Is it Fair for A Fat Christian Man to Expect His Wife to Remain Fit?

There are few things that Egalitarians hate more than an old man married to a young woman or a fat man married to a fit woman.  But when it comes to men exercising their power over their wives, complementarians and even some patriarchists will join egalitarians in condemning the fat husband for expecting his wife to remain fit. But what does the Bible say about this situation?

 I have already given principles of what should guide a man’s weight in previous posts in this series on fitism as well as general principles that guide a woman’s weight. In this final post on this topic of fitism, we will apply principles I have previously established to this issue.

And for all my critics of my view of fitism – no my wife is not fit, neither do I expect her to be – she has big breasts and a big rear end just the way I like it.   We are both nearing our 50s and are overweight by government standards (CDC/NIH) standards.   My point is – no I am not the fat guy expecting my wife to remain fit.  My wife has never been fit since I met her and I like her fuller figure just fine.

Also, just for those who are wondering, I am pretty active physically despite having a sedentary job as a software developer.  I take walking breaks during my work day and I also walk at night after work.

So now let’s get to the million-dollar question.  And its actually a pretty quick and easy answer from a biblical perspective.

Is it fair for a fat man to expect his wife to remain fit?

It has always seemed strange to me that many traditional Christians reject egalitarianism in so many areas yet in this area of body fat percentage they lock arms with egalitarians.

A common statement we hear on the matter of weight and body appearance is that “Spouses need to keep their bodies sexually appealing for each other”.

Egalitarians, complementarians and even some patriarchists point to 1 Corinthians 7:4 to support an egalitarian view of sexual appeal – “The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”

The claim is that 1 Corinthians 7:4 gives husbands and wives equal power over each other’s bodily appearance.  But this is false.  1 Corinthians 7:4 is condemning sexual denial in marriage.  It does not give a woman ownership over her husband’s body, it gives her access.

Another egalitarian argument which is also borrowed by complementarians and some patriarchists is “How can a fat man expect his wife to be fit? If he is fat then she should be able to be fat as well”.

All of these arguments show a denial of a crucial Biblical principle taught in 1 Corinthians 11:9 “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man”.

Man was not created to be woman’s companion, to support her in her career goals, to care for her children while she works or keep the house.  But rather, woman was created to do all these things for man.     

Man was not created to be beautiful for woman or to bring her sexual pleasure.  But rather, woman was created to do these things for man.

Some will ask “Why then does the Bible tell men not to deny sex to their wives?” The answer is that woman was created with a desire for sex and the ability to enjoy sex FOR man.   And God expects men to make full use of his design of sex in marriage.

Click here to go back to the beginning of this series on fitism

3 thoughts on “Is it Fair for A Fat Christian Man to Expect His Wife to Remain Fit?

  1. “It is a shame far a man to grow old without knowing the beauty and strength of which his body capable.”- Socrates
    This quote has stuck with me throughout my entire fitness journey. I take a variety of supplements to improve my physique and devote 8 hours a week to exercise. I truly don’t understand how any man, aside from health reasons, could EVER allow himself to be obese.
    Especially as a young unmarried man in this culture, you simply can’t expect women to drop onto your radar. You MUST be doing things to improve your status and draw women to you. The two easiest ways that I have found regarding this attraction are wealth and fitness.

  2. True, it seems not fair that a fat Christian man expects his wife to be fit. I may add that once the other men at his church find out, he would be called out by them for his seeming hypocrisy of him being unfit while his wife is fit. They would talk to him about hypocrisy in the church and try to compare his expectations for his wife to the Pharisees of old who were called out by Jesus for their hypocrisy. They would counsel, encourage, and admonish him to get fit and develop a plan to get fit. They would point out that doing that, it would make it easier for his wife to respect him. That is what I suspect would possibly happen with the fat Christian man.

  3. Michael,

    When I used the term “fair” in the title of this post, it was not used in the modern sense which is “equal”. I was using it in the older way meaning “just”. Is it just, is it right for a fat man to expect his wife to remain fit? And the answer is absolutely yes! And it is not hypocrisy at all on his part to expect his wife do something, i.e. remain fit, that he himself is not doing.

    Is it hypocrisy for a man to expect his wife to submit to him and him not to submit to her? Of course not. He is not required to do so. And he is not committing any sin by being fat as long as his weight does not impact his ability to lead, protect and provide for his family and of course to be able to have sex with his wife. If he is 200 lbs overweight that may actually impact him being able to provide or even have sex with his wife. If he is 50 lbs overweight, that will not impact any of those areas.

    But a husband can absolutely expect his wife do things that he does not expect of himself – they are two very different positions. God created her for him, not him for her (1 Corinthians 11:9).

    Here is a difficult thing for people to grasp, especially if they are clinging to modern Egalitarian views of marriage (and sadly even many Complementarians who believe in male headship still cling to some Egalitarian values).

    And here are two difficult truths:

    It is NOT immoral for a man to be have extra belly fat as long it does not get to a point where it impedes him from working to provide for his family or from having sex with his wife. In other words, a husband does NOT have a moral obligation before God to keep his body in a way which pleases his wife visually.

    On the other hand, it IS immoral for a woman to have extra belly fat (aside from being pregnant of course or if she is disabled and cannot exercise…ect) IF her husband wishes to her loose said belly fat and she is physically capable of doing so and simply chooses not to.

    Why is it immoral?
    First for the primary reason that a woman is to submit to her husband “in everything” (Ephesians 5:24), the man has no such requirement toward his wife (despite Egalitarian attempts to bastardize Eph 5:21 which speaks to equals in the church (men with men and women with women) and not to the husband/wife relationship).
    Secondly the husband has no biblical obligation to ravish (sexually intoxicate) his wife, however the wife has this obligation toward her husband (Proverbs 5:19)

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