Can Christian Man Marry A Woman Intending to Tame Her?

Can a Christian man marry a feminist Christian woman with the intent of taming her like Petruchio did with Katherine in Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”? Or must a Christian husband always seek a woman who is submissive and believes in and follows Biblical gender roles?

Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”

Here are some excerpts from synopsis of Taming of the Shrew by www.sparknotes.com:

“In the Italian city of Padua, a rich young man named Lucentio arrives with his servants, Tranio and Biondello, to attend the local university. Lucentio is excited to begin his studies, but his priorities change when he sees Bianca, a beautiful, mild young woman with whom Lucentio instantly falls in love. There are two problems: first, Bianca already has two suitors, Gremio and Hortensio; second, Bianca’s father, a wealthy old man named Baptista Minola, has declared that no one may court Bianca until first her older sister, the vicious, ill-tempered Katherine, is married…

The Katherine problem is solved for Bianca’s suitors when Hortensio’s friend Petruchio, a brash young man from Verona, arrives in Padua to find a wife. He intends to marry a rich woman, and does not care what she is like as long as she will bring him a fortune. He agrees to marry Katherine sight unseen. The next day, he goes to Baptista’s house to meet her, and they have a tremendous duel of words. As Katherine insults Petruchio repeatedly, Petruchio tells her that he will marry her whether she agrees or not. He tells Baptista, falsely, that Katherine has consented to marry him on Sunday. Hearing this claim, Katherine is strangely silent, and the wedding is set.

On Sunday, Petruchio is late to his own wedding, leaving Katherine to fear she will become an old maid. When Petruchio arrives, he is dressed in a ridiculous outfit and rides on a broken-down horse. After the wedding, Petruchio forces Katherine to leave for his country house before the feast, telling all in earshot that she is now his property and that he may do with her as he pleases. Once they reach his country house, Petruchio continues the process of “taming” Katherine by keeping her from eating or sleeping for several days—he pretends that he loves her so much he cannot allow her to eat his inferior food or to sleep in his poorly made bed

Katherine and Petruchio soon return to Padua to visit Baptista. On the way, Petruchio forces Katherine to say that the sun is the moon and that an old man is really a beautiful young maiden. Since Katherine’s willfulness is dissipating, she agrees that all is as her husband says

At the banquet following Hortensio’s wedding to the widow, the other characters are shocked to see that Katherine seems to have been “tamed”—she obeys everything that Petruchio says and gives a long speech advocating the loyalty of wives to their husbands. When the three new husbands stage a contest to see which of their wives will obey first when summoned, everyone expects Lucentio to win. Bianca, however, sends a message back refusing to obey, while Katherine comes immediately. The others acknowledge that Petruchio has won an astonishing victory, and the happy Katherine and Petruchio leave the banquet to go to bed.”

A lot of Christians who are ignorant of history and even the Bible would say a person is wrong for marrying for economic reasons. If you believe that, I would invite you to read the story of Ruth in the Bible.  She married Boaz to redeem her mother-in-law’s husband’s family land.  We falsely have been taught today that a person must marry because they first “fall in love with a person” – that command is found nowhere in the Bible. It is wishful thinking, mostly on the part of women.   Some will say – what about Jacob? He loved Rachel so much he served seven years for her.  But again, this is not a command, it is an example. And why did he love her? Check the story – it was because of how beautiful she was.

And let’s not forget Jacob’s mother and father. What a whirlwind romance they had right? They just met each other and went into his mother’s tent had sex and became man and wife.  No long courtship, no discussion.   Isaac followed his father’s advice for him in finding a wife and Rebekah followed her father’s command for her to go back and marry Isaac.  It was that simple.

But the most important question the Taming of the Shrew presents us with is whether or not it is sinful or immoral for a Christian man to marry a rebellious woman with the intention of taming her into submission?

However, before we can answer this question, we must first answer another very important question for Christians.

Can a Christian Marry an Unbeliever?

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 the Apostle Paul gives the following command regarding Christians entering into relationships with non-believers:

“14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

As we can see from the above Scriptures, it is clear that believers are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.

This is why a Christian church has no business having an inter-faith conference with the Muslim church down the street. And it is also why a Christian man or woman can never enter into the most intimate of human relationships God ever designed which is marriage, with a non-believer.

Some Christians have falsely used 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 to say that the Apostle Paul was ok with Christians marrying non-Christians:

“13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

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

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

However, such an interpretation betrays the entire context of the passage which Paul states in verse 20 of this same chapter:

“Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.”

Paul is saying that if you become a believer and your spouses does not come to the faith as you have that you are to remain with them if they want to stay.  He is not saying it is ok for a Christian to purposefully marry a non-believer which would then conflict with what he said in 2 Corinthians 6:14-17.

Now that we have established this important principle of the Scriptures, we can go on to answer the question at the center of this article.

Can a Christian Man Marry a Christian Feminist Woman with the Intent to Tame Her?

Throughout the Bible God’s relationship with humanity is pictured in two different ways.  As individuals our relationship with God is pictured as a father and child relationship.  But God’s relationship with his people in the collective sense is always pictured as that of a husband to his wife.

We can see this concept shown where God pictures the nation of Israel as a treacherous wife in Jeremiah 3:20:

“Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.”

Notice how he refers to his wife – “O house of Israel”.

Now let’s look further in this book to Jeremiah 18:1-6:

“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”

What do we see here? God presents the picture of a potter who had a marred, meaning it had defects.  So, he reshaped it against as a whole new vessel.  God tells Israel, his wife, that she is like that clay.  He saw defects in her and wanted to reshape her in another vessel but she would not allow him to do so.

Now let’s look to the New Testament in Ephesians 5:25-27:

“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

There is an important parallel here between God as a husband to Israel and Christ as a husband to the Church.  How does a potter shape his clay into the form he wishes it to be? He uses water.  In the same way we as Christian husbands are told to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her so he could wash her with “water by the word”, so she would not have “spot, or wrinkle”, so he could present her to “himself a glorious church”.

Why did God want to reshape Israel as his wife? Because she was “marred” which parallels the “spot or wrinkle” shown to us here with Christ and his wife, the Church, in the New Testament.

The point is that God is a consistent husband.  Christ is not a different kind of husband to the Church than God was to Israel.  We as Christian husbands can learn just a much from God’s example as a husband to Israel as we can learn from Christ’s example as a husband to the Church.  This is a fundamental truth that all Christian husbands must embrace.

With that being said can a Christian man marry a Christian woman whom he perceives is marred by feminist tendencies with the intention that he is going to attempt to wash her of those tendencies?

The answer based on God’s own example with both Israel and the Church is a resounding YES!

Am I recommending Men Marry Feminist Women with the Intent to Tame Them?

I have proven the case from the Scriptures that nothing in the Scriptures stops a man from marrying a woman whom he genuinely believes to be a Christian but is marred by feminism.

I made the following statement about my second wife in a post I wrote a few years ago that include my story about how I met my second wife and married her:

“While we were dating, I detected feminist tendencies in her that she had from her upbringing (her mom was a career woman as well).  Her mom even told me on one occasion that she taught her daughters to “be independent and not need a man”.  So even though my wife had become a Christian a few years before she met me, the feminism ran deep in her.  I also detected that her job as a manager might cause some friction in her commitment to our marriage and our home.

