5 Ways to Show Your Husband Reverence

The Bible commands in Ephesians 5:33 that “the wife see that she reverence her husband”.  But how does God want a wife to show reverence to her husband?  In this article, we will show Christian wives five biblically based ways that they should show reverence for their husbands.

In my previous article, “A Biblical View of Respect and Reverence”, I showed that while respect and honor are synonymous in the Bible – that reverence is much more than just respect or honor

As Christians we should value (respect and honor) the institutions God has created.  God has instituted civil authority, church authority, parental authority and the authority of husbands over their wives.  To respect these positions is to show that we value them by our words and actions toward these authorities.

1 Peter 2:17 shows that respect (which is the same as honor) is owed to all people.  Why does God want us to show by our words and actions that we value all people? The answer is found in Genesis 9:6 where God commanded that “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man”.  Mankind, both men and women, are made in God’s image. That makes human life special and more valuable than all other life on earth.

Anytime I say men and women are made in the image of God – I must always add this note for people who get confused on this issue.  The Bible shows us in 1 Corinthians 11:7-8 that while woman was taken from man (and thus she is also made in God’s image because of that) that it is only the male who “is the image and glory of God”.  This is why God has masculine like “Father”, “Son” and “King” and not “Mother”, “Daughter” and “Queen”.  It is why Jesus chose 12 male apostles and no female apostles.  It is why priests in the OId Testament had to be male and why pastors in the New Testament must be male.   And it why God has commanded that families are to be led by men.

I also talked about respect for the person verses respect for the position.  We can honor and respect the position of king or president without having respect for his actions in his personal life or his policy positions.  The same goes for children with their parents.

But God calls wives to do much more than just respect, honor and value their husband’s position.

Wives are called to reverence their husbands.

In Ephesians 5:33 the Bible states:

““Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

And in 1 Peter 3:1-2 the Bible states

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;  While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

The Greek words being translated as “reverence” and “fear” in Ephesians 5:33 and 1 Peter 3:1-2 are Phobeo and Phobos.  These two Greek synonyms in their most literal sense mean “fear” or “to be afraid” and they can also mean “to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience”.

But while Ephesians 5 richly describes the relationship of the husband and wife as God designed it to be, it is not exhaustive in all aspects of how marriage should operate.   And while Ephesians 5:33 commands wives to reverence their husbands – it does not really describe how that reverence should look. 

This is where Psalm 45 comes in to help us learn how wives can show reverence toward their husbands.

Psalm 45 – A Picture of the Relationship of Christ to His Church

Psalm 45 is unmistakably a prophecy of Christ and his bride, the church.  The Psalm is written from the perspective of one of the King’s subjects writing a song about his King’s upcoming wedding.  He spends verses 1 to 5 talking about the noble character of his great King:

“1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. “

And then in verses 6 and 7 we see that this is clearly a reference to God the father appointing Christ as King:

“6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

Then in Psalm 45:10-11 the songwriter changes his perspective from speaking to the King to now speaking to the bride who is about to marry the King:

“10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; 11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.”

These two verses are filled with rich theology.  While Ephesians 5:33 commands women to reverence their husbands – it is these two verses from Psalm 45:10-11 which help to show what the reverence of a wife toward her husband should look like.

But before we can apply what these verses are saying to the command for women to reverence their husbands, we need to address a translation issue.

Is Psalm 45:11 Saying that Wives Should Worship Their Husbands?

At the latter end of Psalm 45:11 the KJV renders the verse as “for he is thy Lord, worship thou him”.  Since this passage is a prophecy of Christ and his church and Ephesians 5:23 tells us the husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his church is God commanding that wives should worship their husbands?

The answer to that question is found in many passages of the Bible but Revelation 19:10 gives us an extremely clear answer where John fell at the feet of angel to worship him:

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

We worship God and God alone.  So, we know that Psalm 45:11 is not teaching women to worship their husbands.  So, does that mean we dismiss the latter part of Psalm 45:11 as not applying to human marriage at all? The answer to that is no as well. 

