“Is my husband raping me?” This is a question that was asked of me recently by a Christian wife. She sent me her story as an anonymous comment on my article “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood?”. I have made some grammar and spelling fixes to the comment but it remains true to what this Christian wife stated about problems in her marriage.
“My husband and I have been married for 9 years. When I was pregnant with our first child we sat down and had a discussion about sex. I told him while I was pregnant there would be times when I probably would not want to have sex and if he did I understood and I would be willing to fulfill my duty and his desires………well it all went downhill from there.
I understand what the Bible states. I am a Christian however he is not. That being said when sex began to be painful because of pregnancy he did not care. I would receive the comment “It will only take a few minutes, and I’ll be quick.” Whatever, I took it. Did not hold a grudge. Got past it. The problem is, it has never stopped.
My husband has sex with me whether I want it or not, all of the time. It has tainted our marriage and our sex life to the point of disgust. Even when I would cry, he would still have sex with me. I can read a book and he will still have sex with me. I have tried to tell him how this makes me feel, I have begged and pleaded with him, not to do this to our marriage, that I feel like his whore, or his piece of trash, he does not care.
I have told him this is not love, this is not biblical love, I do not feel loved and he does not care. I hate when he touches me. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. I became so deep in depression because of it. I will be so sad and heartbroken after we have sex sometimes and he actually will ask, “What is your problem?”
I even went as far as to get drunk so I could have sex with him. Guess what….he thought that was the best idea ever, so he would make sure I would have enough alcohol in me to have sex. Even when I said I wanted to stop drinking, he would always make sure the fridge is full.
When I would beg to see a counselor, I would get a guilt trip of 100 reasons why I shouldn’t or cannot. Now I am so numb to it all, I put a pillow over my face, and say just get it over with. And still I am trying to be a Godly wife.
So please tell me how this is not sin. How this is not rape, or abuse of some sort. Because in my mind I feel like I am living with my molester every day. Yes he says he is sorry, he does try to get me in the mood. You can definitely tell when he want wants it, it is the only time he comes up behind me and holds me, and the nonstop sexual comments like “Why don’t you come sit on my lap?” Gross. And If I don’t have sex with him the sighing and whining is sooo overwhelming. It becomes a punishment.
When I’m upset after we have had sex, I get “You told me to do it, I don’t know why you are so upset”. I can go on and on. So as a Christian women do I just keep taking it and keep the smile on my face pretending everything is ok when it is killing me inside? And just a side note, I am not a feminist, I am very biblical when it comes to God’s way, and not being in this world but of this world. So I do get what you are saying about not denying your husband of sex.
But what do you do when it has turned into what yes I would call rape?”
My response to this wife and other Christian wives who face similar situations
I am going to take what I see in her story, and try and break it up into various questions that are raised both by her husband’s behavior as well as hers.
Question 1 – Was the husband wrong for having sex with his wife while she was pregnant and in pain?
It depends. Had he just had sex with her in the last few days? Then perhaps he should have put her need to not experience more pain and discomfort ahead of his need for sex. But if she had been in pain for weeks or a month and he finally came to her and said “Babe I need this, I promise I will make it quick” – then she should have put his need for sex above her need to not experience additional discomfort.
Sometimes though a woman cannot have vaginal intercourse for medical reasons beyond just discomfort. For instance most doctors advice women not to have vaginal intercourse for 6 to 8 weeks after giving birth. If a man were to try and have vaginal sex with his wife during this period it would be highly painful for her and it might cause complications with her healing process. But that does not mean a woman cannot meet her husband’s sexual needs in other ways during this time. God has given her the ability to manually or orally satisfy her husband in order to meet his sexual needs. Christian wives ought to do this for their husband’s during this post birth period, and for that matter any other period when they may not be able to physically have sexual intercourse with their husbands.
Question 2 – Was the husband wrong for having sex with his wife even when he knew she did not want to?
As I have said before, I have never advocated for a Christian husband to force himself upon his wife. But contrary to what feminists and other marital rape accusers say – there is difference between a husband convincing his wife to let him have sex with her and him physically forcing himself upon her.
Rather than hash this out again here – I have answered this entire issue from a Biblical perspective in the my article “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood”. But the short answer is no he is not being selfish for having sex with his wife simply because she is not in the mood. The Bible is clear that for the purposes of sex “The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.” – I Corinthians 7:4.
Question 3 – Was her husband treating her like a whore?
“He treats me like a whore”, “He treats me like a prostitute” and “He only wants me for sex”. These are three common statements that we hear from wives (Christian and otherwise) about their husbands frequently online and elsewhere. What wives who make these statements are actually saying is “He does not romance me anymore, he does not talk to me enough and spend time with me outside the bedroom enough”. When wives express these sentiments it comes from a place of them feeling like their husbands have not earned the right to have sex with them. Only when their husband makes them feel the way he once did, then and only then will they be able to have sex with him without feeling like “a whore”, “a prostitute” or “just plain used”.