But she was so different from my first wife, and such a good Christian woman with great character that I chose to overlook some of these areas that would later come back to haunt me, naively thinking I could help her to see what God says a Christian woman’s priorities should be in regard to her husband, her children and her home.

I mentioned in that same post that my wife displayed many marks of a true believer in Christ.  She was so dedicated to seeing people saved.  She witnessed to her friends at work and relatives and she was concerned for her lost loved ones.  She went on missions’ trips with her church.  I spoke with her Pastor and some deacons at her church and saw in her a woman that had many great character traits and a passion for God.  But she was a new Christian, saved only few years before I met her.

So, I believed when I saw the feminist tendencies in her that I could just teach her and help her to learn those ways were not right.  She told me she believed the passages about submission that I showed her. But she also believed that men and women were equal and she was trying to square that with what the Bible said about submission.

I thought I could wash this feminism from her, but alas after almost 9 years of marriage much of it remains.  There has been some progress and some change but not nearly as much as I had hoped.

The question though is this – does my failure to be able to wash away my wife’s feminism with the Word of God mean that no man could do this with another woman?

The answer is no.  It is in fact possible.

In the three years since I wrote about my story with my failure to completely wash away my wife’s feminism, I have had many men write me telling they had success with their wives in this.  I have actually even had many young women write me telling me that my writings helped to convince them that feminism was wrong and they came out of it on their own before marriage.

So, what is the variable that makes for success in the taming of a feminist Christian wife?  The answer is it comes down to whether the woman will recognize this sinful thought process in her own life and then allow her husband in conjunction with the Holy Spirit to wash it from her.

In James 1:23-24 the Bible tells us about a man looking in a glass seeing his reflection:

“23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”

Now let’s apply what James is saying to a feminist Christian wife.  A man can take his wife to the spiritual mirror which is the Word of God.  He can show her the reflection of herself.  He can show her the sin of feminism all over her face.  But she must choose to humble herself before God and accept what she sees right there in the mirror.  She must then submit herself to her husband’s washing and see him as a God given instrument for sanctification in her life.

Some may argue “Well I am fine with trying to tame her before marriage, but you should not marry her until she is completely tamed of feminism”.  And I understand where that thinking comes from.   But just because something presents a lot more risk does not make it wrong.  Marriage itself is a risk.  Even marriage to a woman who seems to be a good Christian and one who fully embraces Biblical gender roles. It is simply a matter of how much risk is involved.

Is This a Change in My Position on Christian Men Marrying Feminist Women?

The answer is Yes. Throughout this ministry over the last four years I have made changes on several positions.  Really – over my entire Christian life I have made changes in my beliefs as the Lord has led me to do so.  We must never be so rigid or get to the point where God cannot change our position on something and teach us new things.

Up until now I have taught people on this blog as well as my own sons that I made a grave mistake in marrying their step mother with the intent to help her understand the errors of her feminist thinking.  I have taught young men on this blog and elsewhere that they should avoid interactions with feminist Christian women and at the first sign of feminist tendencies when dating or courting they should abandon such a woman.

If you or my sons want to follow the advice I have previously given there is no sin in following it still.  If you decide that the potential costs in this spiritual warfare to attempt to tame a feminist Christian wife is too much I completely understand and there is no sin in avoiding feminist women like the plague.

So here is my change. 

I have thought back to when I met my second wife and after I talked to all the people that knew her from her church as well as her family.  My intentions were noble.  I saw the potential in her for change.  I went into this marriage fully intent on washing her feminism away and believing she would allow me over time to do it. I believed her passion to see souls saved would result in a similar passion to conform herself as a wife to the will of God for her life. The problem was not in my intent, but in her continued unwillingness to fully yield to the Holy Spirit on this issue, so in turn she could not fully yield to me either.

If you find a woman who has the markings of a true believer in Christ as my second wife had, but this appears to be a blind spot in her life and you are intent on doing spiritual battle, even if takes the rest of your life married to her, to wash the spiritual wrinkles and spots of feminism from her then this is a noble cause. But be forewarned, this is not for the faint of heart. It could greatly affect your future children and in some cases the battle could even lead to divorce.

However, if you are marrying a feminist Christian woman with the intent that you are going to tolerate her feminism and will just give up your headship role over her then you are wrong.  As a Christian God does not allow you to surrender your position as head to your wife. So, if you know you are not willing to do battle to attempt to wash the feminism from a woman then you should not marry her.  You should only marry a woman who fully embraces Biblical gender roles before you marry her.

So here is the conclusion of the matter.  Is it a sin before God for a man to marry a Christian woman with the intent of taming her of her feminist tendencies and beliefs? The answer is no it is not a sin.

But I would leave any Christian man who intends to go into such a spiritual battle with this admonition from Christ found in Luke 14:31:

“Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?” 

Be sure before you go to war, that you count the costs that may be incurred on you in the process of that war.

103 thoughts on “Can Christian Man Marry A Woman Intending to Tame Her?

  1. A great post, BGR!

    I would caution any man against taking on a “project wife” in that even a “non-project” wife can push her husband toward his limit in sanity and patience, how much more so a wife who is overbearing, catty and overly feminist. That being said, however, I think most modern men are going to find that, unless they search with great intent, nearly every Christian woman out there is going to be a bit of a project woman because nearly ALL modern women have a streak of feminism in them. As I think about all of the women in my life, my own wife, my sisters, my aunts, friends – all of them have some feminist attitudes in them simply because they grew up during the 60’s and forward.

    Not every woman may be a shrew, but nearly every modern woman will need taming. Its up to us men, though, to determine if the cost is worth the effort, and, unfortunately, a little feminism can cause a lot of damage.

  2. So many young people are already filled with mistruth that you will almost certainly confront the poison of feminism in a young unmarried woman. There are exceptions, but even if she is fine, society isn’t and feminism is smacking everyone in the face everyday with “just how unfair it all is”. I actually don’t think it _is_ actually unfair and these days as women have much more than they have ever had. So, right off the bat you have to assume that young men and young women are both compromised in their thinking. Young men to think that it isn’t so bad if we don’t follow the exact way the bible says it should be, young women to think that they should be equal and get to do everything men do and live just like men. So the assumption that the man is thinking clearly and is looking for a wife to think clearly too is already wishful thinking.

    We all come to truth at different times. I wasn’t a man who followed biblical gender roles when I was first married and I failed my wife by not leading her properly. It isn’t just about me, but I’m going to focus on me. There came a point where I knew I had to right the ship and it was a turbulent time. It is hard for a wife to trust change or come to change once the voyage is well underway which is why my hope and goal is for young men to know how to be good husbands in the first place – so they can encourage holiness and have good leadership of their families from day one. It worked out for me and my wife is a lovely Christian woman who respects, trusts, and follows me – she is truly a blessing to me in every way.