To better understand how Psalm 45:11 applies not just to the spiritual marriage of Christ and his church, but also to human marriage we will look at this same passage in the English Standard Version of the Bible:

“Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:

  forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty.

Since he is your lord, bow to him.”

Notice the big difference? In the KJV it tells the woman to “worship” the king who will be her husband.  In the ESV it tells her to “bow to him”.  And if you were to see the wording of this you would also notice that the KJV capitalizes the word “Lord” while the ESV uses a lower case “lord”.

Why is the KJV translation of Psalm 45:11 different than the ESV translation?

The reason for the difference in translation has to do with the Hebrew word “Shachah”.  The most literal meaning of Shachah is “to bow down”.  But sometimes when someone bows down, they are not just showing reverence, but they are also engaging in worship. 

In other words, all worship involves bowing of some sort, but not all bowing is worship.  Sometimes bowing is just reverence.

The easiest way to illustrate this is when Moses did Shachah in two different occasions.  In Exodus 18:7, Moses did Shachah toward his father-in-law so it simply translated as “obeisance” which a synonym for reverence.  However, in Exodus 34:8, when Moses did Shachah toward God – it was more than just reverence – it was an act of worship and it was translated as such.

Psalm 45 presents a dilemma for translators when it comes to translating Shachah.  In this story, we see a King being married to the royal daughter of another king.  But the story here is a prophecy of Christ being wedded to his church. 

So, while the KJV would not normally translate someone bowing to a king as “worship” they decided to translate it here as worship and to capitalize the “L” in Lord to indicate it is a prophecy of Christ.  

The ESV translated it as “bow down” instead of “worship” because while they agreed that this is a prophecy of Christ and his church that it is using a human story of a King marrying a royal daughter and therefore her bowing down would not be an act of worship, but rather an act of reverence.

I can see reasons for both translations.  But in the end if we remember that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church than any reference to Christ and his bride has application to human marriage as well.  

So, when applying this to human marriage and not the spiritual marriage of Christ and the church – Shachah must be understood in its most literal sense of bowing down in reverence.

And now that we have shown how Psalm 45 presents a picture of the marriage between Christ and his church, we will now show four principles of reverence found in this passage that can help wives fulfill God’s command for them to reverence their husbands. And we will end with a 5th principle of reverence for wives found in Proverbs 12.

Principle #1 – A Reverent Wife Makes Her Husband Her Standard of Masculinity

Psalm 45:10 tells women “forget your people and your father’s house”.

For most young women (if they had a good relationship with him) their father is their standard of masculinity.  For other women they may have other men in mind as to their standard of masculinity.  But once a woman marries – her husband becomes her standard of masculinity and she should never compare him to any other man in her mind or in her words toward her husband.

One of the biggest destroyers of reverence that a woman might otherwise have for her husband is when she compares him to other men.  Whether it be her father, her grandfather, her brothers or her sisters’ husbands. 

The Bible shows us that there are two major variations of masculinity and your husband will most likely be more like one or the other.   Those two variations could be classified as the “Warrior” and the “Wiseman”.  In modern terms think of this as the “jock” and the “nerd”.

King David was a “warrior” type man while his son, King Solomon, was a “wiseman” type man.  Another way to view the “wiseman” would be as a scholar.  The wiseman is more cerebral in his activities and the warrior is more physical in his activities.

So maybe your father and brothers are avid hunters while you the man you married likes to read books and play strategy games.  You cannot shame your husband because is he not like these other men you know.  Or maybe it’s the opposite.  Maybe your husband is not the reader your father was, but he is an avid hunter and sportsman.  Again, you must respect him for the man he is.

Principle #2 – A Reverent Wife Addresses Her Husband as Her Earthly lord

Psalm 45:11 says “Since he is your lord…”.

