Five Reasons Josh Duggar and Other Christian men fall into sexual immorality

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In my first post on Josh Duggar and his sexually immoral behavior, we talked about how God can forgive him and restore him if he has truly confessed his sin and sought the Lord’s forgiveness. We as the body of Christ need to be ready to receive him. In this post though I want to go back and look at what may have been the sources for Josh Duggar’s wrong decisions and ultimately sinful behavior.

This is in NO WAY meant as a judgment on Josh Duggar – God is his judge I am not.   I think if you read this post in its entirety you will see I am not approaching this in some “holier than thou” attitude, but rather I am approaching this with the attitude that all of us a Christian men could fall into this sin if we don’t learn from the mistakes of Josh Duggar.

God hold’s every person accountable for the decisions they make, even if those decisions may have been influenced by the actions or teachings of others. Having said that – nothing happens in a vacuum and I want to look at some things that may have influenced Josh Duggar’s wrong thought processes that ultimately lead him into the sinful situation in which he found himself.

Josh Duggar’s parents had a huge impact on his thought processes about sex

It is good and right for the Duggars and other Christians to stand up for marriage, and to stand against things that God calls immoral like sex outside of marriage and gay marriage. It is also good for Christian parents to try and protect their children from having sex outside of marriage by making sure when they are courting or dating that there are always other people around.

But where the Duggars and so many other Christians fail their children is in the fact that they teach their children to suppress their God given sexuality, rather than channel it in healthy ways that do not violate God’s law.

I use this illustration a lot. Let’s say you have a river running through the middle of a small town. Sometimes when you have bad rains, or in high water years it spills over into the town causing damage to the surrounding structures.

You could build some river walls along the river to the highest height it might go or perhaps you could even build a dam further upstream to control the water level of the river running through your town. But even a dam has to have release valves or eventually the water will overflow the damn and destroy the town.

The water is symbolic of our sexuality. The sea walls and the dam are symbolic of God’s law. Our sexuality is like water, it is a wonderful gift from God. But just as water can be a blessing in measured amounts but a curse when it is uncontrolled, so too our sexuality can be a blessing when channeled, but a curse when it is unbridled. God’s laws about how we may exercise our sexuality are for our own protection and also to fulfill his spiritual and temporal purposes for sex.

I realize both men and women come to sexuality from different positions, but for this conversation we are going to tackle this from the perspective of male sexuality.

As Christian parents we should never tell our sons that they are wrong for having sexual thoughts about girls or wondering what girls look like naked. This is NOT part of their sin nature, but rather by the design of God.

We should not be discouraging our sons from using the natural release valve that God has given them for their sexuality – which is masturbation. Just like that dam needs to release pressure, so too young people need to release sexual tension through masturbation.

There is absolutely no scriptural prohibition against masturbation and contrary to popular belief the Bible is not silent on masturbation. The Bible actually recognizes that masturbation will need to occur at certain points and it regulates the cleanup of masturbation in the cleanliness laws of Israel.   Check out Leviticus 15:16 – 18 where the first part is talking about a man having an emission of semen (and it’s not limited to a nocturnal emission as in Deuteronomy 23:10), then it talks about a man having an emission of semen in the act of sexual intercourse as a separate act.

Besides the fact that there is really no difference between nocturnal emissions and masturbation. A man has a nocturnal emission when he sleeps and has sexual dream. Many Christian’s have falsely taught that nocturnal emissions happen with no sexual dreaming and that is patently false. We as men will dream sexual thoughts whether we want to or not – it is by the design of God.

Josh Duggar like many Christian young people today was taught that he had to suppress his sexuality until he was married, rather than channeling it healthy ways such as masturbation. When people suppress their emotions eventually they end up acting on them in unhealthy ways and sometimes sinful ways. It no different when it comes to someone attempting to suppress their sexuality – eventually they will end up acting on it in unhealthy and sinful ways.

What will Josh be taught in rehab?

Josh Duggar has checked himself into a Reformers Unanimous Christian facility. This is actually a nationwide program that many churches use to help people deal with all types of addictions – including sexual addiction. But I am not confident that this program will work Josh, as it has not always worked for other men. I am familiar with some of their teachings as some of the Churches in the area I live host some of their programs.

This is what Josh Duggar will be taught in this program:

“If you look at any woman beside your wife and find yourself becoming aroused by her beauty or you begin to wonder what she looks like naked you need to quickly turn away or the pleasure you receive from looking at her becomes a sinful and lustful thought.

If you find yourself having any sexual imagination or sexual fantasy about any other woman than your wife you are having lustful thoughts – you need to immediately confess that sin to God and turn from those thoughts.”

Josh will be taught that God’s original intention for man in the Garden of Eden was for him to only have sexual thoughts toward a woman once he was married to her. He will be taught that God originally designed men to have a monogamous sexual nature and that their sexual desire was intended to be focused on one woman for the entirety of their lives.

