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 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.

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

  1. Scripture is crystal clear that a wife must obey and submit to her husband, but that doesn’t mean she has to agree with him or even think he is correct about something, though she must be respectful with him about it. This is an important distinction.

    A doctrinal difference could be a huge problem in a marriage, which is why these types of things are best discussed and worked out before marriage. Let’s say a wife thinks oral sex is a sin despite the lack of any scripture that states that it is and also the very clear evidence of it included in the Song of Songs. 1 cor 14:35 says that a wife should ask their own husbands at home which to me says they a wife should accept her husbands teaching on doctrinal matters. What if a wife feels she is called to go in a different direction than her husband for example? The problem with that is that it is directly against the roles defined in the bible!

  2. Anonymous, I completely agree with what you said. My husband and I had a lot of deep conversations prior to engagement where we worked through some disagreements and found others that we could live with. I told him I expected him to want to teach our children his interpretation and that I wouldn’t interfere with that. He prefers us to be open and honest with our children when they are older. Since they’re going to hear different ideas anyway, we both prefer them to come from each other rather than some stranger who may or may not love the Lord. But I was willing to hold my peace if he preferred.

    The verse about taking questions to one’s husband is for just that…questions! If a wife doesn’t have questions about a topic because she’s already made up her mind, that verse doesn’t address that.

  3. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:

    “The verse about taking questions to one’s husband is for just that…questions! If a wife doesn’t have questions about a topic because she’s already made up her mind, that verse doesn’t address that.”

    Let’s take a closer look at this passage:

    “34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 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 14:34-35 (KJV)

    This is more than about asking questions. This is about women trying to teach men in the church OR asking questions about spiritual matters. “if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home”. This is a powerful statement. It is not simply if the wife has a question – it is about her learning spiritual truths from her husband. Her husband is her authority on spiritual matters and she should learn what he thinks on various doctrines and do her best to not only submit but accept those positions if she can.

    I realize there will be some strong differences that will be hard to overcome and may not be able to be overcome where she may just have to submit but may never fully embrace his positions. But she should TRY. If a woman does not need to ask her husband spiritual questions because she has already made up her mind that reveals a spirit of pride on her part. She is to learn from her husband, if she feels she has nothing to learn from him that is her pride getting in the way – even if she is more intelligent.

    “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.”

    Proverbs 11:22 (KJV)

    One of the most unpopular teachings of the Bible is that there is a place and time to speak and in other cases we are to remain silent. When we use discretion – we understand where to speak and when to remain silent. Along those same lines is the fact that except in the extreme circumstance that a husband is literally putting his family in danger of being killed(as in the Biblical story of Abigail) a wife should always stand behind her husband publicly and that includes in front of the children. Even if she cannot vigorously defend her husband’s position then she should remain silent and defer the children to their father.

    And contrary to assertions otherwise – this has absolutely NOTHING to do with male pride or male insecurity as Christian feminists, egalitarians and even some complementarians claim. It has to do with the special one flesh relationship that is marriage. Children are not called to have one flesh relationships with their parents, nor are church members called to have one flesh relationships with their pastors but husbands and wives are called to have this special and unique one flesh relationship.

    Let me give an example from the work force to illustrate my point.

    Let’s say I am an assistant manager at a restaurant. The general manager first holds a private meeting with me to discuss policy changes with the restaurant. I agree with him some policy changes while strongly disagreeing with him on other policy changes.

    Now we have the full staff meeting with all employees where the general manager will inform them of the new policy changes. During that meeting some of policies I disagreed with are question by the employees. Should I present a united front with my manager showing my agreement with him – or should I tell them I thought he was wrong but he is the boss and we have to do what he says?

    Management should present a united front in these cases. It is even MORE important for a husband and wife to present a united front with their children. Because unlike a general manager and assistant manager of a restaurant – a wife was literally created for her husband. The assistant manager was not created for his general manager – he just works for him. An assistant manager is not called to be one flesh with his general manager – but a wife is commanded to be one flesh with her husband.

    On the subject of children hearing different points of view

    I am all for children hearing different points of view. We have some great discussions with me, my wife(my kids step mom) and my children(4 of which are teens and the 5th is a pre-teen). But when it comes to moral issues I believe it violates the one flesh principle of marriage for my wife to publicly contradict my positions with my children. They can learn about alternate positions both from me and people other than my wife. In fact they learn alternate positions from each other! My teens disagree amongest themselves on a host of issues and it is entertaining to watch them have some conversations.

    Now if my wife wants to joke about how she does not like spicy food and I my sons do that is fine – that is not a moral issue.

    Unfortunately in my house because of how my wife was raised she not only feels free sometimes to contradict me on moral issues – but to actually argue with me in front the kids which takes it even further. My daughter is ashamed of how my wife(her step mom) acts sometimes and has settled for herself that when she is married one day she will only discuss differences on moral issues with her husband in private so that she can truly be one flesh with him and present a united front in public and never ever bring shame to him.

    A lot of people think this is about showing that a “woman has a brain too” so they insist their wives speak their mind in public as well so they can feel noble and show they are more “secure in their manhood”. But again this has nothing to do with male insecurity and everything to do with unity in that special one flesh relationship that is marriage.

  4. BGR, I agree that women can and should get their spiritual learning through their husband. However, if something is already learned, thanks by definition, they are not learning that from their husband. I was already a Christian prior to meeting my husband so I didn’t learn the gospel from him. You can try as hard as you want, but there is simply not verse that requires a wife to take on her husband’s views. This is good because if a husband were to engage in apostasy, she would definitely not be required to follow. And if there’s anything harder than trying to get a bible verse to say something it doesn’t, it’s trying to further reading exceptions into it. A wife should certainly listen and be willing to learn.

    Let’s take an example. My husband firmly believes that salvation can be abandoned. He makes a very good argument, but I disagree. I am willing to admit that I could be wrong, and so is he. I haven’t gotten into discussions with others, but if I do, I will be sure to say that my husband holds an alternative view and encourage them to speak with him as well.

    My husband has instructed me to share my views with our children. He is not worried about my butting into his discussions or speaking disrespectfully. Can you see the irony of my refusing to follow my husband’s instructions in the name of pursuing unity! I realize that your wife doesn’t actually respectfully to you, and I think that might keep you from seeing a wife not abusing this. You might believe this violates the “becoming one ” principle but that’s your opinion and not something the Bible states.

  5. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:

    “BGR, I agree that women can and should get their spiritual learning through their husband. However, if something is already learned, that by definition, they are not learning that from their husband.”

    If am I understanding you correctly, you seem to be saying that spiritual truths a woman learned before meeting her husband whether through her Pastor, her father or on her own through her own studies of the Scriptures somehow cannot be “unlearned” as if her beliefs are set in stone. In essence her husband can only help her learn in areas she has not previously learned about. But this is not true of women or men. As a man I certainly do not have all the same doctrinal beliefs I did 20 years ago when I left my parents house – this should be no different for a woman.

    I have had several conversations with my daughter about this. She has had me teaching her the Bible her whole life – so she sees the Bible from my perspective and she highly values my opinion on new things she did not know about and asks me about. But I have told her that one day when she marries her husband will become her new primary spiritual authority. I told her that he may have many different doctrinal positions than me on various issues. I have made it clear to her that the only people who were inerrant in the interpretations and understanding of God’s Word were the Apostles and Prophets of God. That means Dad(me) could be wrong on some things – which I am sure you would agree with 🙂

    So that means technically my daughter could “unlearn” some doctrinal positions she has formed while living under my spiritual leadership when she marries her husband and while that might be difficult for me when she makes those changes(depending on what they are) I must accept she is no longer under my spiritual authority.

    Your Statement:

    “You can try as hard as you want, but there is simply not verse that requires a wife to take on her husband’s views.”

    When did I ever say the Scriptures REQUIRE a woman to take on her husbands views? I have stated over and over again that a woman should TRY to take on her husbands views but there will be some that she simply cannot come to accept and she will just have to continue submitting these cases.

    I may be misunderstanding you here – but I seem to get the impression from your comments that a woman does not have to even TRY to take on her husbands views if it is something she already believed before they were married. In other words she learn new things with him – but she should not try and change anything about deeply held beliefs nor should he(the husband) attempt to change anything about his wife’s deeply held beliefs after marriage. Is this what you are saying?

