How to train your wife not to be jealous

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

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

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

Romans 10:19 (KJV)

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

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

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

Wives are forbidden from having possessive jealousy toward their husbands

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

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

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

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

Exodus 20:17 (KJV)

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

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

Proverbs 31:10-11 (KJV)

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

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

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

Ephesians 5:23-24 (KJV)

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

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

Ways to train your wife in regard to her jealousy

Step #1 – Correct her possessive jealousy toward your thoughts

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

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

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

Step #2 – Correct her possessive jealousy toward your time

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

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

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

Step #3 – Correct her possessive jealousy regarding other women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genesis 30:18 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The path of pride

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

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

The path of humility

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

101 thoughts on “How to train your wife not to be jealous

  1. AnnaMS,

    I wanted to come back to one other statement you made earlier:

    “For example, my husband has a right to have sex with me, but only because of my responsibility to have sex with him. Back when we were first married and I was unable to have sex, nobody sane would argue that my husband’s rights were being violated.”

    Anna – your husband has a right to have sex with you because God made you for him. He also has a right to your submission because God made you for him. Your responsibilities to your husband come from the fact that God created a cause, a need and then he created the answer to that need and that was you.

    As far as your physical issues when you were first married, yes your husband had a right to have sex with you but he also had a responsibility to protect your body from harm as he would protect his own. Sometimes our responsibilities trump our rights. So while he had a right to have sex with you from the moment you were married, that right like many other rights we have was also tempered by his responsibility to you and therefore his rights were not being violated by your inability to physically have intercourse for a temporary time. However he did have a right to have his sexual needs met in alternative ways and you fulfilled your responsibility to do that.

  2. Taylor,

    Your Statement:

    “Apparently, even if a wife gives enthusiastic sex, refusal of oral sex should be regarded as not fully submitting and so would warrant discipline, such as removal of ‘foot rubs’ and other things the wife wants, because such wives are being rebellious by their non-desire to do these things. So, when you say that this blog has specified that husbands shouldn’t discipline their wives for issues of sexual performance or oral sex, I’m genuinely confused.”

    Taylor – sorry I caused you confusion on this issue. I looked back at the comment I wrote:

    “However if she has not real desire to these things and completely refuses to face the issues stopping her from fully submitting he may have to take other actions. He may need to use correlation methods as to she likes or desires whether inside the bedroom or outside the bedroom to help her see the importance of full sexual submission.

    A small example may be that his wife likes to receive regular foot massages – he might pull back on this and not do this anymore until she fully submits. And again as I have said in previous posts this is not a matter of manipulation or repaying evil for evil. It is a matter of discipline. In this exact example it is the use of correlation. The husband is trying to show his wife “if you do what is required for me and full sexually submit to my needs, then I will do what is not required of me and give you foot rubs”

    I did say earlier in the comments that I do not believe a wife refusing oral sex warrants the 8 steps to confronting sexual refusal – she is not completely refusing sex but giving sex based on her terms. I do stand that when a woman refuses to fully give her body to her husband(and that includes oral giving and receiving oral sex) she has not fully submitted herself to him.

    While “correlation” would technically be a form of discipline, it is really the softest form. It simply shows the wife that when she does certain things other things will happen.

    And really I think correlation can be a form of positive reinforcement as a woman gets those little extras she likes when she fully submits to and pleases her husband.

  3. Hmm… I’m not sure how to say what I’m trying to get across. Nobody’s fault but mine. I’ll see if my husband can try later.

  4. I will make a few side points and see if my husband can clarify my main point. 1: the right to pursue a wife does not equal a right to sex. The verse you cited states that spouses may not withhold sex. This again cites a spouse’s responsibility. You have yet to cite a verse where His specifically states sex as a right. 2: while I absolutely agree that one of the main reasons I was put on this earth was for my husband, sex doesn’t logically follow. There are couples who are no longer able to have sex (as a permanent condition) D/t medical issues. The wife’s role as a helpmeet doesn’t change. A spouse who is unable to have sex is incapable of violating a right to sex anymore than cancer is able to violate a right to life. Spouses have a Biblical responsibility to have a sexual relationship with their spouse to the extent that they can. This is where the right to sex comes from. 3: I never stated that rights and sanctification were somehow incompatible. I said that Jesus was more interested in our sanctification then He is in our getting what we feel we have a right to. this is clearly seen in Habakkuk and Job, but is really an intrinsic part of the character of God. This doesn’t mean that He doesn’t receive glory from marital sex. Nothing I said makes the tow incompatible.

    3: if rights do not stem from responsibilities, then where do they come from? If nobody has a responsibility to fulfill your right, then how can you call it a right? How is that any different than my telling my husband I have a right to Olive Garden? He’d probably be like, ‘thats nice, Babe, now why don’t you go make dinner’.

  5. AnnaMS

    You made a point that 1: the right to pursue a wife does not equal a right to sex” …..I disagree, based on God’s command for wives to make themselves available for sex, it behooves woman to consider that very seriously if contemplating marriage and if they don’t feel they can handle a man’s right to her body for sex then DON’T GET MARRIED…..the modern western woman believes she has rights over her body, especially during marriage, which has resulted in her fickle and arbitrary way she dispenses sex to her husband and thereby destroying marriage
    This sick state of affairs would never happen if women entered marriage with the knowledge that her husband has full rights to her body to please him sexually……it would cut the rate of extra marital affairs literally over night

  6. Shredifier, men have the right to pursue a wife, but they do not have a right to a wife as a women does not have a baseline responsibility to marry a certain man. I’m sure we both know men who are trying to get married and have been unsuccessful thus far. How then can the right to pursue a wife equal the right to sex since sex is reserved for marriage?

    BGR, my husband’s right to sex with me does not stem from my being made for him. The husband and wife are given equal sexual responsibilities in the Bible as both are told not to deprive each other and that each other’s body belongs to the other. Thus if my husband has a right to sex with me because I was made for him it would also follow that I have a right to have sex with him cuz he was made for me and I’m sure you don’t want that. We have rights to have sex with each other because of the responsibilities we have towards each other as spouses. Now to the extent that my responsibilities as a wife are tailored by my being a helpmeet to him than your statement is indirectly partially correct. But his right still stems from my responsibility and vice versa. Even if you insisted on phrasing it that way (which I think is dangerous as it can lead to the thinking that the man was made for the women as well as we share equal sexual rights), my being made for him invokes certain responsibilities like having sex with him. No matter how you slice it, you can’t get away from it.

    I would challenge you to come up with a right that does not stem from a responsibility if you really think that is not where they come from.

  7. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:

    “How then can the right to pursue a wife equal the right to sex since sex is reserved for marriage?”

    By man’s law I can drive a car I do not own. If a person allows me to drive their car then it is perfectly legal. But under God’s law a man cannot have sex with a woman he does not own.

    So let’s make man’s laws regarding cars more equal to God’s laws regarding women. Let’s say the law was that I could not drive a car without owning it first. The law would not guarantee me ownership of a car, but only the right to pursue ownership of a car.

    But while I may be pursuing a car for its many benefits like taking me from point A to point B as well its ability to carry cargo for me – my main driving force in pursuing a car is for the pleasure of driving it and enjoying it’s beauty.

    This is how it works with men and marriage. Men pursue marriage with women not only for sex, but also for companionship and the bearing of and caring for their children. But their driving force in pursuing a wife is the pursuit of enjoying the visual pleasure of that car and the physical pleasure of driving that car.

    So yes men have the right to pursue the possibility of sexual relations with a woman but they are constrained in that pursuit by God by making sure they first have ownership over her through marriage before they can realize their driving desire for sexual relations.

    Taking this back the analogy of a car – how strange would we find it if a man desired to purchase a car without the corresponding desire to drive such a car? This is how strange it would be for a man to have the right and desire to pursue a wife without the equivalent desire to “drive her”. A man’s desire to drive a car is the driving force behind him desiring to purchase that car.

    So yes I maintain that the right to pursue a wife given to man by God is equivalent to his right pursue sex with a woman as sex is man’s most powerful driving force in pursuing a wife.

    I will answer your other questions in a followup comment.

  8. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:
    “BGR, my husband’s right to sex with me does not stem from my being made for him. The husband and wife are given equal sexual responsibilities in the Bible as both are told not to deprive each other and that each other’s body belongs to the other. Thus if my husband has a right to sex with me because I was made for him it would also follow that I have a right to have sex with him cuz he was made for me and I’m sure you don’t want that. We have rights to have sex with each other because of the responsibilities we have towards each other as spouses.”

    The Bible says you were made for your husband, he was not made for you.

    Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
    I Corinthians 11:9 (KJV)

    This is the uniqueness of the husband/wife relationship.

