The Need to Expose Wives’ Sexual Defrauding Before the Church

Many Christians believe the only way a woman can be unfaithful to her husband is by having sex with men other than her husband.  Today we call this adultery. But in the Bible adultery was a two-sided coin.   In the book of Ezekiel the prophet writes the following concerning Israel’s unfaithfulness to her husband which was God:

“You adulteress wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband!”

Ezekiel 16:32 (KJV)

In the above passage we see there are two parts to adultery, or what we would call marital unfaithfulness on the part of a wife:

  1. When a wife takes men other than her husband.
  2. When a wife does not take her husband.

It is utterly ludicrous to say as so many Christian teachers have falsely taught – that if a woman does not take other men yet refuses to take her husband she is still being faithful to him.  If she does not take her husband she guilty of unfaithfulness to him.

In the church we are often taught that sexual immorality, otherwise known as fornication, has to do with sexual acts God does not allow like homosexual acts, premarital sex and adultery.  But the Bible clearly teaches that there is a type of sexual immorality that we can actually commit by NOT having sex.

We find this teaching in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian Church:

“2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”

I Corinthians 7:2-5 (KJV)

So how does a man and woman “avoid fornication” according to God’s Word? In two ways:

  1. Have sexual relations with your spouse on a regular basis to avoid fornication OUTSIDE marriage.
  2. Do not deny sex to your spouse to avoid fornication both INSIDE marriage (by denying them their right) and also OUTSIDE marriage (by tempting them to have sex outside marriage by your denial).

The False “Mutual” Teaching of Sex

Today we have many Christian teachers who actually ask us to ignore the very words we have just read in I Corinthians chapter 7. While it is true that I Corinthians 7:2-5 teaches that both men and women need sexual relations it does not teach sexual relations between a man and woman are based upon mutual desire.  In fact, it teaches the very opposite.  This passage teaches that sex in marriage is both a right and a responsibility of both the husband and the wife.  The only decision which must be mutual regarding sex is the mutual decision by both the husband and wife to discontinue sex for a short period only.

Why I teach So Much on the Sexual Immorality of Sexual Defraudment

As a Christian I believe the Gospel of Christ, the reality of Heaven and Hell and the teaching that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God are perhaps the most important doctrines we as Christians must teach and affirm.  However, that does not mean these are the only important doctrines.  And while we do have a lot of false Gospels being spread today as there were in the early church era, thankfully there are still preachers and teachers who are faithful to the true Gospel of Christ and the inerrancy of his Word.

We even have a lot of Christian preachers and teachers today teaching that God does not want us to follow the evil ways of our culture.  To this I say Amen and Amen! The Apostle Paul gives us this very command not to conform to the sinful ways of our culture in his letter to the Christians at Rome:

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Romans 12:2 (KJV)

So, we will hear a Pastor teach from his pulpit that we should not have sex outside of marriage as our culture encourages.   Great! We say amen to that!  But then this same Pastor preach doctrines that conform to our American cultural values and at the same time directly contradict Biblical commands.  These Pastors will condemn men for not loving their wives while remaining sinfully silent on the wife’s call to submit to her husband in everything.  These Pastors will condemn men for having sexual thoughts while at the same time remaining sinfully silent on the sexual immorality of wives sexually defrauding their husbands.

The unfortunate truth is that today even among those who preach the true Gospel of Christ and the inerrancy of the Bible there is almost a complete and utter neglect or in many cases an explaining away of the Biblical doctrine of gender roles.  There is actually an ongoing war on masculinity, patriarchy and male sexuality.  All of this is being done to appease feminism which has infested even many conservative Bible preaching churches today.

This is why God lead me to create this blog back in April of 2014.  God lead me to stand in this gap and to call my fellow Christian brothers and teachers back to the true teachings of God’s Word regarding gender roles as well as sexuality from a Biblical perspective.  This is why many of my teachings on this site focus on a defense of masculinity, patriarchy, male sexuality and sexual rights from a Biblical perspective.

Empowering Christian Men with Steps to Confront their Wife’s Sexual Defraudment

In May of 2015, I published an article entitled “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal”. In this article I detailed 8 steps that Christian men could take in confronting sexual defraudment on the part of their wives.  This article has since become one of the top 5 viewed pages on this blog and this page alone has had about 800,000 views since I first published it. I made some edits to this article over the last few years but essentially it has remained the same.  Here are the 8 steps I list for men in confronting their wife’s sexual refusal:

Step 1 – Rebuke her privately

Step 2 – Stop taking her on dates or trips

Step 3 – No unnecessary household upgrades

Step 4 – Stop doing the little extra things

Step 5 – Remove her funding

Step 6 – Rebuke her before witnesses

Step 7 – Bring her before the Church

And then I gave the 8th and final step for husbands if these 7 steps did not bring their wife to repentance:

“What if none of these 7 steps work?

If your wife remains willfully defiant, yet she has not left you, it could be for a variety of reasons. She may not want to lose how she lives with you and she knows that after a divorce her lifestyle will be severely affected, and she does not want to deal with the consequences of divorce. Perhaps she may have some genuine care for you left as well as your children but she simply cannot see the error of her ways and will hold out indefinitely with the hope that one day you will fold and give her back the money, the dates, the trips, the house hold upgrades and she will not have been forced to change her ways.

