Why unity in marriage has more to do with the wife than the husband

Contrary to popular teachings about unity in marriage, the Bible teaches that unity in marriage is primarily dependent on the actions, reactions and attitudes of a wife toward her husband and only secondarily on the behavior of the husband.

There are a lot of concepts that are given in marriage books today to try and help couples achieve unity.  Some of these concepts, like unconditional love and forgiveness would even be supported by the Bible.  But unfortunately, as with many other things – most teachings today on how to have unity in marriage mix truth with error.

God wants couples to unify by becoming one flesh in marriage

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The Bible tells us about the unity God expects there to be in marriage:

“10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;”

Psalm 45:10 (KJV)

“7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Mark 10:7-9 (KJV)

When a husband and wife come together in marriage – this new relationship takes precedent over all other earthly relationships.  Before they were married their greatest earthly relationship was with their parents and now it is with each other.

There are three important concepts about this unity in marriage that Christ talks about:

“And they twain SHALL be one flesh”

 “so then they ARE no more twain, but one flesh”

“What therefore God hath joined together, let NOT man put asunder.”

Biblically speaking in marriage, a husband and wife are one flesh from the moment of their marriage covenant, yet they are to be becoming one flesh more and more the longer they are married and they are not to stop being one flesh as long as they both live.

In a way, this concept of being one flesh in marriage mirrors our salvation.  From the moment, we are saved we receive Christ’s righteousness and are declared justified by God.  But the Bible tells us “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) exhorting us to progressive sanctification.  In essence the Bible is telling us “You are holy, so be holy”.  In the same way, the Bible tells couples in marriage “You are one flesh, so be one flesh”.

In the next section I will talk about how we can practically make our marriage a true “one flesh” relationship as God desires it to be.

5 Steps to becoming one flesh in marriage

Below I have outlined Biblical concepts that I believe will bring the true unity that God desires for all Christian marriages.  As I outline these steps you may see some things you have never seen in a marriage book or article and you will also see some things missing that you often see in books and articles on unity in marriage.  At the end of these steps I will compare and contrast the Biblical model of unity in marriage with the modern-day model of unity in marriage.

Step 1 – A husband and wife are to have sexual relations on a regular basis

“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”

I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

The act of marriage or the consummation of marriage is sexual union.  This is the most literal meaning of the Biblical phrase “one flesh”.  Sex is to occur regularly in marriage.  An interesting biological fact of sex is that it releases two bonding hormones (oxytocin and vasopressin) which God designed to draw a couple closer together.

On this subject of sexual relations in marriage Christian and non-Christian counselors are usually in fully agreement.  The regularity of sexual relations is the first indicator of how healthy a relationship is. While it is possible to have regular sexual relations but still have disunity in a marriage – it is impossible to have full unity in a marriage without regular relations.

Step 2 – A husband is to know his wife

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

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

For husbands this is the first step in cultivating oneness with their wife. A husband cannot love his wife as God intended without knowing her and this involves him talking with her and spending time with her.  God thought it was so important for a man to get to know his wife that in the law he gave to Moses for Israel he gave this rule for newlywed couples:

“When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.”

Deuteronomy 24:5 (KJV)

God literally forbade men from going off to war or going away on business trips for the first year of their marriage.  Couples literally had a one year honey moon in Israel!

So, this leads us to another question – why does a husband need to know his wife? The answer is found for us in the last part of I Peter 3:7 “that your prayers be not hindered.” What God is basically saying is “Husbands if you do not hear the concerns, needs and requests of your wife God will not hear your concerns, needs and requests”.

God wants all authorities whether they be Kings, governors, parents, masters, or employers to hear the concerns, needs and requests of those under them. This does not mean that a husband must give his wife whatever she wants or makes the decisions the way she wants him to.  Sometimes God answers our prayers with a “yes”, sometimes he answers them with a “no” and sometimes he answers them with a “wait”. It is the same with a man and his wife.

When a man hears the concerns and requests of his wife and truly knows how she thinks, even if he does not act as she would like after hearing her this helps to build unity in the marriage.

Also, when a husband knows his wife he knows her passions and her interests.  As long as those her interests do not conflict with her primary duties as a wife, mother and keeper of the home he should encourage her in these things.  For example, maybe his wife likes to paint or to sing in church. Maybe she has desire to write for a woman’s blog, maybe she likes to write poetry.  Perhaps she has a desire to run in home daycare.  None of these things would automatically contradict with her primary duties as a wife, mother and keeper of the home.

However if a woman has a passion to be a mega news giant superstar and wants her husband to stay at home and take care of the home and kids(like Fox News star Meghan Kelly for example) her passions and ambitions are at direct odds with the role for which God designed her.  This is by definition an example of selfish ambition on the part of a woman.

See “I wanted a wife and so did she – Ex-husband of Megyn Kelly speaks out about his marriage to the FOX News star” for more on this feminist superstar.

Step 3 – A wife is to learn how her husband thinks

“And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

Not only in spiritual matters, but in all matters of life a wife is to learn how her husband thinks and what makes him tick. A wife knowing how her husband thinks is critical to building the unity God desires for marriage between a man and his wife.

Step 4 – A wife is to submit to her husband

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 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 5:22-24 (KJV)

The inevitable result of a woman getting to know how her husband thinks is that she will discover ways that he thinks that she disagrees with.  Now a woman has two choices when she realizes these differences.  One is to try and correct or change her husband’s thinking and the other is to submit.  God calls women to do the latter and submit even when they disagree with their husbands.  As long as a husband does not directly ask his wife to sin she must submit to him everything.

Step 4 – A wife should offer her advice in a kind way, not in a contentious way

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)

In the previous step, we discussed that in order to maintain the unity in marriage that God desires for couples to have a wife must submit to her husband especially when she disagrees with him. But this does not mean that wives are forbidden from sharing any wisdom they have with their husbands.

But the attitude and method in which a woman shares her wisdom with her husband is very important. The Bible warns against wives being contentious with their husbands:

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”

Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

Even if the words of a wife to her husband are wise, if they are delivered in a contentious or angry manner to her husband they will lose their intended effect and will cause the unity in the marriage to decline rapidly.

Also, a woman should always understand the position from which she offers advice.  She is not her husband’s mother, his teacher or his authority. He is her authority and Biblically speaking his authority over her is even greater than that of her father’s.

A woman should view herself as a subject which gives counsel to her King and remember the Scriptures exhortation to wives to be “in subjection unto their own husbands”(I Peter 3:5).

Step 5 – A wife is to be her husband’s crown

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”

Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)

The Bible tells us that a wife should be a crown to her husband.  What is a crown? A crown brings glory and honor to its recipient. So, what the Bible is saying is that a wife by being her husband’s crown is one who should bring him glory and honor.  She is to be his greatest cheerleader and supporter. The unfortunate truth is that many wives today are more of a dunce cap than a crown to their husband.  Just as a wife being contentious with her husband breaks the unity of the marriage so too a wife failing to honor her husband for the man that he is will quickly break the unity of the marriage.

But there is another interesting aspect of a crown – especially that of a king. It was very common in ancient times that when a King conquered another land he would take the crown of the conquered King and put it on his head to show his ownership and authority over his newly conquered lands.

But what if a King liked the crown of another ruler and wanted to wear it more often but it did not fit his head well? Perhaps it was two small and would almost fall off his head or maybe it was too large for the diameter of his head and it would slide down in front of his face.  So, what would the King do? He would give the crown to his craftsman and have them resize the crown to fit his head perfectly.  Perhaps he would have them add some additional gems and take some gems away that he did not like.  The point is that the crown would be molded to the King’s liking and made to fit his head perfectly.

In the same way wives need to move beyond mere submission to their husbands in their quest to truly be one flesh with their husbands.

Wives need to mold themselves over time more and more to their husbands likes and dislikes and to his various positions on the issues of life.  They need to support and understand his passions whether it is his passion for his job, his ministries at church or his hobbies. This even more just mere submission – will bring the true unity that God desires to the marriage.

This does not mean that a wife may ever come to love everything her husband loves or hate everything her husband hates.  There are some passions he may have that she will never be able to bring herself to share.

But a wife should pray hard each and every day that God would help her to mold herself and fit herself so that in the same way a crown needs to fit the head of the King who wears it – so to a wife needs to fit herself to her husband.