    Still, it doesn’t work out this way for everyone, God hates divorce and it is very damaging to men and children when a wife decides that the men are greener on the other side of the hill. The world, which is against God, makes this all too easy, convenient, beneficial, and profitable for a wife to do the wrong thing. So with this in mind, a man would be very wise to consider carefully his choice in a wife. Going into it knowing that he will have to do battle with feminist tendencies is not wise when he could choose a wife that will bless him more and battle him less. With that said, men and women are both sinners and there will always be something – it is just a matter of whether that something will be huge or workable.

    My advice is choose wisely. I think a lot of the choice is in a young man’s hands. Explain to any young women you are dating that you are looking for a traditional biblical marriage. Explain to them that marriage isn’t a temporary thing in your mind, but a life long thing where a man will take care of his wife and a wife will be his companion and helper. Explain to them that your goal is that you will provide enough income that they will be free to spend time taking care of your children and home unless you have no choice because of the budget. Explain that you want to keep chaste until marriage and then both will freely give their bodies forevermore after marriage – not when you feel like it but whenever the other desires it. Explain to them that you are looking for a wife who will invest in any children you have. If any young woman doesn’t want these things, wish her well and end the date.

    Might this be too much too soon? Possibly. I can see a women saying, I don’t want any part of that because she hasn’t grown yet and could get there in time. Still that is taking a chance, she might get there or she might not.

    I also think good young men need to sell themselves better. He needs to explain that he has no intention of bailing on her when it gets hard. He will be a ran who takes responsibility, is accountable, and can be counted on. He needs to explain the benefits of being a biblical wife. He needs to explain that while her friends husband’s are cheating and no longer love their wives, he will still be around cultivating love. Of course he can’t make those promises unless he has the intention of keeping them!

    So much of what young people think is just out of priority. They are all hung up on things they think are so important like exactly where they will go to college, what this person thinks of them, what they will do for a job, etc. that they miss out on keeping their eyes focused on Jesus. A job can come and go. Friends will leave. Jesus is for all time. He can always be counted on. I think the second most important thing a young person should focus on is preparing themselves for a successful biblical marriage. That endeavor might involve education as part of it, but education is secondary to it.

  3. Snapper,

    I think that every wife is a “project” so to speak for her husband. It is only a matter of degrees. We live in a world that tells us the opposite. That a man should never marry a woman with any intentions of changing any of her behaviors or thoughts. But that is not what we see in the Bible. A Biblical husband marries his wife with the spiritual water in hand(the Bible) ready to get down to the process molding the pottery that is his wife into the wife that he believes God wants her to be. What I just said there is so antithetical to just about any marriage advice you would ever hear but it is absolutely true.

    I think it really does come down to the strength of the man and his personality. Some men have such strong Alpha personalities that they can could take on a shrew and tame her. While other men may still implement alpha philosophy in their marriage(which I think is a good thing) but they are not as strong as others. If you are not a super duper strong Alpha then I would not recommend trying to tame the shrew.

    However we all have some taming to do with any wife. And as you pointed out, the overwhelming vast majority of women will have some residual feminist tendencies in them because of their own sin nature and because of our culture. As I said in the article – my wife is not a raging feminist. She even does not like it when I say she is a “moderate feminist”. She wants no part of the label. But I when I use the label with her it is to classify her behavior. I have told her “if the shoe fits – I am going to put it on you”.

  4. Anm1,

    I don’t think it is asking too much to for a Christian man to find a woman who is a virgin. The trick is to get them right out of high school Most stats show that roughly 50 of women are still virgins by the time they graduate high school but then by the time they are 20 or 21 it drops to only 15 to 20 percent being non-virgin. So you have to get them in that 2 year window. Also I think it really comes down to type of woman.

    So I don’t think a man is expecting too much to find a virgin, Christian and Bible believing woman that is teachable. She may or may not be fully grounded in Biblical gender roles. Is it better if she is? You bet. But I do think that sometimes as we say in the business world – “perfect is the enemy of done”. I have known several Christian young men and young women over my life that are still single to this day(in their 40s) You know why? Because no person could meet their standards of perfection for a potential spouse.

    My point in this article was about striking a balance. On the far left we have Christian men who have absolutely no standards for who they are looking for in a potential spouse, if they just “have chemistry” with someone that is all they want. But on the far right we have Christian men whose standards are so rigid no woman would ever meet such standards and they will be doomed to fail in their efforts to find a wife. Every woman you meet will be a sinner, and yes in this day and age about 98 percent of them will have at least some small residual amounts of feminist tendencies in them. Even if the woman feels she believes in Biblical gender roles and male headship.

  5. >I think it really does come down to the strength of the man and his personality.

    Absolutely – especially his strength in the Lord. Who does he fear more? God or his wife? I tell my son all the time that if you fear a particular girl, you will be in no place to lead her and will be no good to her as a husband.

    In a way this is saying don’t select a wife who thinks she is too good for you. Too rich for you. Too spoiled for you. Too smart for you. I wonder sometimes about even too Holy for you – so much so that she won’t accept your instructions. You need a woman who appreciates what you bring to the table as a man, not one who expects the world and takes you for granted when you can’t deliver a steady stream of jewelry on two jobs so she can adorn herself to please the world and her ego.

    I agree about the little things. Critical is that like potters clay, she is pliable, or to leave the analogy, she is teachable. Teachable also requires humility.

    BGR – your comments about her being a virgin are spot on. Is college such a good thing for young women? Or does it provide an avenue for sleeping around and destruction since they are “finally adults”. I absolutely think a young Godly man with his head screwed on right should expect a virgin bride. There will always be the little things, but there is the issue – are they little things or huge things…

  6. “The answer based on God’s own example with both Israel and the Church is a resounding YES!” This is not absolutely guaranteed to be the case, as if the woman in question is confronted about her feminist beliefs, which are sinful rebellion against God and unbelief of the Bible, and refuses to repent of them, even after the three steps in Matthew 18:15-17 should this scenario occur and be carried out, then the woman in question who refused to repent and persisted in those feminist notions despite knowing them sinful is, even if a saved person and professed believer, to be treated as an unbeliever, as she will have earned that status, which would mean the Christian man in question could not to marry her with disobeying 2 Corinthians 6 which you cited above as then he would be marry an unbeliever, being unequally yoked with an unbeliever, which would be sin on his part. Other than this possible scenario, everything in the article stands. Great BGR! 🙂 Keep it up!

  7. I lived not with and openly contentious feminist wife for the first (very miserable) 27 years of my marriage but a Passive Aggressive one. For the first 24 years of my marriage, I did not understand what Passive Aggressive behaviour was, I only knew that she was driving me out of my mind and nearly, on more than one occasion, to taking my own life. I also had been taught just the opposite of… that it was my responsibility to be washing my wife in the water of the Word to remove her spots and blemishes. I had never heard that taught anywhere but searching the internet for answers on how to fix my marriage, I found it here, and then heard R.C. Sproul Jr. talk about it on an YouTube video and then read something similar in a book by R.C. Sproul Sr.