    So let me clear – I have never said a woman is REQUIRED to take on all her husbands beliefs after married. I have said she should TRY to take on as many of his beliefs as she can – but some she may not be able to accept and that is OK as long as she submits to him. I would also add and I know your husband would disagree – that you should present a united spiritual front with your husband on these issues.

    It is one thing for you to discuss differences with him in private. I would even go as far as saying it might be ok for you to discuss doctrinal differences you have with him with your girl friends in a private setting. But I think in a more public venues and especially with your children you need to present a united front.

    Your Statement:

    “My husband has instructed me to share my views with our children. He is not worried about my butting into his discussions or speaking disrespectfully. Can you see the irony of my refusing to follow my husband’s instructions in the name of pursuing unity!”

    That is a very real and interesting situation that you bring up. Remember I told you that a wife should TRY to accept her husband’s beliefs but she is not REQUIRED to? My daughter would be in a more difficult position than you because of how she was raised. You may have had some hesitation about doing it at first. But for my daughter this is a deep conviction – this is why she will want to make sure her husband to be be agrees with this position before marriage. My daughter also has deep convictions about being a full time stay at home mom and this will be a belief that her future husband must share.

    So if my daughter’s future husband despite discussions they had before marriage changes his view and tells her he wants her to talk about contradictory positions on moral positions in front of the children and in public and she cannot do this as she believes she will be sinning against God by doing this she can in good conscious refuse his request.

    Let me give you another real life illustration. There are Christians who believe it is OK for them to pose nude for paintings, photos or even for porn as long as they are doing this by themselves or with their spouse. They believe it is OK to release these photos to various internet sites. So what if a woman married a man and he hid this belief before marriage and then he reveals this after marriage and wants his Christian wife to pose nude or do sexual pictures with him to be released? I know from our many conversations where you would come down. You would say ABSOLUTELY not she does not have to obey him in this if her convictions are against that and I would agree with you.

    So what I would say to you is that if you had a strong conviction that you should not have contradictory positions on moral issues in front of your children then you would be right before God in holding your tongue even if your husband asked you to contradict him.

    So to sum up everything I have said here – I said a woman should TRY to embrace and accept her husbands positions on moral and doctrinal issues. I did not say she is REQUIRED to accept all his moral and doctrinal positions.

  6. BGR, first I want to apologize for all the typos recently in my comments! I’m still adjusting to the tablet my husband got for me and the auto-correct has a mind of it’s own. 🙂

    I think you may be dealing in extremes here. You see the wife who thinks she doesn’t have anything to learn from her husband, likely refuses to see him as her spiritual leader (for any multitude of reasons), and is a full-blown feminist. On the other hand, there’s the wife who tries hard to adopt all her husband’s beliefs and likely succeeds over time (there’s the hidden assumption that the husband requires or even wants this, and I think that assumption is also invalid). While I’m sure those women do in fact exist, I’d argue that the majority lie somewhere in between.

    I do not see a Biblical requirement for wives to try to adopt their husband’s views. I DO see the requirement that they submit to his instructions outside of sin. My older sister knew a couple where the husband believed in infant baptism and the wife did not. She submitted to him in this area and did not do so in a grudging or disrespectful way. I do not see any sin on her part there, and their differences in opinion did not weaken that marriage. So because of the lack of Biblical requirement, I would not say that wives “should” try to adopt his views. Now as I said above, I think there is lots of value in listening and desiring to learn from our spouses and be willing to change if we are wrong. I would argue that that is not solely on the wife, though. I’ve listened to my husband’s arguments about why he believes one can lose their salvation, and I happen to disagree. I don’t see that I have a responsibility to try to agree, but I DID have the responsibility to listen respectfully and be willing to learn and change if necessary. To borrow a term from our sexual denial conversations, I don’t think spouses should engage in “starfish” listening, where they stare with a blank face and hope the other person will be done talking as soon as possible. But there is a whole lot of room between engaging in starfish listening and in actively trying to adopt views.

    I also do not see a Biblical requirement for husbands and wives to always agree on everything in front of their children. I also think that that is a rather bad idea behind the concept of unity. If spouses are shouting at each other or engaging in other such destructive behavior, that will clearly have a negative influence on children as multiple studies have shown (unfortunately, those studies have been twisted to support divorce for a multitude of skewed reasons, but that’s a conversation for another day). Back during the election season, when I was insisting that my husband tell me how to vote (as perhaps your daughter also will?), we were not at all acting in unity. Our son (even at 4 months old) could tell and was routinely fussier and insecure during these conversations to the point where we only had them after he had gone to bed. My insisting that we do the exact same thing in this area was definitely not healthy for my baby. He would have been much better off if we had gone with what my husband had instructed in the first place. My husband did not feel at all respected or that I truly desired to submit to him (not hard to see why as I was literally refusing to go along with the only instruction he was giving me). That situation has been the least unified we have been as a couple in well over a year. So if you suggest pursuing unity by engaging in such behavior, I’m honestly at a loss as to what to say. It seems like you’re sacrificing the main goal to achieve some sort of ideal, which is EXACTLY what I was doing a few short months ago, so please believe me when I say it truly does not work!

    I’m a little unsure how to take your statement that your daughter does not have to obey her future husband if his instructions violate her conscience, despite the fact that her opinions are her own (and your’s) and are not hammered out in Scripture. I tend to agree with that position (although I do believe that Scripture should trump one’s conscience as we can all be deceived, so while a husband should respect his wife’s conscience, she should also realize that she might be being extra-Biblical, and choose to submit to him which is what the Bible actually does say), but that position in general is not backed at all by the “everything means EVERYTHING” crowd. Although admittedly that position is unenviable to begin with as one either immediately needs to start backpedaling from EVERYTHING in order to make allowances for refusing to submit to sinful requests, or one has to justify a wife following a sinful command (which you’ve already seen some from the manosphere doing).

    When my husband and I finally got to a place of agreement in the politics discussion (which happened when I let go of my ideals of what his leadership should look like and actually started submitting to his leadership), we were at a place of unity. Even though we still didn’t see completely the same on that issue, we both understood and respected the other’s opinion and we no longer saw each other as the enemy. We were almost like giddy teenagers we were so glad to be past that issue. We delighted in each other and our son delighted in us. That should definitely be included in what unity could look like.

  7. In your most recent comment you said backpeddling from the EVERYTHING means everything stance would be required to allow for exceptions in a wife not submitting in sinful matters. Its not, as the passage that requires that(Ephesians 5:22-24) says “as unto the LORD”, and since the Bible makes it clear God knows no sin, that statement means a wife is to submit unconditionally and with absolution to her husband’s will in ALL UNSINFUL matters to the best of her ability, as we are commanded to do all things as unto God, and God is never pleased with anything less than our very best. Not backpeddling or anything needed with the submission command.

  8. My point was that very rarely (as in only yours that I can remember), does the EVERYTHING crowd bother mentioning the ‘unto the Lord ‘ part. Check out BGRs blog post comments (not his, but most of the other men) on this or snappers recent post where he discusses this. I agree with you, but you’re an exception. This is also why I believe I was wrong with how I initially handled the political situation with my husband.

  9. Just to be abundantly clear for everyone reading this thread of comments. I have made my position clear in this post:

    https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2016/06/11/does-a-christian-wife-have-to-submit-to-sinful-request-from-her-husband/

    There are exceptions to submission in every area of authority whether it be citizens to their government, church members to their pastors, servants to their masters, children to their parents and also wives toward their husbands.

    If an authority asks us to engage in a request that we believe to act in such a way would be a sin before God we cannot and should not obey that command.

    Is is possible we might be wrong in our understanding of the Scriptures and will this sometimes bring us into conflict with our authorities? Yes.

    Will it sometimes even involve us being disciplined by authorities for not obeying such commands? Yes.

    But we must follow what we understand to be the spirits leading. But again we must remember this only involves us being asked to to directly act in a way that we believe to be sinful. It does not mean we can simply choose not to obey authorities because they are acting in ways we believe our sinful.

  10. AnnaMS,

    First – don’t worry about the spelling errors and typos. Have you not seen how many I have? 🙂 I will definitely be looking to you and others here to help me edit my eBooks before I publish them because while I may be creative – I am not a detail oriented person(like my father is).