Putting it all together

So, when we look at Biblical principles for unity in marriage we see that unity comes from a husband and wife having regular sexual relations, talking to one another and knowing how the other person thinks, the wife submitting to her husband and the wife molding herself to her husband.

Why does Biblical unity put so much more responsibility on the wife than the husband?

When we take an honest view of the concept of Biblical unity in marriage, truly becoming one flesh with one another, we see that God places a much greater responsibility for unity on the wife than the husband.

In six different places in the Scriptures (Ephesians 5:22, Ephesians 5:24, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:5, I Peter 3:1, I Peter 3:6) God tells wives to submit to their husbands.  Contrary to Christian feminists and egalitarians reading in “husbands and wives” to Ephesians 5:21,  the Bible NEVER EVER calls on husbands to submit to their wives.

Instead in Ephesians chapter five we are told that marriage is to be a picture of the relationship of Christ and his Church.  Christ does not submit to his church; his church submits to him. Christ and his Church are not equals – one is subordinate to the other.  Does the Church mold itself to Christ’s image or does Christ mold himself to image of his Church?

The point in all this is while a husband bears some responsibility for unity in his marriage as God requires him to know his wife – the bulk of the responsibility for unity in marriage comes from a wife submitting to her husband and then trying over time to mold herself more to her husband.

What are some practical ways a wife can mold herself to her husband?

When we discussed a wife being her husband’s crown I brought up the idea that a wife should mold herself to her husband.  Does a King change the shape of his head to fit his crown or is the crown shaped to fit the head of the King? We know the answer is that the crown should be made to fit the head that wears it.  In the same way, God has made a woman’s husband her head and she is to fit herself to him.

Here are some practical ways that a wife can mold herself to her husband:

Take an interest in what he likes to watch on TV

If he likes watching certain types of TV shows – try and find some that you cultivate an interest in.  You may not be able to cultivate an interest in everything he likes to watch and that is ok. But you should try and find some common ground with him in this area. Even if you just don’t like certain shows he likes – never shame him about things he is passionate about.

Take an interest in his extracurricular activities

If you husband likes to play on the church baseball league or he involved in a bowling league – try and cultivate an interest in these things.  Support him and be his greatest cheerleader.

Take an interest in his passions

Maybe your husband is passionate about history or politics. Maybe he is passionate about science or science fiction.  Maybe he is passionate about art, literature or music. Whatever your husband is passionate about – do your best to cultivate a passion for what he is passionate about.  Now there may be some times where differences in intellect or preferences just make it impossible for you to cultivate a genuine desire for your husband’s passion for certain things.  But even in these cases you should still support him in his passions and never shame him or nag him for being passionate about these things.

Cultivate a desire for his sexual preferences

In most cases men and women have very different sexual preferences because we approach sex from very different angles.  A wife should cultivate a desire to dress inside and outside the bedroom in a way that pleases her husband.  As long as what he is asking to her do inside or outside the bedroom is not sinful she should do it. But again, she should not just submit, but over time attempt to truly understand and embrace her husband’s sexual preferences.  Ladies this is probably the single greatest way to instill passion in your husband toward you when you truly cultivate and embrace his sexual desires and this will help to truly unite you and your husband.

Accept and understand his spiritual positions

It is one thing to know and even submit to what your husband thinks on various doctrinal and philosophical positions.  It is quite another to cultivate a desire to truly understand, accept and fully embrace your husband’s positions on various issues.

So, what this means practically speaking is that when a couple is first married a wife may have to submit first and understand later. But as a couple goes on in the years in the marriage and they grow in their unity – a wife should not be having to submit as much because she truly understands and embraces her husband’s positions.

For instance, if your husband is stricter on discipline with the children that you would be if you were leading the family, you need to find a way to not just submit to his methods but truly understand and embrace them. If your husband has different doctrinal beliefs or applications of Scripture than what you were raised with you need to find a way over time to cultivate and appreciation for and fully embrace his positions.

Should a wife lose herself in her husband?

In our culture, today it seems that the greatest sin a person can commit is to not be true to themselves or lose their identity in another.  Our identity as a person comes from the combination of our likes, dislikes, passions and beliefs. So, if a person changes their likes, dislikes, passions and beliefs for another person they are said to be giving up who they are or losing their identity and this is wrong in the view of most people in our culture.

I don’t think a wife has to give up everything she likes to do, her passions or her preferences as long as those things don’t cause disunity in the marriage.  If a wife loves to sing in church but her husband cannot sing at all that does not mean she should have to give up singing unless somehow it was causing a conflict in the marriage.

However, over time while she may not have to completely give up her identity – it will change if she truly strives for the unity in marriage that God desires.  This is similar to how when we become Christians our identity changes, yet we all as Christians are still individuals.  We can see in the Gospels 4 very different individuals who wrote those books so we know the Apostles did not lose their identity by becoming Christians.   But they all changed! They started conforming themselves to Christ and there were changes in their identity so they could become more like him.

In this same way while a wife may not completely lose her identity in marriage, she certainly should go through big changes in her person over the years as she is married to her husband.  If a woman has been married to a man for 10 years and nothing has changed about her likes, dislikes, beliefs, or behaviors I can guarantee you that she is not united with her husband in their marriage as God desires her to be.

I remember years ago, I had a female relative come to me while she was going through a mid-life crisis.  She told me “After decades of marriage to my husband I feel like I lost who I was with him.  What he likes I like, what he dislikes I dislike.  I lost myself and I don’t even recognize the person I am any more with him from who I used to be”.

My response to her was “good – that is exactly what God wanted you to do.  Your husband is a good Christian man.  Even though he is imperfect like we all are – there is nothing wrong with the way you have molded yourself to him over the decades.  What you are listening to is the world telling you that you need to be your own person.  But you need to listen to God who tells you that you need to mold yourself to your husband – keep doing what you have been doing and God will bless you. Stop listening to world.”

What is missing from Biblical unity that the world says marriage needs?

There is a word that you may have noticed that is missing from all the Biblical advice on unity I have just given.  That word is compromise.

The world teaches that unity in marriage is all about a man and woman compromising with each other.  “I will give in to you on this and you will give into me on that.” Now don’t get me wrong – when it comes to things that have nothing to do with morality compromise in marriage is a good thing.  Like when we choose where we go to dinner that is not necessarily a moral decision.  How much is spent on dinner is a moral decision, but whether we have a hamburger or pizza is not.

But I think in most cases what we call compromise on these no moral things is just us being selfless and putting the other person first and that is a good thing.

But when it comes to moral decisions, including financial decisions, career decisions, what church is attended, religious beliefs, discipline and teaching of the children, decisions about sex and other things like this there can be no compromise. A husband is always called by God to do what is he believes is right before God.

A husband should hear his wife and know how his wife feels. But knowing how his wife feels and compromising on moral issues with her are two very different things.

But what about him?

If your first instinct when you started reading through this article was to think “what about him?” then you have revealed that you have an unbiblical view of yourself and your marriage.

Before I continue – yes I did write an entire article last year on this subject entitled “10 ways to know your wife” which you can check out later.

But if you are the “what about him” woman I want to give you the following passages of scripture to mediate on.

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Romans 12:3 (KJV)

“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

1 Corinthians 11:9 (KJV)

After letting the truth of these two passages penetrate your heart I suggest you re-read everything I have written and do not worry about your husband’s part in the unity of your marriage.  Worry only about your responsibility for unity as the wife knowing that you bear the greatest burden in making your marriage truly unified by submitting to your husband and molding yourself to him.

129 thoughts on “Why unity in marriage has more to do with the wife than the husband

  1. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t find this article to be one-sided or to be lacking in a clear explanation of the husband’s role in promoting marital unity. The responsibilities may not be equal here, but I think that you’ve shown how husbands should promote marital unity and how those aspects are crucial to a good union. And even in the aspects that seem to be primarily the responsibility of one or the other, the other partner still has a role to play. The wife has to let her husband know her by talking to him about her needs, wants, passions, fears, and dreams when he tries to know her better. She can’t hold inner self aloof. Similarly, a husband needs to give his wife some guidance do that she can better adapt herself to him.

    Basically, I think that this was a good article, and I don’t think that it gave men too much of a break or anything.

  2. BGR I agree with your thesis, but I have a quibble with some of your support. The reason that unity in marriage is largely dependent on the wife is simply she is to subordinate herself to her husband and thereby eliminate disunity. She unifies herself to him even as the church unifies itself to Christ by being subordinate to His will.