He will be taught that because sin entered the world – man’s sexual nature was corrupted from a monogamous nature into a polygamous nature. He will be taught that it is the corruption of his sinful nature that causes him to desire to look at any other woman, or have sexual fantasies about any other woman than his wife.

These are two common verse of Scripture that are used in these types of Christian sexual addiction programs:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV)

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” – James 1:14-15 (KJV)

Josh will be taught that the root of his problem was his own lustful desire to look at other women and take pleasure from their feminine form. Then that lead to him having sexual fantasies. His sexual fantasies then lead to him going online looking to meet up with women to have sex and eventually he found some women and had sex with them.

He will be taught that the root of all his sin was him not learning to suppress his sinful desire to look at any other woman but his wife.

Lust is not sexual arousal or sexual fantasy

The first mistake that almost every Church and Christian sexual recovery program makes is in teaching an unbiblical (yet traditional) definition of lust. They define lust as a man having sexual thoughts about a woman, instead of the letting the Bible define what it is. In fact in most Christian Churches and sexual recovery programs they will give every verse on lust except this one:

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” – Romans 7:7 (KJV)

This verse is conveniently left out, because the Church wants to make lust into a separate category than covetousness. Covetousness is the desire to actually take possession of something or someone that you have not right to possess. God addresses this in the Ten Commandments:

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” – Exodus 20:10 (KJV)

The Pharisees only looked at outward actions and not the thoughts of the heart that proceeded those actions.   This is why Christ was reminding them that covetous thoughts can proceed adultery, just as in other passages Christ shows that hateful thoughts can proceed murder. God does not just condemn sinful actions – he condemns the sinful thoughts that may or may not proceed sinful actions.

You can’t fight sexual addiction without targeting the real enemy

So where these Christian programs often fail, and even many secular programs fail is in attacking the wrong source of sexual sin.

Make no mistake, sexual addiction and sexual promiscuity are problems that we must tackle as Christians.

But the enemy is NOT our sexuality, but rather it is our addictive and compulsive behavior.

We don’t tell food addicts that food is their enemy, but rather their addictive and compulsive behavior toward food and the same concept applies to our God given sexuality.

Men have visual and polygynous sexual natures whether we want to admit it or not

Josh Duggar like many other men has a very high sex drive and natural need for variety. And by variety I mean a variety of women.

“the average man’s brain is sexually stimulated by visual cues and is built for variety…

Using functional MRI scans, researchers examined the brains of young men as they looked at pictures of beautiful women. They found that feminine beauty affects a man’s brain at a very primal level – similar to what a hungry person gets from a good meal or addict gets from a fix. One of the researchers said, “This is hard core circuitry. This is not a conditioned response.” Another concluded, “Men apparently cannot do anything about their pleasurable feelings [in the presence of beauty]”

Dr. Walt Larimore, MD – pg. 99 “His Brain, Her Brain”

Dr. Walt Lairmore (a Christian physician) stopped short of coming to the conclusion that we know is true from looking at the Bible as well as men from a mental and physical perspective. Men are wired to seek out a variety of women, men are wired to be polygynous (to be a husband to multiple wives).

But because the Roman Empire passed laws that over several centuries greatly diminished the practice of polygamy and enshrined monogamous marriage in Western culture we have the situation where we force polygynous men into monogamous marriages.

In essence when we ask a man to vow to only love one woman, and only have sex with one woman we are asking him to vow to suppress his natural God given desire to have multiple wives. Most men except for the few that have the gift of celibacy have polygynous natures whether they consciously realize it or not.

Some Christian husbands will take offense at what I just said and say “I only love my wife and I have and have never had any desire to take another wife”. But the truth is in most cases these husbands are simply lying to themselves and they have spent so many years telling themselves this because this is what their church and the female side of our society expects from men.

Other Christian men recognize their polygynous desires but they dismiss these desires as a corruption of their God given male nature – in essence they are convinced this is part of their sinful nature or they are trained to by Christian sexual recovery programs like the one Josh Duggar is currently attending to believe this. So they spend their entire lives asking God to forgive them anytime they are aroused by another woman or wonder what another woman beside their wife looks like naked. Every time they have a sexual fantasy or dream they are asking God to forgive them, in essence they live in a perpetual state of war not with their sinful nature, but with their God given sexual nature.

Five reasons Josh Duggar could have fell into sexual immorality

Josh Duggar is not the first Christian husband to watch porn and masturbate and then get on dating sites and finally meet up with women to have sex. To say this same scenario has occurred with thousands of other men or even more would be an understatement.

Here are five reasons Josh Duggar and so many others Christian husbands fall into this type of sexual immorality.

They allowed their sexuality to dominate and overpower their lives, rather than controlling and channeling their sexuality within the bounds of God’s law and design.