There are two Hebrew words in the Old Testament used to refer to a woman’s husband beside “ish” which means “man”.  Those two words are “baal” and “adown”.  When baal is used it emphasizes the ownership of the husband and when “adown” is used it emphasizes the husband being ruler over his wife.

Psalm 45:11’s command to women to regard their husbands as their earthy lords perfectly connects with 1 Peter 3:5-6 which tells women to do the same thing:

“5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

The most practical way a woman can verbally show her husband she regards him as her lord is by frequently say “Yes sir”.  In our culture the word “sir” can take on many meanings.  Sometimes it simply a polite way to address a man.  Men will call each other sir all the time and women will call other men sir as well.  But when a woman looks at her man and says “Yes sir” (and she does in a respectful way) he feels her reverence in that moment.

Some husbands might want their wives to use the word “lord” as it is in the Bible so their wives should say “Yes, my lord”, rather than “Yes sir”.  But in either case – a woman should use what her husband deems shows him the most reverence in how she addresses him.

A husband and wife can work out the particulars of this and there is nothing wrong with a woman calling her husband “honey” or “my love” in various contexts just as the Song of Solomon shows.  But especially when husbands and wives are having serious discussions and the husband has given his wife commands this is when “yes sir” or “yes, my lord” would absolutely be appropriate and a way wives can show reverence to their husbands.

Principle #3 – A Reverent Wife Kneels Before Her Husband

Psalm 45:11 says “Since he is your lord, bow to him”.  

A minimalist view of bowing would look like the Japanese who routinely bow to one another out of respect.  But I don’t think this is the kind of bowing that Psalm 45:11 has in mind for the wife with her husband when it calls her to bow to her husband as her earthly lord. 

Instead, I believe the kind of Shachah, or bowing down, being pictured in Psalm 45:11 is closer to what Mephibosheth did in the presence of King David in 2 Samuel 9:6 where he “he fell on his face, and did reverence”.  That is the kind of humility a wife should be having with her husband.

More evidence that God wants a woman to be comfortable being on her knees before her husband is found in Song of Solomon 2:3 where the wife states the following about her husband:

“As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”

A godly woman finds “great delight” in in sitting down in the shadow of her husband.  And one of the most reverent acts a woman can do as she sits in her husband’s shadow is to perform oral sex to completion on him which is what is being pictured in Song of Solomon 2:3.

Don’t misunderstand me – I am not saying every time a woman sits down below her husband she needs to try and do oral sex on him.  Should she sometimes? Yes.  Should she always if he wants it? Yes.  But also, there may be times when she just delights to sit his shadow and look up to him as they converse. 

Principle #4 – A Reverent Wife Appreciates Her Husband’s Desire For Feminine Beauty

Psalm 45:11 says So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty”.

Why does the King desire her beauty? Because men are designed by God to be drawn to feminine beauty.  A woman should never shame her husband for desiring to see her show off her beauty.  How many conservative Christian women do this very thing to their husbands?  This behavior is the very opposite of reverencing your husband.

Practically speaking, this means surprising your husband with some sexy lingerie is a form of reverence because you are affirming his desire for your beauty.  It means if he so desires, wearing a sexy dress for date night with him.  It could mean wearing a particular bathing suit he wants you to wear as you go to the beach.  It means dressing the way he wants you to, and keeping your hair and makeup the way, he likes it.  And it also means doing your best to keep your figure as it was when you first met.

And in a broader sense, when a woman shames her husband for noticing other beautiful women this is by definition an irreverent act on her part.  Her actions shows that she despises her husband’s God given polygynous nature.

Principle #5 – A Reverent Wife Is Her Husband’s Greatest Fan

The final way that a wife should show her husband reverence does not come from this passage in Psalm 45 that we have been looking at – but rather it comes from Proverbs 12:4 which states the following:

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

A woman should always be her husband’s greatest fan and cheerleader, whether it is in private just with him and especially when others are around. 

Women who argue with their husbands in private or in public are being irreverent toward them.  Correcting him or contradicting him is being irreverent toward him.