    After 24 years of marriage I realized that as Sproul Sr. said in one of his books, “I had the wife that I had made for myself”. I realized that it was not up to the pastor, the Sunday school teachers, the women’s Bible study teachers, or anyone else to bring my wife into line, it was primarily up to me and with that realization, I went from perceived helplessness to hopeful empowerment. After personally trying to show my wife what God’s word had to say to wives about their proper role and behavior for about a year, with just a little success. I took heed of the fact that the Bible instructs the older women in the church to be teaching the younger women in the church how to live as Godly wives – Titus 2:3-5. Often when women won’t listen to a man, they will listen to another woman. As a husband, you just have to make sure that woman is a Godly one.

    I looked for an older woman in our church to help me with my very rebellious, stubborn, contentious, uncooperative, disrespectful, deceived and troubled wife; the problem was and is, that it’s very hard to find older Godly women in the church these days and (at that time) there was not a single woman in our church that I would trust to counsel with my wife so I set out to try and find some on the internet that had BLOGS or written books. I found a lot of garbage, quite a few half-measures and a few gems. Namely the BLOG called “Always Learning” by Lori Alexander. Always Learning is still up to read but not active. About 2 years ago, Lori started a new BLOG called “The Transformed Wife”. Lori truly is a Godly older woman that (under her husbands guidance) has made it her life’s ministry to teach younger women how to be Godly wives. I had my wife start reading this BLOG daily. I had to stay on her but she did it, and it helped, but it was only a part of the process. If you are dealing with a difficult wife, try and get her to read Lori’s BLOG “The Transformed Wife” (and maybe go back and read through “Always Learning” also). It is a small daily dose of woman-to-woman Godly wisdom that will challenge her to become a better wife.

    Second, I exposed my wife to other Godly older women by giving her books to read. Of the approximately 50 or so books that I read in trying to find appropriate ones to give to my wife, some were poor and most were absolute trash but I did find a few gems. Men, if you are dealing with a difficult wife, I would recommend that you give her one or both of these books (below) to read. If your wife is more of a country girl, give her “Created to be a Help Meet” by Debi Pearl. Debi is a country girl who will tell your wife straight up what God’s Word says about why women were created and how they should be treating their husbands. I gave my wife this book to read and it made her VERY angry. She threw it down several times but I made her (over several weeks) pick it back up again and again and keep reading until she finished. She hated it and I knew that the Holy Spirit was using it to convict her of her sin.

    If your wife is more of an educated career type woman, consider giving her “The Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace. Now Martha Peace (in my opinion) does not have it 100% right in her book because she believes that a Christian wife has the right (duty) to admonish her Christian husband if she believes he is in sin and the way she presents it I do not fully agree with but (in my opinion) just about everything else in that book is golden truth right from Gods Word. I just removed the few pages and/or put white stickers over the parts I did not believe were Biblical and gave it to my wife to read. It was helpful, and just like the other book, it was something that the Holy Spirit used to convict her and her thinking began to change. But these books and Lori’s BLOG(s) were just part of the process.

    In my opinion, Debi, Martha and Lori are all, Godly older women in the church that have excellent ministries based on Titus 2:3-5. All three were significant parts of the process in bringing my wife to repentance.

    Now this process of washing your wife in the water of the Word is not for the faint of heart, especially if you get serious about it and start to apply discipline to your wife for her sin. I began diligently washing my wife in the water of the Word in year 25 of our marriage and in year 27, partially because of some discipline, she left me. About the time she left me, a new family joined our church that included an older woman who was a certified Nouthetic counselor and our pastor (who was too weak to call my wife on her sin himself) recommended that my wife go and counsel with her. She turned out to be a gem also. Apparently this counselor confirmed to my wife that everything that I had been trying to teach her for the previous 2 years was indeed true and correct and that she needed to repent from her sin and get herself back home. She assigned “The Excellent Wife” to my wife to read and she was very surprised when my wife told her that I had already had her read it. She told her to read it again and they went through it chapter by chapter to drive the truths of God’s Word that are presented in it home. About 2-1/2 months after she left, my wife returned home a transformed woman.

    Although not perfect yet, my wife has gone from a 3 on a scale of 1-10, to about an 8.5. For the first 27 years of our marriage she was (by far) the worse part of my life and now for the past 2 years, 2nd to Christ, she is the best part of my life. Men your (active or passive) SHREW can be tamed too but you have to step up to the plate and trust God at His word. It started way before year 24 in my marriage and took many years of prayer several years of study and learning and a few years of diligent effort on my part but God promises that:

    1 John 5:13-15 – “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”

    Men, are you asking God to do a major work in your wife? Is it in the Will of God for your wife to be sanctified by YOU washing her in the water of the Word… to remove her spots and blemishes? Ephesians 5:25-27 make it clear that it is. Trust God in His Word and act upon your faith. It may take many years and the results will vary according to God Will but there are rewards (in this life and eternity) for being obedient to Him. I hope this is useful and encouraging to some of you out there.

  8. Trey,

    Thank you so much for telling us your story! What a powerful testimony for other men to hear(myself included). I agree with you so much that this has to be a multi-pronged approach. We as husbands have a God give duty to wash our wives with the Word of God. But we can also can expose our wives to godly women who can help influence them as well. I have said it many times, there are some things I could say over and over to my wife that she would never get but some elder woman whom she respects comes along and says the same thing and walla! She finally gets it. I could sit back all day long and go – “Well she should have got it from me” or I can just accept that God uses many people in our lives to teach us things.

    I too am thankful for godly women bloggers and writers who are trying to help us in this fight for godly marriages. This is why every time I get a chance to I send encouragements to such women.

  9. Can it be done? Sure.

    Is it wise? Not so much in many cases.

    Does it depend on different factors? Yes.

    For example, the great part is that you can start teaching your ‘future’ wife in Bible studies when you’re dating or in a relationship or courtship. If she’s very resistant to the Bible, she’s probably not a good choice. If she’s receptive and is actively striving toward sanctification, then that’s definitely an encouraging sign.

    What matters most isn’t where someone started but that they’re actively trying to become like Christ.

    This is why I always harp on ‘attitude’ being more important than ‘actions’ in many cases. If someone is humble and willing to accept that they have been wrong when making a mistake, that’s where you’ll see the difference between someone who is just begrudgingly doing the right thing. The one with a good attitude will show much godly change.

  10. How would you suggest a man tell a woman that he wants to cleanse her contamination with feminism? Should he bring it up early in the dating process, or wait until later when they are talking seriously about marriage? Is it better to be blunt and open about it, or subtle?

  11. Deep Strength,

    I agree that attitude is far better than actions. Because a woman can do all the right actions with the wrong the attitude. When I was dating my second wife after I divorced my first wife for adultery, she was a new Christian(saved a few years before we met) seemingly dedicated to the Lord. She even said she believed in submission and headship but struggled with the Proverbs 31 wife as far as implementing it in her life. I felt I could help her and the she would be moldable. But after we were married I saw her become less flexible, not more flexible. And while she did make some positive changes she just got to a certain point and stopped. This is where I continually have to work with her even after almost 9 years of marriage. It is also challenging because she was disabled in car accident in 2012 and she has very hard time getting out due to chronic pain, anxiety and depression. She gets around a crowd of people and it really bothers her.