    Let me also repeat something I have said on here before. I truly do appreciate challenges from Christians like you and your husband who are to my left and also challenges from Christians like Tyler and Jonadab who are people to my right. I think we all agree on some things while having honest disagreements on other areas. It is having these kinds of discussions that helps us to both re-examine and then sharpen our positions. The Scriptures say “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”(Proverbs 27:17) and I consider you three and several others including DragonFly and DeepStrength to be my friends in the faith. Having said all let us return to our friendly disagreement here.

    Your Statement:

    “I think you may be dealing in extremes here…there’s the wife who tries hard to adopt all her husband’s beliefs and likely succeeds over time”

    So you think it is an “extreme” that a wife tries hard to adopt all her husbands beliefs? Only in a feminist culture would anyone think such a thing.

    Your Statement:

    “…So if you suggest pursuing unity by engaging in such behavior, I’m honestly at a loss as to what to say. It seems like you’re sacrificing the main goal to achieve some sort of ideal, which is EXACTLY what I was doing a few short months ago, so please believe me when I say it truly does not work!”

    This is where you truly are missing my point. I agree that a important priority in marriage is unity between the husband and wife and them truly becoming one flesh on all ways possible(some may not be possible as we discussed). But unity while being a very important goal in marriage is not the most important goal. Holiness is the “main goal” of our lives as individuals as well as our marriages – not unity.

    Biblically speaking these are the priorities we have in marriage:

    1. Holiness– Be holy by conforming to what we believe God would have us do. A violation of this rule would be to act in a way that we believe is directly sinful before God.

    2. Unity– Take intentional action to be unified with our spouse. Now what the action looks like from the point of the husband and the point of the wife are two different things. One is the head and the other is the subject. Therefore as the head(the husband) turns the wife(the body) should follow. Obviously we have the exception for sinful commands. Unity while being vitally important to marriage should not come at the expense of holiness.

    3. Happiness – Whether it be our own happiness or our spouse’s happiness it is not wrong for us to pursue things that make ourselves or spouse happy. However we have to realize that our happiness always come second to the pursuit of holiness and unity in our marriage.

    As to the situation that happened with your husband and the election:

    It would be one thing if you did not have a heart felt conviction that your husband as the moral authority in your life should tell you how to make this moral decision(voting for a President). If you were just wanting him to tell you so you would not have to think about it that might be laziness on your part and then you would be wrong in refusing to obey his wishes and just choose a candidate on your own.

    However if you had a true heart felt conviction before God(like my daughter has) – that submission to your husband means seeking his guidance in all moral decisions and unless he asks you to do something that you believe is a clear violation of God’s law you will follow it that is a completely different situation.

    Anna – for women who truly embrace the fact that God made them for their husbands and that unity in marriage is about not just submitting but actually seeking to truly follow their husbands by understanding and embracing their positions(TRYING – making a good faith effort) if there husbands had asked them to do what yours did with the election they would interpret that as him asking them to do this:

    “Submit to me by not submitting me.”

    Or

    “Follow my leadership by not following my leadership.”

    It is a contradictory command and in their view a violation of what God has called them to do.

    In fact I have brought up your situation with the election and what your husband has asked you to do with your children to my daughter and a few other people that believe as I do regarding unity in marriage. They all pretty much had the same reaction – “It sounds as if her husband is a feminist”. I realize you would probably say he is not. But the fact is there are plenty of people who believe in submission but are also feminists. While your husband and you may not consider yourselves feminists because of the more radical elements of it today – you have defended points of feminism to me in the past.

    If my daughter were married to a man with your husband’s beliefs it would bring her into direct conflict with her core beliefs about holiness, gender roles and marriage. In essence she would be having a husband who was using his God given authority to act in what she believes are feminist(and thus sinful) ways. When a husband insists a wife make her own moral decisions instead of him leading and guiding in these decisions this by definition him asking her to embrace feminism. When a husband asks his wife to contradict his moral beliefs in front of their children this by definition him asking her to act in a feminist way.

    Your Statement:

    “there’s the hidden assumption that the husband requires or even wants this, and I think that assumption is also invalid”

    Why any man would not want his wife to at least make an honest attempt(TRY) be more like him in her moral positions as well as likes and dislikes escapes me. The only reason I can think of is that he believes it makes him look better to a modern feminist world and it makes him look “more secure in his masculinity” if he has his wife doing her own thing and he does his own thing. He is helping to preserve her individuality – and in today’s feminist world helping women to preserve their individuality is highly lauded while a woman “who tries hard to adopt all her husband’s beliefs and likely succeeds over time” is now seen as “extreme” and backward.

    Again this all boils down to a husband asking his wife “Follow my leadership by not following my leadership.” or perhaps “be unified with me by being divided from me”.

    Your Statement:

    “I do not see a Biblical requirement for wives to try to adopt their husband’s views. I DO see the requirement that they submit to his instructions outside of sin.”

    This passage below will help to illuminate why I and other Christians believe a wife should try and make a good faith effort to adopt her husband’s views:

    “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

    Romans 7:7 (KJV)

    You are looking at the letter of the law – which tells you to submit to your husband. But what is the spirit behind the letter? The Bible doe not just tell women to submit to their husbands. It tells them WHY God wants them to submit to their husbands. In all other areas of authority whether be government and citizens, the church and church members, masters and servants, parents and children the reason for submission is so that their will be ORDER. Our God is a God of order.

    But in marriage the wife’s call to submit is about more than maintaining order. It is because God made her for him. Children were not made for their parents, citizens were not made for their governors, church members were not made for their church leaders. But wives were literally made for their husbands.

    When a man and woman truly embrace the fact that woman was made for man, not man for woman they will see the true spirit behind the letter of God calling women to submit to their husbands. That means a husband will NOT feel selfish or mean for expecting that his wife at least make a good faith effort to try and embrace his positions and for her to act as a body which follows the direction of its head. He will not feel insecure for wanting his wife to present a unified front with him in front of their children and others. He will not feel guilty for his wife “loosing herself in him” as so many feminist men feel.

    I realize you do not see this. You are looking at the letter but not the spirit behind that letter. Women like my daughter and many other women who have written me privately on this site thanking me for this ministry do see it that way as I have just described it. They want to follow the spirit of the law, not just the letter.

    That is why the point of this article was to call women beyond mere submission(the letter of the law) and to go even farther in embracing the spirit of the law by making a good faith effort mold themselves more to their husbands by trying to embrace his positions, likes and dislikes to promote a closer unity.

  11. @BGR In a recent comment you posted, you said that we don’t have to submit to an instruction from an authority we are convicted is sin, but if that same authority can prove by the Bible it is not then our “conviction” is invalid and disproven. We’d be sinful then to refuse to submit indeed.

  12. Tyler,

    But Tyler the problem is that there are some areas of Scriptures that are more debatable than others. There are areas of the Scriptures where knowledgeable people of God disagree. It is possible that what one person looks at as proof from the Bible another will not see that proof being so solid.

    Do you think you are perfect in your understanding of all doctrines and areas of Scripture? In every standard and belief you have for your life as a Christian? I would never claim such perfection for myself. While I try to be confident in my positions on various issues I do not necessarily believe I am perfect in my interpretation or application of the Scriptures. Do you think you or any man is today?

    Certainly we can agree that there are some black and white issues in the Scriptures. Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal. But what about something like drinking alcohol? I do not believe this is wrong and I could prove from the Scriptures why I do not. My wife does not think it wrong either but I know Christians who do have a strong conviction about it. So what if my wife had that strong conviction that she should never let alcohol touch her lips? It would be one thing for me to ask her not go around telling people how she thought I was wrong or for her to say I could never drink. But it would be equally wrong for me to force her to drink alcohol. What Godly purpose would that serve?

    Now it would be quiet another if my wife felt God gave her the right to disagree with my moral positions in front of our children and I showed her in the Scriptures that no such right exists for her as my wife. In this case I am not wrong for stopping her or rebuking her for this. She can choose to believe it all day long despite what I show her from the Scriptures – but she does not have the right to act on that belief.

    What you also missed was a very important principle I was trying to state with AnnaMS. If a husband tells his wife “I want you to disagree with me in public in front of the children and other people” and his wife feels this would be disrespectful and show an lack of unity between her and him should she obey his instruction? What if he takes her to the Scriptures and “proves” that women need to do this? Should she do it then against her deep conviction believing he has not actually proven she should do this?

  13. Tyler,

    I just wanted to add a few more thoughts on this.