    A solider has responsibility to serve his commander, yet he was not specifically created for his commander.
    A subject has the responsibility to honor and serve their king, yet they were not specifically created for their King.
    Even a child, being a gift from God to their parents were not created specifically for their parents to serve them.
    A servant or slave has the responsibility to obey their master yet they were not specifically created for their master.

    But the uniqueness of the husband/wife relationship is that woman was created for man as mankind was created for God. My child was not created for me, but my wife was. Both are under my authority but one was created for me and one was not.

    So while my right to be obeyed, honored and respected by my child stems from the responsibilities God has given my child, my right to be obeyed by, my right to be respected and my right to take sexual pleasure in my wife does not originate in her responsibility to do these things toward me. My right originates in the fact that God created her specifically for me. Because he created her specifically for me, giving me complete rights and ownership over her he then gave her corresponding responsibilities toward me in keeping with my rights.

    I Corinthians 7:3-5 (KJV) teaches us three concepts about sex in marriage:

    The responsibility to “render” or pay what is owed.

    “3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.”
    I Corinthians 7:3(KJV)

    The right to sexual access to one’s spouse’s body

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

    I Corinthians 7:4(KJV)

    The responsibility not to defraud or refuse

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

    I Corinthians 7:4(KJV)

    Anna – we must always look at the Scriptures in their entirety when coming to a conclusion. Someone reading this passage by itself might come away thinking that the source for a man’s and woman’s sexual rights are the same but they are not.

    A woman’s right to sexual access to her husband’s body does not originate in the fact that he was created for her because he was not created for her. Her right to sexual access to her husband’s body comes from the fact that God while creating woman for man – gave him a responsibility to care for the physical needs of that woman.

    But his right to sexual access to his wife’s body does not originate in her responsibility to give him that access, but rather it originates in the purpose for her creation that she was created to meet his needs, she was created for him.

    If I were equating this to the car analogy, it would be like saying I have the right to pursue the pleasure of driving a car but first I must own that car – but when I own that car I have a responsibility to maintain and take care of the needs of that car.

    I don’t know if I have asked you this point blank before so I will ask again. Do you believe that God made woman for man? Also can you explain again why reject the concept of a man owning his wife?

  9. For AnnaMS, Taylor, Alex and everyone else reading this thread of comments:

    When we as men and women understand the purpose for our being created then all of God’s commands fall into place.

    The masculine human vessel was created by God to be his direct image bearer.

    Man’s desire to lead glorifies God because this is part of his image.
    Man’s desire to build and create things glorifies God because God desires to build and create things.
    Man’s desire to provide for his family glorifies God because God desires to provide for his family.
    Man’s desire to protect his family glorifies God because God desires to protect his family.
    Man’s desire to experience pleasure from what he owns whether through admiring its beauty or physically using it whether it be a car, his house or his wife glorifies God because God desires to experience pleasure in what he owns.
    Man’s desire to care for the needs of his car, his house and his wife glorifies God because God desires to care for the needs of the things that he owns.

    Woman was not created to glorify God by being his image bearer as man was, but instead she was designed to be the glory of man and she was designed specifically for him as man was designed specifically for God.

    Consider these desires that God placed in woman to meet the desires of man for whom she was designed:

    God made woman to desire to feel beautiful and make herself beautiful to meet man’s desire for beauty.

    God made woman weaker than man and gave her an attraction to strength because of man’s desire to feel strong and to be a protector.

    God made woman to desire sex to meet man’s desire that for sexual relations with a woman.

    God made women to desire to have children and care for those children to meet
    man’s need to have children and have a caretaker for them.

    I could go on – but you get my point. Every need and desire a woman has that was given to her by God was meant to compliment and fulfill the needs of man for whom she was created.

    When a woman fully embraces this concept then areas like submission, including sexual submission in marriage fall perfectly into place.

    The sad fact is that most women today, even Christian women who say they believe in submission – do not fully embrace this concept that woman was made for man.

    Most Christians will accept that fact that we were made for God, to glorify God, yet most Christians will not accept that fact that woman was made by God, for man to be the glory of man.

  10. BGR, in your first comment, you switched topics from the right to sex to the right to pursue sex via the pursuit of marriage. They are not the same. I only said the former was not a right. My husband will address the rest.

  11. AnnaMS,

    First let me say I am always grateful discussions like these that cause me to search deeper into what I believe. Also I do not mean to pummel you with all the comments I have put in today. This will be the last at least till much later since I have a family engagement to go to.

    I hear your heart in this Anna. You believe we can become over-focused on our rights instead of looking to our own responsibilities as well as teaching those under our authority their responsibilities and I understand that concern of yours.

    And I would agree with you in most instances we should come from the responsibility angle. Whether it is as manager at work, or a parent to a child we should admonish those under our authority that God has given some certain responsibilities toward us and others and not simply take the approach “I have a right to be respected and obey by you.” I agree with you there.

    However I believe there are two unique relationships where our call to obedience should not just come from an emphasis on responsibilities, but it should also come from an emphasis on rights.

    When we call people to fulfill their responsibilities to God we cannot leave out God’s rights based on the fact that he is our creator. In like manner, when a man calls on his wife meet her responsibilities toward him as a wife he cannot leave out the fact that God specifically created her for him. This sets apart the husband/wife relationship from every other human relationship.

    This is my point.

  12. AnnaMS,

    “BGR, in your first comment, you switched topics from the right to sex to the right to pursue sex via the pursuit of marriage. They are not the same. I only said the former was not a right. My husband will address the rest.”

    AnnaMS – No one has a right to randomly have sex with any person. We can’t just pull someone off the street and have sex with them and I know you know that was not what I meant. A man has the right to pursue the possibility of sexual relations with a woman(through marriage) although that possibility may never become a reality. After marriage a man has the right to actually HAVE sex with with his wife barring some physical issue that would prevent it as his responsibility to care the needs of her body trumps his right to sexual relations. It really is that simple.

  13. BGR, Yes a man does have a right to sex with his wife after marriage. He has that right based off of his wife’s responsibility to have sex with him (and I”m not just repeating myself here…my husband will go into more depth on this later). I never said a man did not have a right to sex in marriage. I said 1: he did not have a blanket right to sex (which yes, I know you don’t think that but a TON of men in the manosphere do), and 2: his right to sex was not directly given by God but was as a result of his wife’s responsibility. So yes, as I believe I have stated many times, husbands and wives do have a right to sex in marriage but that right is not founded in God, it is founded in responsibility which is founded in God.

    Thanks for your kind words. I do not feel pummeled but I am a bit behind here because I worked last night, came home sick, and took care of the baby while my husband was at school all day doing his PhD intensives. He is home now and exhausted and will address your objections tomorrow probably. He will also address your questions about ownership and a wife being made for her husband. For the latter, I do believe that is true but I’m guessing we mean different things by that. He will explain that. We are in the middle of Hurricane Matthew so if you don’t hear from us tomorrow we might have lost internet. 🙂

    I also know that your heart is in the right place here and I feel like you and others (particularly men but perhaps women as well) will see the argument that God did not give a right to sex in marriage and worry that this gives strength to the sexual denial they are already dealing with (although a simple reading of the Bible clearly shows sexual denial to be sin). I had a similar hang-up when my husband (then boyfriend) was explaining this concept to me. It took him at least 3 tries because I would break down in tears each time at the thought of my right to not be raped not being primary but based off of someone else’s responsibility. I really didn’t like that at first. However, I think if people view sex as a responsibility primarily and a right secondarily, it may actually enhance sex lives and should fix a lot of sexual denial. A wife might be convinced that her husband has a right to sex and grudgingly spread her legs for him (I think you have written how your wife sometimes will treat you this way). But a wife that sees sex with her husband and satisfying him sexually as her responsibility will not act like that. A wife who sees it as a responsibility is not going to be grudgingly engaging in starfish sex, refusing to wear lingerie, insisting on missionary only, etc.

  14. @BGR,

    I actually agree with you on the issue of rights vs. responsibilities. I understand why Anna thinks that it’s important to emphasize responsibilities rather than rights in many cases, particularly when it comes to sanctification and encouraging wives to better fulfill their husbands’ rights. However, I think that it’s a mistake to take any emphasis away from rights, especially with regards to the right to action. Everyone has a right to take action when their rights are not being met, and husbands, as their wives’ authorities have a broader array of actions that they can take. Furthermore, while I think that sanctification is important, husbands still need to address sin in action when they see it, even if they can’t change the heart, and they have the right to take action when their rights are denied even if they can’t change the heart. Now, should husband’a try to emphasize responsibility first and sanctify their wives? Yes! But if that can’t happen, then the right to action comes into play.