A woman being critical of her husband is the very definition of an irreverent wife.

Listen to the Two-Hour Podcast Series Based on This Article to Learn More

I have produced a two-part podcast series, with each part being about an hour long, where I give more detail on these principles. In these podcasts I show other ways women can reverence their husbands and combat their own pride and insecurities as they do this.

Verbal Consent Not Required In Biblical Marriage

Nowhere does the Bible condemn by explicit command or even by general principle a man using force to make his wife have sex in marriage.  In other words, the Bible does not recognize the 19th century feminist invention of “marital rape”.

A woman going by the handle @_DearSister_ has an Instagram page where she teaches a conservative and Christian patriarchal view of marriage to women.

On that page she recently had a discussion about marital rape, and specifically the idea of some feminists saying that if a wife does not give verbal consent to her husband with each sexual encounter that the sex that follows is to be considered rape. 

In other words, what they are saying is, if the husband just starts trying to have sex with his wife and she allows it but did not say yes – this is rape.

I came on her page and went further than she did.  I said the Bible does not recognize that rape can occur within marriage.  In other words, Biblically speaking – “marital  rape” is an oxymoron.

What follows is a discussion I had with another woman on @_DearSister_ page who goes by handle @chellechristiansen.   We had some discussion before this point. But it was these comments from her that drove my more detailed response. I will show a screen shot her comment and then give my response that I have to her below it (of course for Instagram I had break up my response into a lot of small pieces).  And if you are not following me on Instagram (@biblicalgenderroles) – I highly recommend you do as the vast majority of my new content is there or on my podcast site (BGRLearning.com) and I slowly work it back here to my blog.

I have had this discussion with liberal women for years and they always go to the same tired humanist and feminist arguments. But the discussion I had with chellechristiansen was interesting because it was with a very conservative Christian woman who believes in submission and actually thinks Christian wives saying no to sex is sinful (a breath of fresh air). She just thinks it is wrong for a husband to force his wife to have sex even though she is sinfully refusing.

So my conversation with her was intended to reach other Christian women like her who are actually much closer to the truth on this issue of how sex should happen in a Biblical marriage.

My Response to chellechristiansen

I realize in my last comment I said I was done and would give you the final word in our discussion. I did not want to go round and round about the same arguments.  But as I have pondered your last comment here the for a few days – I realize there are some different questions from you here and a slightly different argument that you are making against a husband forcing his wife to have sex in marriage. 

I know what I showed you before and the new facts I will show you now may not change your mind.  10 years ago, I would have agreed with every word you are saying here because I did know about the history of humanism, feminism and the invention of “marital rape” by feminists in 19th century. I did know the history of how the early church fathers and later medieval chivalry codes changed our views on the acceptable treatment of wives by their husbands. 

I did know that up even into the 19th century that courts including English and American upheld the Biblical principal that husbands were masters and owners of their wives in keeping with 1 Peter 3:5-6 and that they upheld the husband’s right to use force and discipline to compel his wife’s obedience “in everything” (Ephesians 5:24) just as Christ compels the obedience of his church through discipline in Revelation 3:19.  They even referred to these rights as ancient rights of men practiced in all cultures.

I don’t even need Deuteronomy 21:10-14 where God expressly allows men to take captive women and force them to be their wives to defend the position I am taking here.  There is a larger position I am taking which goes beyond forced sex in marriage.  And that is that husbands have not only right, but the responsibility to use all means at their disposal to compel their wives’ obedience just as Christ uses discipline to compel their obedience of his church.

Now as someone else pointed out here in this thread, men no longer have these “ancient rights” as one court referred to them.  Feminists have won many court battles over the last century and convinced legislatures to strip men of their mastery over their wives and their ability compel their wives to obey by use of force. 

In other words, a man in our modern age who simply attempts to follow the Biblical example of God in disciplining his wife (as God did Israel and Christ did the church) could land himself in jail.   This is why I do NOT recommend that most Christian men use physical force of any kind in our day in age with their wives. However, there are a small minority of Christian wives still raised with these ancient Biblical truths and if they are then their husbands can exercise these rights in marriage.