    My quibble is with how you apply 1 Pe 3:7. The husband is to live with his wife with knowledge, that is what the text says, you assume that this knowledge consists of knowing the mind of his wife. That is a fairly modern spin on this verse, the older commentators who were not immersed in egalitarian presuppositions thought that the knowledge consisted primarily of knowing God’s word and the ways in which a wife is most easily deceived. The older thinking was that in knowing not his wife’s wants, but her sinful patterns and knowing the law and the prophets a man could love his wife according to knowledge of the truth and faithfully lead her as a joint heir of the grace of life. When she was living under his leadership, she would not be easily deceived and being led to daily repentance of the sinful patterns which are common to women, then the unity of marriage was strong and their prayers (plural possessive) would not be hindered by ignorance or deceit

    1 Peter 3:7 The husbands, in like manner, dwelling with them, according to knowledge, as to a weaker vessel — to the wife — imparting honour, as also being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered. Young’s literal translation

    Note that the in the YLT and the NASB, knowledge is of her weakness, the honor is as a joint heir. Some translations confound these two and change the meaning of Peter’s words. I believe the essence is that a husband has an important duty to lead and protect his own wife from her own sins toward repentance because she is precious enough that Christ Himself shed His blood to redeem her. So husbands are to keep her safe knowing that she easily deceived and predisposed to wanting to something that she is not, be it a goddess, bishop or head of the home.

    IMO- ! Pe 3:7 does instruct us on marital unity, just not in the way that you applied it.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

  3. Jonadab,

    As you and I have discussed before I am familar with some of the older interpretations of I Peter 3:7. But let’s be honest you and I would not agree with all the ancient commentators on the Scriptures.

    My biggest problem with the interpretation that “knowledge” only refers to knowing her weaknesses(which I agree a husband should) and not also her concerns and wants is the last part of I Peter 3:7 “that your prayers be not hindered”. This has to do with God not hearing the prayers of a husband for something he is doing to his wife. Simply knowing her weaknesses is not enough. He must know her person. After God exhorting wives in I Peter 3:1-6 on obedience, submission a respect toward their husbands he now switches gears and talks to husbands about the treatment of their wives. At the end of this exhortation to husbands he tells them “that your prayers be not hindered”. This is why I believe the old views of I Peter 3:7 are weak and incomplete. A husbands knowledge of his wife is more than just her weaknesses just like God’s knowledge of us is more than just our weaknesses. He hears our wants, our concerns, our passions and our desires. A husband should do the same with with.

    I stand by my contention that if we as husbands do not hear the concerns, wants, fears and desire of our wife God will not hear our concerns, wants, fears and desires.

    And a happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well. Driving out to family’s house now.

  4. My biggest problem with the interpretation that “knowledge” only refers to knowing her weaknesses…

    Let’s not say “only”, that is an addition to the text and to my explanation. It would however be fair to say “mainly” instead concerning his wife, but even more importantly knowing the scriptures. I’m not saying nor am I saying that Peter is saying that a man is to be ignorant of his wife’s fears, desires, wants, concerns, pleasures etc. but that those are not the main thrust of the verse and are read into or derivative rather than literal in the verse.

    Peter has described Christian submission in various station of life, subject to king, slave to master, Christ to the Father and wife to husband. The transition to his address to wives is “1 Peter 2:25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” The implication is that wives are also like staying sheep and that husbands are to shepherd the soul of his wife like Christ does. The larger context of the admonition to husbands in 3:7 is to shepherd his wife, not repeating the sin of Adam who listened to his wife and not to God. If that is the case than knowing what God says is necessary to heeding his voice so he can discern where heeding his wife is contrary.

  5. I have been enjoying your blog and agree with much of what you posted here in this article. I do have some questione that I would love some help and guidance on. You mentioned learning to embrace your husband’s stance on philosophical and spiritual things, which I agree with completely–but what if the wife has a more thought out and clearer stance than he does? I am just wondering because even though both my husband and I are conservative Christians, I am much more interested in politics and theology than he is. He was turned off by theology as a teen because of an overbearing father who was a pastor, so his spiritual outlook is rather sparse, even though we would agree on pretty much everything. Same goes for politics. I am very interested in keeping myself informed of political issues and figuring out where I stand, whereas he doesn’t really care. I am very passionate about Christian education for our children, but he doesn’t seem as enthusiastic or see why it could be important. He went to public school for most of his school years. I went to Christian school for most of my life and I grew up valuing worldview, theology and so forth. I am wondering if his negative experience with his father turned him off to these things? I would *love* to follow my husband in these areas, but he does not have as strong an interest as I do. Five years ago I chose the church we went to, and even now I regret it and wish he would give me more insight if we should stay or find another church. He even mentioned to me long ago that he felt bad if he was not being a good enough spiritual leader. I feel like I “have” to be the spiritual leader, even though I would so much rather not be and just let him lead. I feel like we are unequal in the wrong direction in this issue and I would love some input. Thank you!

  6. Jonadab,

    While I agree with you that from I Peter 2:13 to I Peter 3:6 Paul is talking about various human spheres of authority and how those under that authority should serve, obey and respect their authorities(even when their authorities act wrongly toward them) in verse 7 Paul ends his discussion on different note.

    Now he addresses one of those authorities, the most power of those human authorities – the husband. He addresses the husband on his treatment of the one under his authority – his wife.

    Paul did this in other passages as well. First he would exhort those under authority to submit to and obey those in authority – then at the end he would exhort those in authority to treat those under their authority properly.

    “22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
    Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

    Colossians 3:22-25 & 4:1 (KJV)

    “5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
    7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
    8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
    9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

    Ephesians 6:5-9 (KJV)

    It is interesting to note that in these two passages addressing the relationship of servants to masters Paul reminds masters that they too have a master in heaven. He basically tells them to treat their servants as they would want God to treat them.

    Paul extends this principle of masters treating their servants as they would want God as their master to treat them in I Peter 3:7 to husbands in their relationships with their wives.

    In your responses to me we have been arguing about what “according to knowledge” means and what a husband is to be knowledgeable of. You have claimed that I Peter 3:7 is “mainly” speaking to a husband knowing his wife’s weaknesses and Shepherding her while acknowledging a husband should not be ignorant of his wife’s concerns, fears or desires.

    My contention is that this passage is doing just the opposite. The “main” thrust of the passage is addresses making sure that husbands know and honor their wives. While I agree with you that husbands should discipline their wives and know their weaknesses that is not the point here.

    The key phrase which tells us the type of knowledge Paul is talking about is “that your prayers be not hindered.” – you have not addressed the target of that phrase in any of your responses to me.

    Why would God close his ears to the prayers of a husband? Is it because he is not “sheparding his wife”? Is it because he is not discipling his wife? Is it because he is not knowing his wife’s weaknesses?

    No my friend. I would argue when we look at this verse as a whole along with God’s admonitions to masters in other passages I have shown God is basically saying “Husbands if you don’t hear the concerns, fears, and desires of your wife – I will not hear yours.”

    Jonadab – don’t get me wrong. I completely understand your caution about men listening to their wives in the sense of doing whatever their wives say. I agree with you that this was man’s first sin when Adam listened to Eve and ate the forbidden fruit. But simply hearing what our wife has to say and acting on it are two different things. Knowing her fears and concerns and doing what she wants are two different things.

  7. Afd,

    Your Statement:

    “I feel like I “have” to be the spiritual leader, even though I would so much rather not be and just let him lead. I feel like we are unequal in the wrong direction in this issue and I would love some input. Thank you!”

    Being a spiritual leader is not about being the smartest person in the room. There are many cases in politics, business or the military when those under a leader may be more intelligent and knowledgeable of certain areas than their authority. Presidents often surround themselves with men that are knowledgeable in various areas. Leadership is not about knowing everything – it is about being presented with different points of view and being able to make wise decisions.

    In the area of a husband and wife there will be many times where a wife may be more intelligent or educated than her husband especially in our day and age. In times past parents tried to pair their children up so you would not have the mismatch of a wife being smarter than her husband but this still happened.

    The point is your husband can still be the spiritual leader in your home without being as knowledgeable as you are. Should he study the Bible and seek to be more knowledgeable – absolutely! But making spiritual decisions is about applying basic principles of Scriptures to various things. You husband can and should learn to do that.

    In the mean time while you are waiting for him to learn you can encourage him by taking a step back. Leave decisions to him. If it leaves something undone then it leaves something undone. You don’t have to be the spiritual leader – you can leave the space open for him often if you take yourself out of the way and leave it undone you will see that many men will step up and lead.