But you have a final step you may take, one that you need to pray long and hard about before you do.

You have the option to divorce her for her sexual immorality.

“But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” – Matthew 5:32(HCSB)”

A Real Story of a Man Exercising These 8 Steps

Not long after I published my article “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal” I received many emails from men eager to exercise these steps to confront the sinful fraud going on in their marriages.  I have published some of those men’s stories on this site over the past few years.  One of those men wrote me calling himself “M’s Husband” and his story was the inspiration for my article entitled “Sometimes “Sexual Interventions” are needed in a Christian marriage”.  In this article I began with this excerpt from his email:

“Been married two years and we are both Christian. Our marriage is good, outside the bedroom. We have no children. My wife consented to sex once in the last year and that was six months ago. She refuses any kind of counseling. We abstained prior to marriage and from the first day of our marriage, she has always avoided sex and never enjoyed it.”

Throughout the rest of the article I encouraged and admonished M’s Husband to have a sexual intervention in his wife’s life.  Over the last three years he has updated me on his situation with his wife as he has exercised the first 7 steps I gave to confront his wife’s sexual defraudment.   Both in his letter that I published and as well as other letters he sent to me since anyone can see the love he had for his wife and his wish that their marriage could be made whole.

The sad reality is, just as Israel refused to repent and turn from her unfaithfulness to God as her husband so too after 5 years of sexual defraudment M’s Husband’s wife has refused to repent and turn from her unfaithfulness to her husband.

M’s Husband Letter to his Church Exposing His Wife’s Sin

What follows are excerpts from emails I have received over the last month from M’s Husband.

“Here is the sad update on my marriage. You know that I have been struggling with her rejection since we were married and started writing to you in early 2016.

I think this will be the final act in the drama/tragedy unless she repents and goes to therapy for sex aversion. I spoke for a while with my pastor and he is in agreement with my action.

Here is the letter that I wrote to those in my church and others whom I know. She was served with divorce papers today, so I have made this letter public.  I am still keeping the door open for repentance and reconciliation, but I have strong terms that she must fill.

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

MY LETTER TO MY CHURCH REGARDING MY WIFE’S SEXUAL DEFRAUDMENT

My wife, M is guilty of willful, continuous and unrepentant sexual immorality. After being deprived for 107 days, she threatened divorce if I continued to pursue my marital right with her. M proclaimed that she will never grant me my marital right. She has informed me that her decision is final and will not change.  She has forsaken her duty and obligation to our marriage since the first day we were married by depriving me, rejecting me, defrauding me and forsaking me of my marital right. (Matthew 5:32)

She reluctantly went to Christian marriage counseling with me last year for four months.  She rejected all the advice and suggestions that were given to her about chastity in marriage. Our marriage counselor gave up on us because M has an aversion to sex and strongly refused any and all kinds of professional help for that. I subsequently tried to get her to go to therapy and she strongly and angrily refused therapy and denied that she has a psychological aversion to sex.

I have been advised since late 2015 that divorce is a Biblical option. I had resisted that because I love M.  M has not gone to her church for six months and she has hardened her heart toward me and has broken her marriage vow of being “one flesh” with me (Genesis 2:24).

Because I do not see any change in that attitude, because of her proclamation to never fulfill her marriage vow again, because of her willful disregard for the commands of God (1 Corinthians 7:2-5, Proverbs 5:19) and because she continues to rebel against God and against me (Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Peter 3:5-6, Titus 2:5) I see no alternative except divorce. M and I have been nothing more than roommates as she has continuously violated the Biblical law of chastity in marriage (Hebrews 13:4). M has proclaimed to never fulfill the vow of marriage again.”

A few weeks after that letter, about a week ago, I received this update from M’s Husband:

Larry,

As we continue through the process of separation and divorce, M has started reading Christian blogs and sends me some of them with comments. Too bad she started now, it would have been constructive for her to do that prior to our separation.

Yesterday she sent me one and stated how unloving I was and that she had “done it all” with the communication that she had really gone the extra mile and tried to love me with all her heart. Since submission to me (Eph 5:22) and allowing me to have sex more than once a month (with her acting as if she is being raped with anger and resentment) was forgotten by her, I became angry and wrote her an angry response. It is possible, that I write my best letters when I am angry. I try never to sin in my anger.

Here is the letter that I wrote to her yesterday.

MY LETTER TO MY WIFE M AFTER FILING FOR DIVORCE

M,

I know that you tried to love me. But you decided that one aspect of our marriage would be under your own rules and not under God’s commands.

As your husband and leader of the family, I tried to lovingly bring you to the place that God commands a wife to be in the family. Submissive to me in all things as to the Lord himself.  But you rebelled. Sarah submitted and obeyed her husband and called him “lord.”  You decided to lead your husband in certain aspects of our marriage. Sinfully, Eve lead Adam. Jezebel lead Ahab. There were others in Scripture who did that. All with disastrous results.

Above all, you made your own rules for sex and rejected the commands of God. Rejecting the command to be “one flesh.” Rejecting the command to not deprive each other. Rejecting the command to satisfy me with your breasts ALWAYS. Think about that word always. The verse in Proverbs does not say sometimes. It does not say, when you feel like it. It does not even say once a week. It says ALWAYS. You denied your breast to me always. I wanted to give you thrills and pleasures through your breasts, but they were off limits to me ALWAYS.  But that verse is not speaking only about breasts. “The wife does not have authority over her own body.” Considering that verse makes breasts an analogy for your whole body. You are to satisfy me with your WHOLE BODY ALWAYS. Always…all the time. Kisses always. Kisses on your forehead, your nose, your neck, your throat, your mouth, your tongue, your vagina and everywhere else always. I have authority over your whole body ALWAYS.  Not once a week. ALWAY!