    The one thing that I will add is that I don’t think that th car analogy works when describing human relationships, authority, or property. The reason is that a car is an object. It has no rights. All people have certain rights, regardless of their place in the great chain of being. If a man doesn’t maintain his car, h he doesn’t sin against the car. It’s possible that his failure to adequately maintain the car could amount to fiscal irresponsibility, which would be a sin against himself and his family (if he’s married with or without children). However, if he fails to maintain his wife by giving her adequate food and clothing, he violates her rights and sins against her. As far as I recall, there’s nothing in the Bible that directly punishes a man if he breaks one of his tools on purpose. Sure, he could be punished for consequences that could arise from breaking the tool, but no one could argue that the tool’s rights were violated or that he sinned against his tool. However, he can sin against his slaves by killjng them, starving them, having sex with them without giving them the rights of a wife, using them for sex and then giving them to another person for sexual use, severely injuring them, killing them, or failing to hear their grievances.

    Basically, ownership of a human is different from ownership of an object because all humans have rights, so I don’t think that comparing owned humans to owned objects is effective. Sure, there could be a law preventing a car owner from allowing another person to drive his or her car, but there’s no biblical basis for that law. Similarly, while there’s currently no American law against one man arranging for his wife to have sex with another man as long as he doesn’t allow the other man to rape his wife, this would be an indisputably unbiblical action.

    I think that you can see this in the scriptural passages dealing with slavery. Slaves are property of their masters, but their master can still against them.

  15. @Anna,

    Sounds like you have a ton on your plate right now! There’s no need to apologize for focusing on yourself, your family, and your safety first!

  16. @Alex, I’m confused as to why you see the right to action outside of a responsibility and separate from other rights. Where does a man’s right to take action come from unless it is from the responsibility to do so? Can you give me an example of a situation where a person has the right to take action outside of a corresponding responsibility either from the person or someone else? Wife discipline is out, as is all situations where we did not receive something that another person is responsible to give us, as is situations where we are commanded by God to take action (defending one’s family, or another person, or protesting unbiblical behavior).

  17. @Anna,

    Lol. You do have a fair point there. I think that the right to action only ends up going as far as giving up on getting the other person to accept his or her responsibility when divorce becomes a justified option and the wronged spouse pursues. I’m using gender neutral language here because while wives aren’t called to discipline their husbands, they are called to behave virtuously to even unbelieving husbands so that they might convert their husbands. However, just as husband can only take his discipline so far and can only do so much to try to persuade his wife to change (since he can’t read her thoughts or control her mind) before divorce becomes the best option, women can only be expected to remain under their husbands’ authority for so long when the needs of their bodies are denied.

    But I agree that it is at least as accurate in those cases to say that divorce is undertaken because the other person has unrepentantly failed to fulfill their responsibilities as a wife or as a husband.

  18. God has a right to all authority over all creation and all glory, if there were no creation he still has the right to all authority and all glory. His crown rights are absolute regardless of the duty/obligation of creation. His crown-rights stem from his position, his relationship to creation is derivative of his position. He made us and so he has the rights of owner and creator, He sustains us and so has the rights of provider. We are not self-made so we owe obedience, worship, honor and glory, but those things are already His right, we just steal from God when we withhold what is rightfully His.

  19. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:

    “Can you give me an example of a situation where a person has the right to take action outside of a corresponding responsibility either from the person or someone else?”

    You asked this question in several forms asking for an example and I have several based on these passages:

    “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.”
    Ecclesiastes 5:19 (KJV)

    “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”
    Matthew 20:15 (KJV)

    These passages and others throughout the Bible show the right to not only pursue and own private property, but also to do what we will with it(within the bounds of God’s law of course). In fact, a great deal of Scripture is dedicated to the proposition of a man being able to reap the fruits of his labors and do with them as he will and not to be deprived of his private property with just cause.

    So when I earn my paycheck each week, yes the government has a right to a reasonable tax to pay for government expenditures and yes I have a responsibility to care for the needs of my family and also help others with it. However after fulfilling those responsibilities God has given me the right to enjoy the fruits of my labor by using my property as I will.

    I only have a responsibility to provide the necessities of life to my family – I am not required to buy them the extras(niceties). But do I have the right to? Yes because it is my property. There are rights of action and rights to pursue various things that do not come from responsibility, but rather they are based on our natural God given freedom of private property use.

  20. Alex,

    Your Statement:

    “The one thing that I will add is that I don’t think that th car analogy works when describing human relationships, authority, or property. The reason is that a car is an object. It has no rights…Basically, ownership of a human is different from ownership of an object because all humans have rights, so I don’t think that comparing owned humans to owned objects is effective.”

    Alex – I agree that the car analogy is not a perfect analogy to a wife(or any personal relationship) as people have rights and cars do not. However God compares us to things that don’t have rights and I think it is appropriate sometimes for us to do so as well:

    “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
    Luke 12:27 (KJV)

    “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”
    Romans 9:21 (KJV)

    God compares us with plants and clay pots. Again I totally agree with you that we as human beings have so many more rights than a clay pot or plant. You can’t sin against a clay pot or a plant, but you can sin against a person. I think the plant is a good example though of having to care for something. We can buy a plant – perhaps for it grow food for us or simply for enjoyment of looking at it. But if we don’t take care of its needs then it will wither and die. We can learn from that concept and apply it to human relationships.

    Again as I have said on multiple occasions on this blog – human property has very different rights from all other forms of property. But if God compares us to pots and plants to illustrate certain principles I don’t think it is wrong for us to compare ourselves to them as well while remembering that we are so much more than those things.

  21. @BGR,

    I agree that comparing humans to things, especially living, non-human things can really illustrate many important points about human relationships.

    As for your example with private property, I think that you’re referring to a fourth type of right, which is a right to non-interference. So, basically, the government has a responsibility to not interfere with your management of your property except when it interferes with another person’s property. The government also has the responsibility to protect your rights by providing for you and all other citizens a system in which you can address your grievances against one another when property is damaged or disputed.

  22. Alex and BGR, while I think that Alex is onto something with her right to non-interference argument, I think you guys might be confusing being able to do something and even having it be good with having a right to do something. So Alex, I’d argue that spouses do not have a right to get a divorce. Jesus allows for it in certain situations, but that is not the same as it being a right. Similarly, BGR, you do not have a right to spend your money how you want to. You are able to spend it how you want and outside of illegal activities and fulfilling your responsibilities to your family, your church, and your community, you may; but that doesn’t make it a right. The Bible verses BGR gave showed Jesus saying we can do something. That is not the same as Him saying we have a right to it.

    An example from my life might be my car. I do not have a right to drive my car. Now when I paid for it, I had a right to own it at that point because the car dealership had the responsibility to respect our deal since they had taken my money. But I don’t have a right to drive it. I’m able to because it is mine and I think I should rather than walk everywhere (especially since my work is already a 30 minute drive, lol), but that’s not the same as saying I have a right to it. If my husband told me not to drive it, or when it is sitting in the auto shop getting repairs, I am not having a right violated.

    America in general likes to claim that if we can do something that is legal, we have a right to it. This is part of our overwhelming sense of entitlement as a country. Obviously you two don’t take it nearly as far as some do, but I think our culture still impacts us here.

  23. Jonadab, you’re conflating rights with authority which leads to a circular argument. You’re basically saying that God has rights because He has authority which would then be He has rights because He has rights. God has a right to our submission and our obedience because we are responsible to be submissive and obedient to Him. God does not have authority simply by being the creator. Everytime someone buys clothes or some other non-perishable item at the store, they are buying something that someone else created. That creator has absolutely no authority over the item. Jesus’ authority stems from being our sovereign Ruler, whereupon He has a right to the glory, honor, etc. that a sovereign Ruler is owed.

  24. You’re basically saying that God has rights because He has authority
    – Precisely!
    which leads to a circular argument.
    All arguments about God are necessarily circular, there is no higher appeal to authority then himself.(Hebrews 6:13)

    God does not have authority simply by being the creator.
    How do you know? On what authority can you make that claim?

    Everytime someone buys clothes or some other non-perishable item at the store, they are buying something that someone else created. That creator has absolutely no authority over the item.

    1) Did they make the stuff of which the clothes were made: cotton, cloth molecules etc.? Didn’t they just rearrange what God created?
    2) When the items were sold at market the rights of creator were transferred to the buyer as the rights of ownership.

    Jesus’ authority stems from…
    The word “authority” is a form of the word author or the creator. Jesus authority is from his authorship of all things and that alone is a sufficient claim to the crown rights.

    Matthew 28:18 “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

  25. BGR, the first 6 steps in your 8-step plan for dealing with sexual denial, are all based on correlation. You ‘rebuke her privately’, ‘stop taking her on dates and trips’, ‘remove unnecessary household upgrades’, ‘stop doing the little extra things’… because she refused sex. And then when she starts to give sex again, you reverse these things and do all those extra things. That’s the definition of correlation. No one would say removing your wife’s funding is a ‘soft’ form of discipline, yet it’s still correlation. With regards to oral sex, the only difference is that you cannot divorce her (step 8) for refusing oral sex and it would be a little silly to bring your wife to your Pastor (step 7) and say that although there’s enthusiastic and willing sex, there’s no oral sex. Or maybe it’s not silly to you, I don’t know how you operate. Positive reinforcement would be to add things that you were never doing before, when your wife starts to give or receive oral sex, sort of like a reward. But withdrawal of things that your wife wants or desires that you used to do previously such as the foot rubs like you mentioned, is not positive reinforcement; it’s negative reinforcement, aka discipline.

