to approach one another for sex.

    “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

    2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

    3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence[kindness]: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

    4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

    5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

    6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

    7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.” – I Corinthians 7:1-7 (KJV)

    “Benevolence” as it is translated in the KJV is a translation of the Greek word for “kindness”. But what is the “kindness” that Apostle Paul is referring to? In the context of this passage – Paul is calling sex in marriage “a kindness that is due to your spouse”.

    The entire context of this passage is that if you get married(and he is saying that you should unless you have the gift of celibacy that he talks about in verse 7) that in context of marriage – sex is both a right and duty of both spouses toward each other.

    While I think that spouses should temporarily release one another from sex for legit reasons, the “benevolence” or “kindness” in this passage that is due the spouse is not “letting them out of sex when they are not in the mood or it is inconvenient”, but rather “yielding your body for sex even when you are not in the mood”.

    But I think that overall we agree on the importance of sex in marriage and not denying your spouse – and if you do have to gently and respectfully turn them down – you quickly come together again the next day.

  29. @Biblical Gender Roles Good reply, thought he last two verses in the Bible quote don’t belong as they have nothing to do with sex, but rather with celibacy. Also, I have a question for you, if you don’t mind.

  30. Well, in 8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual, in step 3, you had said to take her before the pastor and his wife. Did you mean that literally, or did you mean take her before the whole Church? When I asked my Pastor about that instruction, he said that to actually apply it properly, you have to take them before the whole Church itself.

  31. Tyler,

    The word there in the Greek is “Ekklesia” so yes we are talking about the assembled church. But you can’t just bring your wife in front of the church – you have to first go to the elders(your Pastor) and make sure he agrees, nothing can be brought before the Church without the Church leaders approving it. But your Pastor would be right that after the Pastor has determined a that a person is in willful and sinful disobedience and they refuse to repent, then the Pastor would then bring their name before the church to expel them before the assembly.

    In our church several people have been expelled(take off the church membership) for immoral behavior(including adultery). I have only seen one person come and repent before the Church. Usually a person being expelled has no intention of coming before the Church, so it is more of a matter of the Pastor telling the Church the person is being expelled for unrepentant sin.

    The reality is most churches won’t expel spouses for sexual refusal – even if they preach against it as a sin. They will condemn it privately in counseling sessions, or even in classes, but no public discipline happens – its usually handled quietly. My Pastor would not condemn a man for divorcing his wife for sexual refusal, but I have not seen him publicly discipline a woman for this.

  32. So, what you’re saying is that once the Pastor has agreed that the person in question is sinning, then they are to be confronted in front of the Church assembly and if they refuse to repent they are expelled from it. Is that right, or did I misunderstand. Not trying to be annoying or to anger you, so please forgive if I have.

  33. Tyler,

    Don’t worry your questions are definitely legit. I agree with you that in its most literal sense you have the person being confronted before the Church. But I don’t anticipate this as all the Church members giving their opinion – I see it more as the elders of the Church presenting the sin and the membership of the Church witnessing this and understanding why this person must be expelled if they do not repent.

    But realistically when it comes to modern Church discipline(which is what this is) – people don’t generally show up to be confronted by the Church – in fact I have never seen it happen. What happens is the Pastor will confront them privately about their sin and ask them to come before the Church and repent, but they always refuse and then the Pastor later comes before the Church without them present(because they won’t come) and tells the Church they are in unrepentant sin and that they are being expelled from the Church membership.

    I have seen one person who was expelled(and not present for the expulsion) come back and repent before the Church to be reinstated. But it is rare.

  34. “I agree with you that in its most literal sense you have the person being confronted before the Church. But I don’t anticipate this as all the Church members giving their opinion – I see it more as the elders of the Church presenting the sin and the membership of the Church witnessing this and understanding why this person must be expelled if they do not repent.”

    Pretty much exactly what I was thinking. I should have worded it better. Sorry to bother you and thanks for the explanations.

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