You rejected that….always. You rebelled, even as I was patient. For years I was patient. Then after being a “gatekeeper” you shut me down completely. Then you decided that your body, which I have authority over….always, will be off limits to me and by your decision and your rebellion you have commanded to me that we are going to have a sexless marriage, for the rest of our lives. The anger and resentment from you, during attempts at sex, broke my heart.

I did not marry you to be a roommate and I did not take a vow of celibacy when I married you. I loved you and I love Jesus. Paul wrote that it is better to marry than to burn with passion. I thought that if I could be satisfied with you, whenever I want you (which is what always means to me in this context) then I would not give in to the temptation to be satisfied anywhere but in your arms.  But you rebelled. You stopped wearing clothes that appealed to me. (Remember, authority over your body gives me authority to dress you in what appeals to me). You would not wear lingerie that I liked, ever. You would not drive us to secluded places for wonderful sessions in the back seat. Not necessarily sex but just deep kissing and petting would have thrilled me. I liked watching you pee (authority over your body) but you refused. I wanted to shower with you, but you rebelled and refused that. You brought anger and resentment to our marriage bed. You let me know that you wanted to be anywhere else but in our marriage bed. I could not comprehend as someone could ever choose a television and computer game over sex with her husband.

I expected sex every day of our honeymoon, starting with the second night (first night on Maui). You refused every time except once in Maui and once in Las Vegas. I NEEDED sex at least twice a week at home, but you made yourself a gatekeeper and pulled your body away from me, so that we had sex four times, in the year after we returned from our honeymoon. Then you made me live as an involuntary celibate husband for sixteen months from May, 2014 until November,. 2015 with a total of one time. That time in the hotel room in Daly City. Not even sex in Memphis, when we were there for four nights and we were married less than a year.

Soon after I realized that you were a gatekeeper I tried to have sex with you but was rejected. “But since sexual immorality is occurring,” I was tempted. My urge and prayer was to be satisfied in your arms every time but you drove me away. I could have waited for you to finish your day’s work but your gate was closed all week, when I needed you every day. So…….I gave in to the temptation. It was only as far as my computer and the porn would not refuse me. You refused me over and over but the porn never refused me. It was there for, to take the place of the wife that God gifted me but who refused me, though I have authority over her body.

My marital right was refused as you did not keep your obligation and duty as a wife. I was more important than your work. Your husband is your top priority. You were great at cooking for me and keeping my stomach full. If I ate all that you gave me, I would have gained weight. But your top priority is sex with your husband. Your father is not your priority, your husband is. You kept the fourth commandment but broke many commandments that a wife has to keep for her marriage. Now look where our marriage is.  You were usually unloving in the marriage bed. You were often angry and resentful in the marriage bed.

You tried to love me but you fell short in keeping the commands of a wife. I was patient but ran out of patience, particularly when you shut the gate on sex totally, completely and permanently on May 20, 2018.”

Anger and Discipline Because of Sin is Not Sinful

There are many weak and feminized Christians who would read the letters M’s Husband wrote saying that his acts toward his wife were unloving and not what God wants in a husband toward his wife.  But those who says such things are completely and utterly ignorant of what actual love in marriage is by God’s standard and they are utterly ignorant concerning the character of God as a husband.

The Bible tells us the following in the book of Ephesians:

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath”

Ephesians 4:26 

So right there in the text we can see there is such a thing as godly anger.  It is not a sin to be angry at sinful behavior in others.  God exhibits this anger toward sinful behavior throughout the Scriptures.

God brought all kinds of travesty on his wife Israel because of her disobedience before he finally had to divorce her for her failure to repent:

“6 And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord. 7 And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. 8 So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.”

Amos 4:6-8 (KJV)

In the book of Revelation Christ warns his churches that he will remove their candlesticks if they failed to repent.  At the end of his threats toward his disobedient churches he states:

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

I do want to add one word of caution about anger that I have told to M’s Husband.  As Christians we may have righteous anger toward sin as M’s Husband has toward his wife’s sin.  But we must always guard against our righteous anger turning into bitterness which then becomes sin.

The False Use of the Hosea Example

Many Christian preachers and teachers teach a false doctrine based on the following passage from Hosea:

“The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.”

Hosea 1:2 (KJV)

In this story Hosea takes on a whorish wife who leaves him to commit adultery and then he goes and takes her back.  Many Christian teachers and preachers today teach that this is showing God wants Christian husbands to tolerate and continue to stay married to their unfaithful wives while trying to softly win them back.  They teach men that living in sexless marriages with defrauding wives actually is honoring to God!

Other Christians will use a passage I have used often on this site to admonish us a Christians to suffer for Christ:

20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”

1 Peter 2:20-22 (KJV)

They will say that this means God calls men to suffer sexual defraudment from their wives and “take it patiently”.  I have previously written that yes we has husbands are called to suffer many kinds of abuse from our wives.  Our wives may disrespect us and disobey us in many ways.  Our wives may shame us by their behavior.  Now when I say “suffer” this does not mean we as husbands cannot or should not discipline our wives for these things.  I have written extensively on the discipline of wives in my article “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife“.  But when I say “suffer” I mean we may have to accept the fact that we are going to have to live with these sinful tendencies in our wives and we cannot look to divorce them because of them.