  12. Robert,

    I think it really is a matter of both being open and blunt but also being subtle. As far as being open – I believe a man should be fully up front with any woman he seeks to court or date that he believes in Biblical gender roles and specifically male headship in the home. Those cards should be right there on the table. But it really depends on what type of feminist contamination there is in the woman. Is it small areas or big huge ones? If it is small areas you might take a more subtle approach but if is really blatant you might have to be more blunt. I was pretty blunt and upfront with my second wife very early in the process although she has said many times after we got married that I was not nearly as hard on her until after we got married. In her anger sometimes she has even said “I knew you believed in submission and male headship, and so did I, but if I knew your were going to be like this after marriage I would never have married you!!!” But thankfully, my wife does not believe in divorce except for sexual immorality or physical abuse.

  13. People can absolutely change, my husband and I are good examples of that. I think you need to examine where a person’s heart is. My husband has changed things about me that I swore I’d never change my stance on. Honestly it seems like most of the people on here want a picture perfect wife right from the start. This is a very uncommon occurrence especially with people my age. I’m throwing myself under the bus around people my own age even for admitting that I’m not a feminist type. There are things I like about this blog but it’s starting to seem like you may be unaccepting of people (mainly women) who aren’t perfectly submissive right from the start. Basically if you weren’t raised with these concepts and acting it out perfectly then you’re not even worth the time. I find that to be extremely discouraging being a woman that has been working diligently on changing my ways. Perhaps this just isn’t the right place for me (no offense.) It really makes me wonder if any of this stuff is even worth it.

  14. Sunny, I think as the site is written from a male perspective, it makes sense to focus on the potential pitfalls of marrying the wrong woman, especially since the fall out is so bad for a man. And while I agree with a lot of it, some of the content here simply horrifies me. It makes me worry a great deal about my daughters and how my husband and I should best equip them for the future.

  15. Don’t take it personally – I wouldn’t advise a woman select a husband who has no work ethic, is on drugs, not a Christian, or other big deal difficult things to deal with either. People should be choosy about who they date and marry.
    Instead of seeing oneself as falling short and failing that standard – see oneself as someone God loved enough to rebuke and correct. Have gratitude for being delivered! Take pleasure in the blessing of good knowledge and growth!
    The key here isn’t being perfect, but being teachable. Also, for young people to know what they should be and what they should be looking for BEFORE they marry. Once married, it is a different situation.
    We aren’t in a position to decide “if this stuff is even worth it”.

  16. @Alice I found this site after I seriously started questioning modern feminism. I don’t have a lot of people to talk to because the very fact that I question feminism is an unpopular opinion among people my age. I would never dare talk about this topic in real life for fear of harsh judgment from my peers. I was comforted knowing that there was a group of people who object modern social norms. I was comforted knowing that perhaps the driving force in my negative opinion on feminism was actually biblically founded. However, sometimes when I read the comments it seems like people on here aren’t accepting of any woman who isn’t perfectly submissive. I’m seeing a lot of people pretty much saying: “if she’s not perfectly submissive or having grown up in this lifestyle then don’t even waste your time. She’ll just be a pain in the ass and she will never change.” Do people realize that there might be women reading this that are actually trying to change? Do they realize how those types of comments can actually have a negative impact on women that want to change? Do people understand how difficult it is for women in this society to even recognize the flaws in feminism let alone try to redirect their own lives? I misunderstood thinking this was a blog designed to help women and men convert. I’m realizing it’s a blog for people already living this lifestyle that grew up knowing these values. I won’t have it together for a long time as I keep backsliding.

    I imagined myself sitting in a room with everyone. Would I feel out of place in that room? Yes, I would have to remove myself because it’s discouraging and not relatable for people like myself who are on a basic introduction level. I’m hoping to find a place for newbies where I can talk to other women who are also trying to make a lifestyle change. It’s nothing against the blog I think it’s just too advanced for me.

  17. Sunny,

    Please remember that as a Christian wife, you need to focus on pleasing only two men: God and your husband. Should you still behave respectfully toward other men when you encounter them and interact with them? Yes. Should you focus on satisfying all of their expectations and earning their approval? No. There are certain basic things that most men want from marriage, but each man will have a slightly different set of expectations for his wife than another man will have for his wife. This means that you can’t make every man happy while also making your husband happy. If you try to please every man, you’ll likely end up pleasing no man. Sometimes, other men will negatively judge you for doing something that your husband permits you to do or even requires you to do. At other times, some men will make certain assumptions about you just because you are a woman. You can’t do enough to demonstrate to them that you’re making an effort. You can’t do enough to demonstrate to them that you love your husband. You shouldn’t worry about that.

    Instead, you should focus on what your husband thinks of you. If he is unhappy with certain things that you’re doing, work on improving your behavior or your mindset in those areas. If he is happy with certain things that you’re doing, keep doing them. If you start to worry that you’re doing things that are making your husband unhappy based on things that you read on this blog or other blogs, go talk to him about your concerns. Show him the relevant articles and comments, and ask him where he agrees and where he disagrees. In short, remember that your goal is to be his lover, companion, and helper and that he is the primary expert on how you can best fulfill those roles.

  18. Sunny, while I really enjoy this site and have found very helpful information on it, there are things with which my husband (and subsequently, I) thoroughly disagree with. While I respect BGR’s perspective and teachings, he is not the Bible and neither are any of the commenters. Do not let them make you feel inadequate, you are on a walk with Christ and a journey with your husband, and he is the only man you need to please.

    No-one can decide if this site is too “advanced” for you but you, but if it blesses and helps you in any way, you should stay. Your questions and perspective have given me new insights and you do not know who is reading but not commenting and being blessed by you.

  19. Sunny, sorry for the second reply, but I forgot to mention that I most certainly did not grow up like this, in fact, quite the opposite. My mother was a MATRIARCH and my father was her humble servant. I was lucky in that I am not a woman who chose to marry a man like my father, but it has been a tough road for both of us and we often backslide (but not as often as we used to!) I struggle to unlearn everything my mom (she has a PhD in biochemistry and was a professor at MIT) taught me and my husband struggles with the societal perception that he is some kind of abuser if he leads. We, however, have found such incredible joy in each other and our marriage that we *know* that we are doing God’s will, even when we stumble and backslide. Only God can give the joy and peace we have found.

  20. Sunny,

    Your Statement:

    “People can absolutely change, my husband and I are good examples of that. I think you need to examine where a person’s heart is.”

    Amen. Deep Strength’s comment very much reflected this, it is about a woman’s attitude and her goals in this life.

    Your Statement:

    “Honestly it seems like most of the people on here want a picture perfect wife right from the start.”

    I would agree with you that some, but certainly not all commenters on this site, may be setting their sights on finding a woman who is the picture perfect wife before marriage. These men, like some of my friends have I have known from church growing up, will die single and alone unless they adjust to the reality that we live in a sin cursed world and that the any woman they marry will be a sinner and have faulty thinking patterns on some things just as they are sinners as well.

    This is one of the things I have been touching upon in this post as well as the comments.

    Your Statement:

    “Basically if you weren’t raised with these concepts and acting it out perfectly then you’re not even worth the time.”