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” – I Corinthians 6:12 (KJV)

Many Christian men rather than controlling and channeling their God given male sexuality – have allowed it to overpower them and control their life. The results of unbridled and uncontrolled sexuality are on display before us in what happened to Josh Duggar.

They allowed their normal visual sexual arousal and imagination to turn into covetousness

Again there is not one passage of the Bible that condemns a man’s visual arousal or sexual imagination. Not one. But what can happen is men can allow that natural visual arousal and imagination to turn into covetous thoughts as we see happened with Josh Duggar.

They allowed their faulty view of their own sexuality to rationalize their sin

I can’t tell you how often I get accused by my fellow conservative Christians of rationalizing sin because of my teachings (based on the Bible) about polygamy, lust and sexuality. But the real rationalizing of sexual sin goes something like this.

Because most Christian Churches and sexual addiction programs teach that a man is committing mental adultery by watching porn or being sexually aroused by any kind of female imagery many Christian men rationalize – “If I am already committing adultery by viewing porn, I might as well do the real thing and have sex with an actual woman instead of just imagining it”.

So in essence the false interpretation of Matthew 5:28 that they have been taught actually promotes sin rather than discouraging it. Christ was saying in Matthew 5:28 if a man looks on a woman “to lust after her” – to covet her (to think about how he would might take possession of her) then he has committed adultery with her in his heart. He was not condemning sexual arousal and sexual imagination as these are part of his natural design of male sexuality.

They allowed their natural polygynous nature to be corrupted into a promiscuous nature

As I mentioned previously God has created men as naturally polygynous creatures, but our sin nature wants to corrupt our God given polygynous nature into a promiscuous nature.

Even in the ancient times of the Bible not every man was able to act on his polygynous nature. For the most part only wealthier men were able to act on their polygynous natures by having more than one wife. Many less wealthy men were fortunate if they could have even one wife. Often poor men or men that were slaves were not able to have wives at all.

But what happens often is when men find themselves frustrated by not being able to find a wife, or even men that have wives desiring more wives they turn to promiscuous activities like going to prostitutes or whorish women.

Because their wives have sexually denied them

Some men because their wives sexually deny, or severely restrict how often or what ways they may have sex feel justified in seeking sex with other women. In their hurt and frustration they act out in sinful ways. But one sin never justifies another. Just as a woman does not have the right to deny her husband sex because of sinful things he might be doing, in the same way a husband does not have the right to go out and have sex with other women because his wife is sexually denying him or not fully giving herself sexually to him. We don’t know if Josh’s wife was sexually denying him, but even she was this does not justify him going out and having sex with other women.

So what is the answer for Christian men like Josh Duggar?

Let me just reiterate when I say “Christian men like Josh Duggar” I am not singling him out in any way trying to say he is some rare case – the only difference is that he was public figure.   All of us as Christian men should have the sixteenth century reformer John Bradford’s attitude toward Josh Duggar’s sin – “there but for the grace of God go I”.

Here are six ways we as Christian men can avoid falling into the same sexual immorality that Josh Duggar did:

We must hide God’s Word in our heart

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” – Psalm 119:11 (KJV)

We can’t distinguish between our sinful nature and the nature God designed us with without knowing God’s Word. God’s Word is the “Cannon” or measure by which we must judge our actions.

We must take every thought captive to Christ

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” – II Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

Any thought that we have we run through the filter of Christ and his Word.   Oh and for those who always ask me “Would Christ allow himself to have sexual thoughts about a woman” – Christ had the gift of celibacy rather than the gift of sexuality. It would have gone against his mission from God to be married (despite conspiracy theories to the contrary).

Accept our male sexual nature

As Christian men we must accept our male nature (including our sexual nature) as God designed it. Our fight is against our sin nature, not our male nature.

We must fight against sexual excess

We cannot allow ourselves to be over-powered by our own male sexuality.  Satan wants to take a good thing God created – our sexuality – and turn it against us to destroy our families and our lives. We should not suppress our sexuality, but at the same time we must channel it to experience it within the bounds of God’s law.

We must fight against covetousness

We must fight against our flesh that wants to take our normal sexual desires, our visual sexual arousal and our imagination(all which are gifts from God) and turn them into covetous thoughts which eventually could lead us into fornication or adultery.

We must depend on God’s strength

We cannot fight against the sinful desires of flesh in our own strength or will power we can only fight our flesh with the help of the power of God.

“But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.” – Psalm 22:19 (KJV)

Josh Duggar PhotoSource: https://www.flickr.com/photos/96024429@N00/17781684170/in/photostream/

JimBob and Michelle Duggar PhotoSource: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3c/Jim_Bob_%26_Michelle_Duggar.jpg

 

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In Defense of Josh Duggar

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I had an initial reaction to the story of Josh Duggar having an Ashley Madison account last week but I wanted to wait for more details and really collect my thoughts on this. There is so much I have to say on this that I will need to divide into several articles. In this first one we will deal with “the apology”.