However there are certain sins we are NOT called to suffer from our wives and to do so makes a mockery of the model of marriage.  In fact the final remedy God allows for sexual immorality on the part of one’s wife is divorce.

When a man simply stands by as his wife commits sexual immorality against him either by having sex with other men or by refusing to have sex with him he shames himself and he shames the God who made him to image him.

In the book of Hosea rather then presenting himself as a passive husband quietly suffering his wife’s sexual immorality God shows himself as tough husband who divorces his wife and then threatens to strip her and publicly expose her after the divorce!

“2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;

3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. 4 And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms. 5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.”

Hosea 2:2-5 (KJV)

Does the above passage sound like a husband who tolerated his wife’s unfaithfulness to him? The answer is absolutely not!

God said he “put away” or in other words divorced his wife Israel because of her whoredoms and adulteries. He clearly says “she is not my wife, neither am I her husband” meaning the divorce is now final.  Yet he still loves his ex-wife and will still bring even more punishments on her to break her from her sin so that one day she may return to him again.

I want you to zero in on a key phrase God says when he states “Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born”.  That is a powerful statement! God is saying he is going to shame Israel and expose Israel for her unfaithfulness to him.

This is what M’s Husband is doing with his wife.  He is following God’s example with his unfaithful wife Israel.  Yet the vast majority of Christians today, so woefully ignorant of the God of the Bible and so poisoned by feminism which has weakened the minds and resolve of men would condemn M’s Husband for his actions.

Let us pray that God give M’s Husband the resolve he needs to see this through to its completion.  Let us pray that God will send a revival in the hearts of Christian men to see that God calls us to model him as husbands in our marriages.

A big part of modeling God as husbands in our marriages is to model his discipline toward his wives (both Israel and the Church).  Men who tolerate willful and blatant sexual immorality in the form of sexual defraudment on the part of their wives are not modeling God as a husband to his people.

I pray that if you see your own weakness as a husband to confront your wife’s sexual defraudment that you will do so today as M’s Husband has done with his wife.

Why God Wants You to STAY in an Abusive Relationship

Stay in an abusive marriage? Stay with an abusive father or mother? To assert anyone should ever stay in an abusive relationship is counter to everything our culture teaches.  We are to confront or flee abusive situations but we should never ever endure abusive situations or so we are told today even in the vast majority of Christian circles.

In my previous article “What Does The Bible Say About Abuse?” I talked about what abuse is from a Biblical perspective.  I stated that the word abuse literally is “ab + use” which means to misuse or mistreat someone or something.  I also talked about both emotional (including verbal) abuse and physical abuse as they are spoken to in the Bible with a specific emphasis on what abuse looks like in marriage and the family.

But what I did not cover were two important areas on this subject of abuse.  The first is what role does God grant to the government in dealing with abuse?  The second is how family members, including husbands, wives and children, should respond when they are abused by one another in various ways.

Did God Grant Government the Power To Determine What Abuse Is?

Many Christians instead of looking to the Bible for their definition of abuse instead look to their feelings, their culture and most commonly their civil government.

First we must understand that it is God who defines the responsibilities, rights and limitations of the spheres of authority of the civil government, the church and the family. Abuse is a moral issue and it is God and not culture or government that defines what is moral and what is immoral.

Many Christians have been wrongly taught that civil government is an unlimited power established by God.  This comes from a false understanding of passages like the one below:

“13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”

I Peter 2:13-14 (KJV)

Passages like the one above must be taken into context with the entirety of the Scriptures.  Christ himself stated that civil government is in fact limited in its scope and authority:

“And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.”

Mark 12:17 (KJV)

Jesus did not say “Give to God what is God’s and everything else belongs to Caesar”.  His words were carefully measured.  He said to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s which tells us God actually intends for civil government to be limited.

So the next question we must ask is “What is the scope of responsibility and power that God has given to civil government?”  The answer is found in Romans chapter 13:

“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Romans 13:4 (KJV)

The government is God’s “revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil”.  It is the civil government’s job to ENFORCE God’s moral law – not to MAKE moral law on its own. Murder is not wrong because the United States government or our State governments say it is wrong.  Murder is wrong because God says it is wrong. So when police officers or other law enforcement officers arrest murderers to stand trial and ultimately face punishment they are acting as God’s ministers. When the judge or jury hand down the sentence they are acting as God’s revenger executing “wrath on him that doeth evil”.

Now our punishments for breaking God’s moral law may be different in each state, province or country but the moral law of God itself cannot be added to or changed by anyone but God himself.

The civil government must always be respectful of its limitations when it enters the sphere of the church or the home.  This means that they must never usurp or take authority in matters which God has not given to the government but instead he has given to the church or the home.

When the government attempts to usurp authority in the church or the home Christians have the God given right and in most cases the responsibility to exercise civil disobedience against such usurpation.