    We as husbands bear a great responsibility for our wives and children. Often times our authority will involve not allowing our wife or our children to do something they think they should be able to do. But I think it is one thing for us to tell them they can’t do something – and another to force them to do something against their conscience. I am not saying that won’t ever have to happen where husband has to compel his wife or child through various means to do something against their conscience. But I think when we as husbands or fathers do this we need to be very sure of what we are doing.

    I know where you are coming where a woman could abuse the “conscious objection” principle or refuse to see something that is very clear in Scripture. That is where we as husbands need to exercise wisdom and discernment.

    Let me also give you another example with authorities. I know of a pastor of a church that felt that Pastors had authority over the wives in the church. In essence he could contradict the teachings and commands of the husbands of these wives and he would teach them that as the Pastor of their church he was a higher spiritual authority than their husband. He showed how he could “prove” this from the Scriptures.

    So by your standard since this authority had proven this to himself then everyone in the church then had to submit to this doctrine? I think you and I would agree that is heresy right? But he was the authority and had proven this doctrine? Some times an authority may believe they have proven something when they have not. Some men fell for this heresy while others rejected it and refused to cede their authority as the head of their home to their pastor.

  14. Lets put it this way; I have avoided holding views contrary to Scripture in any way knowingly, though i do not claim perfection. And also I was not talking about less clear areas, I was talking about clearer ones where the Bible’s express writings disprove what a person says. For example, I talked with a woman once who claimed she was convicted the Bible’s head covering command in 1 Corinthians 11 was obeyed sufficiently by simply having long hair, basing her understanding off of the last couple of verses on that section, yet this understanding is expressly wrong according to the same passage, as verse 6 says that if the woman isn’t covered, let her also be shorn. This word in Greek means to have your hair cut off, and the word “also” appears in the Greek in this verse too, which means long hair is not and can not serve as the head covering required for this, only an external head covering(whose word in Greek appears in this verse too, translated as “not covered”) is. And I explained this to her, and disproved her understanding, though I don’t know if she started to obey God properly on this or not. And yes, there is no command against drinking alcohol, though there is a command against getting drunk, as the Bible says to maintain sober. Strong convictions against drinking any may just be a person’s caution in desiring to obey this command. Leading someone to disobey their conviction probably serves no Godly purpose, and I’ve never tried to suggest that, as I, again, have been talking about clear matters. People can be convicted contrary to very clear matters of Scripture simply from their own personal prejudice and unwillingness to obey God correctly, because they want to serve Him their way, and such people are wrong. You’re point to Anna wasn’t missed, it simply was applicable in what I have been talking about.

  15. Tyler,

    I agree with you where the Scriptures seem to be clear there should be no debate and total submission.

    But I want to ask your opinion specifically on this issue. If a woman’s husband tells his wife he wants her to disagree with and raise contrary opinions on moral issues(including doctrinal issues) IN PUBLIC(like in front of her children or others in a public venue)but she feels this would be a sin against God for her to do this – should she obey her husband since some would see this is seen as a less clear issue in Scripture and wives should obey their husbands?

    I am curious what your answer would be in this situation.

  16. As to that situation, the wife should not obey her husband as obeying him on that would be an example of disobeying God as she would then be not submitting to her husband as unto God, which means unconditionally and with absolution in all unsinful matters to the best of the wife’s ability, which includes matters of spiritual guidance and leadership in the family. That is part of the husband’s duty and job, to lead his family in spiritual matters and teach them God’s Word under the guidance and revelation of the Holy Spirit, and what he teaches, his understandings of Scripture that he feels the Holy Spirit has led him to are, unless expressly contradictory to the Word of God in some way which would prove the Holy Spirit wasn’t guiding him, to be followed and obeyed, as its an unsinful matter. So for him to tell her to contradict his teachings openly in front of their kids on moral issues and matters of scriptural and spiritual teaching and guidance would be for him to contradict God’s order for wives to submit to their husbands in ALL unsinful matters unconditionally and with absolution, to the best of their ability.

  17. Anna’s husband himself is an example of false teaching in that he believes you can lose your Salvation, when the Bible says Salvation is Eternal(means lasting forever), which means you can’t lose it or else it wouldn’t be Eternal. So her not following that teaching and contradicting it with Scripture to their kids is good as then they may not embrace their father’s wrong idea. These are matters I mean’t, where Scripture’s precise words contradict one’s understanding.

  18. >So her not following that teaching and contradicting it with Scripture
    >to their kids is good as then they may not embrace their father’s wrong idea.

    This is the wrong direction and goes completely against His design for marriage and family.

    Is she the head? Who says she is right? Some Christians might agree while others not. Even pastors do not agree. The truth is even if she is right, the bible gives her a specific direction to proceed which goes as far as covering even the case where her husband isn’t even a believer! 1 Peter 3:1. The direction is NOT to usurp him and do it her own way, but to win her husband without words with her good behavior.

    This somewhat goes into what I was warning about above, the wife who thinks she is in her husband’s position because she believes she is more holy or is correct. It isn’t even the point whether she is correct or not, this will not create a one flesh marriage, but will work against it because it isn’t God’s way.

  19. Tyler,

    I am definitely a believer in eternal security and that we cannot loose our salvation.

    See my post https://biblicalgenderroles.com/what-is-the-gospel/

    But also I have known of good men of God – Pastors, teachers and theologians and there are historic teachers who did believe that we could loose our salvation. I believe these men are are wrong and I have taught strongly against the loss of salvation position for over two decades long before I was doing this blog on gender roles.

    On this particular issue – since salvation is such a huge and critical doctrine and it affects how we live our lives I might agree with you. I don’t think a woman has to let her child suffer with the thought each and every day that they could loose their salvation when she knows that is not true. It might mean her privately comforting her children regarding this false belief.

    But there are less critical differences. Perhaps her husband is believes in a pre-trib rapture and she believers in a post-trib. This is not something that would require her to contradict her husband. Or perhaps they disagree on which Christian church they will attend – even if she disagrees with the church structure, or perhaps politics at the church she needs to follow him. These are not differences like that of the Gospel.

  20. Tyler,

    On other thing to mention here. I don’t think a wife should take a full frontal assault against her husband’s position. They can have discussions she can say why she disagrees and he can tell her why he believes the Scriptures show one can loose their salvation. She does not need to keep arguing with him or telling him he has a false belief. And she does not need to shame in a public setting. I Peter 3:1 tells wives they should try to win their husbands who are disobedient to the word without a word by their reverent behavior.

    But I believe that sometimes we are called to act in more subtle ways and this is how the wife should act. She can talk privately to her children if one of them fears loosing their salvation because the father has placed this thought in their head.

  21. @anonymous Heresy is heresy, no matter who is doing it, and standing on the Word of God and what it teaches is never wrong. His being the spiritual leader of the family as her husband doesn’t give him the right to contradict the Word of God, which expressly says Salvation is Eternal and that nothing can separate the saved from the hand of God the Father(John 10:27-29). Its not sinful or wrong to show and teach the truth of God’s Word to her kids when her husband is blatantly contradicting the truth of it. Its not usurpation to spread the Gospel, its obedience to Christ, which her husband isn’t doing. Following 1 Peter 3 along with obeying God’s call of the Gospel spreading would indeed be good.

    @BGR I never said she should take a full, frontal, assault, a simple private one with the kids alone, showing Scripture disproving her husband would suffice.

  22. First, I do agree with both of you that we can’t lose our salvation. With that said, Jesus Himself said that many would knock on the door and say “Lord, Lord” and He is NOT going to recognize them because they do not know Him, and are not part of His flock. So while I don’t think anyone can lose their salvation, I think there may be many who think that they are saved who don’t actually know, love, obey, and belong to Jesus. The bible says narrow is the gate. So one person might say/think that someone lost their salvation, but my thought is that they never had it in the first place.