  8. Thank you for your reply! I will keep this in mind. It’s true how leadership is much more than knowing things, it is more about making good decisions based on taking in new information. I think my husband definitely excels in that area over me.

  9. Why is there not more support for women to fulfill their Biblical role within the church? My husband and I have attended several churches for significant periods of time, and I have never heard a sermon/seen a Bible study that affirms the submission of women to their husbands. Are we just attending the wrong churches? It’s hard enough to be a woman who desires deeply to follow God’s design as a help meet with the way society views it. It would be so nice to have guidance and support.

  10. Tina,

    The answer to your question is one word – fear. Pastors are afraid of losing members and not attracting new ones if they teach on gender roles. I have many Pastor friends who I have spoken with and they talk one way in private but in the pulpit they speak another.

    But then I have other Pastor friends who have actually convinced themselves that Biblical gender roles are no longer relevant so they will not have to feel guilty about not teaching Biblical gender roles from the pulpit or in their Sunday school classes.

    My Pastor is one those. Whenever he preaches on marriage he literally skips over the submission passages and only talks about couples loving each other. Occasionally he will make a passing reference to wives following their husbands but the word “submission” and “wives” never goes together. Most of the time he actually emphasize the husband loving his wive than anything about the wife toward her husband.

    My Pastor and I were talking one time about our daughters going to college. My daughter is 14(almost 15) and not yet near college age. My Pastor’s daughter starting attending college a couple years ago. I asked him if he thought the most important thing was her finding a husband and then raising a family or her getting a college degree. I asked him “for instance what if your daughter met the perfect guy in her freshmen year and he was a senior and graduating and wanted her to quit and marry him and start a family?” His answer was he should wait for her to finish college that her education was too important. He also thinks it completely up to the wife if she works or not and the man needs to support her and work around it.

    Our church has married couples retreat each year. I have been to several of them with my wife -just to get away together. You would think that at a Christian married couples retreat you would hear them talk about gender roles, the role of a husband and wife and definitely about sex right? Guess what? None of those things were even mentioned at any of these retreats.

    What they talked about was just “loving each other”, “putting Christ first in your marriage” and having “good communication”. No one would disagree that those are important things that a couple should have in their marriage. But you have to be more specific than that. That does not help couples with the every day challenges and direction of marriage. Putting Christ first means putting his will which is found in his Word first. His Word is very specific on the roles of a husband and wife and the necessity of regular sexual relations in marriage. A Christian marriage conference that does not speak specifically on the distinct roles of a husband and wife and important need for regular sexual relations in marriage has little to no spiritual value.

  11. I would love more guidance and teaching in church, too! I just think that churches get swayed by the culture very easily.

  12. Why would God close his ears to the prayers of a husband? Is it because he is not “shepherding his wife”?

    In a word – Yes! in two words “emphatically yes!” See Ezekiel 34

    In shepherding language – to “live with her in knowledge” is to know how to shepherd the sheep according to the Word and an intimate knowledge of the frailty of sheep and especially this particular sheep “as the weaker vessel”, “honor her as a joint heir” is know the infinite worth of the sheep to its owner and do the work of the shepherd. To fail to perform the work of a shepherd is to offend the Shepherd of the shepherd and our prayers will be hindered.

    The manner that our prayers are hindered is not explicitly stated in the passage. I posit that the first way is that a man who doses not shepherd according to knowledge will have selfish prayers that do not ask for wisdom in shepherding, grace toward his wife that she be not deceived and instead he places his own pleasures and comforts over the kingdom work he has been assigned. Secondly the hindrance is the judgement of the Chief shepherd who has shepherded the husband with knowledge as weaker vessels who is perturbed that men will not follow His example and instead replace the Word of God with feelings and the current cultural zeitgeist.

    The Chief Shepherd is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness, he cares more about devotion than our comfort, not that He is unconcerned with our comfort and joy, but that we find it in Him. Love the giver more than His gifts. The under-shepherds (husbands) are likewise to be more concerned with our wife’s holiness than her happiness, her devotion to Christ than her comforts, that she loves the person not just the benefit – if we fail to shepherd such things, we fail our Christ the shepherd of our souls. As a husband resists the shepherding of Christ, he inhibits oneness with Christ, in the same way when a wife resists the shepherding of her husband she inhibits unity with him; disunion and discord follow a wife who will not follow as surely as it follows the man who will not follow Christ.

  13. Jonadab,

    Your Statement:

    “To fail to perform the work of a shepherd is to offend the Shepherd of the shepherd and our prayers will be hindered…
    I posit that the first way is that a man who doses not shepherd according to knowledge will have selfish prayers that do not ask for wisdom in shepherding, grace toward his wife that she be not deceived and instead he places his own pleasures and comforts over the kingdom work he has been assigned. Secondly the hindrance is the judgement of the Chief shepherd who has shepherded the husband with knowledge as weaker vessels who is perturbed that men will not follow His example and instead replace the Word of God with feelings and the current cultural zeitgeist.

    You keep missing the focus I Peter 3:7 which is similar in focus to these other passages of Scripture:

    “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

    Colossians 4:1 (KJV)

    “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.”

    Ephesians 6:9 (KJV)

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

    I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

    What is the focus of all three of these passages? Is it on the master’s knowing the weakness of his servant and training and disciplining them or is it on the fair treatment of those under them? You keep making that the focus when in these passages it is not.

    I agree with you that we need to follow our master’s example with those under our authority. But what particular part of our master’s example are these passages focusing on? It is the fair and just treatment of those under our authority. If we do not hear the petitions and concerns of those under our authority God will not hear ours. It really is that simple my friend.

    It seems that the old commentators as well as yourself have gone out of your way to minimize the main emphasis here. I realize I will not be able to convince you otherwise and that is ok. We will have to agree to disagree on this one as we have other things. But I leave these comments for the readers of this blog so they understand my position on this clearly.

    It is a very a simple concept. If a husband does not seek to know his wife’s concerns, fears and desires – if he shuts her down and never lets her bring her petitions to him God will not hear his concerns, fears, desires or petitions. But hearing his wife and doing what she says are two different things. A husband must weigh each thing his wife asks of him by the Word of God and he must pray and seek the Spirit’s guidance in answering his wife’s requests. His first duty to his wife is to make her holy, not happy. But if doing something that makes her happy does not conflict with what he believes is the will of God for himself, his wife or his family then he may and should do these things.

    It really is that simple.

  14. @BGR. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post.

    I am certain that all marriages could benefit from having REAL guidance from the church. Men would feel more comfortable taking on their God-given roles as leaders in their home, and women would have the necessary support to maintain submissive to their husbands. I think eventually, if men were given affirmation in their role on a regular basis, women wouldn’t even need as much support from outside of the marriage in regards to their role. The husbands would feel more confident in guiding and leading their wives, and the wives would feel naturally happier/more submissive. How wonderful would that be? It is such a tragedy that this is not the case.

  15. Tina,

    I agree with you that real guidance from the church would be wonderful and it truly is needed. But the truth is the most important area that gender roles need to be taught is in the home. Christians have always had to live counter to the culture in whatever age they were in. They simply faced different cultural standards.

    Think about it this way. When Paul wrote his words about husbands and wives he was really lifting wives up. Before the age of feminism there were men who treated their wives as less than cattle. Telling men that they need to love their wives as their own bodies, know their wives needs and concerns, and give them any kind of honor was revolutionary for the time.

    So in Paul’s era and the proceeding centuries Christian men lived counter to their culture by treating their wives in a caring and honoring way while still teaching, leading and disciplining their wives as needed.

    Feminism has flipped this scenario. Some the people in the mid 1800s who founded feminism had good intentions toward helping women. But in doing so they went too far. Yes God called husbands to honor their wives. But he never called for us to make women equal with their husbands or to convert marriage from a patriarchy to a partnership.

    So today the issue is not men treating their wives with care and honor. Most men do this today. The problem today is we have elevated our wives to position God never intended them to be in. We as husbands have lost the art of discipline and correction in marriage. Women have lost the art of submission and respect in marriage.

    We both as men and women have forgotten our places. Men have forgotten that God has placed them over their wives and they are to play the part of leader, teacher, corrector, protector and provider to their wives. Women have forgotten that God has placed them under their husbands as his helper, servant and subordinate and not as his equal partner.