As most people expected after the announcement of his Ashley Madison account Josh Duggar admitted to cheating on his wife. So far one porn star has come out admitting to having sex with him while his wife was pregnant.

John Duggar himself made these admissions:

“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife,” he wrote. “I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.”

Those who are enemies of the Christian faith and the Christian morals that Josh Duggar and his whole family espouse are rejoicing in his failings while at the same time disparaging his wife for supporting him and not immediately filing for divorce.

I support the Duggar family – Josh’s family as well as his extended family including his parents and I am praying for them during this dark hour.

A mistake that many non-believers and even some Christians make is to think that just because we believe in God’s law, his ways and his standards that somehow we will never fall short or fail to live up to those standards.

We as believers fail to live up to God’s Word each and every day of our lives and that is why we need his forgiveness each day.

And make no mistake – If Josh has truly sought God’s forgiveness – grieving over his sin –God has already forgiven him. What may take longer is for his wife to forgive him and really for him to forgive himself.

Who does Josh Duggar really owe an apology to?

While Josh feels he has to apologize to his wife, his children, his family and the whole world I am going to refer to another high profile occurrence of adultery that occurred in the Bible and the prayer admission of sin and request for forgiveness that was offered by that man:

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”

Psalm 51:1-13 (KJV)

The key verse in this as to whom forgiveness is sought from is found in Psalm 51:4:

“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight”

King David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba didn’t go running around to each of his wives (he had several other wives) and apologize to them for “cheating on them”.

King David didn’t go apologize to his children.

King David didn’t go apologize to country men, he made no proclamation to Israel telling them how he had let them all down.

King David apologized to God. I believe if King David had not had Bathsheba’s husband killed – he would have owed him an apology as well for violating his wife. But since Uriah was already dead – King David really only did owe God an apology. You can see his full admission of guilt, and his request for the Lord to restore him.

In fact King David says something here that might shock us today in light of Josh Duggar’s actions – in verse 13 he says this:

“Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”

Wow! He is asking God to forgive him – so he can get back to teaching the people God’s ways. God did not say to David – “Ok now after committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband killed, you need to go hide in some deep dark place and never speak in my name again”. No God forgave David! He restored him. David ended up writing some of the most beautiful passages of Scripture in the Psalms that mankind has ever seen!

Doesn’t Josh owe his wife an apology for cheating on her?

The reason that David did not owe his wives an apology for his sin with Bathsheba is because the vows he made to them were very different. The most common vow that a Jewish husband made to his wife when they married was “food, clothing and bed”. This was based on Moses command in Exodus 21:10-11.

There was not a vow that he would love them only and no other woman, or that he would never have sexual relations with another woman.

David’s sin was the sin of adultery but it was adultery against God and Uriah (the husband of Bathsheba). Biblically speaking adultery was a property crime against the husband of the wife a man had sex with. The most literal meaning of adultery in the Old Testament and New Testament is “a man having sex with another man’s wife” – it always has at its center a married woman. In the New Testament Christ expanded the definition of adultery saying that a man committed adultery against his wife when divorced her for reasons that God does not allow. So in essence he dishonors her, and causes her to dishonor herself (when she marries another man) if he divorces her without a proper cause that God allows for.

But in the case of Josh Duggar’s wife Anna – he does owe her an apology because of the fact that he took our modern vows of monogamous marriage. He vowed not to love or have sex with any other woman but Anna and he broke that vow, thus he owes his wife an apology for breaking it and I am sure that he has already apologized and asked for her forgiveness for breaking those vows.

If Josh was still working for the organization he was with where I am sure he signed a morality clause then he might have owed them an apology for breaking that clause and bringing shame on their organization.

But my point in this is – I don’t think Josh needs to run around apologizing to the whole world for what he did. He has sought God’s forgiveness, his wife’s forgiveness and that is all the apologies that he owes.

The Consequences of Sin

While it is true that God forgave David and restored him his sin had some consequences. God spoke these consequences through the prophet Nathan:

“Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife… Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”

II Samuel 12:10-14 (KJV)

Josh Duggar shut down his Ashley Madison account back in May. But just like with King David’s sin, God saw fit to reveal what Josh Duggar did and God shamed him before the world, as he did King David. If Josh had not lost his job over the previous scandal he certainly would have lost it over this.

If Josh were a Pastor or a Deacon he would have forfeited his position because of the requirement that a Pastor “must be blameless” or above reproach.

Josh has certainly lost the respect of many people because of this. He may even loose his marriage because of this.

Conclusion

So what am I defending about Josh Duggar? I certainly am not defending him seeking out women to have sex with on AshleyMadison.com. I am not defending that he slept with at least one woman that we know of and there may be more revealed in the future.