    Second, in marriage, God has made it clear what the roles are. He has also said a wife should get instruction from her husband. She may not agree, but going behind his back to teach the children something different is going against his will and is not being true to him, bordering on adulterous behavior. There is nothing to stop her from asking if she can present her different viewpoint and if her husband agrees, then that is fine. We have to keep in mind the theology behind marriage and that our ways are not His ways. Would the church be ok to go behind Jesus back and teach what they want instead? Well, sadly that is going on and look at the results…

  23. Minor (or major?) point of clarification before I start in. My husband does NOT believe that we can lose our salvation. Re-read how I phrased it above because I did it that way on purpose to express what he actually believes rather than straw-manning him into an opinion that neither of us believe and that both of us see is contrary to Scripture. He DOES believe that we can abandon or walk away from our salvation. So in 10ish years (we only have one child who is 6 months), I will not need to be comforting our children against the fear that Daddy believes that Jesus is going to sweep in and take away their salvation as they beg and plead for Him not to. I may need to do this as a result of other people, but it will not be my husband. Now I still disagree with my husband on this, but I did want to clarify his opinion on this. I DO NOT appreciate his being referred to as a heretic or a false teacher and I will not be responding to commenters (or parts of comments) who choose to take that approach. I realize that there was a misunderstanding, but I still don’t think that is an appropriate way to refer to a man in front of his wife. Especially after making such a big deal about her not contradicting him in public.

  24. BGR, I do not believe that it is an extreme for a woman to try to adopt her husband’s beliefs. I do believe that that woman and the woman who refuses to recognize her husband as her spiritual leader, are examples of woman on the far right/left and don’t actually address the vast majority of us that lie somewhere in between. It seemed to me (perhaps erroneously) that you thought that any woman who wasn’t trying to adopt her husband’s beliefs must be a raging feminist and that seemed to only see the ones on the far end instead of in the middle. Also, when I referred to the “main goal”, I was not meaning to imply that unity was the main goal of marriage (although I can see why you took it that way and I very much appreciate your stepping in and disproving that as I would not want someone to get the wrong idea from what I was saying). I was referring to the main goal or main point of this post which is on unity. This entire discussion to me seemed about ways to achieve unity in marriage and I was trying to point out that following all of your ideas, while they very well may work for a lot of marriages, are not something that can automatically be applied across-the-board.

    As for the election, I think there definitely was some laziness on my part, but I think more importantly this goes back to something my husband and I discussed prior to marriage. He knew I wasn’t as keen on third party candidates as he was and I knew that he was likely to vote for them without regret. He had told me back then that he would not require me to vote the same way that he did and I told him that I would not mind if he did. However, something you said stuck out to me. You said “When a husband insists a wife make her own moral decisions instead of him leading and guiding in these decisions this by definition him asking her to embrace feminism.” Again, you are making a false dichotomy. My husband did lead and guide me in that decision as he initiated conversations with me about what to look for in a leader, pros and cons of different candidates, and the responsibility we have as Christians and as voters. He did not just throw me out in the cold to fend for myself. We had a very thorough discussion and I knew i was always welcome to return and seek his guidance if I had a question or something for him to consider.

    How are you defining submission? Cuz the idea of a man giving his wife counsel, then allowing her to make a decision in a certain situation, and her choosing to go that route seems to be a very bad idea behind what not submitting looks like. You rightly provide the importance of seeking the spirit of the law vs the letter of the law, but provide no support for why a wife adopting her husband’s beliefs is what the spirit of the law looks like. I would counter rather that the spirit of the law here has more to do with attitude. If my husband tells me to do something, and I get up and say “okay FINE” in a frustrated tone, and stomp off to do it, I would argue that I would be obeying the letter of the law while missing the spirit of the law completely.

    I also want to clarify what my disagreeing with my husband looks like. I will not be jumping in and cutting him off at the knees. We are planning on homeschooling our children and when we are exploring different theological positions with them, my husband may very well ask me to explain mine to them as I am the one that actually believes that (helps avoid strawman arguments although my husband tends to be very good at avoiding those). Also, if my child should come to me and ask me a theological question, I would give them the answer that I believe, but also encourage them to seek their Dad’s opinion, too. I would explain to them that having a disagreement on theology was okay and that being saved was the most important part and that there was no reason to destroy a relationship or a friendship over it. I saw way too many friendships destroyed when I was a kid because of theological differences and it was sad. I realize you are having a hard time imagining a wife doing this in a way that does not instill insecurity or rebellion into the home, but I have seen it done before and it can be done.

    However, if another man wants to run his home differently and does not want his wife to tell the children different opinions, that is fine, too. I am not arguing that your way is wrong, but rather that it cannot be applied in all situations and that doing so results in the exact opposite occurring.

  25. One thing I forgot, what does a wife “trying” to adopt her husband’s beliefs look like? I agree that a wife should listen and seek to understand her husband (rather than engaging in “starfish” listening), I agree that a wife should submit to her husband’s spiritual leadership of her family (aka, my sister’s friend who went along with infant baptism even though she didn’t agree with that interpretation). So what else is missing? Other than putting on her ‘little engine that could’ shirt and saying “i THINK i can agree, i THINK i can agree, i THINK i can agree”, what is the other ingredient to trying to adopt a belief?

  26. AnnaMS,

    I personally reserve the label of “heretic” for people who teach the most heinous of errors such as Jesus actually sinned, that he was just a man, or that there is more than one God and Jesus Christ sacrifice is not the only way. If a person claims to be a Christian and teaches those things I will call him out as a heretic. There are a few other areas where I might use heretic – but not I don’t use it over the eternal security debate otherwise I would have to call John Wesley and a host of other classic theologians heretics.

    Martin Luther was a flawed man and certainly his theology was not perfect, yet I deeply respect his legacy as a man of God. He did not view inerrancy as I do, but I would not call him a heretic.

    So no I am NOT calling your husband a heretic. And I also see the distinction between the abandonment position and some other loss of salvation positions. I have had Christian friends growing up that were Pentecostal and they feared all the time for their salvation. When you are told that sin in your life can cost you your salvation – you always wonder how much would trigger it and go to bed in fear each night.

    I have heard your husband’s position before – basically saying someone can give back their salvation if they choose to? Or I am misstating his position?

  27. BGR, I was referring to Tyler and Anonymous. I appreciate your continued treatment of my husband as a fellow man and Christian. I’m not sure he would use the phrase “give back”. I prefer abandon or walk away. Basically he believes that if a person is a Christian and then chooses to walk away from the faith and commit apostasy that that person has walked away from their salvation. This may very well describe one of my sisters, but it’s not something that our children would need to live in fear of it accidentally happening to them.

  28. AnnaMS – I don’t recall saying anything about your husband – you might go back and reread.

    I am with bgr on heresy, not something to be called out lightly and if done, it should be on such a rock solid open and shut issue that there is no doubt about it.

    There are always going to be different beliefs between Christians about certain points. I tend to always reflect upon Romans 14 in these situations.

    Like bgr, I think proper biblical gender roles and massively misunderstood and not followed by many Christians. What is worse is that there always seems to be a justification for doing the wrong thing, in the above comments it was suggested that a wife has every right to go around her husband’s will and teach what she thinks is right “for the children”. No. That is not what the bible teaches. Be careful with justifications. In many ways a family will sail or sink based on the fathers decisions – this is not wrong but the way God designed it for His reasons.

  29. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:

    “I also want to clarify what my disagreeing with my husband looks like. I will not be jumping in and cutting him off at the knees. We are planning on homeschooling our children and when we are exploring different theological positions with them, my husband may very well ask me to explain mine to them as I am the one that actually believes that (helps avoid strawman arguments although my husband tends to be very good at avoiding those). Also, if my child should come to me and ask me a theological question, I would give them the answer that I believe, but also encourage them to seek their Dad’s opinion, too.”

    That is a different situation then what I was imagining. This is the situation I had in mind that I think is completely un-biblical.

    A husband tells his wife – “you can present a contrary view to mine on moral issues or anything else anywhere, anytime any place. Always speak your mind and your differences with me”.

    So then one evening he is having a discussion with his children about a moral topic. When his wife pipes in and says “well I disagree with your father on this and here is why”. He did not specifically solicit her contrary opinion she just injected it into the conversion. Yet many men give their wives this type of free license I disagree with this as to be is an abdication of their position as the moral authority of their home.

    I think it is completely different in the situation you described if you were discussing contrary views on a theological or moral issue and your husband in an effort not to straw man asks you to present the other view. That is a controlled situation under his control.

    To me that would be no different than if President Trump had a private meeting with his advisors and one of them disagreed strongly with his position on an issue. Then during a press conference he acknowledges that one of his advisors had a difference and he actually asks him to explain his difference. That is OK – because he specifically asked them to make their difference public on that issue.

    The issue my daughter and I had with what I thought you were saying is – a husband giving his wife free reign to share contrary opinions anywhere, anytime. That is not proper exercise of a husband’s authority in my view and it does bode well for presenting a unified front in marriage.