You asked about me saying there is no such thing as marital rape and yet saying marital rape is expressly condoned in the Bible in Deuteronomy 21:10-14.  I apologize for not being precise in my language.  Before the 19th century, the English term “rape” did mean “forced sex”, but rather it was a more precise term that meant “forced sex outside of marriage”.  Then 19th century feminists invented the concept of “marital rape” and eventually just the word “rape” meant all forced sex whether in marriage or outside of marriage.   

A good way to understand the difference between forced sex and rape is to compare it with beating someone.  Are all incidents of one person beating someone immoral according the Bible? The answer is no.  In fact, the Bible expressly condones both adults and children being beaten as chastisement in these passages (Deut 25:3, Prov 26:3). 

And lest you think this only Old Testament, Christ condoned physical chastisement of adults in Luke 12:46-48 and so does the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2:18-20.  And in for course the Bible expressly prescribes physical discipline for children as well in Proverbs 23:13 and Hebrews 12:5-11.   

As I have shown from the previous Scripture references, the Bible expressly allows and even condones the beating of adults and children by their authorities.  As Christians then we should call beating someone unlawfully “assault” while biblically we must call a God ordained authority beating someone as discipline – “chastisement”.   It is the same with forced sex.  Forced sex Biblically speaking should be called “rape”, only if that forced sex was of a man who was not a woman’s husband.   

So, to be clear, what I am saying is the Bible expressly condones forced sex within marriage in Deuteronomy 21:10-14 and it also implicitly condones forced sex by making the husband responsible for compelling his wife’s obedience as her ruler and master and as Christ compels his wife, the church.  (See Gen 3:16, 1 Peter 3:5-6 and Rev 3:19).

You argued that a husband forcing his wife to have sex, even when she sinfully has said no, is a violation of the fruits of the spirit.  But is it really? First and foremost, Galatians 5:22-23 listing of the fruits of the spirit is not exhaustive.  Jesus Christ exhibited another fruit of the spirit – righteous anger when he fashioned cords to make a whip and beat the money changers, turned over their tables and drove them from the temple in John 2:13–17.  Paul also exhibited this righteous anger when he asked the disobedient church at Corinth if he needed to bring a rod to discipline them in 1 Corinthians 4:21.

Could a man be violating the fruits of the spirit in some cases of forcing his wife to have sex? Yes.  If his wife is ill, just had surgery, has just given birth or has some other condition like this then yes this would be a lack of self-control, seeking his own at the expense of her need (selfishness).  If a man always forces sex on his wife (as some men actually sinfully prefer) and is never gentle with her – this too would be a violation of the fruits of the spirit.

Should there be some room also for mercy for the wife? That even at times when she sinfully says no (as opposed to graciously asking for a rain check when she is ill) that even in this sinful situation he shows mercy and does not force her? Yes.

But if a husband allows a pattern of willful sin on the part of his wife, where she can say “no” to sex with no fear of any consequences – such a man is derelict in his duty before God to discipline his wife as Christ does his church (Rev 3:19).  And yes, forced sex by a husband can absolutely be a form of discipline in marriage. 

You said at the end of your comment “Let her be in sin and guide her to repentance”.  This is utterly unbiblical.  God did not let his wife Israel remain in sin, but rather he disciplined her to try and bring her out it.  Christ does not allow his wife (his church), to remain in sin, but rather he disciplines her to try and bring her out of it.

And it is this false philosophy of “Let her be in sin and guide her to repentance”, which originates in faulty think of Christians from the medieval chivalrous period, which actually laid the foundations for 19th century feminism.  And now we have as Western civilization reaped the consequences of two centuries of undisciplined wives.  Men are expected to wash their wives as Christ does his church (Ephesians 5:25-27) as well as rebuke and chasten them as Christ does his church (Revelation 3:19).