God has appointed Pastors as the interpreters of God’s moral law in the church assembly and he has appointed husbands as the interpreters of God’s moral law in the home. God states this regarding our obedience to church leaders:

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

Hebrews 13:17 (KJV)

When I walk into my church assembly I must always recognize that God has given my Pastor the spiritual oversight of that assembly.  That means if I were to teach Sunday school in my church or teach from our pulpit in his absence I should not teach contrary interpretations to his that would cause division. This is one reason that I have not taught in the church I attend in many years and I would not because I might easily come into conflict with my Pastor’s interpretations on many doctrinal issues.  Also I and my family follow whatever rules my pastor sets for dress standards for church activities if those standards are more conservative.

But think of how absurd it would be for me to go to my local mayor or state governor and ask them their interpretation of the scriptures and also what they think the rules for behavior within my church assembly should be.  Imagine if I brought these interpretations back to my church and in direct defiance of my pastor began trying to implement them. Not only would these actions be absurd on my part – but they would be in direct contradiction to the Word of God.  Those civil authorities have no authority in these matters in my church.

By the same token God does not tell wives when they have a moral or spiritual question to go seek out their Pastor, local mayor or state governor.  Instead he tells them to seek out the spiritual head of their home:

“34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (KJV)

This is why it is highly inappropriate for government or church officials to come into a home and give wives or children instructions on morality that are counter to the teachings of the husband who is the head of that home.  In fact, the husband is the only human authority in all the Scriptures where God commands the one under his authority to submit to him “as unto the Lord”:

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:22 (KJV)

It is a sad testament to the wicked times we live in that husbands, the most powerful of all human authorities that God ever established, have had their spiritual authority completely usurped and gutted by both our civil and our church authorities.

The Government Has Nullified God’s Law With Its Domestic Abuse Definitions

The Scriptures tell us this regarding God’s law:

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

Deuteronomy 4:2 (KJV)

As we previously established, the government has absolutely no right to add or take away from God’s moral law.  None whatsoever.  Also Christ spoke against human laws which nullify God’s laws:

“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

Mark 7:13 (KJV)

This is what our current US Justice Department definitions of domestic abuse do – they literally attempt to add to God’s moral law and in effect nullify God’s moral law in regard to this issue of domestic abuse. With that said I will briefly address some of this addition to and nullification of God’s law in current US Justice Department definitions of domestic abuse which you can find at https://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence. Also keep in mind that all these definitions have to do with domestic violence – meaning what is considered abuse in the home between members of the home.

The Government’s Definition of Abuse Vs The Bible’s Definition of Abuse

 Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.”

The first problem with this definition is that it completely negates any type of physical discipline which is commanded by God for children (Proverbs 23:13-14) and is also allowed by God for adults (Deuteronomy 25:1-3, Proverbs 19:29 and Proverbs 26:3).  Under this definition of physical abuse spanking of one’s child or one’s wife would be consider abuse (See my article “Does the Bible Allow Wife Spanking” for more on that issue).  A mother or father slapping their rebellious child even with an open palm (front handed) would be guilty of physical abuse under this definition.

I agreed in my previous article on abuse that things like shoving and punching have no place in the home not even as methods of discipline because they risk serious bodily injury or even death in violation of God’s law regarding limits on discipline (Exodus 21:26-27). I also agreed that things like biting, kicking and hair pulling have no place in the home as methods of discipline as it should be done in love and in control and not as brawl or a fight.  But again overall the biggest problem with the government’s definition of physical abuse is that its definition negates physical discipline in the home which God allows.

 “Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.”

First we will address where this government definition of sexual abuse aligns with God’s moral law and that is regarding children.  A parent has absolutely no right under God’s law to touch their child in a sexual way, to coerce them or force them to have sex.  This is a violation of God’s moral laws regarding incest (Leviticus 18:6).

But really the heart of this definition is directed at husbands in regard to how they engage in sexual activity with their wives.  And when applied to the husband/wife relationship this definition of sexual abuse for the most part nullifies God’s Word.

This government’s definition of sexual abuse as with physical abuse nullifies a husband’s God given sexual rights to his wife’s body in marriage.  It also nullifies his right to discipline her for sexual refusal.  The Bible says that sex is both a right and responsibility in marriage (Exodus 21:10-11, Proverbs 5:18-19, I Corinthians 7:3-4) and that the only thing that must be mutually agreed upon in the area of sex is when a couple will NOT have sex (I Corinthians 7:5) for a short time.  See my articles on sexual refusal, sexual consent and forced sex in marriage for more on what the Bible says about these topics.

Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.

While we need to be careful of how subjective this government definition of emotional abuse is I think for the most part it aligns with what the Scriptures say that we should generally be trying to build people up and not tear them down(Ephesians 4:29,James 3:8-10). See my article on “What Does the Bible Say About Abuse?” for more on the subject of emotional abuse.

Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.

This government definition of “Economic Abuse” is a complete addition to God’s moral law and it also nullifies a husband’s rights toward his wife under God’s law.  And again let’s not kid ourselves that they are speaking equally to husbands and wives. This is an attack on patriarchy and men having their wives being economically dependent on them.

The fact is this definition of Economic abuse is exactly the opposite of God’s moral law on this issue.  In Exodus 21:10-11 we are told that if a man does not provide his wife with food and clothing she may be free of him (divorced from him).  God considers it economic abuse when a man forces his wife to economically independent of him, not when he forces his wife to be economically dependent on him.