    Your Statement:

    “I saw way too many friendships destroyed when I was a kid because of theological differences and it was sad.”

    On this I agree with you 100%. I think it is the mark of spiritual immaturity when Christians cannot handle various theological differences. I think it is all about how we handle those differences. If we have to go around calling every person names or writing off people who have differences we are displaying spiritual immaturity.

    Sometimes people have to be called out. For instance I will not teach Sunday school at the church I attend out of respect for my Pastor and our church. I disagree with him and our church on several key areas and if I were to teach those areas would be bound to come up. That does not mean I am dismissing everyone in my church as heretics or less than Christian. I just have some differences. I may share some of those privately with some of my friends from the church but I do not go about to seek undermine my church publicly. In fact this is one of the reasons I have my blog as anonymous.

    Just a couple months ago the assistant pastor at my church discovered my blog while doing research for his Sunday school lesson on women wearing pants(that it was not wrong for them to). He found one of my articles and he recognized the style of speech as he and I have had many private theological conversations while we were at church men’s retreats. He read the About Me section of my site and he knew it was me and he had to call me that day. I was scared I might have to leave my church because of my differences but he handled the situation with great maturity. He even told me that I had raised many good points on my site he had never considered and that while we may have differences he respected my love of the Scriptures.

    But if I were to go in and try and teach a Sunday school class and give unsolicited contrary views to our churches doctrine the assistant Pastor or senior pastor would be right to call me out for causing disunity with the doctrines of our church. In the same way a husband would be right to call out his wife offering unsolicited contradictory views in a public setting without her husband expressly asking her to do so.

  30. BGR, I’m not entirely sure why you would think that of us based off of what you know of us from this blog, but it is true that I was not advocating a wife to jump in unsolicited to contradict her husband. I will add though that my husband has not given me strict guidelines as to when/where I can offer an alternate opinion and when/where that is not acceptable. I think that is because 1: he trusts me, and 2: he knows that should I step over a line someday, I’ll accept his correction on that and go back to whoever else was involved (whether it be our children or a friend).

    My husband is a philosopher and a theologian so he LOVES having deep and spirited conversations about a wide variety of topics. I remember when we were dating, we were having lunch with a friend of his whom I didn’t know very well and he disagreed with something I said. I immediately withdrew from the conversation and let him and his friend discuss it. When we got to the car, he asked why I stopped contributing and I told him I didn’t want to disagree with him in public. He appreciated my heart in that, but said that I was welcome to offer an opinion when we were having discussions like that. He knows I won’t do it in a disrespectful way, and he sees it as more of a ’roundtable discussion’ where a wide variety of ideas are being discussed. In our seminary community, those happen a lot and he thrives on them. I still think I handled that situation correctly as it was with someone I didn’t know very well and we hadn’t discussed it. I don’t remember a time where I have flat-out disagreed with him in public, but we have been in lots of group discussions where we’ve both thrown out alternating ideas for the group to discuss.

    I think if I had a habit of being disrespectful, my husband wouldn’t be as comfortable with letting me do that. I can definitely see why a lot of men (especially men who are more likely to find their way on this site) wouldn’t do it for their family. And I don’t have a problem with that.

  31. A woman getting instruction from her husband doesn’t extend to accepting allowing heresy(false teaching) to lead their kids astray into misery(the idea you can lose your Salvation can lead to confusion and fear that are not necessary). Her contradicting the idea you can lose your Salvation to their kids, such as in private, using the Word of God to show you can not lose as it expressly says so would not be an example of not submitting to her husband receiving instruction, but rejecting heresy. She is simply refusing to follow him into sin, as not teaching the kids the truth of God’s Word is to follow her husband’s sinful teaching and example. The Church going against Jesus’ teaching would be sin indeed, because Jesus is, unlike a sinful husband of this world, perfect.

  32. @Anna Actually, you did say in one of your previous comments that your husband believes you can lose your Salvation(the comment where you began by apologizing for your typos previously), though perhaps you mean’t to say “abandon”, instead of “lose”. Likewise, I’m sorry I called your husband’s teaching on that heresy, since it doesn’t appear he does believe Salvation can be lost. Also, you said in another recent comment that obeying the command to obey your husband in a angry way would be missing the spirit of the law, but obeying the letter. Wrong, it wouldn’t, as not only would you be guilty of not obeying God’s command to do all things as unto Him(meaning to the best of her ability and as you’d do for God, Colossians 3:23) but you’d also be guilty of disobeying God’s command to reverence your husband unconditionally and with absolution(Ephesians 5:33).

  33. Tyler, Scripture interprets Scripture. So the verses you used would show that when God says “submit to your husband”, He means more than merely doing what we’re told. I’ve still seen no defense for why “trying to adopt beliefs” (what does that even look like?) is what God really meant, nor why that’s even a good principle to apply across the board.

    That’s part of why you guys were having such a hard time above, because this mindset doesn’t allow for variations among different couples. So one can’t tell me not to submit to my husband (even though there is nothing in the Bible stating he is wrong), because that is rebellion. But one also can’t tell me to provide alternate opinions in public because that is also rebellion. I don’t envy you guys on that one.

    I think the key may lie in something Stephanie said on snappers blog, that submission should be tailored to one’s husband. BGR clearly doesn’t want his wife to disagree with him in public, so she shouldn’t do that
    My husband is fine with me offering different ideas provided i do so respectfully. The issue lies in trying to force one’s preferences on another on issues where the Bible gives leeway.

  34. >The Church going against Jesus’ teaching would be sin indeed, because Jesus is,
    >unlike a sinful husband of this world, perfect.

    A husband’s fallen nature does not invalidate scripture. The verse is not “submit to your husband if he is not sinning”, or “submit to your husband if you agree with him”. Marriage is His creation, and it is His analogy, and He fully understands more than we can what it means for humans to have fallen. It is not ok for a wife to go behind her husbands back and work against him simply because she believes he is wrong. It is not ok to justify operating outside of His design because husband’s have a fallen nature. Quite honestly I am surprised to be reading this stuff here.

    One thing I have learned debating this topic is that someone can always come up with an example to make scripture seem wrong. Usually it is steeped in a human concept of morality for a specific wild situation that somehow seeks to invalidate God’s wisdom and tries to change the meaning or interpretation of what scripture specifically says, or invalidate it completely. We gain nothing by trying to do this, but taking ourselves further from Him and His ways.

    As for defense of trying to adopts beliefs. I don’t think a wife has to agree with everything her husband thinks. I do agree that she would be wise to have an open mind and try to understand her husband and align herself to his thinking if possible. The church should absolutely obey and submit themselves to Jesus. It is possible that the church may not understand everything just right, but even in that case the church still needs to be obedient and submissive – that wouldn’t be a reason to say, well, on this topic, we are going to go against Jesus because we think we are right. Again, isn’t that where church’s are going wrong and off path right now? Does that sound even close to being right?

  35. Anonymous, am I correct in assuming that you are part of the “everything means EVERYTHING” crowd which would require a wife to sin If her husband told her to? I’m just trying to understand you here.

    Also what does “try to align herself to his beliefs” cover that is not included with having an open mind (which should include being willing to change), and seeking to understand (which should include actively listening to her husband’s ideas)?

  36. @Anna The statements I made in my last comment were beside the point, not to do with adopting beliefs. Simply obeying God’s command period on those topics is what I was getting at. I do not disagree with what you have said in this reply to me.

  37. @anonymous Nothing invalidates Scripture, and nothing in Scripture gives a husband the right to teach heresy and contradict God and the Holy Bible itself. If he does so, he is to be disregarded as a wife and kids don’t have to follow or heed heresy, as God’s Word says in sinful matters God is to be obeyed even over man(Acts 5:29). That being the case, and this being sinful(heresy), the wife is to obey God instead by teaching and showing the children the truth of God’s Word, and where Scripture contradicts their fathers heretical understanding with its express teachings. True, a husband who mistreated or sins against God and his wife is still to be obeyed anyway, but only in unsinful matters, which heresy is not. Scripture is never wrong, but man’s understanding of it can be, such as in the case of believing one can lose their Salvation. If the Bible says an understand is wrong, its not simply the wife’s belief that her husband is wrong then, its the FACT he is according to what the Word of God says. This is what I mean by the husband’s fallen nature. It can lead to expressly false understandings, which are not to be follow and heeded as they are sinful. it is NEVER right to contradict the Word of God, which you’ve done in suggesting a wife is to follow her husband’s sinful understandings and allow him to lead her and their kids astray with and into heresy.