Chivalrous Patriarchy Is NOT Biblical Patriarchy

In recent years we have seen studies and articles like “After Decades of Decline, A Rise in Stay-at-Home Mothers” from Pew Research. And “More Millennial Women Are Becoming Stay-At-Home Moms — Here’s Why” from Forbes as well as the recent “The Real Tradwives of 2022: Why More Young Moms Are Becoming Traditional Housewives” from Katie Couric Media.  

All of these articles and studies have secular humanists, feminists and egalitarians quaking in their boots.   Why? Because they show younger woman seeing the flaws of feminism and egalitarianism as exhibited in their parents lives and marriages.  They saw the strain their mother’s career put on her trying to balance spending time with them and keeping up with work.  They may even have seen how their mother’s career directly led to their parent’s divorce. 

Not only are these “trad wife” women rejecting careerism for women, but many of them are also embracing patriarchy and specifically the idea of women submitting to their husbands. 

In “The Real Tradwives of 2022: Why More Young Moms Are Becoming Traditional Housewives”, Jo Piazza laments that “A woman submitted to her husband and letting him take agency over her entire life is a dangerous throwback”.

As Bible believing Christians though, we praise God for raising up a faithful remnant of young men and women in this wicked and perverse generation who want to return to his design of Biblical gender roles.

But as young Christian men and women seek to return to a patriarchal life, we must come alongside them and warn them of the fact that not all systems of patriarchy are biblical.

In America, there are two competing systems of patriarchy and those are Chivalrous Patriarchy and Biblical Patriarchy.  Chivalrous Patriarchy goes by a new name given to it in late 1980s by John Piper and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.  That new name is Complementarianism.

Differences Between Chivalrous Patriarchy and Biblical Patriarchy

Biblical Patriarchy is a Christian belief system which embraces everything that both the Old and New Testaments teach about gender roles and marriage. 

Biblical Patriarchy fully accepts the Bible’s teaching that men are to have full dominion over women in all areas of society including the civil arena, the church and especially the home. (Genesis 3:16, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Corinthians 14:35,1 Timothy 2:12, 1 Timothy 3:2)

Biblical Patriarchy sees the husband and father as the God ordained patriarch of the home and the most powerful human authority God established. In the view of Biblical Patriarchy, the husband and father have far greater responsibility and authority over the lives of their wives and children than do civil or church authorities whose powers are more limited in scope. (Exodus 22:16-17, Numbers 30, Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Peter 3:1-4)

Biblical Patriarchy accepts the Biblical commands that women are to be in full subjection to their male head (father, husband or other male) and that women are never to act autonomously outside of some form of male headship in their lives.   Biblical Patriarchy fully embraces that a husband is not just his wife’s male head, but that he is her earthly master appointed by God (Numbers 30, Ephesians 5:22-24,1 Peter 3:5-6).

Biblical Patriarchists accept that it is a shame for women to rule over men. Because women are command to be in full subjection to their male heads, Biblical Patriarchists reject rights give to women since the mid-19th century including child custody and financial support in divorce, the ability of women to own property and women having the right to vote. (Isaiah 3:12 ,1 Corinthians 11:3-10)

Biblical Patriarchists accept that the Bible calls husbands to actively discipline their wives.  Biblical Patriarchists also accepts the fact that Biblical chastening can be both non-physical as well as physical as long as it follows proper Biblical guidelines and safe guards. (Exodus 21:26-27, Deuteronomy 25:3, Proverbs 26:3, Hebrews 12:11, Revelation 3:19)

Biblical Patriarchy also accepts polygamy as fully allowed by God.  It sees man’s polygynous nature not as a corruption of sin, but as the design of God. It also sees the Biblical truth that woman was made for man and therefore sex was made for man.  Biblical Patriarchy embraces the truth that women are commanded to sexually ravish their husbands and they do not condemn forced sex by a husband of his wife in marriage. (Genesis 30:18, Exodus 21:10-11, Deuteronomy 21:14, 2 Samuel 12:8, Proverbs 5:18-19)

Biblical Patriarchy categorically rejects careerism for women and embraces the biblical call for women to be keepers at home with men being providers for the home. (1 Timothy 5:14, Titus 2:4-5)

Chivalrous Patriarchy, more commonly known today as Complementarianism, is set apart from Biblical patriarchy in several ways.