    From my perspective and my teachings from the Scriptures this not true. The most important thing is if a young woman is a believer, believes the Bible is the Word of God, has a passion to serve God with her life, and has a teachable spirit. The principles can be taught during courting to such a woman and even if she has not perfectly implemented them before marriage(because no woman can) if she shows genuine belief in them that should be enough.

    Even on the virgin requirement – I believe a man is not wrong or setting his sights to high in looking for a virgin, but there may be some women who come to know Christ after they already had sex outside marriage and then they stop. They explain this to the man and for some men this may be enough.

    Your Statement:

    “Perhaps this just isn’t the right place for me (no offense.) It really makes me wonder if any of this stuff is even worth it.”

    On this point I would just echo what Alex has said. You need to worry about pleasing only two people in your life – God and your husband. Don’t worry about what some people here say that would distract you from those two most important goals.

  21. Alex,

    Your Statement:

    “Please remember that as a Christian wife, you need to focus on pleasing only two men: God and your husband. Should you still behave respectfully toward other men when you encounter them and interact with them? Yes. Should you focus on satisfying all of their expectations and earning their approval? No. There are certain basic things that most men want from marriage, but each man will have a slightly different set of expectations for his wife than another man will have for his wife. This means that you can’t make every man happy while also making your husband happy. If you try to please every man, you’ll likely end up pleasing no man.”

    Amen and Amen. Well said.

  22. Alice,

    Your Comments:

    “Sunny, while I really enjoy this site and have found very helpful information on it, there are things with which my husband (and subsequently, I) thoroughly disagree with. While I respect BGR’s perspective and teachings, he is not the Bible and neither are any of the commenters.”

    Amen. I am not the Bible, I am not a prophet or Apostle. Just an imperfect Christian man giving my imperfect understanding and application of the Bible.

    I advise everyone reading this site to follow this advice that my Pastor gave me years ago. “Eat the meat, and the spit out the bones”. I practice this with other sites I go to, books I read and preachers I listen to on the radio or in my church. Take what you believe is a good and right interpretation or application of the Scriptures and apply it to your life, take what you believe is a faulty interpretation or application of the scriptures and discard it.

    If you seeking a perfect spouse before marriage, you will find none and remain alone. The same goes for teachers of the Word of God, if you are seeking a perfect teacher who you will agree with on all their interpretations and applications of the Bible, you will find none. And if you only associate with Christians with whom you perfectly agree on all things you will be alone.

    Understanding these concepts is critical to becoming a mature Christian.

  23. BGR, as Christians, we are so often accused of “cherry picking” that I think some of us are afraid to disagree with 10% of an insight if we agree with the other 90% of it. I think your blog is a blessing to my husband and my marriage and I really appreciate it. I don’t want someone like Sunny thinking she’s not “good enough” and being chased away from a place that will help her so much. Thank you for your ministry.

  24. I hope it isn’t me who is being a bit rough. Nobody is perfect, certainly not me. God is perfect; Scripture is perfect. I want to be clear that it is not my intention to condemn anyone – my goal is for young people to know how to do marriage right and to make choices that bless them and make that a reality of their lives resulting in strong Christians, strong families, strong children, and a strong legacy. I think the bible uses a long living tree to describe legacy, but I can’t remember what it is.
    I think young people should go for their best. The fact of it is that there are a lot of us who were not that best, myself included. I seen no point in self condemnation after we have come to truth. I see no point in pretending we were something better than we were either. I certainly see no point of throwing out what is right and good because our past doesn’t gel with it. *That is pride* The past is the past and it needs to be let go fully with Jesus forgiveness. Once through His forgiveness, we would be wise to let it go and have no hold on us further.

  25. @Anm1,

    I certainly can’t speak for Sunny, but I’ve always found your words to be very calm and measured while also being very biblically sound and helpful. 🙂

  26. After 24 years of marriage I realized that as Sproul Sr. said in one of his books, “I had the wife that I had made for myself”. I realized that it was not up to the pastor, the Sunday school teachers, the women’s Bible study teachers, or anyone else to bring my wife into line, it was primarily up to me and with that realization, I went from perceived helplessness to hopeful empowerment.

    Trey,
    I receive your report with joy and rejoice with you.

    I do think that RC’s words have been used in an unproductive manner by those who refuse to confront rebellion in wives, they simply blame husbands for it. It is hubris to take credit for the work of the Holy Spirit in one’s wife or to accept blame for her unrepentant heart. Just as it a sin of dereliction to not lead it is a sin of theft to take credit. As feminists in the church are quick to point out, a husband cannot make/force his wife to submit.

    But there is a greater issue and that the church does have a role in teaching a wife to submit and to confront the sins of female rebellion at least in the abstract. It is not just a husband who ought be teaching this important ethic. As part of the whole counsel of the World of God, it ought to be proclaimed in the pulpits, the Sunday schools and because the hearts of women are often deceived an additional front ought to be engaged hence the older women. But the contemporary church is engaged in quite the opposite, justifying rebellion, validating sin and condemning husbands who try to lead. Older feminists teaching the younger how to be selfish, how to rebel in an approved manner and how to control their own husbands. IOW – The church is fomenting the problem and obstructing the sanctification process. I’m not talking about just the trendy churches, but even the more conservative denominations like RC’s PCA, the OPC, and the LCMS. The threat against the headship of the husband is ever present because the Duluth guillotine is readily available to cut off the head. Some symptoms include: eagerness to focus on male sins while ignoring female sins, readiness to accept a wife’s accusations against her husband, the acceptance of female feelings based victim-hood, acceptance of divorcing wives without disciplining, blaming husbands for his wife’s sins and the presupposition of romance based marriage.

    Again I rejoice in your blessings and how the Lord has used your trial to sanctify yourself and your wife, may he continue to bless you richly.

  27. BGR, interesting post–the Taming of the Shrew was always a play that fascinated me. This made me think of something, however, and maybe this question is better asked on a Christian woman’s blog–but what if the husband has more “feminist tendencies” than the wife? I’m not saying I’m perfectly free of the feminist mindset, and I do try to battle that rebellious attitude that can come up–but I feel like I’m very commited to being the Proverbs 31 wife, to biblical submission and following my husband. Sometimes my husband thinks I go overboard, even. Both my husband and I are somewhat young (early 30’s), both grew up in conservative Christian homes, met at a conservative Christian college–but you still get a little of that feminist tendency, even if not super hardcore just from being in the world, and especially being of our generation! We both got married with the attitude that the husband is the head, the wife submit (our vows were the traditional ones, and yes, we kept the word ‘obey’ in there–haha)…but I still see my husband sometimes struggle to really step up and lead me. I wouldn’t even say he’s a feminist, more “egalitarian” in the way it’s used in the Christian world today. I try to stand back and be ok with how he leads–I mean, he does an amazing job of providing for us and our children, and he believes at least surface level in traditional biblical roles–but sometimes I think he just goes too much out of the way to appease me, and I get away with too much. Especially with housework, spending, and things like that–like he just doesn’t care as much as I do if things are undone, meals aren’t planned etc. And maybe this is all just minor and I should just be happy and not worry about it, just keep doing what I’m doing and trying to submit etc. He seems happy with me, and the whole point of my role in our relationship is to step back and let him lead, even if it’s not “the way” I would think he should lead. But it still makes me think, what if the husband is more egalitarian than the woman. I sometimes feel like I’m working over time on this stuff. Like I have to go overboard and keep myself in check because I don’t want to lead my husband, and I am afraid to lead him astray, if that is possible. It seems contradictory for me to feel this way. And maybe I’m ridiculous for even thinking this is an issue. I do agree that having a teachable attitude is better than actions sometimes–and maybe this is something we just need to grow through. Anyway, curious to know your thoughts…