And yes husbands under God’s law can absolutely forbid their wives from going to college or seeking careers as wives are to be subject their husbands in EVERYTHING as the Church submits to Christ in everything (Ephesians 5:24).

Also as far as household finances go – whether a husband allows his wife to work or not all the financial decision making comes under his direction.  If he wants to take away his wife’s ATM card he can do that under God’s law.

Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include  – but are not limited to – causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

If read in a certain way, the government’s definition of psychological abuse may actually align with the Scriptures.  God does forbid the use of threatening (Ephesians 6:9).  If a husband or wife threatens to kill themselves or their children or pets or to destroy property if they don’t get what they want that is the very definition of threatening behavior which is condemned by the Word of God.

However a warning from an authority toward one under them of the consequences of their actions is not engaging in threatening or psychological abuse. If I isolate my teen son from friends that are bad influences on him is that psychological abuse? The answer is no.  It all depends on my motivation.  Is my intent simply to exert my power over him or is it actually for his own good? If it is the latter there is nothing immoral about this from a Biblical perspective.

Many people would agree that the example I gave is not immoral.  But what if I replaced my son in that example with my wife? OH NO – that is completely different right? Why? Because she is an adult? The Bible however makes no such distinction when it comes to the discipline of wives and children.  If my wife was talking to or hanging out with other women who were bad spiritual influences on her affecting her morals, relationship with God or with me I have absolutely ever right before God as her spiritual authority to restrict her access to those women.

The Bible teaches a clear social order – the husband, an adult male, is the head of the wife, an adult female and children are under the authority of their parents(Ephesians 5:23-24, Ephesians 6:1-3).

And for all you feminists out there the practice of a husband exercising his spiritual authority over his wife in these ways does not infantilize her or make her equal with her children.  God has granted a wife and mother more rights than he has her children.  She has sexual rights to her husbands body and she is given the position of manager of the home and of the children which are sacred and honored roles.  She of course exercises these positions under the authority of her husband but by no means does the Bible make wives and children equals with another.

So when we throw out the straw-man argument that a husband exercising control over his wife infantilizes her we come to the real heart of the issue.  Feminists don’t like the fact that while God gives women more rights than children he does not give women equal rights with men.  In other words, its not about women be treated as children but its about women be treated as women.  Feminists want women treated as men.

When Are Women Allowed To Approach Civil or Church Authorities About Abuse?

A wife and mother should only go around her husband who is her spiritual authority in the gravest of circumstances. If a husband violates the Exodus 21:26-27 principle and threatens or actually causes serious bodily harm or what he is doing has the potential of causing death to her or her children a wife has every right to approach her church authorities and civil authorities.

In I Samuel 25 we see that Abagail went against her husband’s wishes to save her family from his wicked actions that would have had them killed.  This teaches us that if a woman finds out her husband is involved in some criminal or otherwise wicked activity that endangers the life of her family she has every right to go to the civil authorities to protect her life and the life of her children.

Also if a wife finds out that her husband has been sexually abusing one of her children in violation of the Leviticus 18:6 principle she has every right to turn her husband over to both the church and civil authorities.  When husbands commit such heinous acts they invalidate their ownership and headship over their wives and children allowing their wives and children to be freed from them.

Why God Wants You to Stay in an Abusive Relationship

The natural follow up question to what we have just said about a woman and her children being able to free from a man who physically abuses them(by Biblical standards of course) is What about non-physical abuse like emotional and verbal abuse? What recourse does a wife have in such situations?

First I will fully agree that men can abuse their wives in non-physical and less extreme ways than what I have previously mentioned. A husband may not be a drug dealer who places his family’s life in jeopardy by his wicked lifestyle and he may not ever lay a hand on either his wife or children in a sinful manner.  But perhaps he has a problem with anger and flying off the handle and saying hurtful things.

Maybe he has a problem with bitterness and taking that out on the family in various emotional or verbal ways.  Maybe he is hyper critical toward his wife and children and never uplifts them.  Maybe he even abuses his authority and gets off on power kicks and trying to humiliate his wife or children by various unreasonable demands. Maybe he isolates his family not for their protection but to project his power over them.  There could be a myriad of ways that a husband either verbally or emotionally abuses his wife and children or he simply abuses his power to meet his own ego needs.

I also want to stop here for a second and make a very important point on this subject of abuse.  Often times we center these discussions of domestic abuse on husbands and fathers but we forget that wives and moms can and do physically, verbally and emotionally abuse their husbands and children as well.   Do wives or moms sometimes engage in hypercritical behavior toward their husbands or children? You bet they do.  Do some wives or moms even punch, shove or engage in other forms of physical abuse toward their husbands or children? You bet they do. Do some wives play emotional games with their husbands and insult their manliness or sexual ability? You bet they do. Do some women push their husbands away sexually which is a form of emotional abuse toward men?  Absolutely there are many women who engage in these behaviors.

Also children sometimes abuse their parents in various ways. Do children steal money from their parents? Yes they do. Do children despise and curse their parents? Yes they do. Do some children strike their parents? Yes they do.  Do children reject their parent’s authority over them? This happens all the time in our day and age.

But let’s now return specifically to the subject of wives and children enduring emotional, verbal and other forms of abuse that are not the physical or life threatening types of abuse we have previously mentioned that would warrant outside intervention and in many cases divorce.