What I am defending about Josh Duggar is his faith and his God. I am defending the Scriptures which he spoke and the stands for traditional marriage and against gay marriage that he took. God’s Word is just as true today as it was before this scandal broke. I am defending the concept of God’s forgiveness and how it applies to ALL sin – even sexual sin.

There is no question that Josh Duggar sinned against God. But he does not owe you or me an apology. He needs to admit his sin and seek God’s forgiveness (which I think he has already done).

God says in his Word:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – I John 1:9 (KJV)

He needs to apologize to his wife for breaking his vow of monogamous marriage and she needs to forgive him as Christ commands us all to do:

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV)

But if she forgives as God would have her – does that mean she stays with him and does not divorce him? That is a larger question. See my post “Does God allow divorce for Adultery” for a larger discussion on that topic.

This sin committed by Josh Duggar does not have to mean his life is over with or that he needs to hide in some deep dark hole for the rest of his life. It does not mean he can’t tell others about Christ, or teach his children and others about God and his ways just as King David continued to do after he committed adultery with Bathsheba.   While his actions would disqualify him from a leadership position (Pastor or Deacon) in a church, it does not disqualify him from continuing to serve Christ in other ways.

The story of King David tells us two things that relate to Josh Duggar’s sin. The first is that Good men, great men of God have committed sexual immorality. The second is that when they acknowledged their sin before God he restored them and if God forgives and restores Josh Duggar we have no right as the body of Christ to ostracize our brother in Christ.

Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/96024429@N00/17966165892/in/photostream/

 

Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage – Episode 5

Our next story of sexual denial comes from a man named Owessco and he is from Liberia.  He sent this is in as public comment on my post “8 ways to confront your wife’s sexual denial”.

Here is his story:

My name is Owessco from Liberia, I read your article and it is so interesting and would like to share my own experience for your advise.
My wife and I have been married for the past almost ten years, but with no child to consumate our bond. She thinks I am the one with the problem and so she has resulted to constantly refusing me in be for sex whenever I needed to. Her last instance in quite these few days is walking out on me from the room to the extend of even sleeping in the living room.

In response to her action, I am forced to allow her have her will. So as it stands, I am playing the “ok go ahead and stay by yourself role”. And we are not talking to each other and I moved out of our room to the quest room. This way, I feel I am doing the right thing to avoid confrontations by forcing myself on her. Seeing her go to the bathroom and creaming infront of me definitely puts me off and I am trying as hard as possible to avoid such lawful temptation.

 

This was my response to his tragic story:

Owessco,

I am sorry to hear about the situation with your wife.  Are you and your wife Christians?

It sounds as if you wife has some bitterness towards you for not giving her a child.  Have you two been to a doctor to see which of you or if both of you are infertile or perhaps there is something they could do with it?

Even if you can’t have a child naturally – have you considered adoption?

I am not saying that your inability to have a child with your wife is an excuse for your wife’s actions toward you – but I do understand the natural yearning that God has placed in women to bare children.  In the Bible a woman named Hannah faced a similar dilemma as your wife is now:

“1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: 2 And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. 4 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:

5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb.

6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.

7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?”

I Samuel 1:1- 8 (KJV)

While God ultimately gave Hannah a son, he does not always provide women with a child.  What this story illustrates for us is both the frustration of a wife at being childless and the frustration of a husband for feeling like he is not enough for her.  I am sure that is how you feel and perhaps your wife feels like Hannah in this story.

The pain that women feel from being childless is something we as men can barely comprehend.  Yes men want kids too, but being childless does not affect us the way it does a woman.  But what your wife needs to realize is in many ways the pain she feels of being childless is the way you feel of being emotionally and sexually shut out by her.  In the same way that men cannot fully grasp how being childless can cause a woman pain to the her core, women often cannot grasp the pain they cause their husbands by sexually shutting them out.

This is what I would suggest.

Make sure you have tried every way you can – seeing doctors to try and have a child.  If you already have then look into adoption.  Tell your wife how much you love her and want to provide her with a child.

But the most important truth you need to share with your wife is that true contentment and joy does not come from things or even people.  She cannot hinge her joy and contentment on having a child, or even on your.  Your bodies may fail to give you a child, but God is always there.  He is the one true constant. She needs to find contentment in God, and then realize the sinful way she has been treating you.

God commands a wife to give her body to her husband for sex. You cannot condone an attitude from her “until you provide me with a child, I will not provide you with sex” – this is a sinful attitude and must be confronted.

Seek out Godly counseling for you and your wife. Perhaps God will change her heart.
If after a long time of counseling she continues to act in rebellious ways you may have to take further actions.

But I would start there.

The undated wife

Recently I received an anonymous comment from a Christian wife. For the sake of this post we will just refer to her as “the undated wife”.

The undated wife writes:

“I have read many of the posts on your site and I agree with some things you say. I agree that women should not deny sex to their husbands and I do not deny sex to my husband, although there are many times I don’t feel like having sex with him.