  28. afd,
    If I may make a suggestion; in “Created to be a Help Meet” by Debi Pearl and her book for single women “Preparing to be a Help Meet” she talks about the Triune nature of God in that of being Prophet, Priest & King. She has observed that God has created each man with differing measures of these attributes (natures) but predominately with one (over the other two) and that it’s important for each woman to understand their husbands (or husband to be) primary nature/personality type. There are pros and cons to each type and knowing them can be very helpful to a wife.

    The link below is an explanation of these three personality types that might help you understand your husband better. It sounds to me like you are married to a Priestly (steady) type of man. http://nogreaterjoy.org/blogs/preparingtobeahelpmeet/about/personality-types/

  29. Trey, thanks for the recommendation and the link. I actually just picked up a copy of “Created to be a Help Meet” at a thrift store! I haven’t read through it yet, but it looks like I should do that!

  30. Haha oh yeah, my husband is definitely a priestly type! I think I might be a “dreamer”, which might explain why I’ve felt impatient with him at times!

  31. afd,

    I would second what Trey said and just add the following. There are many different types of men – some men are very particular and even perfectionist in their tendencies. Some men are very laid back and easy going and the complete opposite of a perfectionist. I am a more creative person, a thinker and a ponder but certainly not a perfectionist. Then some men are something in between. You simply need to adapt yourself to the kind of man that your husband is. Remember, its his job wash you with Word and mold you into the wife he believes God wants you to be for him but it is not your job to do this to him. You need to leave him in the hands of men in his who life will advice him and help him and ultimately leave him in God’s hands.

  32. Thanks BGR, yes it’s so true. This is something I’ll definitely need to think more over and learn. It’s making me realize that submission is not just a once and done thing. I need to continually cultivate it in myself and adapt to my husband.

  33. BGR,

    Wonderful article. Thank you for your ministry.

    afd,

    I have found myself in a similar position to yours many times over the course of our marriage. I have read all the books in the previous comments; taken notes and prayed over what I was reading. Submission can be a struggle, and it helps to have consistent guidance/accountability. I believe my husband also has feminist tendencies, and sometimes it’s difficult to not overpower him, even though he is quite “manly” and successful. 🙂

  34. Tina, yes, I think it is part of growing up in our current culture; it’s virtually inescapable unless you are very vigilant and self-reflective. It is a learning process for me, and I’ve daily got to be reminded of what God and my husband want for me in our marriage. I’ve recently been learning that the only opinions that matter in my world are God’s and my husband’s, and the only book I really need to worry about is the Bible. It’s actually very freeing, because I can read all the blogs and books about men and women and what their roles should be, hear what everyone else expects and does in their own relationships, and I start getting pulled in so many different directions…but the bottom line is I need to submit and obey the husband I’ve got. If he wants to do nice things for me, even if I think he’s spoiling me or being too appeasing, I need to graciously accept and receive that. When he’s correcting me or tells me to do or not do something, I’ve got to obey graciously. He actually gets pretty insulted if I insinuate he’s been too appeasing–like I’m insulting his manliness, because he’s just doing what he wants to do for me. My own expectations overcomplicate things, when in his mind, things are pretty straightforward!

  35. afd,
    I hate to keep bringing more books into this discussion taking it somewhat Off Topic but there is wisdom in some books that can help us understand this life we are living and make better sense of it. Another book that I read several years ago that has some wisdom in it that helped me to understand myself and my wife better was “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. Although the content of this book can be abused if applied wrong and in selfish ways, (as is true with most things) there is some valuable insight that can be applied correctly to greatly enhance the marriage relationship.

    In summary, Dr. Chapman says that there are basically 5 ways that people EXPRESS and EXPERIENCE Love. They are Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. He has observed that each individual person (typically) has one Primary and one Secondary Love “language”.

    We naturally try to express our love to others via our own Primary and/or Secondary language. Let’s say in your husbands case, its “doing nice things for you” or Acts of Service. If your primary love language is NOT Acts of Service, which (based on your reaction to him) sounds like it’s not, then he is, in effect, speaking a foreign language to you that you do not understand. As such, you misinterpret his actions and will either see his efforts as inconsequential, unnecessary, or even a little on the negative side… in your example, as being feminist. If your primary love language WAS Act of Service, these Acts of Service on his part would speak deeply to you in a very positive and nourishing way making you feel extremely loved, valued and cherished by your husband.

    You might consider reading this book and taking the test to see what your Primary and Secondary Love language is. You would also share this book/knowledge with your husband so that when each of you desire to purposefully show the other love, you can speak the language that they will understand the best so that as Dr. Chapman puts it, you can keep each others “Love Tank” full. This stuff sounds kind of silly but in my marriage is has really helped a lot.

  36. Trey, I love book recommendations, so it is ok by me! We have looked a little bit into the Love Languages, and we even have a copy, but I don’t think we’ve read it too deeply. I will have to put that one on my list as well!

  37. Trey,

    I have read the Chapman’s Five Languages and I have a different take. So you basically have these ways he says people feel loved:

    1. Receiving gifts
    2. Quality time
    3. Words of Affirmation
    4. Acts of Service (devotion)
    5. Physical Touch.

    All of these are good things to do in marriage and I agree with him that we each have a primary and secondary love language.
    However, the Five Love Languages encourages a feelings-based marriage. From a Christian perspective a husband could make his wife totally feel loved by identifying her primary and secondary love languages and the wife could do the same toward him and they could be completely happy with their life together but in God’s eyes their marriage could still be an utter failure.

    Is the core purpose of marriage for a man and woman to come together and make one another feel loved? The answer is no. God created marriage as extension of the reason he created man. He created man to image him and thereby bring him glory. That is the prime directive of man. He created woman and marriage for man to help him fully image God as a husband and father.
    So, a couple could be doing each other’s love languages they both could have great feelings of affection for one another on a daily basis yes in they are utterly failing to fulfill the purposes for which God created each of them.

    This is not to say we cannot be both holy and happy in our marriages. Many Christian couples are. But God created marriage to help man image God and picture the relationship between God and his people, any marriage that fails to display this fails in its core purpose.

  38. But there is another problem with Chapman’s Five Love Languages. While these five love languages can be used to help improve feelings of affection between a couple, they can also be used as tool to batter the other spouse and make excuses for bad behavior in the marriage.