A husband should know his wife, and part of knowing one’s wife is talking to one’s wife. I wrote an entire post on this subject entitled “10 ways to know your wife”. So if this woman’s husband was failing to talk to his wife(outside of when he wanted sex), but rather on a daily basis – getting to know what was going on in her life a daily basis – then he was in the wrong. Also as part “knowing one’s wife” he would know if he listened to her that she needs to be touched on a regular basis, and not only in a sexual manner when he wants sex.
But where this point of “I feel like my husband’s whore” falls woefully short is two wrongs never make a right. Her husband doing the right thing – talking to her on a daily basis and knowing her better is NOT a prerequisite to sex in marriage. She seems to have been very grudgingly yielding to her husband, and while a Christian husband can accept grudgingly yielded sex – it does not make it right on the part of the wife to have such a horrible attitude.
The two greatest lies Satan tells women regarding sex and marriage
The Scriptures state:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Ephesians 6:12
We are in a battle with Satan – who uses our sin nature to try and deceive us each and every day. The devil wants to destroy marriage because marriage represents the relationship between God and his people. He wants to make a mockery of it.
The first lie Satan tells to unmarried women:
“If he makes you feel loved, then by all means give your body to him, enjoy great sex based on your passion for one another. You don’t need to be married, follow you feelings wherever they lead you. The minute he stops making you feel loved, dump him and move on to another new romance. This does not make you a whore. Whores have sex with men just to have sex, you are having sex based on your feelings of love and that is noble and right. But remember my golden rule – don’t do anything you don’t feel like doing. ”
The second lie Satan tells to married women:
“Remember what I told you when you were single. That applies when you are married too. If he makes you feel loved and is passionate and romantic and you feel like having sex with him, then by all means have sex. But if he does not make you feel loved, or if the passion fades stop having sex with him and make it clear he has to make you feel loved and romanced like he did when you first together. If a long time goes by and the feelings of love don’t come back, dump him (divorce him) and move on to the next guy. Even if your husband does make you feel loved, you never should have sex with him if you don’t feel like it, never forget my golden rule – don’t do anything you don’t feel like doing.
Remember you were wondering if you were being a whore by sleeping with men when you were single? Well you know what a real whore is? It is a wife who has sex with her husband when she does not feel like it, and especially when she does not feel loved or romanced.”
These two lies of Satan play out in almost every TV show and drama movie that we see today. I pray to God that the Christian women of this world will repent of believing these lies of Satan. A woman who has sex with her husband, even when she does not feel like it, even when her husband is not doing everything he should, is doing EXACTLY what God wants her to do. She is living according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh.
Was her husband wrong for getting her drunk for sex?
This is an easy answer – yes he was wrong. It is never right to encourage drunkenness in someone as that is sinful. Does this wrong rise to the level of allowing for divorce? No. In this case she needed to exercise restraint and not engage in getting drunk.
Is her husband raping her or abusing her by having sex with her when she is not in the mood?
Aside from his physically harming her by forcing himself upon her no he is NOT abusing his wife from a Biblical perspective. Even if he did physically force himself upon her – it is IMPOSSIBLE Biblically speaking for a man to rape his wife. Abuse? Yes. Rape? No. For a larger discussion of the Biblical impossibility of marital rape I refer you again to my post “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood”.
If he convinces her to yield her body to him, then no sin has been committed on his part. But it is very possible that even if she yields to him – there is still sin on her part. If she acts disgusted by him and acts like he has no right to have sex with her – then the sin lies squarely in her court. She needs to eliminate the terms “rape” and “molester” from her vocabulary regarding her husband’s sexual advances toward her.
Should her husband go to counseling with her?
Yes I believe he should, but they should see a Christian marriage counselor that will exhort her to do what she should as Christian wife and perhaps they can lead her husband to Christ in the process. This is her best bet to having her husband change some of his selfish ways. But she will not be able to even have a chance of convincing him to go to counseling until she does what God commands wives to do toward their unbelieving husbands.
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” – I Peter 3:1-2 (NIV)
Perhaps if Christian wives in the situation described in this story would go to God and ask him to remove all bitterness in their hearts, submit themselves spiritually, mentally and sexually to their husband’s with a right heart they may have a chance of bringing their husband’s to Christ and as a result of that God can do wonderful things with their marriage.
I have shown here that Biblically speaking this woman’s husband was not raping her. Did he sin in other ways? Yes. Is it possible for a husband to abuse his wife? Yes. Is it possible for him to rape and molest his wife? From a Biblical perspective the answer is NO. Christian wives must eliminate the terms “rape” and “molester” from their vocabulary were it references their relationship with their husband.