    So now in this modern era we as Christians find ourselves on the opposite side in living counter to this disrespectful and undisciplined culture in which we live.

  16. …But if doing something that makes her happy does not conflict with what he believes is the will of God for himself, his wife or his family then he may and should do these things.

    How is that not the husband submitting to his wife?

  17. Jonadab,

    Your Statement:

    “…But if doing something that makes her happy does not conflict with what he believes is the will of God for himself, his wife or his family then he may and should do these things.

    How is that not the husband submitting to his wife?

    Submitting to someone is placing oneself under their authority and following their commands. A king who grants the petition of one of his subjects is not submitting to this subject in doing so. A father doing things that he knows makes his children happy or a husband doing things that he knows makes his wife happy are not submitting to their children or their wives in doing these kind things.

    You and I agree that our children’s holiness, as well as our wife’s holiness should be our first concern. But it is not our only concern. I submit to you that God does want us to care about our wife’s happiness when it does not conflict with our primary duties to lead her, correct her, provide for her and protect her(sometimes even from herself). We don’t have to make every decision with our wife’s happiness as our chief concern. There will be some choices we make as men – especially in the area of our careers or ministries that will not make our wives happy and that has to be ok. In these times she needs to learn to submit and follow us.

    But doing somethings for our wives that make them happy does not have to contradict with our primary role to make them holy.

    “When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.”

    Deuteronomy 24:5 (KJV)

    Notice here from Deuteronomy that God was indeed concerned with a man caring about his wife’s happiness. Was it is primary concern? No. But was it A concern – yes. Does this mean a man gave up his career for his entire life to make his wife happy? No. But there were times when he did do things for her happiness – when he sacrificed himself not only for her holiness(which we agree is primary), but sometimes also for her happiness.

  18. @BGR – Perhaps you are unaware that Deuteronomy 35:4 use of the phrase “to cheer up his wife” refers to providing her a child? It is an idiom like “knock her up”. In the Bible a childless wife was a source of shame, giving her a child removed that shame and a connection to the future of her people.

    The point is certainly not that a wife should find happiness in her husband’s leadership or that a husband will not find joy in delighting his wife from time to time, but that 1 Pe 3:7 does not feature the idea that a husband is to live with his wife with knowledge of how to make her happy, but of knowledge of God’s Word and knowledge of his wife as a weaker vessel, yet giving honor to her as joint heir, failure to treat her as a joint heir will hinder his prayers and so should be avoided. And so a husband may chose to do something that makes his wife happy, but he is responsible to first try and discern if such an action will likely have a positive effect or a negative effect on her character, the household culture, create gratitude or entitlement etc. To make this determination a husband needs to know the Word of God, the sinful inclinations of his wife, his budget, etc. and be in prayer to have the wisdom to differentiate if a happy wife is so he can have peace or is it for her own good and the glory of Christ. Happy wife – happy life is an expression of idolatry, but joy is a fruit of the Spirit – knowing the difference is a key distinction in the shepherding.

  19. Afd,

    I think BGR’s advice to step back and see what your husband does is excellent. However, I would also like to suggest that leading might look different to your husband than it does to you. For instance, you said that you picked the church your family currently attends. Is it possible that he was fine with visiting a church that you said you wanted to visit and then was fine with still attending it? Not every husband needs to come up with every idea for their family in order to feel manly.

    I fell into this trap just a few months ago when my husband and I were discussing the elections. I really wanted him to say “Anna, vote for so-and-so” in order for me to feel like I was submitting to him. However, instead he wanted us to discuss principles we look for in leaders and then to make my own decision on it. For awhile, I kept telling him to please just tell me who to vote for and he was entirely opposed to the idea. Thankfully the irony of my insisting that he let me submit to him finally sunk in, but we would have both been happier if that process hadn’t taken so long.

    It could be that you have proven yourself in certain ways and that he trusts your insight and knowledge. That’s certainly not something to be ashamed of!

  20. Jonadab,

    Your Statement:

    “BGR – Perhaps you are unaware that Deuteronomy 24:5 use of the phrase “to cheer up his wife” refers to providing her a child? It is an idiom like “knock her up”. In the Bible a childless wife was a source of shame, giving her a child removed that shame and a connection to the future of her people…

    1 Pe 3:7 does not feature the idea that a husband is to live with his wife with knowledge of how to make her happy, but of knowledge of God’s Word and knowledge of his wife as a weaker vessel, yet giving honor to her as joint heir, failure to treat her as a joint heir will hinder his prayers and so should be avoided.”

    While “cheer her up” may be an idiom for “knock her up” there is absolutely no doubt giving a woman a child would make her happier than just about anything else her husband could give her. But I encourage you to look at Jewish history and you will find that this was about a lot more than giving her a child. It was about a man truly getting to know his new wife – and I definitely would connect the newlywed husband getting to know his wife with a long married husband continuing to know his wife. Even Alexander the Great after witnessing this tradition of Jews sent his newlywed soldiers home to winter with their wives and spend time with them as he had great admiration for the Jews.

    You have said I Peter 3:7 includes a man having knowledge of his wife’s weaknesses – in fact you have stated your believe that knowledge of his wife’s weaknesses is the primary knowledge the passage is focusing on. I have stated that while I agree with you that the knowledge a husband is to have with his wife should include her weaknesses – I do not think it is the primary focus of I Peter 3:7. I believe the primary knowledge is that of her concerns, desires and petitions. Secondary in the context is that of her weaknesses or what would make her happy. But you cannot have full knowledge of your wife without knowing both her weaknesses and what makes her happy. A man who knows his wife’s weaknesses but has no clue what makes her happy does not know his wife. Worse than that – a man who has little to no regard to know what makes his wife happy to even occasionally act on that knowledge does not know his wife.

    Your Statement:

    ” And so a husband may chose to do something that makes his wife happy, but he is responsible to first try and discern if such an action will likely have a positive effect or a negative effect on her character, the household culture, create gratitude or entitlement etc.”

    I completely agree with this statement you made and I made similar ones to it many times in regard to husbands doing things that make their wives happy. I think key in your statement is the idea that if doing something nice for one’s wife would build her sense of entitlement, rather than her sense of gratitude toward her husband then he should not do it. I have done this many times over the years of my marriage where I will purposefully hold back doing something I know would make my wife happy because I also know it will build her sense of entitlement. Only when she realizes I do not HAVE to do that thing – and she should show gratitude and humility and not expectation then I may do it at the time of my choosing.

    And you are correct that we should not just do things for our wife to make her happy for the sake of peace. If she is being contentious then she does not get what she wants. Only when she asks in humility without expecting should we consider granting some of her requests.

    Your Statement:

    “Happy wife – happy life is an expression of idolatry, but joy is a fruit of the Spirit – knowing the difference is a key distinction in the shepherding.”

    Are you aware that I wrote an entire post on “”Happy wife – happy life” saying pretty much the same thing you have? Back over a year ago when I wrote that post I said:

    ““Happy wife-Happy life” is neither wise, nor Biblical. In many ways “Happy wife-Happy life” is a form of idolatry, it makes a man’s wife’s desires the central focus of his life, taking his focus off God. Adam, the first man, listened to his wife when she asked him to eat from tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and we know that decision did not lead to a happy life for Adam. Samson listened to Delilah and it cost him his life. Solomon was led astray by his wives into idolatry.”

    https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2015/06/23/does-the-bible-teach-happy-wife-happy-life-2/

    So you and I definitely agree on the dangers of following the “happy wife – happy life” philosophy that is taught regarding marriage today. We also agree that our wife’s holiness, and us as men following what we believe is God’s will for our own life, our wife’s life and our children’s life must come before our own happiness or their happiness. AMEN.

    I think we also agree that under the right circumstances and after prayerful consideration there is nothing wrong with a husband doing things that he knows will make his wife happy. I think where we may have some disagreement is about what kind emphasis there should be on a husband knowing his wife’s concerns, her fears, her desires and yes how to make her happy. We both agree it comes after the importance of making her holy – we just don’t seem to agree on what priority it takes after her holiness.

    For instance if a man came to me claiming to be striving for his wife’s holiness and I asked him what her favorite color was, what her favorite flower was, what her favorite kind of music was, what her favorite food was and what she was most afraid of and what her favorite thing to do with him was and he had no clue I would tell him he was living in violation of I Peter 3:7. While our primary focus is to be on her holiness – it is not the only focus God has given us. It is not an either or scenario – it is both.