First and foremost, Chivalrous Patriarchy is more dismissive of the Old Testament as being an equal source of divine truth on gender roles.

Chivalrous Patriarchy teaches a much more limited form of male headship than the Bible does.  Chivalrous Patriarchy ignores the Biblical teaching that husbands are not just male heads over their wives, but they are in fact their wives’ masters.   Chivalrous Patriarchy teaches that husbands are merely figure head leaders for their wives and that husbands have no authority or power to compel their wives’ submission.  Submission of wives to their husbands in Chivalrous Patriarchy is completely voluntary.

Chivalrous Patriarchy unequivocally condemns polygamy and fully embraces the romantic view of marriage.  They see man’s polygynous nature as a corruption of sin. Also, Chivalrous Patriarchy does not see sex as primarily created for man, but they sex as equally created for men and women.  Chivalrous Patriarchy teaches men that the goal of sex is to please their wives sexually.  This is why Chivalrous Patriarchy teaches that men should never force or pressure their wives to have sex, but instead wait for their wives to be in the mood for sex since the goal of sex is to please their wives.

Chivalrous Patriarchy categorically denies the Biblical teaching that a husband has the right and responsibility to discipline his wife and especially that he has the option of physically discipling his wife.

Chivalrous Patriarchy teaches that it is a sin for a man to cause his wife pain in any fashion even if it is done without malicious intent and is a result of discipline or as a result of forced sex. Chivalrous Patriarchy condemns forced sex in marriage as “marital rape”.

Chivalrous Patriarchy does not have issues with women voting or having a degree of autonomy from men whether it be their husbands or fathers.  And Chivalrous Patriarchy gives women the option to have careers outside the home and does not teach that women must be keepers at home.

Origins of Chivalrous Patriarchy (Now known as Complementarianism)

The assault on Biblical patriarchy began with early church fathers like Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.), Irenaeus (120 A.D. to 200 A.D.) and Tertullian (155 A.D. to 220 A.D) who sought to correct what they saw as an oversight by the Apostles.  They specifically condemned polygamy as incompatible with Christianity.

Then in 285 A.D., Rome began to impose the Roman version of patriarchy on all its provinces.  The constitution of Diocletian and Maximian prohibited polygamy throughout the Roman empire.  The term “Romantic” meant “like the Romans who have only one wife”.

The Jews were among some of the fiercest opponents of the new Roman edict against polygamy claiming their Holy Scriptures allowed this right to all men.  This Jewish resistance eventually led to a new Roman law in 393 A.D., targeted specifically at the Jews, commanding them to give up their ethnic custom of polygamy.

At the same time that Roman laws were seeking to wipe out the last remaining vestiges of polygamy, Church fathers like John Chrysostom (347-407) began to assault the ancient practice of wife discipline.  Chrysostom argued against all forms of physical discipline of wives and instead argued that husbands should always seek to gently correct their wives and then leave them to God. On the other hand, Augustine (354 A.D. to 430 A.D.) argued that if a woman was beaten by her husband in most cases, she needed it.  

Around 700 A.D. new laws started springing up throughout Christian Europe requiring rings for both men and women when entering into marriage.   In previous societies wedding rings for men would have made no sense because men could have more than one wife.  But now with monogamy being strictly enforced – a ring binding a man to only one woman made sense.

Chivalry was a code of conduct that originated around 1100 A.D. amongst medieval Christian knights in Europe.  Besides codes of conduct for war and loyalty to the church and one’s nation it also had specific codes of conduct related to how knights would treat women of noble birth.