But I think you miss the fact that women have an equal right to be dated by their husbands. Why do men think that dating is just before marriage? Why do men stop dating their wives after they get married?

Let me give you a little bit of background to my situation. I married my husband about 8 years ago, we were both divorced. I had no children from my previous marriage (I am unable to have children). He had three kids from a previous marriage that he has joint custody of. Now they are all teenagers. I love his kids and they love me.

I am a stay at home wife.

My husband says he loves me. He is a good provider. He is a good father to our children. But he works all the time. Even when he comes home from the office, he takes his laptop out many times and continues to read and answer emails all evening long. The only time he seems to carve out anytime is when his kids come to our house. Then he spends time with them. In fact sometimes I feel like the minute his kids arrive I am not even there.

There are times when he realizes he has not been paying enough attention to me and purposefully does not take out his laptop. We just sit and talk or watch some TV together. But I have told him I feel he needs to make more of an effort to date me. He needs to take me out to dinner more, he needs to take me to the movies. He should be taking me on weekend getaways several times a year like he did many years ago. He has turned into a “homebody” – he is fine with just being home with me and the kids.

I said he is a good provider and good father. I don’t feel he is a good husband to me. I always feel like his kids and his job come first, and I am always last on his “to do list”. Sure when I say something to him about feeling neglected – he will try for a while to talk with me more, and he might even take me out once in a great while. But I want more! Don’t I deserve to be his number priority? Why do I always have to feel like I am second to his job or the kids?

I got him to go to counseling with our Pastor whom he respects. Our pastor told him he needed to date me, he needed to take me out once a week. He need to take me on a weekend getaway at least twice a year. My husband MAYBE might take me out once a month on date. He has not taken me on a weekend getaway in a year and half. He says we don’t have enough money for trips right now and I just have to be patient (we had to cancel our family vacation this summer because of finances). He tells me things will get better financially in a couple years after we pay off the debt. A couple years!!!!! If something is important to you – you make it happen. But again I am not as important to him as his job or his kids. God says a wife is to be her husband’s number one priority right? That means I come before everything – his kids, his job.

I read your post on how a man is to know his wife – I almost cried when I read it because I want that from my husband. I want to feel like his number one priority.

I just feel like all I am here for is to do his and his kids laundry, cook for them and drive them places, and of course have sex with him.

I feel more like a maid and a sex slave than his wife!

Can you maybe write a post about husbands loving their wives before everything else? Can you write about how God wants men to date their wives? Isn’t that what loving your wife is? To date her, to make her feel like she is your number one priority?”

Now normally this is the part where I start offering what I believe to be Biblical advice to this wife.  But I am going to do something different this time.  I have a lot of Christian women that read and comment on my blog and I would like to hear back from you on this.  Of course if you start getting nasty toward me on other positions I take then your comment won’t make it through.  But if you stick to this post, and what this women says in a respectful way your comment just might make it through.

I look forward to the discussion.  I will post my own thoughts on this later.

Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage – Episode 4

Our next story is from a man I have conversed with a great deal privately and then he decided a little while back to make his story public on my site. While it grieves me every time I hear one of these stories, I am thankful then men of God like him are brave enough to share it – for two reasons.

The first is so that other believers can pray for them.  The second is to let other men know they are not alone this situation and this also serves to let Christian women know who may be doing this to their husbands – how much it truly hurts them, and how sinful it really it is.

We will just call him by his avatar name – “Missionary to Mexico”.  He send in this update to his story(you can read other comments from him on my post “8 Steps to confronting your wife’s sexual refusal”.

I just had a talk with my wife today. It did not go very well. I wanted to make an appointment with a gynecologist to see if her having sex with me would be dangerous to her health. I asked what she would do if the gynecologist said that there would be no danger to her health if she had sex with me. She reminded me of what another gynecologist said to us last year, that her sex drive was gone. My wife interpreted that to mean that I should have been prepared to live in a celibate marriage with her for the rest of my life. She said that because she is 68 years old, I should understand why she doesn’t want sex. (I am 76.)

I told my wife that just as it is a sin to have sex outside of marriage, it is also a sin to reject the other spouse when he or she wants sex in the marriage. That the one who is refusing sex is the one who is being selfish, not the other way around. I told her that God put the desire in me to have sex in the marriage. I also told her that I have been communicating with people on the internet who have the same problem as I have, men and women alike. I told her that all of us who have the problem with a spouse who refuses to have sex with us feel rejected and that the one who refuses to have sex is destroying the marriage. I also mentioned about the women (in other blogs) who refused to have sex with their husbands but repented because they knew it was wrong. I told her that these women have come to the point to where they now enjoy having sex with their husbands. She still doesn’t understand.

She also believes that she has to be in love with me to have sex with me, which she said she has never been, that she married me because she felt pressured to do so. I told her that I could not live in a celibate marriage the rest of my life. I explained that refusal by one spouse leads the other into a lot of temptation.