As I mentioned at the introduction of this article our modern culture has an attitude that we should never endure any kind of abuse from anyone whether it be someone who is our equal and especially from someone who is our authority.  We are told to confront the person and then flee the relationship if the abuser does not repent and change their ways.

But when we read the Scriptures we see a very different view of how we should respond to abuse:

“18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

I Peter 2:18-24 (KJV)

When we endure grief or suffer wrongly at the hands of others, in other words when we endure mistreatment which is abuse and take it patiently the Scriptures tell us “this is acceptable with God”.  God is not excusing the actions of the abusers.  But God is saying when we are on the receiving end of various kinds of abuse and we take it patiently that this is acceptable with God.

Such a thought is foreign to our thinking but the Scriptures tell us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).

We often talk on this blog about how God likes to image or model things.  Man was created to image God and thereby bring him glory (I Corinthians 11:7) and woman and by extension marriage was created to help man fully image God as a husband and father (I Corinthians 11:9, Ephesians 5:22-33).  When it comes to this matter of suffering abuse – we, both men and women, actually model Christ when we suffer abuse from others taking it patiently as he did. And that is why God wants you to stay in an abusive relationship.

Now again we must look at this passage in light of the entirety of the Scriptures.  I have already shown that God does not expect us to stay and endure physical abuse that could risk serious injury or death from Exodus 21:26-27.

There were certain areas Jesus would not go into during his ministry because he knew the Jews there sought to kill him (John 7:1) and it was not yet his time to die.  Although Paul suffered great persecutions he also sought to avoid them at times (II Corinthians 11:33).  But did Christ or Paul run from “verbal and emotional abuse” as we often hear people telling us to do today? No. They were fleeing the threat of serious bodily injury or in most cases death.

So what this means on a practical level is this.  As a wife or as a child there are going to be days when your husband or your father may act in the flesh and not in the spirit.  He may say hurtful things.  He may raise his voice for what appears to be no reason at all.  He may act sinfully toward you by being verbally or emotionally abusive.  But his wrong actions do not justify wrong actions on your part.  Not only should you never return insult for insult or repay any type of verbal or emotional abuse but you must also never forget your subordinate place as either the wife or the child.

It is not your place to rebuke your husband or our father for emotional or verbal abuses.

Now does that mean that a wife or child can never express grievances they have with their husband or father? No. I don’t think that is wrong but it should never come across as if they are they are equals and are teaching the husband or father.  In the book of Job we read:

“13 If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; 14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? 15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?”

Job 31:13-15 (KJV)

This is a teaching which applies to those of us who are in authority over others no matter what sphere it is in including the home.  We as husbands must realize that if we have truly wronged those under us God allows them to bring their grievances to us.  If we do not act justly toward those under us it is God who will rise up against us. That is why God warns husbands that if they mistreat their wives he will not hear their prayers (I Peter 3:7).

When it comes to expressing grievances we must realize this can abused as well.  Remember that God tells wives in I Peter 3:1-2 to win their husbands who are disobedient to the word by their subjection and reverent behavior.  If you as a wife are expressing your grievances with your husband every five minutes you are not “taking it patiently” as I Peter 2:20 exhorts you to do.

The same goes for children.  Far too often in our culture we make children feel completely comfortable confronting their parents with accusations of unfair treatment on a regular basis.  Again we need to teach our children that they too need to be “taking it patiently” and following the example of Christ in suffering what they believe to be wrong doing.

Wives and children also need to be reminded of something on a regular basis.  Just because you feel you have been mistreated does not mean you actually have been mistreated.  Sometimes your feelings can blind you to reality that is going on.  You need to step back and look objectively at what has occurred to see if what actually happened was in fact fair treatment that was warranted because of your behavior.

Should Authorities Allow Abuse From Their Subordinates?

But now we come to the issue of husbands, fathers and mothers who might suffer abuse at the hands of those God has placed under their spiritual authority. Should authority figures react to abuse from their subordinates in the same way that their subordinates should react to abuse from them? Should they simply endure and take patiently all forms of abuse from their subordinates as long as they are not being physically abused or having their life threatened?

To answer these questions we must first understand that all authorities God has instituted have not only a right but also a responsibility to discipline those under their authority.  Church leaders have a right and responsibility to discipline those within their assemblies, civil authorities have a right and responsibility to discipline those within their local, state or national jurisdictions and husbands and parents have a right and responsibility to discipline those in their home.

In the case of the family if a husband or parent allows all mistreatment of themselves by their wife or children to go unpunished then they would be violating the spiritual duty God has given them to rebuke and chasten those under their authority(Proverbs 23:13-14, Revelation 3:19).

So for instance if a man’s wife or child is cursing him, or disrespecting him or telling him they do not have to obey him then he is called by God to discipline them.  Yes these actions are an abuse toward him and mistreatment of him.  They are hurtful and unkind. But for the husband or father in this situation they must remember that this is not about their feelings of hurt after being mistreated by their wife or child.  It is about their solemn responsibility as the head of their home to discipline their family members.  That is why husbands and fathers must always realize that true Biblical discipline should never be an act of revenge for some incurred abuse, but rather it is an act of love to discipline the other and perhaps cause them to repent and change their ways.

Notice earlier that I said a husband or parent should not allow “all” mistreatment of themselves but the key word is “all”.  As human authorities we cannot read or control the thoughts and feelings of those who are our subordinates.  We can only hold our subordinates accountable for their words and actions, not their thoughts and feelings.