Eventually these codes of conduct were not just for knights and women of noble birth.  The common people also took these customs on so they could feel more like nobility.  Chivalry eventually became the “cool” way for men to behave toward women.

The chivalry codes built further on the Roman (Romantic) customs and laws regarding men having only one wife. Now instead of just giving a woman a ring, the man would kneel down before the woman in deference to her.  Also new chivalry codes made the common practice of husbands disciplining their wives to become unfashionable in many circles although it was still common until it was outlawed in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The system of Chivalrous Patriarchy was the direct result of centuries of early church fathers, Roman and later Medieval codes all eroding the rights of husbands in marriage and elevating women to a place God never meant them to be.  The Chivalrous Patriarchal system with its disapproval of wife discipline allowed 19th century feminism to form nearly unchecked and the Chivalrous Patriarchal system was the direct precursor to late 20th century Complementarianism.

Conclusion

In a way, you could call Biblical Patriarchy “hard patriarchy” and Chivalrous Patriarchy “soft patriarchy”.  Biblical Patriarchy is hardcore adherence to Biblical gender roles.  The demands of Biblical patriarchy are harder because they demand more from both the husband and the wife.

Chivalrous Patriarchy makes patriarchy more palatable to women giving them all the goodies of Patriarchy (a man providing for them and protecting them) and also him making suggestions for her life that she may or may not take. Ultimately the wife gets to choose what kind of wife she will be and the man simply has to live with it.

But make no mistake – I have met many Christian men over the years of doing this blog that absolutely love Chivalrous Patriarchy.  They love it because it is not as demanding on them as Biblical Patriarchy is.  They don’t have to worry about disciplining their wife or trying to mold her into the wife God wants her to be. The kind of wife she will be is totally between her and God.  They just provide for her and generally try to make her happy while making a suggestion here and there to her about the direction of her life or their family.  And these men truly enjoy having to earn sex from their wives and they really believe sex is all about doing whatever pleases their wives.

This is why I sometimes chuckle at how worked up humanists and feminists get over Complementarianism (Chivalrous Patriarchy) because it really is still so soft on women.  Women still choose to submit to what they want to and don’t have to submit to what they don’t want.  In other words, women still have a great deal of autonomy in a Chivalrous Patriarchal marriage.

On the other hand, I can totally understand why humanists lose their minds when hearing the teachings of Biblical Patriarchy because the values of Biblical Patriarchy are all in complete and utter opposition to the values of humanism.

I also want to acknowledge the fact that I have a lot of Christian friends, including bloggers and Instagram folks, who find themselves somewhere in the middle of these two schools of thought. 

For instance, I have many friends who embrace everything about Biblical patriarchy and even husbands being called to discipline their wives, but they just can’t wrap their heads around physical discipline even though the Bible allows it.  And I have other friends who can accept everything about Biblical Patriarchy except the biblical allowance for polygamy or the fact that God designed man with a capacity for polygyny which explains a lot of natural male behaviors.

And to those people I say – “I used to be you”.  I struggled with some of these same issues years ago.  And then I just let go of my 21st century American cultural conditioning and let the Bible guide my feelings on these various moral issues. God can change your heart if you just recognize and let go of your cultural conditioning.

We as Biblical patriarchists need to be looking for these young people in our churches, extended families or online who are hungry to learn about Biblical patriarchy. And we need to catch them as early as possible before they get caught up in Chivalrous Patriarchy which we have shown here is not the genuine article.  And even if they have already been caught up in Chivalrous Patriarchy – it is never too late to bring them to the real deal.

Articles on Stay at Home Moms

“After Decades of Decline, A Rise in Stay-at-Home Mothers”

“More Millennial Women Are Becoming Stay-At-Home Moms — Here’s Why” https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahlandrum/2018/02/09/more-millennial-women-are-becoming-stay-at-home-moms-heres-why/?sh=33ad7c336a2b  

“The Real Tradwives of 2022: Why More Young Moms Are Becoming Traditional Housewives” https://katiecouric.com/culture/what-is-a-tradwife/