    For example, if my son regularly gets ‘B’ grades in school, then everything is fine and dandy. But if one semester, he puts in some extra effort and gets an ‘A’, then I might buy him something extra
    nice. This is positive reinforcement. If the next semester after that, he goes back to his regular B grades, then I don’t buy him the extra nice thing, but I would not take away the things he regularly enjoys, because I’m not disciplining him. Now, if in another semester, for some reason, he gets a ‘D’, then I have to discipline him and withdraw some of the things that he normally enjoys regularly. That’s negative reinforcement and discipline. The former example, is what I would encourage husbands dealing with oral sex refusal to do. But the latter example would be wrong to do with a wife as long as she’s still giving regular sex. You don’t have to go out of your way to buy her extra nice things, but when you purposefully start withdrawing some of the things you usually do or give, thats negative reinforcement and unwarranted discipline.

    And I get it, I understand that withdrawal of foot rubs isn’t at the same degree as withdrawal of household upgrades or funding. But when you generalize and say discipline in the form of correlation, is an acceptable way of dealing with no oral sex, then it doesn’t matter that the only example you gave was that of foot rubs. Anyone can use any correlation method to deal with it. By stating that correlation is the softest kind of discipline, its soft as opposed to what other kind of discipline? You may not realize this but all forms of discipline, except physical discipline and divorce, are essentially correlation. In fact, administering physical discipline is also an act of correlation, as most people (not nut jobs or psychos) do it to correct bad behavior and withdraw it when the behavior is corrected.

    So, apart from the possibility of divorce as the final step, I don’t see what the difference is, in the way you handle lack of oral sex vs lack of actual sex.

    Also, regarding your standing on refusal of oral sex being an example of not fully submitting, would you recommend discipline (which is essentially correlation) to deal with situations where the wife is not comfortable with other sexual play examples that I mentioned before, such as playful bondage (not BDSM), using sex toys or ‘dirty talk’ and several other more adventurous activities that a husband may desire? Because, going by your definition, these acts of refusal would also be acts of not fully submitting.

  26. This is Tobias. Anna asked me to write a comment clarifying our view on a couple of points:
    Point 1): Do you believe that God made woman for man?
    The short answer is yes, we do. However, some clarification about what this means is important. I think that we will all (or at least most of us) will agree that any particular woman is not made for any particular man. For instance, I cannot walk up to Angelina Jolie and command her to have sex with me because she was made for me. This would be a) immoral because she (specifically) was not made for me (specifically), b) unwise because Angelina Jolie is (last I heard) married and likely to call the police to come and take me away, and c) impracticable because I don’t find her nearly as attractive as Anna (shameless plug for my wife). However, more broadly it is a mistake to say that every woman was made for every man (because if falls back into the above mistake) or to say that every woman was made for some particular man (because God has gifted some men and women for celibacy and thus these women clearly were not made for a man). So, we can say that women generally were made for men generally. We can also say that Eve specifically was made for Adam specifically, and that a wife specifically was made for her husband specifically. However, this is a vast limitation on what the claim that woman is made for man is often used to mean.
    Now, because we can meaningfully say that a woman specifically was made for her husband specifically this does come with certain implications, submission being one of them. However, it also comes with implications for the husband. It is common for men to quote Ephesians 5:22-24 with no reference to Ephesians 5:21 or 5:25-33. However, this is a mistake. The verb ‘ὑποτασσόμενοι’ or ‘be subject’ is no-where to be found in Ephesians 5:22-23. In these verses the verb is assumed from its use in Ephesians 5:21 and thus necessarily carries the same usage and force that it did in 5:21. It does appear again in 5:24 in the form ‘ὑποτάσσεται’, but this is in reference to the relationship of Christ and the church. So, the comparison between the Christ/church and husband/wife relationships is important, but it is predicated on the command that believers submit themselves to one another. Further, the relationship is made reciprocal (actually more than reciprocal) in Ephesians 5:25-33. Wives are to submit themselves to their husbands as the image of the church submitting itself to Christ, and husbands are to sacrifice themselves for wives as the image of Christ sacrificing himself for the church. This actually places the much greater burden upon men as we should image Christ by sacrificing our desires for the good of our wives (note that good of our wives and desires of our wives are not necessarily equivalent–if, for instance, Anna wants to skip church and watch a smutty movie instead that draws us both into lust and degrades the image of God-given sexuality between a husband and wife then my responsibility as a husband is to deny her this. Thankfully, she’s never wanted to do anything of the sort, so the issue has never come up).
    Point 2): Also can you explain again why [we] reject the concept of a man owning his wife?
    You use many examples from the Old-Testament to defend your argument that husbands are seen as the owners of their wives. However, we see some problems with your argument: 1) at the most basic level the term ba’al does not simply mean owner. It can bear this meaning, but it can also mean husband as contrasted with owner, lord, citizen or inhabitant, foreign god(s), or have a metaphorical usage (i.e. I am the ba’al of my dreams or my dreams are my ba’al). D. A. Carson refers to this mistake as the unwarranted restriction of the semantic field in his book Exegetical Fallacies. The problem is that you have chosen to interpret every instance of ba’al as ‘owner’ even when other meanings might bear more resemblance to its actual usage in the text. 2) While there were aspects of ownership to the husband/wife relationship in the OT it was not quite this simple, especially when compared with modern concepts of ownership. This is something that you actually handle fairly well in your post as you distinguish the concept of ownership to which you are referring from a modern concept of ownership. However, even with the clarifications that you make it isn’t clear that the examples you give support ownership as such. For example, it is true that husbands paid a bride price, but this served much the same cultural function as an engagement ring did a hundred years ago–the bride price showed that the man was wealthy enough to care for his bride. The bride price was also mitigated by the dowry provided by the bride’s father, which was often substantially more than the bride-price paid by the husband. So, seeing the bride price as a purchase fails to take the cultural context as a whole into consideration, and we believe that your view of ownership as a whole suffers from similar problems. 3) Given the modern context the use of the term ‘ownership’ to describe husband/wife relationships simply creates problems with no real benefit. Further, even if we presume a much different and limited concept of ownership in the Old Testament, the New Testament doesn’t seem to support this. In fact, there are significant differences between the way the husband/wife relationship is seen in the OT law and the way that it is depicted in the NT texts under the authority of the apostles. There are still consistent concepts of mutual responsibilities to submit on the one part and sacrifice/protect on the other, and the wife is still clearly seen as made for the husband in the sense discussed above, but the wife is not clearly seen as the property of the husband in any significant sense and, in fact, the entire concept of property between OT Israel and NT Roman-Ruled Israel is fairly different. So, in short, we disagree to a point with your reading of OT texts concerning the concept of ownership, we do not see this concept of ownership in the NT, and we do not believe that the term ‘ownership’ is meaningfully useful as a description of the submission/care responsibilities of husband-wife relationships in the modern context.
    Point 3): The issue of the connection between rights and responsibilities especially in regard to our relationship to God and a wives relationship to her husband.
    It is right to connect authority, rights, and responsibilities. However, it is important to note the correct order of operation between them. First, all authority derives from God because God is sovereign. It is a mistake to say that authority derives from God simply because he is creator because this mistakes the inherent authority of the creator (Contra Jonadab). A creator may define, but he does not necessarily have control over the result or end of his creation. For instance, let us assume that I commission a piece of art. The artist is the creator of this piece, and thus he does define what the piece depicts and the correct interpretation of the imagery therein. However, he does not have the authority to determine what I do with the piece. I am its owner (and here owner can be compared to sovereign) and thus can burn it if I so desire, even against the artist’s express wishes. So, because God is the creator of all things he gets to define what is real and what is not. However, this alone does not give him the authority to do whatever he wishes with that creation. It is his place as sovereign that gives him ultimate authority.
    Now, authority necessarily creates obligation which is expressed in responsibilities. So, because God is sovereign he has the authority to command his subjects which are also his creations, and they are obliged to obey and thus responsible to do what he wishes. Thus, we see that responsibilities come from obligations and are grounded in authority. This, in turn, gives the initial authority the right to expect that these responsibilities will be fulfilled.
    However, if we take away the obligation created by authority (I am positing a counter-factual here, not arguing that it is possible to take away such obligation) then we see that the connected right no longer exists. For instance, God’s sovereignty creates an obligation that he be obeyed which in turn is expressed in my responsibility to obey him and means that he has a right to expect my obedience. However, if God’s sovereignty does not create an obligation that he be obeyed then I have no responsibility to obey him and he does not have a right to expect my obedience.
    The temptation is always to conflate right and authority and ignore the intervening obligation and responsibility because right and authority are so similar. However, it is important to recognize the necessary structure that must be followed. In order to claim a right I must show that there is a corresponding responsibility created by a clear obligation imposed through legitimate authority. Even if an authority is legitimate in some sense, when it exceeds its bounds it imposes no obligation, creates no responsibilities, and thus has no rights.
    For instance, let us assume that I demand that Anna have sex with my friend. This is clearly outside of my authority as it would be a violation of the marriage covenant and thus sinful before God. All authority derives from God, but the authority derived from God cannot be equal to that of God. Thus, my authority extends only so far as God allows it to extend, and I am subject to him (i.e. I am a mediator of God’s authority over Anna, not an imposer of my own authority, thus my authority is only legitimate insofar as I correctly guide her according to God’s will). Thus, since my authority by definition cannot violate God’s command, it cannot create any obligation when and where my commands do violate God’s commands, and thus Anna has no responsibility to obey me when and where my commands violate God’s commands, and thus I have no right to expect Anna’s obedience when and where my commands violate God’s commands.
    So, a husband does have a right to expect his wife’s obedience when she has a responsibility to obey because of an obligation created by the husband’s legitimate mediation of God’s authority, but when a husband fails to legitimately mediate God’s authority (i.e. when a husband moves away from God) then no obligation is created which entails no responsibility on the part of the wife and thus the husband has no right to expect obedience.
    Now, when we speak of God it is actually correct to conflate right and authority since God is the source of all authority. Because of this, there is no higher authority that is mediated through him. Thus, all of his commands create obligation, which is expressed in responsibility, and thus he has the right to expect that all of his commands be obeyed. However, God and husband are not alike in this respect because God’s authority is unlimited where the husband’s authority is limited by God. However, it is more helpful to continue to speak of authority, obligation, responsibility, and rights in the manner above even when speaking of God because it clarifies the nature of each term as they are used of authorities below God’s.