  38. It isn’t as simple as that. I would say everything means nearly everything, and much more than most modern people believe. There is a lot going on in this topic. On one side, if a husband asks his wife to go rob a bank, I believe she would be right before the Lord to respectfully refuse and tell him that she must obey the Lord first. Robbing a bank is cut and dry sin without question. I’ll put it this way, a wife who respectfully refuses to do this would be on solid biblical ground. Here is where things get muddier. There are many other things that are not so cut and dry, without a direct scripture command stating it is or is not sin. A wife would be on extremely shaky ground for refusing to do what her husband directs her to do in this case. She has chosen to follow something not spelled out directly based on *her thoughts* instead of what the bible does spell out directly (submit to your husband, follow him, accept his instruction). This should be a flag in her mind to reflect on…

    The fall being a perfect example. God told Adam when he was alone about the tree. As Eve knew about it, her husband must have given her instruction about it at some point later. She was deceived because *she thought she knew better*. She was attacked because she was weaker in this area. This should be a warning to women – be very very careful to think you know better. That is a path plagued with danger. I know this may offend many and that is not my intent, to the contrary, everyone should be wise to know what their weaknesses are so they can not be taken of the path. To be fair, Adam’s mistake was first not stopping Eve, and secondly following her into sin. In the verses in the bible speaking of women in submissiveness, the way it reads strikes me that it is deeper than merely talking about action, that its real meaning is a heart of submissiveness that is open to being led.

    Am I saying that a husband is always right and a wife is always wrong? No, but what I am saying is that God has designed us and He designed the way we are to operate with each other in marriage. A wife who believes her husband is in the wrong should try to win him without words(argument) as scripture says, but more so, she should pray for her husband. A wife who chooses to follow His word who prays will have prayers that the Lord will hear. As with many things, there is a right way to go about it and a wrong way.

  39. Tyler – we disagree on a point – that a wife is in a “position” to decide what is heresy and what is not heresy for her family. She is not the spiritual leader of a family. She is not in a position to make this decision, he is. Everything about God’s design shows that a wife is to follow her husband.

  40. @anonymous Wrong, in the last comment I spelled out very clearly that the Bible decides what heresy is, not the wife, where she shows by the express words of the Bible that what he says is wrong. She doesn’t have to follow sinful, heretical teaching, as its sin. As aforementioned, the wife is to follow the husband unsinfully, is to submit to him in all unsinful matters, not sinful ones where she follows God instead(Acts 5:29).

  41. Wow!!! Lots of comments!!! I couldn’t really read all of them, I’m busy today and the next two days. Maybe tonight after the kids are asleep I’ll have some time to really try to understand what is being argued. It kind of sounds like Anna and BGR are talking past each other a little… I do agree with the comments I read from Larry that explain the whole of “trying” to lean more toward your husband’s theology/ideas.

    I’ve seen couples where the wife argues with her husband in public, and it is SO embarrassing. She’s not doing it in a respectful way at all when I’ve seen this, and it’s horrible to listen to/watch him be emasculated publicly! Anna, I don’t think you’re talking about that kind of disagreement at all – you mentioned in specific settings where you were discussing theology with his friend I think. I don’t think Larry was referring to things like that – where a husband actively wants his wife to be able to argue respectfully with him in a setting where it’s appropriate. So to me, y’all are talking past each other. Many women argue with their husbands in a mean or rude way when it’s NOT appropriate and this shames and embarrasses him and the whole family. Most men would never want a wife that does that kind of thing.

    There’s also a problem of arguing in front of the kids… a wife undermines his authority when she does that constantly. It’s disrespectful in more ways than we understand I think – because we’re challenging his authority in his own home. I’ve read about that many times in different Christian marriage books, so this isn’t just something Larry’s making up or I’m making up… even Christian counselors agree this is bad for the family. Maybe if it’s respectful disagreement and peaceful it’d be seen as different… but it’s really up to that husband what feels disrespectful and what doesn’t bother him.

    As far as a wife needing to try to understand his beliefs, etc. I agree with everything I saw Larry say here… I don’t think it’s wrong at all. In the many different marriage books that I’ve read over these years, it seems like it fits in with respecting him as the headship leader of your marriage.

    We’ve been married 9 1/2 years now… it is strange how close you can become and how the love just grows and grows beyond belief if you just do simple things like Larry talks about here. We do talk about everything and there’s not much that we disagree on anymore… tons of “problems” can usually just be worked out through talking about them we’ve found. When there is something big though (like wanting to change churches or something), we wait until we’re alone to talk about it if we disagree on things, but ultimately I let him know that I’m going to follow him. It’s a huge responsibility to lead a family! He’s responsible in a lot of ways for our spiritual growth and different things because I follow him and he leads us. But he also takes that very seriously and always wants to hear what I think – that’s what I think Larry said somewhere above? That leaders when they’re good, listen to advisors and people supporting them to gather all the info they can before making a huge decision.

    Anyway, that’s all I can write about now. Hope all of you are doing well!

  42. Tyler – it seems we are talking about different things. There is (1) the Word, (2) the husband’s understanding of the Word, and (3) the wife’s understanding of the Word. Not everyone can agree on what the Word says or means and there are many disagreements about this. Your assertion is that there is a single understanding that all should adhere to, but even among serious bible scholars there is much disagreement. God has a way to handle disagreement in marriage. He has put into place an order. He expects wives to submit themselves and to be in submission to their husbands. They are not to argue and disagree and create disharmony because they interpret the bible differently than their husband does. That goes completely against what scripture clearly says. The point of leadership in the first place is to establish an order that a family will follow as a single unit. What you are suggesting is not one flesh, but two flesh, with two heads, and potentially two directions. That will not work and is not His way. A wife was made for her husband. I hope she brings good thoughts and good spiritual advice to him, but he does not follow her, she follows him. Even in the case of an unbeliever, she still must follow him! What does that tell you about how God feels about this…

  43. Stephanie, thanks for weighing in! I do agree that BGR and I have talked past each other a good bit here.

    I also agree that a wife should try to understand her husband’s beliefs, but I don’t see how that leads to trying to adopt them. If I understand my husband’s belief but don’t agree (such as with abandoning one’s salvation), I’m not sure what “trying ” to agree would look like. Perhaps you have experience here that I don’t, but I’m honestly at a loss as to what the next step would be. I absolutely agree that I should follow my husband’s leadership here as for how he wants to lead our family spiritually, but that’s not the same as adopting a belief.

  44. anonymous,

    Your Statement:

    “Marriage is His creation, and it is His analogy, and He fully understands more than we can what it means for humans to have fallen. It is not ok for a wife to go behind her husbands back and work against him simply because she believes he is wrong. It is not ok to justify operating outside of His design because husband’s have a fallen nature. Quite honestly I am surprised to be reading this stuff here.”

    I can understand your frustration and I get where you are coming from. I think that in the vast majority of disagreements a wife should follow her husbands lead even when she does not agree. I think a great example is the one that AnnaMS gave of her sister going along with infant baptism following her husband rather than insisting on believers baptism. Baptism does not save and it has nothing to do with salvation. It is something God has called us to do and many great men of God have disagreed as to the mode and timing of it.

    But anonymous are you aware that their is an example of a woman going behind her husbands back in the Bible and this example is honored? Look at the story of Abigail(1 Samuel 25). This is a woman that went behind her husband’s back in order to save her children and her husband from his own wrong doing. Look at the Hebrew Midwives who literally lied and snuck behind the backs of their Egyptian lords to protect the Hebrew male babies.

    This is something I maintain on this blog and I have spoken about it before. Lying or going behind the back of an authority(including a husband) is not wrong if it is for the protection rather than covering sin or lying just to lie. If a mother lies to protect her child from harm there is no sin in that. I believe when it comes to salvation if the father is not saved, some other religion or he is preaching a Gospel that tells one’s children they can loose their salvation or that more that trusting in Christ sacrifice on the cross is required for salvation that mother has an obligation to protect her children in this case.

    Again in most cases I would agree with you(aka infant baptism) if it does not have to do with critical issues like salvation the mother should follow the father’s lead even if she disagrees. But there are some rare cases where a woman going behind her husband’s back is warranted for the protection of the children.