    For instance, what if a woman’s love language is receiving gifts and the family is broke? What if a man spends what he believes to be quality time with his wife but she does not think it is enough? What if woman interprets words of affirmation as “lavish praise” and she does little to nothing worthy of praise?
    While I realize it may not have been Chapman’s intent, his book can be used to help improve an already Biblical marriage or could be used to wreck a Biblical marriage and transform it into a feelings-based relationship.

    And really these five love languages in addition to other lists actually form the foundation of the “Nice Guy” way of life. The husband tells himself, if I do these things then my wife will love me and give me all the sex I could ever want. I can tell based on many, many emails I have received since starting this blog as well as my own life experience with both my first and second wife that this is not true. Just because you show your wife affection does not mean she will finally be the wife you want her to be in return. That is a HUGE lie.

    So yes – I do some of these things for my wife. For instance, my wife has not been feeling well(beyond her normal chronic pain and other issues) and I cleaned the kitchen last night from top to bottom and took care of laundry as well. But I did it simply to be kind as an act of grace not because I expected it to evoke affection from her. Sometimes it might, sometimes it might now.

    Christian Marriage has a purpose and that purpose is not to make each other happy, but rather for the man and the woman to picture the relationship between God and his people. Happiness in marriage can be a wonderful byproduct but we must guard against making our spouse’s happiness the core purpose of our marriage.

  39. @BGR: Thank you for the response. I needed a few days to think about what I was going to do. I’ve decided to think less about certain situations. I have a tendency to assume a worst case scenario. Fear has pretty much dictated the need to control within my relationship. I’ve chose to spend my time praying. Last night I prayed, asking that one day I might be able let go of the fears that lead me directly into sin. Instead of praying for a change within my husband, I’ve prayed for a change within myself to be able to cope with what he asks of me.

    @Anm, Alice & Alex: Also, thank you for the response. I want to make it clear, it was through no fault of anyone on this site that I felt that way. It was simply the way that I interpreted some of the comments. Of course after commenting I can see how many other women also struggle in different ways.

    @Alex: I’m very much considering your advice. The only part I’m leaving out is the idea of showing my husband articles on this page so he can point out what he agrees with. I’m fully willing to attempt this whole biblical woman role but I don’t exactly want to give him any more ideas. Bringing him here only allows him to plot out even more ways to keep me within his boundaries. I laughed when I read that part because I instantly thought that I’m not wanting to give him any ideas if you know what I mean.

    @Alice: Yes, talk about backsliding. A few months ago I sent an email to BGR and I was all up and ready to try this new lifestyle. I did very well for about 3 days and then off and on for about a month. A week and a half ago my husband and I got into an argument about something that I can’t even remember. I yelled at him and ran off. When my husband attempted to talk to me while I was still mad I literally locked myself in the bathroom. He shoved his way through the door I tried to push him off of me multiple times. The worst part is that I’m a very nice person, I’m also kind. I just have a really hard time responding to him when he makes me do stuff I don’t want to do. He dictates who I can and cannot associate with, what I cannot wear, the way in which I speak around his friends, I’m usually not allowed to stay up if he decides to go to bed and other various things. These types of things really annoy me and the words inside my head escape my mouth which leads to a big argument. Maybe we all fall short, but that was an epic failure for sure. My frustrations seem to be different than those of some of the women on here, but still I feel less alone reading their comments and frustrations.

  40. The value I see in the 5 Love Languages is that it may make it easier for you to hit the gong of what really matters to your spouse. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, no reason to spin your wheels thinking you are doing something special for them if it doesn’t hit the mark.

    With all that said, biblical instruction on marriage is always king!

    It is one of those books that dares to tell women that offering their bodies to their husband is a very small chore for the benefit that their marriage will receive, so I will commend it for that.

    The other hard thing for marriages is false expectation. When what each spouse is supposed to do based on what the bible says are our responsibilities, we have a baseline of what is right. Then we have the option to go above it and have that “gone above” the baseline to be recognized as something extra. If one spouse has a false set of expectations, it often leads them to being discontented with what they don’t have instead of having gratitude for what they do have!

  41. @sunny, I do not want to derail, but I do want you to know you are not alone. I am very good at epic failure. Mine comes when I start to get the feeling that I want to be “free”. And by free, I mean free from my husband’s authority. It’s not that I want to do anything he has forbidden me to do, it’s that I want to feel like I can do what I want, instead of constantly thinking about whether or not I am in obedience to him. Because he physically disciplines me, our arguments end differently than most, but the rebellion is still there. And sometimes I am very resentful of the position in which God has placed me. But I do recognize that we are both much happier and at peace when I accept my role as a woman, so I do know that God’s way is the best way. It’s just really hard, some times. This is a fantastic site which has helped me a lot, but sometimes I wish someone, anyone, would recognize and address that it is very hard, as a woman brought up in the US, to live in submission.

  42. @BGR, I am confused by your statement:
    “Happiness in marriage can be a wonderful byproduct but we must guard against making our spouse’s happiness the core purpose of our marriage.”

    I thought making my husband happy is my secondary (primary being God) purpose/goal. Since he does not ever ask me to sin, isn’t making him happy the most important thing in my life? I know that him making me happy should not be his primary focus, as he is called to lead, but since I am free of that responsibility I though that my focus should be on doing what pleases him and to make him as happy as possible?

  43. @Alice it is so hard to maintain a submissive mindset. Discipline is used in our home, as well, but I often feel like I need more! I’ll pray for you!

  44. Alice,

    I actually think submission is harder for most women than for most men. In other words, men understand and submit easier than women do.

    Whether it be in the military or business we men understand the logic behind submission. Think of how chaotic the military would be if men did not submit to their chain of command? The same goes in business. I have people under me and several layers above me.

    At my job you know who often struggle to submit? It’s the women. And when u put women over women the it is almost hilarious to watch sometimes.

    The reason is because submission requires u to be logical. It requires u to divorce your feelings from ur duty. Men do duty far better than women.

  45. BGR, most men do not have to submit 24/7, unless they are in the military. Yes, you submit at your job, but then you are off. As a wife, we are never “off”

    I think I’m pretty logical, I have an MS in computer science. Submission is actually illogical, it demands that I put someone’s judgment over my own for no other reason than he is my husband.

  46. Alice, is God illogical in anything he commands or anything he has designed? Because God has designed this relationship where the woman is told to submit to her husband in everything. Please ponder that for a bit. Then I will give u some reasons why it is in fact logical.

  47. I do not worry overmuch about whether God is logical or not. I think Isaiah 55; 8-9 covers that. His ways are not our ways. I simply mean that complete submission is difficult and I don’t believe that a man can understand that. Women are called to submit and, unfortunately, we are gifted with intelligence and free will, which makes it difficult.

  48. Submission is difficult. It might help you Alice to know that men are not free of submission either. We have to submit to God. I understand that it isn’t the same, but we are not free of authority either. In fact, the desire to be free of authority is by itself sinful and a desire to be free of the Lord. It is a matter of perspective, The enemy would tell you that you “aren’t free” and but the truth is that being free of what is good (love, care) is a bad thing.
    Free will and intelligence are not the enemy of submission. Their is something truly special in joyful submission – that is submission that is done out of love, respect, and honor by that free will and intelligence.

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