She plans on going to Colombia in December. When I saw some signs of hope a few weeks ago, l told her then that I would like to go to Colombia with her. However, today I told her that until we solve our marital problems I would not be going with her. Furthermore, I told her that if we could not solve them by December, that not only would she have to go there alone, but would have to stay there until we could solve them. I told her that if she wanted me only as a friend, she could call me via Skype from Colombia.

My wife receives two pensions, so she doesn’t have to depend on me to support her. Right now I am paying for all the expenses of the house, the car, and buy all the food. I don’t make a lot more money than she does.

Just a few minutes ago (after our conversation), she told me that she needed to get an exam for her kidneys. Although we have social security health coverage in Mexico, she told me she would get a much more complete exam via a private company. One of those that she really trusts would charge 800 pesos for the exam. I asked her if she had the money to pay for it and she said no. I told her that I would pay for it.

So, I really love my wife and have tried hard to be a good husband. Unfortunately, it does not look like this love is mutual. Please pray for our marriage! Fortunately, neither one of us want a divorce. I am hoping that if we separate, that both of us will come to the conclusion that God wants us to have a good marriage to each other and that both of us will be willing to do what it takes to have one.

From this point forward I will refer to Missionary to Mexico as MTM.

Let me just say clarify a few things that MTM did not mention here(and he would not mind me saying).  You might think because his wife is in her late 60’s and he is in his mid 70’s that they have been married for 50 years or so. That is not the case – MTM was previously married and so was this woman.  They just got married within the last 5 years I think.

So this is a relatively new marriage despite the advanced age of both of them.  I also happen to know from emailing with him that his wife does not have any real gynecological issues that would prevent intercourse – she simply has no desire.  And as he pointed out she uses her lack of desire as medical reason not to have sex with him, and he was taking her to the doctor so he could confirm with her with the doctor present that there is no medical problem for her to have sex with no desire.

Obviously with women of that age lubrication becomes an issue and if desire is not present then yes it can be more difficult, but there are ways to help with that  – if only she is willing to try.

He is truly trying to love his wife the best he knows how, but he is absolutely correct that God does not call us to live in a marriage with a spouse that willfully and purposefully rejects having sex for their own selfish reasons.  And yes “I don’t feel like, I have no desire” is a selfish reason.

God determines what is selfish and what is not selfish.  God says it is not NOT selfish for a man or woman to desire sex with their spouses.  On the other hand, God says it is selfish for a spouse to willfully deny sex to their spouse.

If MTM does not feel like going to his job – can he can just say “I have no desire, I don’t feel like it”.  Of course not.  Does a mother or father “feel like” or “desire” to get up with their sick child in the middle night? No.  But we do these things because it is our obligation, our duty to do so.

“I am not, nor have I ever been romantically in love you”  doesn’t cut it either.

This Christian wife needs to put her “big girl pants on” and start acting like an adult and a Christian.  It does not matter if she married him for the wrong reasons, or never felt romantic love toward him.  She made a commitment in marriage, and now she must fulfill the vows she made before God and man – and that includes giving her body to her husband.

The Bible is clear on this:

“3 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)

Additionally a woman to submit to her husband in “every thing”:

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:24 (KJV)

A wife is commanded to submit herself in everything to her husband, and that very much includes her body in the act of sex.  She does not have power over her own body, but her husband does.

And as I have answered the ridiculous notion many times put forward by other Christians online – NO the woman having power over husband’s body does not entitle her to say he cannot use his body with her in sex.  That interpretation goes against the entire principle of I Corinthians 7:3-5.

The power that a husband or wife have over their spouse’s body is a power to take their body in the act of sex, it is not the power to refuse sex.

“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another;” – Romans 1:27 (KJV)

What is “that natural use of the woman” that God mentions in Romans 1:27? Sex! Now the Bible tells a man in Ephesians 5 that he is to love his wife.   But there is absolutely no contradiction between a man loving his wife, and also having a physical and emotional  need to have sex with his wife on a regular basis.

A husband is not selfish for taking advantage of the “the natural use of the woman” when he feels like having sex with his wife.

I am not in any way advocating for men to be selfish lovers. A Christian husband should try and make sex as pleasant, and as mutually pleasurable for his wife as possible.  But make no mistake  – God himself says sex is “the natural use of the woman”.

In fact according to I Corinthians 7:3-5 the only way regular sex can cease for a short time between a couple is if they agree by CONSENT.  The consent Biblically is not to have sex, but rather the consent is to NOT have sex.  I realize this is completely backward from our modern sinful ways of viewing marriage – but that is not God’s way.