  27. Jonadab, again, this is Tobias, Anna’s husband.
    You Say:
    You’re basically saying that God has rights because He has authority
    – Precisely!
    which leads to a circular argument.
    All arguments about God are necessarily circular, there is no higher appeal to authority then himself.(Hebrews 6:13)

    God does not have authority simply by being the creator.
    How do you know? On what authority can you make that claim?

    Everytime someone buys clothes or some other non-perishable item at the store, they are buying something that someone else created. That creator has absolutely no authority over the item.

    1) Did they make the stuff of which the clothes were made: cotton, cloth molecules etc.? Didn’t they just rearrange what God created?
    2) When the items were sold at market the rights of creator were transferred to the buyer as the rights of ownership.

    Jesus’ authority stems from…
    The word “authority” is a form of the word author or the creator. Jesus authority is from his authorship of all things and that alone is a sufficient claim to the crown rights.

    Matthew 28:18 “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
    In Reponse:
    1) It is true that there is no higher authority than God. However, this does not make all arguments about God viciously circular. The distinction here is between a broadly circular argument that clarifies points (which can be said of any good argument as all arguments rest on inductive premises) and a viciously circular argument that obscures points. Your argument was viciously circular because it conflated right and authority, which confuses the nature of these concepts (see my explanation in Point 3 of my post above).
    2) I know this because of the usage of the word creator. A creator has some authority over his/her creation, but he/she does not have all authority over his/her creation. Anna’s example of clothing is a useful one. In response to your question 1): the question is meaningless for our argument here. Yes, the creator did merely rearrange what God ultimately created, but this does nothing to alter or refute the argument made about the usage of the word creator unless you intend us to stop using the term for anyone/anything other than God. However, if this is your intention, then we must say that God is the only creator of sin and evil, as he is the only creator at all, and this creates many more significant problems (or it does something else since I can no longer use the word ‘creates’ in this context). As to your point 2): this is exactly the point that Anna is making. A creator does not have ultimate authority over their creation because the creator is not the only individual that must be considered in light of the creation. Other individual’s have claims upon that creation. Thus, a creator has some authority, but not all or ultimate authority. A sovereign, on the other hand, has ultimate authority. Thus, God’s ultimate authority is based on his status as sovereign, not simply on his status as creator.
    The origin of the modern term authority is actually the Latin word auctor which meant originator or promoter. The etymology proceeds as such: auctor > auctoritas > autorite (old French) > authority. It is related to the English term author because they come from related roots. The English term author stems form a related Latin root: augere > auctor > autor > author. However, the etymology of a word has relatively little to do with its modern usage. For instance, the etymology and roots of the word ‘driveway’ would suggest that it is a road upon which we drive, and ‘parkway’ would suggest that it is a space in which we park, but in fact the opposite is true. So, connecting Christ’s authority to his authorship of the world is a root error that ignores the modern usages of the words. Again, D. A. Carson identifies this as the root fallacy in his book Exegetical Fallacies.
    That being said, when we speak of God it is true that his sovereignty and his authorship are related. I am not denying this relationship, simply pointing out that when we use words in argument it is important to be aware of their usages and the limitations that those usages give them. When we speak of God as creator the word creator is limited while the nature and being of God is unlimited. Thus, the word necessarily falls short of the reality and questioning the use of the word is not the same as questioning the reality.

  28. Tobias

    TLDR:…..the basic gist of your long winded comment is more of the same garbage arguments that the complimentarians use
    BGR and others are more adept than I at refuting your arguments suffice it to say 1 of the cardinal errors you make is to miss the semicolon in verse 20 of Ephesians 5 which connects verse 21 with its premise of submission back to verse 20 and NOT to verse 22 when it’s talking about a wife’s submission to her husband. …there’s no need to go to the Greek as the English is plain enough…..you couple that with Ephesians 6:5 where it talks about a servants submission to his master then you will see that a generalised submission of each other DOES NOT absolve a wife from being commanded to be in complete submission to her husband in EVERYTHING
    women were created to serve men, men were not created to serve women and that’s the bottom line 1st Corinthians 11:9

  29. Shredifier, apparently in the middle of your jealousy that you can’t handle Greek texts, or distress in finding out why Angelina Jolie doesn’t owe you sex, you missed the fact that my husband (and I FWIW) absolutely agree that a wife is commanded to submit to her husband and that is not negated by a general submission to each other. I’m honestly not sure how you missed that.

  30. Tobias,
    Thank you for chiming in here again on behalf of your wife and disagreeing in a respectful way. I really always appreciate that from you. And don’t worry about the long response…LOL, I know that you like I like to be as comprehensive as possible in your replies and I am the king of long replies.

    As to your answer to my question about God making man for woman:

    I think we for the part agree on what it means that woman was created for man. I do believe as you do that woman in general was created for man, but in specific terms she was created only for her husband. I think the best comparison would be of a spoon. A spoon is designed for people to eat foods with liquids like soup or cereal for example and for them to capture the liquid to consume. If you tried to eat your soup with a fork you would utterly fail. That is why I personally do think women are designed for or meant for certain jobs (like police officers or soldiers).

    But can I use my spoon to spread peanut butter on my toast instead of a knife? Yep and I have done it many times. Would it be easier with a butter knife? Sure. I think in the same way while women in general were designed to be wives to men and mothers to children sometimes God uses the spoon(woman) as a knife which I would equate to celibacy in the service of God.

    But I think the fact that woman was created for man is one of the unique aspects that sets marriage apart from every other human relationship. God tells us to submit to our kings, governors and other rulers. He tells us to submit to our church authorities. He tells children to submit to parents. He says all these authorities are ordained by him and have their power and limits set by him. But in none of these relationships are we told that the subjects of a king, the slaves or servants of a master or the children of parents were created for those people. They are simply given a responsibility to submit to them.

    However, in the husband/wife relationship we are told that that the wife was created for her husband. This puts her submission and service to her husband on a whole different level than any other authority relationship short of God’s authority over us which is the most powerful because he is sovereign over all. Is the husband’s authority absolute? No. No human authority is absolute – Only God because is sovereign over all.

    I will answer the next part in a separate comment so we don’t lose track and each subject is easier to follow.

  31. Tobias,

    On the ownership of husbands over their wives’ question:

    The concept of ownership does not rest on the use of the Hebrew word ‘baal’ alone. It is based on a preponderance of evidence both from the Bible and Jewish history. I have had Messianic Jews write to me confirming that my understanding of ‘baal’ as a husband being his wife’s owner is consistent with the historical Jewish view on this subject. But a husband’s ownership of his wife was different than his ownership of slaves or animals because she had different and special rights that he had to respect which is the same position I take regarding her ownership (as you acknowledged).