  21. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:

    “Not every husband needs to come up with every idea for their family in order to feel manly”

    I agree with this. There is nothing wrong with a husband taking good ideas from his wife. In fact there are times when I just don’t want to have to think about certain things. My wife will ask me for dinner ideas for the week and she is doing so in an effort to please me and get things I like. But there are just certain weeks where I don’t even want to think about it and I just say “surprise me!’.

    Obviously dinner selections are not moral decisions though. Sometimes when it comes to the discipline of our kids my wife has an idea I had not thought of and I take that idea and use it – now that is a moral decision. Even on budgeting issues my wife has had suggestions I took and suggestions I rejected. Leadership is not about knowing everything and always having to have the idea. It is about taking ideas and choosing the best course of action.

    Now having said that I would respectfully disagree with what your husband did with the election. I think it would be good to have a discussion about what principles we believe should guide us as Christians then to apply those to candidates – but at the end of the discussion if his wife has not applied the principles in the way he believes is right he should let her know. A woman of God naturally yearns for this type of decisiveness from her husband. I do not believe a husband should ever willingly and knowingly let his wife make a moral decision that is not in line with what he thinks is best.

    Imagine if he did the same thing with the discipline of your children. If he just told you to apply certain Biblical principles to disciplining them but he saw you misapplying those principles and disciplining them in a way that he disagreed with? Again a husband should not overlook such things when it comes to moral decisions.

    Again with all due respect – I think far too often men today think they have to prove to their wives that “I know you have a brain”. In other words if we talk about a moral decision with our wife and ask her to apply principles and she does it incorrectly and we correct her and tell her who to vote for then we are saying she does not have a brain.

    The fact is we can acknowledge that our wife has a brain and life experience and at the same time let her know that we as the head of the house cannot let her make a moral decision that we do not think is best.

    AnnaMS – I know we will disagree on this and I know your hubby is a very good man and mean no disrespect toward him. I just don’t agree with what he did on the election or he were to use that same approach in how you discipline your children.

  22. To clarify, my husband wanted me to do what I thought was best based on things we already agreed to. I was not given blanket permission to vote for anyone regardless. Nor was this a policy he applies across-the-board. So your parenting example doesn’t really apply.

    This wasn’t so much him proving he thought I had a brain so much as his wanting me to follow my conscience.

    I entirely get that not all men are comfortable with this. This was only to show that not all men need to make a decision or issue commands in order to be leading. The proverbs 31 woman clearly had a lot of autonomy which was a blessing to her husband. I don’t see why modern husband’s can’t be similarly blessed.

  23. I also think conflating a wife coming to a different conclusion as her husband with misapplying concepts is a tad arrogant for men in general. If a husband dislikes his wife’s decision and wants to change it, he can, but that’s not synonymous with her being wrong.

  24. To further clarify, I’m referring to situations where sinful options have been removed. My husband and I had narrowed the list to 3 candidates. He was comfortable with my voting for any of them. This wasn’t me doing whatever felt right in the moment and falling into sin. If a husband sees several churches that he thinks are fine and lets his wife pick, i might not prefer that personally, but I don’t think we can say he is wrong.

  25. I think where we may have some disagreement is about what kind emphasis there should be on a husband knowing his wife’s concerns, her fears, her desires and yes how to make her happy.

    @ BGR – I think the only point we have disagreement is whether 1 Pe 3:7 emphasizes a husband knowing his wife’s concerns, her fears, her desires, is explicit enough to make such knowing dogmatic and Biblical law, or if the ambiguity in the text suggests that such knowing is left to the realm of wisdom in shepherding and leadership.

  26. Love it, BGR! I’ve often wondered why on earth it seems like it’s far more easier for the wife to have a bigger influence on her husband and marriage going in a good direction, that it actually seems to DEPEND more on the wife and how she acts. Obviously there are some marriages where the husband really is sinning or difficult to live with, but for most marriages to normal men, it really does come down to the wife deciding to go against the grain of culture. A lot of the problems we see are probably due to feminism training women to be extremely spoiled and even weak in areas of discipline and self control. Also the lack of strong Christian teaching – learning about why it’s so important to become a virtuous woman who acts as a crown to her husband. That kind of thing isn’t taught anymore in church like it I believe it probably used to be. I’ve had SO MANY people interested in the series I’ve been writing, many women I’ve come across in real life and that have point blank asked me to taylor it into different Bible studies for them (one specifically for police wives!). Eventually I’ll make it into a book hopefully and will start the long process of maybe getting it published. But even before it’s published, I’ll send you a copy for your family.

    I think Jonadab had a good point too about the submission issue… if she’s never had how important that issue is explained to her fully, in depth, she’ll possibly have a much harder time in her marriage as far as accepting decisions her husband is firm in and creating a unified front together.

  27. I’m curious what you think about delegation. In other words, is a husband being submissive to his wife if he specifically chooses to delegate a “moral” choice, as you call it, to his wife? Say the wife is better with math. Is it wrong for her to balance the checkbook, or plan out the budget? In my opinion, as long as the husband signs off on the plans, it would be much like a CEO signing off on his accountant’s plan, trusting in the accountant’s ability to do his/her job.

    Also, I am unsure that you are really suggesting this, but are you saying that a wife cannot make more money than her husband (Meghan Kelly)? Because I can imagine a scenario where the husband is an artist, and the woman a sole proprietress or landlord or something, and it seems to me that such an arrangement doesn’t automatically mean the wife doesn’t submit to the husband’s authority. After all, a king makes no wealth on his own, he only manages it.

  28. jcromeskk,

    A husband cannot delegate his position of moral authority to his wife. God has given him that responsibility.

    “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

    1 Corinthians 14:35(KJV)

    This does not mean a husband cannot learn about math or non-moral things from his wife or delegate doing the checkbook to his wife. This talking about moral and spiritual decisions. There are women that are better with checkbooks than husbands and to an extent that can be delegated. But the principles regarding the budget rest firmly with the husband as he applies Biblical principles to these decisions. What percentage is given to the church, what percentage is saved, what percentage is given to other charities. What percentage of the family budget will go to a house payment, car payment…ect. Now as far as record keeping goes – which is just a matter of keeping track of expenditures, math and knowing when the budget is being violated certainly a husband can delegate these tasks to his wife. But those are not moral tasks.

    A husband can also take parts of the budget – setting certain principles or amounts and leave the details to his wife. For instance he may give his wife $300 a week to manage all the affairs of the home(groceries, cleaning supplies, personal products) and he does no need to involved in every little decision of how that money is spent. In the end if his wife is correctly managing the domestic affairs of the home he can and should trust her on these issues.

    However when it comes to moral decisions – like discipline policies for the children he cannot delegate these kinds of decisions to his wife. God has given this responsibility to set these polices to the husband and the husband alone. Now can he hear suggestions from his wife? Sure. But ultimately the decision is his.

    Your Statement:

    “Also, I am unsure that you are really suggesting this, but are you saying that a wife cannot make more money than her husband (Meghan Kelly)? Because I can imagine a scenario where the husband is an artist, and the woman a sole proprietress or landlord or something, and it seems to me that such an arrangement doesn’t automatically mean the wife doesn’t submit to the husband’s authority. After all, a king makes no wealth on his own, he only manages it.”

    The issue with Meghan Kelly is far more than the fact that she makes more than her husband. The fact is just as the story from her first husband stated “we both wanted a wife”. She wanted a man to stay at home like a wife should do and care for the children and the home while she pursued her career. She did not have that with her first husband but she got that with her second husband as he is an author and works from home taking care of the home and their children as he works from home.

    It is one thing if a husband is disabled and unable to work – sometimes a wife may be called to go outside the normal role that God has put her in to be the keeper of the home. Sometimes even if the husband is not disabled a financial crisis may occur or he may loose a large portion of his income and the wife may have to work for some time to help the family get back on their feet.

    The Bible does not forbid women from working outside the home. But it does say the woman is to be the keeper of the home. You cannot work 60 or 70 hours a week as Meghan Kelly does and be the keeper of your home. You can’t be in two places at once.

    Even in Proverbs 31 where many people falsely see a career wife the woman’s focus is always on the affairs of her home. Even if she goes out and plants a field she is still a back home making meals and clothing for her family. When her husband comes home he has nothing to worry about because she has everything under control.