I realize that when I use language like “take sex” – many Christian women and men are offended by this, and I certainly do not mean by that a man forcing himself upon his wife.  But what that means is a man is allowed at anytime, except for when his wife gently refuses him for temporary medical or mental issues, to expect that if he requests to take pleasure in his wife’s body as  Proverbs 5:19 says he should be able to  – that his wife will submit herself and her body to that request.

To MTM – I am praying for you brother.  I realize God will have to let you know when it is time, but if your wife continues to willfully sexually deny you – she is committing sexual sex – sexual immorality by doing so.  Any time we do something sexually that God forbids, or DON’T do something sexually that God commands that is by definition sexual immorality.  Many believers do not understand that being unfaithful to your spouse does not just mean having sex with someone outside your marriage  – it also an unfaithfulness to willfully and chronically refuse to have sex with your spouse inside your marriage.

If she refuses to repent, I pray that one day God will give you the peace you need to send her way in divorce.

 

Does God allow divorce for spousal abandonment?

If your spouse abandons you, but does not divorce you does God allow you to divorce them?

The Apostle Paul tells us about how to handle spousal abandonment in his first letter to the Corinthian Church:

“10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?”

I Corinthians 7:10-16 (KJV)

Many Christians mistakenly think this is just talking about relationships between a believing and non-believing spouses.   But the principle of a spouse departing remains the same whether that spouse is a believer or not.

Paul starts this passage by reminding of us Christ’s word on divorce, and that God does not want husbands and wives divorcing each other without a cause that God approves of. He then adds another cause that God allows divorce for – the sin of abandonment.

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” I Corinthians 7:15 (KJV)

But Paul does not say divorce – he says “not under bondage”

Some Christians will say “Paul does not use the word divorce, but he simply says they are not under bondage” – meaning the person cannot divorce and remarry. They simply don’t have to go seeking after the departed person. But again word “divorce” does not have to be used. In Exodus 21:10-11 divorce is spoke of as a woman being “free”. In the same way when Paul says a “brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases” – he is saying they are freed from that marriage.

This cause for divorce applies equally to both genders

By his language “A brother or a sister” Paul makes it clear that both a man and a woman can divorce their spouse for abandonment. This is not a gender specific cause for divorce.

How long must one wait?

The Bible does not specify a wait time in cases of abandonment. I personally believe that even if a spouse says they are leaving never to return – that a Christian should give their spouse a long time to reconsider. My thought would be to wait at least a year before filing for divorce.

Conclusion

God does not require a believer to be bound to a spouse that abandons them. Marriage requires to people, if one departs then the marriage covenant has been breached and there is no more marriage.

Does God allow divorce for abuse?

Does God allow a husband or wife to divorce their spouse for abuse? Is domestic violence a Biblical cause for divorce?

So far in this series we have shown that while God hates divorce, and God does not allow “no fault divorce” or “divorce for any cause”. He only allows divorce for certain causes. Many Christians believe that divorce is limited to only two causes – adultery and abandonment. This is based on Christ’s words in the Gospel on divorce and Paul’s words about abandonment.

However this interpretation ignores other key passages of Scripture like Exodus 21:10-11 that allow a woman to be freed from her husband for other causes.   Neither Christ nor any of his Apostles removed these rights from a woman, or her right to divorce if these rights were denied.

Does the Bible speak specifically on spousal abuse?

No. The Bible never specifically speaks on spouse abuse. However the Bible does speak on the subject of physical abuse in other contexts:

“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. 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 21:26-27 (KJV)

If a man physically abused his male or female slave and caused any type of serious physical damage – he had to free them.

It is human right that God has given to all mankind –we do not have to allow ourselves to be physically abused.

Some have tried to point to passages in the New Testament like Matthew 5:39 to suggest that a spouse needs to allow physical abuse to continue for Christ’s sake:

“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – Matthew 5:39 (KJV)

But they are ignoring the context of Christ’s statement. For the sake of the Gospel –we are to endure all manner of persecution – even unto death. He is not talking about a husband or wife taking a beating from their spouse in marriage.

The right to be freed from physical abuse is a human right, regardless of who the abuser is – whether it is a parent, an employer, or even a spouse.

In the context of marriage physical abuse would constitute a breach of the marriage covenant.

What kind of abuse are we talking about?

If you look at the language of Exodus 21:26-27 it clearly speaking of physical abuse that causes bodily harm. It is not talking about “emotional abuse” or any other kinds of abuse. In fact in I Peter he tells slaves:

“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” – I Peter 2:18(NIV)

God does not allow a master being harsh, or a husband being harsh, or a wife being harsh as a reason for a person to be freed.   In other words, God does not allow divorce for emotion abuse, only for physical abuse.

Conclusion

There is no reason to believe that God would expect a husband to stay with a wife who stabbed him and tried to kill him (physically abused which resulted in great bodily harm). There is no reason that God would expect for a wife to stay in a marriage with a husband who continually beats her or her children as this is a basic human right given to all people – the right to not be physically abused.

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