    Adam’s naming of his wife both in her type(“woman”) and in her particular name(“Eve”) was demonstration not only of his authority over but his owner of her. Remember for God created Eve he gave Adam dominion and a general ownership (not specific) over all creation. This is also why Fathers were the ones that typically named their children – because they had owner over them. It is also why fathers were allowed to sell their children as servants because they owned their children.

    The fact that a husband had to give his wife a ‘get’ or letter of divorce and that he had to “free” her from the marriage is a demonstration of his ownership over.

    But I am glad you did acknowledge that while I believe that husbands own their wives I do not believe that gives husbands the right to treat their wives as inanimate objects. I believe God wants us to care for them and respect certain human rights that are given to all human beings and wives have even more rights than most.

    Historically the bride price was used for many things. It was used as you have said as a way to secure an engagement and commitment of a man and woman to marriage as the man would go and prepare a home for his wife. But it also acted as a property transfer of the father transferring his property rights of his daughter (whom he could have sold as servant rather than giving her as a wife). This is why a father had to be paid the bride price by a man who raped his virgin daughter even if he did not allow her to marry him because it was a violation of his property.

    In fact, historically in Biblical times adultery in its most literal sense was seen as a property crime against a woman’s husband.

    You say I am failing to “take the cultural context as a whole in consideration” and I believe that statement cuts to the heart of our disagreement on this issue of ownership and other issues as well. From what I have read of your positions and Anna’s (which I see as one which is good for a husband and wife) you believe we can write off much of what we see in the Old Testament as “cultural” and temporary for that time period.

    I think what you may not realize is Christian egalitarians with whom you and I would both firmly stand against take the exact same position about New Testament commands regarding submission of wives to husbands that these commands were simply “cultural and temporary for that period”. That is why I think we must be very careful when simply dismissing things that go against our modern culture from the Old Testament as “cultural”.

    Another statement you made further reveals your thinking on the OT:

    “Further, even if we presume a much different and limited concept of ownership in the Old Testament, the New Testament doesn’t seem to support this.”

    You take a position similar to many friends I had from Christian school and churches I have been too. Basically the position is that “if it is no longer stated in the New Testament, then whatever is stated in the Old Testament can be dismissed”. I was raised in Churches like that which basically dismissed all the laws of the Old Testament as being put away in the New Covenant. But only the civil, sacrificial, dietary, cleanliness and priestly laws are put away – not the moral law. That still stands and I believe churches make a grave mistake in dismissing so much of the Old Testament.

    The New Testament moral law is built upon the foundation of the Old Testament moral law. This is why Christ and his Apostles quoted from the OT more than 300 times in the NT. Without the Old Testament we don’t have a New Testament. That is why Paul wrote these words:

    “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
    Romans 3:31 (KJV)

  32. Tobias,

    On the issue of Rights and Responsibilities

    Your Statement:

    “In order to claim a right I must show that there is a corresponding responsibility created by a clear obligation imposed through legitimate authority.”

    We could go on ad nauseum about your understanding of Biblical rights and while I love theoretical word studies I think the answer to this question is much simpler. I am going to leave the source of husband’s rights out of this and just agree to disagree with you as I believe the husband/wife relationship is different from all others based on the fact that the wife was created for her husband.

    I would agree with you that many rights we have come from corresponding responsibilities given by legitimate authority. My contention with you is that not all rights come from corresponding responsibilities.

    And as I said to Anna earlier I agree for the most part that we should address things from a “responsibility view” more often than a “rights view”. However again the key word is “most”. There are times to address things from a rights perspective.

    Paul addressed things from a “rights perspective” both as an Apostle and as a man when he wrote this defense of his rights in 1 Corinthians 9:1-15.

    Look at how the Old Testament teaches a woman should shame a man for not fulfilling her right of levirate marriage:

    “Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house.”
    Deuteronomy 25:9 (KJV)

    Anna took this position on rights which I am sure you agree with:

    “Similarly, BGR, you do not have a right to spend your money how you want to. You are able to spend it how you want and outside of illegal activities and fulfilling your responsibilities to your family, your church, and your community, you may; but that doesn’t make it a right. The Bible verses BGR gave showed Jesus saying we can do something. That is not the same as Him saying we have a right to it.”

    What God allows us to do is a RIGHT, in this way rights do not always come from a corresponding responsibility.
    “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.”
    Ecclesiastes 5:19 (KJV)

    Our ability, our right to take our portion of our work and rejoice in our labor is a gift from God and “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. “(Romans 11:29)

    Another example of a right men have is to pursue a wife even if they never find one (I Corinthians 9:5). Does any woman have an obligation to marry them? No. But they have a right to pursue finding a wife and man’s law cannot forbid free men from seeking marriage to a wife. The Bible would allow men that are incarcerated, or prisoners of war or slaves to be forbidden from taking wives but this is an exception to this right, not the norm.

    Speaking of free men. The Bible is clear man’s natural state is freedom and if a person wrongfully enslaves someone that is called “man-stealing” or what we would call kidnapping. A person cannot be unjustly deprived of their freedom.

    Now is my right to do what I want with my private property absolute? Of course not. But exceptions to what I can do with my property do not cancel out my rights – they are just that – exceptions.

    In this way human authority cannot revoke any right God has given and human authority cannot allow anything that God has forbidden. All of man’s laws, all human authority must rest in between these two pillars – what God allows (the rights God has granted) cannot be revoked and what God does not allow cannot be allowed.

    Now can God call on us at times to give up our rights in service to him? Yes. Also sometimes our rights are trumped by our responsibilities.

    For instance, I have a right as my wife’s husband to approach her and ask for sexual relations. However, if she is ill or my having sex with her would cause her great bodily harm then my responsibility to care for her body trumps my right to have sex with her.
    Again many rights do have exceptions, but exceptions do not negate the existence of the right under normal circumstances.

    Lastly I want to address this other statement from Anna on rights:
    “An example from my life might be my car. I do not have a right to drive my car. Now when I paid for it, I had a right to own it at that point because the car dealership had the responsibility to respect our deal since they had taken my money. But I don’t have a right to drive it. I’m able to because it is mine and I think I should rather than walk everywhere (especially since my work is already a 30 minute drive, lol), but that’s not the same as saying I have a right to it. If my husband told me not to drive it, or when it is sitting in the auto shop getting repairs, I am not having a right violated.”

    The first problem with Anna’s example is that she is a man’s wife. Women that are daughters living in their father’s home, or wives fall under the authority of their father or husband. She has no right to drive her car under these circumstances. She only has the privilege of driving a car if her father or husband allows it.

    But not lets change this to you Tobias. As a free man you have different rights than your wife does under God’s law. If you have legally purchased and obtained a car as your private property you have a right to drive that car. Now is that right absolute? Of course not. If the car is broken down in your drive way you can’t drive it and you have no right to have someone repair it for you. If you can afford to have it fixed by a mechanic and he freely agrees to repair it then you can drive it again once he is done fixing it.

    Another exception to your general right to drive your car would be if you have misused your car the government can restrict your license to drive it. Again this is an exception.

    As I said private property rights are not absolute and we can debate where the lines and exceptions are. But exceptions do not negate the fact that we have general rights regarding our property as free men.

  33. AnnaMS

    I detect a slight sarcasm in your comment…..I’m not jealous of the Greek at all, I was merely objecting to the common practice of others in a debate to refer to the Greek when the English nails them
    I have no interest in having sex with Angelina Jolie nor do I consider myself unlucky in that regard
    In regards to a wife’s complete submission to her husband especially in the area of her being available to him sexually at all times, barring sickness, you seem to place a caveat that a woman doesn’t have to obey her husband if he himself is not walking in perfect obedience to Christ. ..this ridiculous and unsupported biblically state of affairs leads to the women arbitrarily refusing to submit to her husband based on her judgement that the husband himself is not walking up rightly. …it’s a very convenient loophole that women with their genetic predisposition to rebel against male authority have used during the centuries to opt out of obeying their husbands….this is why the complimentarians and egalitarian view on marriage is so repulsive and evil in my view

  34. Basically the position is that “if it is no longer stated in the New Testament, then whatever is stated in the Old Testament can be dismissed”.

    One example to support the “pro” OT continuity position: Bestiality is not condemned in the new testament, that is unless we accept that the new testament affirms the OT.


    ” Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. ”

    –Matthew 5:17-19

    IMO- it is a perilous activity indeed to make OT moral law a situational ethic, when it was given to the people of God as a normative ethic.

  35. BGR,

    Your Oct. 8, 1:51 PM comment is excellent. Would be great if you make that into its own article/post.

    “When we as men and women understand the purpose for our being created then all of God’s commands fall into place.

    The masculine human vessel was created by God to be his direct image bearer.

    Man’s desire to lead glorifies God because this is part of his image.” more follows, but for brevity I just did a short quote

  36. Bee,

    Thank you for your kind words. I truly believe understanding why we were created(both men and women) is the key to us understanding God’s commands and his will for our lives. When we go back to why we were created it is truly humbling.