    The biggest problem with the Meghan Kelly situation is that she has purposefully and willfully reversed God’s order and made her husband her help meet, instead of being his help meet. This is why she divorced her first husband because they both wanted a wife.

    I have said this before and it is offensive to some of my readers but I stand by it. A man should never enter marriage without the ability to provide for his wife. If he is going to be an artist or some other type of thing that he knows makes little to no money or makes such little money that could not support a family on such wages and would require his wife to be the primary bread winner he should wait for marriage until he makes enough.

    God calls on the husband to be the provider for his wife:

    “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”

    Ephesians 5:29 (KJV)

    “If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.
    And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.”

    Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

    He is to be the nourisher(provider) to his wife.

  29. Stephanie,

    Glad you liked it. I have been so swamped with work lately that I have not been able to write as much but I am trying to get back to it now. I really see Christian women’s ministries to women and ministries like mine to be two sides of the same coin. There are some women who truly want to honor God and embrace the role that God gave them but because our churches simply have stopped preaching on Biblical gender roles and Christian parents no longer know about Biblical gender roles there is a great amount of ignorance out there. I think if a woman is willing to learn, or a parent wants to learn how to teach their daughters about what it means to be a Christian woman sites like yours are great asset.

    But then we have to address this from the other side of the coin and I think that is where my site comes in. What about women who refuse to learn about Biblical gender roles? What about men who refuse to accept their responsibility to lead, provide for, protect and correct their wives? Women who love our feminist culture and don’t want to go “backwards” or so they think to “bronze age family values” as I am so often told in emails. So men who do want to embrace their God given role as men truly have a challenge in both finding wives and also in teaching, correcting and disciplining wives who are opposed to a husbands doing any of these things toward their wives. This is one of the primary areas I believe God has called me to speak into.

    The articles that get the highest hits on my blog all have to do with ways to deal with difficult wives from a Biblical perspective because there is a complete and utter silence in the organized churches in addressing these critical issues. As I have said many times most churches today regard the existence of rebellious, contentious and disobedient wives as myth a kin to big foot. The issue is always the husbands fault. If he would just be kinder, nicer, gentler and do what she wants then she will do her part. But this type of thinking flies in the face of the Scriptures and the exhortation to husbands to sanctify and wash their wives with the Word of God(Ephesians 5:25-27) and it ignores the example of God disciplining his wife Israel and Christ disciplining his church.

  30. Yes, I feel so sorry for the men having to deal with wives that basically don’t love them or respect them – your blog is great for helping them, and even giving them compassionate understanding. As Dr. Laura has said before, women act like selfish entitled brats, emotionally abuse their husbands, starve them for sex… and yet expect their husbands to put up with it endlessly. And considering their husband is supposed to be someone she’d sacrifice for, and truly love…. It’s horrible. It’s ironic how we’re vilified for speaking the truth.

  31. @BGR

    Amen! Thank you for ministering to women and men who wish to live the way God intends for them to! I feel a very strong calling to testify to other women about the benefits of doing so. Maybe if there are enough brave women and men who are not afraid to share God’s words regarding marriage, we will be able make a change in the world! God bless you and your mission! ♡

  32. @BGR,

    While I agree that a wife should try to mold herself more to her husband as part of her duty to submit to him, reverence him, and be a lover to him, I don’t think that that’s what Proverbs 12:4 is talking about though. I think that it’s just saying that she’s supposed to add to his glory both in private and in public by behaving in a virtuous manner. The reason is that kings’ crowns are not and generally never were made for individuals. The crown was a symbol of authority over a specific people and/or state. That meant that the king wore the crown of his state in ceremonies, regardless of whether or not he liked it or if it fit him comfortably. He could add to the glory of the crown by enhancing it with jewels won in a victory (e.g. adding the Koh-i-Noor diamond to the crown of the kings of the United Kingdom to represent their rulership, at the time when it was added, of India or including the Stone of Scone to their coronation ceremony to represent the inclusion of Scotland in Great Britain and the United Kingdom), but he wasn’t supposed to personalize it. Furthermore, he wouldn’t just take a crown from a conquered people and make that the new crown that he wore as king of his original state. He’d probably add that crown to the crown that he already had (again, to enhance the glory of the crown and emphasize the expansion of the state) or wear it only when he appeared before his conquered peoples.

    So, these two statements aren’t really true:

    “The point is that the crown would be molded to the King’s liking and made to fit his head perfectly.”

    Altering the crown (except maybe so that the king would be able to wear it) would be destroying its symbolic value.

    “Does a King change the shape of his head to fit his crown or is the crown shaped to fit the head of the King? We know the answer is that the crown should be made to fit the head that wears it.”

    A king’s crown isn’t like a personal tiara. It’s not made for an individual king. Maybe it’s made to fit the first king of the state and/or people, but it’s not made to represent an individual. It’s made to represent an institution. So, metaphorically, the king does change the shape of his head to fit the crown. In other words, he changes himself to fit his role. He doesn’t change the role or his nation to fit his personal preferences. That doesn’t mean that he can’t make progress or enhance the glory of his nation. It means that he can’t rule based on his own whims or personal preferences unless those things are good for the kingdom.

  33. Alex,

    Your own statement proves my point. “except maybe so that the king would be able to wear it” if the crown was too big or two small for the kings head it would have to altered and customized to fit his head.

    “So, metaphorically, the king does change the shape of his head to fit the crown. In other words, he changes himself to fit his role.”

    I am sorry but we are going to absolutely disagree on this. When I used the metaphor of the crown from Proverbs 12:4 I was using the whole of Scripture to support my use of that metaphor, not just that single verse – where you are taking that single verse but not interpreting in light of the entire witness of the Scriptures.

    The Bible says woman was made for man, not woman for man. It says she is to submit to her husband in everything. And as part of that she is to be his crown. A man does not change himself to fit his wife, but rather a wife changes to fit her husband. This is why from the first day of marriage a wife leaves her old family name behind and takes on the new identity of her husband.

    The Bible says marriage is a picture of the relationship of Christ and his Church. Does the church mold herself to Christ or does Christ mold himself to his Church? We know the answer to that is that all Christ’s churches are to mold themselves to this image of their head which is Christ. Speaking of Christ and Church listen to what God says in this passage that scholars believe is a prophecy of Christ and his church:

    Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;

    Psalm 45:10 (KJV)

    It is interesting that that a man is told to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife yet he is not told to forget his father and mother or his people but the woman is told precisely to do this. Why? Because in marriage a woman is takes on her husband’s identity.

    So yes caring for his wife and his relationship with her takes precedence over his parents and that is what the leave and cleave principle is saying but he maintains his family identity while his wife gives up hers when she marries him.

    Now are each one of Christ’s churches unique as the seven churches of Revelation were? Yes. I am not arguing that a woman’s uniqueness is erased in marriage and I made it clear in this article that a husband should support his wife’s passions where they do not conflict with her core duties to him, their children and their home and where here passions do not cause disunity between them.

    But as I said Alex – you and I will have to agree to disagree on this. The whole of Scripture points to the fact that a woman is not only submit to her husband, but she is mold herself to him as each church should mold itself to Christ in order that they can become one and have unity as God designed it.

  34. @BGR,

    I actually wasn’t saying that a husband needs to mold himself to his wife. As I said in the first line, I think that the rest of scripture implies that the wife should mold herself to her husband. All that I was saying is that I believe that the crown line is referring merely to the wife glorifying her husband through virtuous public behavior and by showing others that he has authority at home.

  35. @BGR,

    Actually, I do agree that there is other scripture on marriage that supports your argument that a wife should mold herself to her husband. My point was that I think that it’s scripture other than Proverbs 12:4. As I said in the opening statement, “while I agree that a wife should mold herself to her husband as part of her duty to submit to him, reverence him, and be a lover to him…” I also don’t think that Proverbs 12:4 is implying that a husband should alter himself to fit his wife. Maybe it’s saying that he may need to alter himself to be a better authority and spiritual guide to his wife (which means that he’s maturing to better take on responsibility, not that he’s molding himself to his wife), but I think that Proverbs 12:4 is really just talking about the wife’s duties, not the husband’s.