  45. @anonymous Not a matter of agree, or disagree, or of interpretation if its what the Word of God literally says. Any “understanding” of Scripture that is blatantly contradicted by the Bible in other places is not an understanding at all, its a fallacy. Its heresy. Indeed, on some Scriptural matters there is a single possible understanding that is to be adhered to, and anything contrary to it is wrong. Less clear matters are one thing, clear ones are something else. A husband has no right to blatantly contradict the express, literal teachings of the Word of God, and if he does its heresy, and not instruction to be heeded by his family since hes leading them contrary to the Word of God. Wives don’t submit in matters of sin, and that is sin. What I am suggesting is obeying God over man. The one flesh analogy can’t be possible unless both spouses are trying to follow God. A man teaching heresy, especially if its shown to him in the Bible that he is wrong, is sinning against God and his family are not to honor that leadership. Only unsinful leadership. That goes even if the husband is an unbeliever as she only obeys his will and submits in unsinful matters, and encourages their children and upholds her husband’s leadership likewise in unsinful matters.

  46. bgr, I don’t disagree that you make some good points.

    The Abigail story was one of life and death, so are the midwives you mention. These were extreme situations. While it did work out for Abigail, I’m not so sure this story declares the message “It is ok for you to go behind your husbands back in certain situations”. It also shows a wife who goes behind her husband’s back and ends up creating a relationship to a man she ends up being married to after her husband dies.

    Instead of reading a verse that goes against cultural norms and looking for the 0.01% of situations that refute it, we should look at it as Holy no matter what cultural norms conflict with it and see the 99.99% good that can be done by following it.

  47. Stephanie,

    I think both you and AnnaMS are trying to truly live out this aspect of the virtuous wife:

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

    Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)

    A wise wife is an asset to her husband. But the key is how she uses that wisdom and does she share her wisdom in a kind way or contentious way? Because we read this about wives who share their opinions in the wrong way:

    “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”

    Proverbs 21:9 (KJV)

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

    Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

    I agree with you that AnnaMS and I may be talking past each other to an extent. The details that Anna has given have been helpful in understanding how she is able to speak her opinion and for the most part I don’t have a problem with how her husband asks her to express her opinion. Here are several scenarios I see:

    1. Husband asks his wife for her opinion in private on a moral issue(doctrinal or otherwise) and she shares her contrary views with him. – No problem here.
    2. Husband asks his wife for her opinion in front of kids on a moral issue(doctrinal or otherwise) knowing her contrary view but wanting to illustrate different points of view on a subject for his children. No problem there.
    3. Husband asks his wife for her opinion in front of other adults(perhaps a Bible study at their home or online) and he solicits her view with those other adults. That would fine.
    4. Husband is speaking with his children on a moral or doctrinal issue and wife just pops in with an unsolicited and contradictory view to the husband in front of the children. This NOT fine in view of the reverence, submission owed by the wife to her husband and the one flesh relationship that marriage is to be.

    This is my view based on the explanations I have read so far. The Scriptures tell us that God meant for a husband to rule over wife.

    “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
    Genesis 3:16 (KJV)

    “4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
    5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”
    1 Timothy 3:4-5 (KJV)

    So let me apply this Biblical principle of a man’s call to rule over his family to a scenario to illustrate my point.

    A man dealing with a dispute between his neighbor’s children and his own. He finds out both his children and the neighbors children gotten into some kind of trouble. So in front of that other parent he tells his child to apologize for the wrong they have committed with the neighbors child and perhaps he even tells them that they are grounded for a length of time.

    If the child publicly disagrees with the parents assessment of the situation or the punishment offered in that public setting with everyone present and they publicly contradict their father that is by definition disrespectful behavior. If the mother contradicts the father’s assessment publicly or his punishment publicly that to is disrespect. Now if the child later seeks to privately plead their case to their father, or the mother seeks to change his mind about the situation privately away from the children that is fine.

    My point is that in public the husband and father represent the family – unsolicited contradictory statements in this setting are by definition disrespect. Now in this same public setting if the father specifically asks for the potentially contrary views from his wife or child such as “do you think my assessment of this situation was fair or that I missed something?” then by all means they may respectfully contradict his assessment from their point of view.

    I do not believe it teaches a child respect for the Biblical chain of authority when a child or a wife are given free reign to speak their contrary views at any time or any place. This is not a husband ruling over his family but instead it is anarchy in the home.

    Wives and children need to know that there is a time to speak freely and a time not to. My children know in my home when no one else is around we can discuss any topic freely. We have a lot of fun talking about politics and religion and a host of other social and cultural issues. But they know when we have guests over and I am discussing issues with guests if they pipe in with their contrary views I will shut them down as it is the wrong place and wrong time for their contrary views.

    It is the same thing with my wife. She and I while being Christians have a lot of philosophical and doctrinal differences. My wife has a lot of feminist views and other views contrary to mine. We also have a lot of differences as to how the children will be disciplined, what they are allowed to do and not allowed to do and also helping them formulate life goals, convictions and standards as Christians. So while sometimes I may solicit some contrary views from my wife for the sake of conversation to illustrate a point, many times I do not solicit those views in front of my children or in front of other guests of our home – yet my wife will simply inject herself into the conversation and repeat for the 10th time how she disagrees with me on the subject in front of my children.

    I find that HIGHLY disrespectful and I call her out on it almost every time she does it. Her typical response is to go running off to our room feeling disrespected by me for confronting her.

    I have made it clear to her on more than one occasion that we can discuss any differences we have privately. However I have not given her the freedom to simply inject herself into any conversation with her contradictory views. It breaks the unity of our home when she does this and she does not see the problem with it. In her feminist views – “the children should hear both sides and be able to decide for themselves” or “well I don’t agree with what you are allowing or not allowing them to do and I should be able to say that.”. In private sure. In public – not unless I directly ask for the contradictory opinion to be expressed.

    Now I realize that Anna or some others might say “well that is your way and your wife should respect that but not all men feel that way” – i.e. some men are willing to be ambushed at anytime by their wife’s unsolicited contrary views in front of their kids or others and that is just fine. But where is the man ruling over his wife and children if they can act in such a way? And more specifically to marriage how are a husband and wife presenting a unified spiritual front if she can do this any time, any place without her husband’s permission?

    In my view if a wife has absolutely no restrictions on where, when or how she may speak then she has been elevated to equal status with her husband and this violates the Biblical principle of male headship.

  48. anonymous,

    I agree with you that 99.99 percent of the time wives should follow their husbands even when they disagree. I think we will just have to agree to disagree on that 0.01 percent of scenarios that would allow a wife to go against her husband’s leadership. I do acknowledge that there are some who will take that 0.01 and abuse it. Plenty do. But the abuse of a principle does not make that principle any less true.

  49. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:

    “I’m not sure what “trying ” to agree would look like. Perhaps you have experience here that I don’t, but I’m honestly at a loss as to what the next step would be.”

    I know this was directed at Stephanie but I think you have asked me the same question as well earlier and I forgot to respond.

    Let me give you a few scenarios.
    Let’s say a husband has the view that his daughter may only double date and not go out alone on single dates with men. The mother disagrees and finds this backwards and old fashion. In fact she feels it will cause her daughter not to be able to date a lot of men because in our modern age most men will find that stifling. So under the Biblical rules of submission – she must submit to her husband’s decision for how her daughter will date. But I would argue she needs to try(and she may not succeed) to not just submit to – but really understanding her husbands heart in this matter come to a full acceptance of his position if she can.

    You could take the same scenario and reverse it. What if the husband is fine with daughter going on single dates and he feels to put the restriction of double dating would put undo stress on her relationships but the mother feels double dating should be the rule?

    There countless scenarios whether it be about his job, what church you attend,things the children can watch on TV or not watch and a host of other moral decisions where you may have a contrary view. Sometimes it will be because of how you were raised. Other times it is just a view you came to over time. Trying to agree on these issues is truly looking into your husbands heart and also in your own seeing if there is some way you can move from mere submission on an particular issue to full acceptance. Sometimes you can’t move beyond submission and that is OK.

    But as I have repeated a 1000 times on this blog – when a woman realizes the reason for her submission to her husband is so different than her submission was to her father or to her teachers or anyone else it will radically change her. When she realizes she was made for her husband – then she realizes it is ok to loose herself in her husband as long as the views and likings or dislikings she is taking on are not directly contrary to God’s views.

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