  37. BGR, Reading through your responses to my husband, I’m not honestly sure what we’re disagreeing on when it comes to women being made for men. My husband’s main point was that he see it more as a husband-wife concept than a male stranger-female stranger.

    He’s back in school today and tomorrow and we go out of the country for 2 weeks tomorrow evening (never a dull moment!), but I did want to address a couple areas of disagreement.

    1: My husband as not advocating that we ignore the OT. His argument that cultural context is important is something that we all subconsciously practice even we if deny it’s validity. If you really think the OT commandments are not meant to be practiced in a cultural context, than you should be out stoning homosexuals (and possibly your own children for disrespect) rather than writing a blog. And this is NOT my condoning such activity. Of course Jesus’ main position on homosexuality hasn’t changed from OT times to current times and it would be incorrect to state that we can no longer view homosexuality as a sin because it was condemned in the OT. So it’s a difference between ignoring a point entirely (which he was not doing), and practicing it in modern culture (which he frankly advocates for and everybody winds up doing). The Bible condemns dealing on credit as well but I’m guessing most of us use credit cards with a clean conscience. Letting ourselves out of certain OT commandments and then enforcing them verbatim when it fits our argument is hardly what Jesus intended.

    2: You stated “What God allows us to do is a RIGHT, in this way rights do not always come from a corresponding responsibility.” God allows me to go to Olive Garden so you just made my day! Unfortunately my husband is in school today and tomorrow but when we get back to America I am LIVING IT UP!!! After all, we can’t let financial limitations or health get in the way of our rights. This is incidentally the difference between being allowed to do something and having it as a right. As for my husband and his car, it is true that, outside of certain legal limitations, nobody can tell him he may not drive his car. But again, the difference is between what someone CAN do and what someone has a RIGHT to do. You are pointing out lots of things that people can do and I am with you every step of the way, but that doesn’t make them rights. The verses you quoted never had Jesus claiming them as rights for us, all they showed were Him saying we could do them.

    Even your argument about money ultimately boils down to responsibility. You cannot truly just spend your money how you want to, but are bound by other’s responsibility. Now because of America’s non-discrimination laws, the responsibility of other’s to accept your money is generally acknowledged. But ultimately you can only spend your money at restaurants because of their responsibility to provide food for you in exchange for it (which was not always the case for all Americans). Same for other lines of service. Do I have a right to shop at Kohls assuming my husband approves? No. If Kohls all of a sudden shut down, they would not be violating my right because they have no direct responsibility to provide a place for me to shop. Now of course they are not allowed to discriminate against me so as long as they are open and I am not a threat to them, they have a responsibility to allow me to purchase their merchandise, but outside of that responsibility, it isn’t a right.

  38. Shredifier, I am not placing a caveat on a wife’s submission to her husband only being necessary if he is following Christ perfectly. Although I do wonder why you put a wife’s sexual submission as somehow more important than her submission in general. Never have I or my husband ever stated that a husband needed to be perfect, or even a generally decent guy, in order for his wife to submit to him. In fact, we both agree that a husband has a right to his wife’s submission as a result of her responsibility to submit to him. My husband does not follow Christ perfectly (as nobody can this side of Heaven) and I do still view it as my responsibility to submit to him and I do that to the best that I can (which is, of course, imperfectly). He expects this as well, and though he is quick to apologize if he is wrong, he never sees his being an imperfect human as a reason for me not to submit to him.

    Now it is true that my submission to him does not extend to his commanding me to sin (which has never happened in our marriage). This is actually why a husband’s rights to submission only stem from his wife’s responsibility to submit. If his right to submission was primary, I would be obligated to obey him even if he asked me to sin. It is only because his right stems from my responsibility, that he can expect submission in all un-sinful matters because that is where my responsibility lies. I realize that there are people who disagree that a wife is not obligated to submit to sinful requests from her husband, and BGR wrote a fabulous post on that not too long ago.

  39. AnnaMS,

    1. Your husband and I may not disagree on the concept of woman being being made for man, at least not from what I have read from him – so we appear to be in agreement there.

    2. Your “stoning argument” is common one used to dismiss laws in the Old Testament by many Christians(and non-Christians alike). It is the same argument that goes “well I guess you can’t eat pork if you think we have to obey the Old Testament”. I was crystal clear on this and so are other Christians who believe we must take the Bible in its entirety while realizing God did make many changes from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.
    The reason we don’t stone people for adultery is because the stoning command was a civil punishment for Israel as a theocracy. Is the moral law of God that adultery is wrong still standing? Yes it is. We don’t stone people for having sex with beasts but is it still a violation of God’s moral law? Yes. And Jonadab brought up and excellent point that while something like adultery is mentioned in the OT, bestiality is not. Do we think beastiality is ok then? Of course not.

    With the dietary laws we see those clearly taken away in the New Testament along with the cleanliness laws. But the moral of law God stands. God uses the language of marriage that husbands are not only their wife’s authority, but that they are in fact their owners in several ways(not just with ‘baal’) and the fact that women had to freed from their husbands with a letter of divorce that only he could give is proof of this ownership concept. The ownership of husband over his wife was never changed or revoked in the New Testament.

    3. On the issue of rights. I have said it time and time again here and you and Tobias ignore it – I do not believe most rights we have are absolute. I do think there are exceptions. There times when our responsibilities trump our rights. But you continue to take the position that if there are exceptions to our rights then we do not have rights at all and that is false premise.

    So lets take your Olive Garden example from a Biblical perspective. Bionically speaking you as Tobias’s wife do not have a right to go to Olive Garden. You may have the privilege of going to Olive garden if your husband grants it. Even then if he grants you this privilege Olive Garden may refuse you service based on their own private property rights for a variety of reasons. Your husband on the other being a free man – has the right to pursue going to Olive Garden, but again this is a transaction between two free agents – Olive Garden and your husband. Both must agree to the transaction.

    I think anyone reading this will know exactly what I mean by rights. Alex said it well – many of our rights come down to the right to pursue and well as the right of non-interference. And most rights we have are not absolute, but just because they are not absolute does not make them any less rights.

  40. BGR, if you really believe that a wife can only divorce with her husband’s approval as he is her owner, then why did you write posts about when you think a wife is justified in being divorced and not just asking for one?

    We’re not trying to ignore your points on rights and in fact feel the same way. We have never said people don’t have rights as you again stated, but only that they were found in responsibility. So if the responsibility exists, the right does as well. The rights you referred to Alex mentioning are all rights I agree with and showed how they came from responsibilities.

  41. If you really think the OT commandments are not meant to be practiced in a cultural context, than you should be out stoning homosexuals (and possibly your own children for disrespect)

    Capitol punishment is not in my jurisdiction. The remedy for homosexuality did not belong to the individual or household but to the civil magistrate. The fact that our national government has made it the national policy to turn our backs to God and not our face, in no way diminishes the righteousness of God nor His law. Look at the nation – We are being judged for our disobedience, for saying we know better than God – that his commands were cultural artifacts of a time past and we need to be more righteous in our kindness and more gentle than the LORD.

    For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. … for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
    –Romans 13:3-4

    Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

    –Psalm 2:10-12

    Beware despising the Holy the law of God.


    But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.

    — James 4:11-12

  42. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:

    “The rights you referred to Alex mentioning are all rights I agree with and showed how they came from responsibilities.”

    We are just going to have to agree to disagree on this. As a free man I have the right to pursue going to Olive Garden and if Olive Garden allows me on the their private property and we agree to a fair price for food I can eat at Olive Garden. If Olive Garden refuses to serve me for a variety of reasons my right has not been violated as I do not have a right to tell someone else what they must do with their property – but I as a free man had the right to at least pursue it.

    But here is the kicker – did I have a responsibility to go to Olive Garden? No I did not. Sometimes we have the right to do some things but we may not exercise that right for a variety of reasons. That is why as I said before while many rights do come from responsibilities as you have pointed out some do not.

    I actually address your questions about a wife needing her husband’s approval for divorce in a previous post:

    Is it unbiblical for a woman to be allowed to divorce her husband?

    As I pointed out previously in the Old Testament the language of divorce had with it that a husband would “send away his wife” in divorce, while a woman was “freed” in divorce because she was (and I would still argue that she is) his property.

    Today the mechanism of divorce is different, but the principle remains. In Biblical times a neglected wife could bring her grievances to her male relatives or to the town elders to bring pressure on her husband to free her (divorce her).

    Today a woman has been given the right by our government to divorce her husband – she brings her grievances to the court and the court grants that divorce. There is no sin in this process as we are not the nation of Israel and we are NOT a theocracy. If a woman divorces her husband for reasons God does not allow only then does her seeking a divorce become sinful.”

    https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2015/08/16/why-does-god-allow-divorce/

    So the principle of a husband’s ownership of his wife remains however his ownership like most of our rights is not absolute. A husband forfeits his ownership for grave sins against his wife such as refusing to give her food, clothing and sex. In a similar way to the way that a woman would seek justice through the town elders when a man refused to perform his duty of leverite marriage(Deuteronomy 25:9) a woman could seek out her male relatives or town elders if her husband was refusing to give her food, clothing and sex.