  36. @BGR In your reply to Alex here you stated something backwards in the second paragraph under your quote from her first comment. You said “The Bible says man was made for woman, not woman for man.” Thats wrong, as it says the opposite, that woman was made for man, not man for woman(1 Corinthians 11:9). Otherwise, good reply. And good article, i enjoyed it! 🙂

  37. I think that I came up with a better way to convey the point that I was trying to make. In some ways, a good wife is like a crown to her husband because she shows him and others that he has authority. By behaving virtuously in private, she lets him know that he’s a good ruler of his family. By behaving virtuously in public, she lets everyone else know that he’s able to exert his authority in the home and that he’s good at his role. In other ways, though, a wife is not like a crown because a wife is made specifically for her husband, and she can mold herself specifically to him. In contrast, a crown is not made for an individual king. It’s made for every king of the nation that that king rules.

  38. Marriage does wind up changing both people. The wife will perhaps find herself adjusting priorities more (depending on how similar they were prior to marriage), but I think the husband will wind up changing plenty of things too, albeit potentially on a smaller scale (although he will likely be fine tuning his leadership style and lot). Two become one flesh, not the wife becoming the husband’s flesh. I agree with the overall point here, it’s just easy to get carried away and ruin a good thing.

    I do think it’s silly to expect a wife to take on her husband’s doctrinal beliefs. She’s either going to believe something or not. Faking a smile to please other men doesn’t mean a thing. There should be general agreement and the Bible is clear on being unequally yoked, but there is some minor disagreement in my marriage and that doesn’t bother either of us.

  39. @Anna,

    I think that the article is saying that if a wife tries to understand her husband’s doctrinal positions, she might end up embracing those beliefs instead of merely submitting to him. So it is a natural transition in beliefs. It’s her changing her mind as she hears new arguments and teachings and considers them.

  40. Ok, but what if she doesn’t? I’m all for exchanging ideas, but I’d be lying if I said I always changed my mind or that my husband never changed his. There’s a very subtle undercurrent here that if there’s a disagreement, the wife must be wrong, and that’s just not supported by Scripture.

  41. @Anna,

    I definitely agree with you that husbands and wives won’t always agree on everything, and I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that as long as it doesn’t cause strife. Honestly, I don’t think that I’ve seen two Christians who agree on absolutely everything.

    With husbands and wives, though, I do think that it’s best if they don’t have disagreements about major doctrinal points. Of course, the best way to avoid this is to have some long and honest discussions about beliefs before marriage and to avoid making a match with someone who disagrees with you on a major point or points.

    Finally, I don’t think that the wife is always wrong either, and there are almost certainly husbands who’ve ultimately changed their minds and ended up agreeing with their wives–not to keep the peace but because they reviewed the Bible again and revised their position.

  42. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:

    “I do think it’s silly to expect a wife to take on her husband’s doctrinal beliefs. She’s either going to believe something or not.”

    I did not say she would necessarily be able to come to a point of genuinely agreeing with her husband on doctrinal points. And really let’s clarify this further – I was talking about positions on moral issues (which includes but is not limited to doctrinal positions). My point was that she should TRY. A Christian wife should TRY to move beyond mere submission to attempt to move to a unified position with her husband on moral issues. Even on non-moral issues she should try to cultivate a desire to like foods he likes, like TV shows he does and support him in his hobbies.

    This is not to say that a wife must lose all her interests or passions – I also made that abundantly clear in this post. But I made that point that a wife should not fear losing herself in her husband especially if he is a good and godly man. This whole garbage we teach today that women need to maintain their personhood in marriage and not just try and agree with and like what their husband likes is wrong. Unless his positions are immoral or ungodly why would she not try to move toward her husband.
    Each local church is unique as each woman is unique. But each church should make its goal to conform herself to the image of her husband which is Christ. This same principle applies to marriage between a man and woman.

    Yes, I completely realize that there is a big difference in that men are sinful and can be wrong and a great many things. But where they are not – or even when there is doubt on a certain moral subject and it could go either way why should the woman not try to genuinely move herself to her husband’s position?

    Your Statement:

    “Faking a smile to please other men doesn’t mean a thing.”

    When do you think, it is ok for a woman to defy her husband or disagree with her husband in front of other men or people?

    Along the same lines when is it ok for an advisor to a President to defy his President and disagree with him in public?

    Again when is it ok for a child to defy or disagree with their parent in front of other adults?

    Don’t get me wrong – I am very much for open dialog in my home. But there are times when an advisor, a wife or a child needs to keep their silent and yes put on that “fake smile” and stand behind their leader whether it be a President, a father or a husband.
    But there is a time and a place. Husbands and wives should have discussions about all issues both great and small.

    But there is a time and place. If children want to disagree with their father and mother in a respectful way outside of a public setting, then that should be fine. If a wife wants to disagree with her husband away from her children where she should be presenting a united front for their children then that is fine.

    But God does not call for children to be one flesh with their parents and it never tells children to submit to their parent as unto God and it never tells children they were made for their parents. It does however say these things to women regarding their husbands.

    Your Statement:

    “Two become one flesh, not the wife becoming the husband’s flesh.”

    The two becoming one flesh is speaking to the two-uniting together as one. While you say, you do not believe in partnership marriage I believe there are elements of it in your view here.

    Does a solider unify with his commander by getting his commander to become more like him or moving to the middle or does he do it by trying to cultivate support for his leader’s positions?

    How does each local church unite with Christ who is her husband? Does Christ change himself for each of his local churches or do each of his local churches mold themselves to be more conformed to the image of their head?

    This whole encouraging one’s wife to maintain her individuality and allowing a one’s wife to disagree with her husband in public breaks the whole model of Christ and his church.

    So yes each Church attempts to become more like her head which is Christ – so too every wife should try to become more like her head which is her husband.

  43. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:

    “Ok, but what if she doesn’t? I’m all for exchanging ideas, but I’d be lying if I said I always changed my mind or that my husband never changed his. There’s a very subtle undercurrent here that if there’s a disagreement, the wife must be wrong, and that’s just not supported by Scripture.”

    I do not believe husbands are infallible. Sinful human husbands do not possess the perfect nature and wisdom of the husband of the Church which is Christ. But God saw fit to appoint one fallible sinner (the husband) over another fallible sinner(the wife).

    You know full well I have stated it several times on this blog that a wife is not obliged to obey her husband if he asks her to participate in a sinful activity. But there will be times when she will disagree with him on some moral issues such as parenting decisions about what the children are allowed to do or not allowed to do and if she disagrees she must submit to his way. But the point of this post is that she should TRY to see if she can over time(not instantly) move beyond submission to truly unifying her beliefs with her husband’s as much as she can.

    So no I don’t think in every disagreement the wife is always wrong. She may well be right on many issues and he may be wrong in his handling of various issues. But God calls her to submit to her husband in EVERYTHING unless he directly asks her to sin against God. So even when he is wrong she must following him unless he is putting her in a morally compromising position.

    This is why unity in marriage is so much more dependent on the wife than the husband. The Bible does not call on men to follow their wives when they think their wife is wrong. It does call on women to do just that when they think their husbands are wrong. The Bible does not call on husbands to compromise with their wives for the sake of peace – but it rather calls on wives to submit to their husbands and that this submission – even to a husband who is disobedient to God is a powerful testimony to the world.

    It is not saying he is always right. But it calls on her submit to him even when she thinks he is wrong and then she needs to see if she can move toward his position over time.

  44. @BGR

    Thank you for further explaining how a wife striving to be submissive to her husband in all things will eventually lead her to become one with her husband’s morals/likes/interests. What a beautiful state to obtain in a marriage! ♡

  45. BGR, I never have supported a wife disagreeing with her husband in public. My husband is confident enough in his positions and in our relationship that he has told me he wouldn’t mind if I did that, but it’s not something I’m comfortable with. By ‘faking a smile to please men’, I was referring to husbands and wives in general. If my neighbor thinks I agree with my husband on everything, that’s great. But I’m not likely to pretend I believe something I don’t with my husband.

    There is not one magic recipe for unity. I’m guessing that how my husband approaches it is different than how you do (and have reason to believe that his works better), but I’m not going to say either are wrong.

    My husband LOVES spicy food whereas i find it painful to eat. Discounting the fact that I’ve spent most of our marriage pregnant or breastfeeding, he doesn’t want me to try something I know I won’t like, and he actually enjoys warning me when something is spicy or trying it first, in a protective way. My trying to force myself to eat it wouldn’t result in unity.

    It is true that since we’ve been in a relationship, I have acquired a love for Chinese food and certain shows because he loves them. He does the same thing. I don’t see this as a submission aspect where the wife has a greater role, but more like treating the other person in a loving way.

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