    So the mechanism is different today where the woman approaches the court to decide rather than her male relatives if she can have a divorce. Unfortunately our culture has sinfully left God’s laws and allows women to be freed from their husbands for any reason. But if a woman approaches the court to be freed from her husband for Biblical reasons there is no sin in this. The court in essence forces the “letter of divorce” from the husband in this case and if the reasons are just by God’s standard then it is a just divorce.

  43. Your right to pursue Olive Garden, as well as all other pursuits, stems from your responsibility to do so. this is why men who spend all their time in their parents basement don’t have the ability to claim that their right to pursue a wife was violated because it’s all on him and he was the one who failed his responsibility to take action.

  44. You seem to imply that if the husband stops finding his wife attractive, it’s HER fault… I don’t see how you can support this argument. What’s more, you’re asking the wrong questions and fighting the wrong battles here. Let me explain:

    To sum up your article, you say that women can and should get jealous if their husbands are looking at other women, but that they should use this jealousy to find ways to look more attractive to their husbands. Every single thing on your list focused on being jealous over physical beauty, and to be honest, I think you’re painting men AND women as being more shallow than they really are.

    The bottom line is, beauty is fleeting. When you’re 70, are you going to still remain jealous over 20 year olds? Are you going to be able to do ANYTHING to help make yourself more attractive at that point? Sorry old guys, but I seriously doubt it.

    So while I don’t disagree with jealousy potentially being an agent for good change, I think you’re trying to treat the symptoms instead of solving the problem.

    So what’s the real problem at stake here? Bodily image, and its relationship to sexual attraction. For men, is physical beauty inherently tied to sexual attraction? It certainly isn’t for women. And for men, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are some really unattractive or older couples out there who, despite not being the poster couple for a vogue magazine, have very fulfilling sex lives! Some probably better than average. So clearly, there’s no such thing as a God-given standard for beauty and attractiveness.

    I argue that sexual attraction in men is more relationally based than we assume, like women. The cultural assumption that nudity is inherently sexual and that men are only attracted through their eyes is a learned behavior. It’s nothing more than a fetish. Otherwise, how could old people, or people who don’t meet cultural standards of beauty, ever have sex?

    So the solution to jealousy is twofold: 1) both men AND women have a responsibility to abandon the idea that physical beauty is the only gauge of sexual attractiveness, and 2) women have a responsibility to abandon the need to compete with other’s beauty. If BOTH couples can begin to understand that God created ALL bodies in His Image, and that therefore they are all beautiful, AND that it is okay to appreciate beauty in someone else, then there will never be jealousy issues.

    I will also say this: appreciating the beauty of the body, or even the beauty of sexuality, in others is NOT the same as lusting after someone else. Your jealousy issues that you describe are not really jealousy issues; they’re TRUST issues. If a woman cannot trust her husband to not commit adultery, then there is a MUCH bigger problem than mere jealousy. There should be enough trust in the relationship that a woman could even go to a nude beach with her husband and not have to worry about him running off with the hottest girl there. And frankly, it’s insulting to men to insist that if their wives aren’t “hot” enough that they can’t be blamed for not being able to keep it in their pants. If a man can’t control his lust, then REGARDLESS of whether God created us to be polygamous or not, he is in the wrong if he goes off and cheats, and the wife is ZERO percent responsible no matter how unattractive she is.

  45. Is it so horrible to just agree with everything bgr posts? I use everything as a reminder/sort of study guide as I as a wife should honor and obey my husband. I am super grateful for all of his posts. I can honestly say it has made me a better more obedient wife. My husband sees the difference.

  46. John Chrome,

    Your Statement:

    “To sum up your article, you say that women can and should get jealous if their husbands are looking at other women, but that they should use this jealousy to find ways to look more attractive to their husbands. Every single thing on your list focused on being jealous over physical beauty, and to be honest, I think you’re painting men AND women as being more shallow than they really are

    I argue that sexual attraction in men is more relationally based than we assume, like women. The cultural assumption that nudity is inherently sexual and that men are only attracted through their eyes is a learned behavior. It’s nothing more than a fetish. Otherwise, how could old people, or people who don’t meet cultural standards of beauty, ever have sex?”

    I agree with you that there is more to male attraction then just physical beauty. I disagree with you, our normal every day life experience disagrees with you, and so do scientific studies on sexuality in regard to male sexual attraction. Both men and women have a physical and relational aspect to their attraction to the opposite sex just like men and women both have grey matter and white matter in their brains. But guess what? The mixture of these things is VERY different in men and women. Just like men have far more grey matter than women, and women have far more white matter than men – men are primarily physically oriented and only secondarily relationally oriented.

    Are there some men that are more relationally oriented than physically oriented and some women that are more physically oriented than relationally oriented – yes. But this is not the norm.

    A man is not conditioned as you say by his culture to more physically oriented, he is hardwired by God to be this way. Do you know that studies have revealed that tribal men who live in villages were women wear no shirts and expose their breasts all the time that the men are still highly attracted to breasts even though they are not hidden as in civilized society? The reason is because men are hardwired this way by God.

    On the issue of older women looking better – I also disagree. A 70 year old woman may never be able to compete with a 20 year old from a physical perspective, but that does not mean she has a right to give up on her appearance. She should still keep her hair and clothing as nice as possible and have good hygiene for her husband.

    Also I would agree that sometimes a woman’s personality traits and behavior trumps her looks. There are many stories of men married to very beautiful woman were they had affairs with far less attractive women because those women were kind and submissive where the beautiful wife was a battle ax.

    But when all things are equal – if a man has to choose between two women with similar personality types and behaviors and one is more attractive than the other he will choose the one that is more attractive. Now does that give men a license to go running around with women? Of course not. But it does not prevent him from being attracted to such women and he should feel no shame for this.

  47. BGR, I may have been unclear. I meant not to argue that men aren’t visually simulated: what I meant to say was that men aren’t AUTOMATICALLY simulated sexually by the mere sight of the female form. There exists a separation between appreciating the beauty of a woman and lusting after her, would you not agree?

    Even for the naked female form, there exists this separation. Male artists, nudists, morticians, and doctors who spend a lot of time around the nude human form learn this very well, that nudity can be disassociated from sexual simulation. Else, how would doctors operate professionally?

    So my point by saying that men are more relationally based than we assume wasn’t that men aren’t visually simulated: it’s that men CHOOSE to be visually simulated. When a man looks at porn, he is looking with the express intent to be aroused. But when a doctor looks at his nude patient, he looks with the express intent to NOT be aroused.

    So, while a wife has no business telling her husband that he cannot appreciate the beauty of other attractive females (and men for that matter), it IS a legitimate concern if he looks at them with the intent to lust after them, that runs right into Matthew 5:27-30, where Jesus warns exactly not to do just that. Personally, I believe it’s not that the lusting in and of itself is the bad part: it’s that lusting is what leads to infidelity, so if you are a man who is capable of adultery, then you shouldn’t lust after other women.

    As far as the tribes finding breasts attractive, I would say that it’s far from as conclusive as you portray it. Men have PREFERENCES for boobs, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean they sexualize them the way we do. I mean, we have preferences for weight, neck length, ankles, hair color, etc, but that doesn’t mean that stuff arouses us inherently. https://www.google.com/amp/amp.livescience.com/23500-why-men-love-breasts.html

    And older people should strive to be hygenic for more reasons than merely pleasing their husband lol. I still feel that the way you understand sexuality in both sexes is a bit shallow. If a 70 year old couple need a pretty dress and the latest in blue wig fashion to get it on, then they are a shallow couple. Is that bad? No, but their sexual relationship could be based on much more than mere looks. It can be based on the thrill of exploration into kinky stuff, or love, or only having sex in the dark, or looking at porn together. I dunno, what the old guys do behind closed doors is none of my concern. But what I do know is that if your sexual health in a relationship is based SOLEY on looks, then your sex is doomed to get worse and worse as you get older because you will never look as good as you did 10 years ago. Personally, I’d rather like to avoid that.

  48. @John Chrome,

    I completely agree that this is much more than an issue of jealousy. It’s definitely an issue of trust. If a woman is worried that her husband will have sex with or even leave her for another woman whom he happens to see in the crowd and find attractive, then she really doesn’t trust that his character is good enough to keep him from breaking his vow of monogamy to her, abandoning her without biblical cause and thereby forgoing his duty to her, and breaking God’s law by having sex with a woman to whom he is not married. I would say that it’s also an issue of trust more than jealousy if a man gets angry if his wife looks at another man or if another man acts kinder than him while she’s around.

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