So we may see that our wife or child does the right thing after being disciplined but they still seem to have an attitude of bitterness toward us.  No husband wants to be despised by his wife and no father or mother wants to be despised by their child.  But at these times we must enter in prayer for our wives and children knowing that we can only seek to correct the outward actions as human authorities and only God can correct the heart.

If you as a husband or father live to always feel liked and loved by your wife or children then you will not discipline them as God has called you to and you will fail to be the husband and father God wants you to be.  Not being liked at times is part of the job description gentlemen.

14 “What If” Questions About Marriage

What if my spouse makes fun of my looks on a regular basis?

What if my spouse hurls insults at me on a daily basis?

What if my spouse is hyper critical toward me on a daily basis?

What if my spouse is bipolar or has some other mental illness and refuses to get professional help?

What if my spouse has some type of addiction?

What if my husband abuses his power and gets off on using his power to make me do ridiculous things?

What if my husband is a selfish lover and never asks me what I want in our sex life?

What if my husband never talks to me and only wants sex?

What if my wife is a contentious and brawling woman toward me on a daily basis?

What if my wife is like a constant dripping water and nags me on daily basis?

What if my husband is a workaholic?

What if my wife is never satisfied with anything I buy her (our house, her clothes, our car…etc.)?

What if my wife always gives me grudgingly given sex?

What if my wife is a selfish lover and only wants sex her way?

The answer to all these “What If” questions is the same.  Search the Scriptures and you will find there is absolutely no allowance for divorce in any of these situations.  All of these situations are hard to live with if you are the spouse who has to endure them.  But God does not give us an easy way out but instead he tells us this regarding the trials we face in life:

“3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope”

Romans 5:3-4 (KJV)

Often times the greatest trials we face in life are a result of the actions of those closest to us. It might be our spouse whose behavior tries our faith on a daily basis.  It might be our child. It might be our parents.  But in all these cases God does not allow us to simply push the eject button and leave these relationships because they are hard to endure.  He calls us to lean on him for strength knowing that his grace is sufficient to get us through each day of these trials.

When we as husbands or wives continue to live with a spouse that verbally or emotionally abuses us or they just make life difficult for us we not only follow Christ’s pattern in taking such abuses patiently on a regular basis,  but we also honor God by showing our commitment to his institution of marriage.  This is why staying in an abusive relationship can actually bring glory and honor to God.

Is It Wrong to Feel Hurt Because of Abuse?

This is a very legitimate question.  Even if we as Christians set out to follow Christ’s example in taking patiently the abuse we may suffer from others does this mean it is wrong for us to allow ourselves to experience anguish or hurt because of past or even future abuses we know are going to happen?

Again we have Christ’s example to answer this question for us:

41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

Luke 22:41-44 (KJV)

You think your husband’s verbal and emotional abuse is bad? You think your parent’s emotional or verbal abuse is bad? Think of the abuse Christ suffered.  And because he was God in the flesh he knew before he suffered exactly what he was going to suffer.   Christ was literally in “agony” knowing what he was about to face.  He asked his father if it was his will that he would remove this coming trial – yet he prayed not his will, but his father’s be done.

So again Christ is our model in dealing with abuse that we suffer from others.  It is not wrong to feel hurt about past abuses or impending abuse that we know we will continue to suffer on daily basis from our family member. It is not wrong to agonize over these things.  We are not called to suppress our feelings.  Christ did not suppress his.  But Christ controlled his feelings, he did not let them control him.   We should all follow Christ’s example when suffering abuse asking God to remove the abuse perhaps by changing the heart of the abuser.  But we should always end such prayers the same way Christ ended his – “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done“.

Conclusion

Our culture teaches us a one size fits all approach to when others mistreat us (abuse us). They teach us we should never allow any type of mistreatment from others to go unchecked and unchallenged. We are told we must confront all forms of abuse from wherever they come and they make absolutely no distinctions between a husband and wife, a parent and child, an employer and employee, a church member and a Pastor or a citizen and his government.

We have literally created “grievance industries” within our political arenas, business arenas, churches and families where people air their grievances both big and small and real or imagined with one another on daily basis.  There is very little following of Christ’s example in regard to abuse to “take it patiently”.

So from our world’s perspective children are encouraged to correct and rebuke their parents for every harsh word they may speak toward them. Wives are encouraged to confront every harsh word their husband speaks toward them. And this pattern is seen in churches as well as nations. In other words – every perceived or actual injustice is encouraged to be confronted no matter where it is or how it occurs.

The Biblical approach to us handling mistreatment which is abuse is not a “one size fits all approach”. The type of abuse and the sphere it occurs in whether in marriage and the family, the church or in society with government are handled differently if we are following Biblical principles in these areas.

Those in authority must confront sinful words and actions of those under them whether those words or actions are direct abuses toward the authority themselves or toward others.  But these actions of discipline are not to be a repayment of sorts for abuses incurred but rather they are meant to be corrective actions taken in love to help that person better conform themselves to God’s moral law.

Those under authority while having the right to address grievances with their authority should not over use this right.  The over usage of the ability to respectfully air grievances with one’s authority goes against Christ’s example of “taking it patiently”.  Also specifically when it comes to wives, if a wife is airing grievances ever five minutes with her husband she is violating the I Peter 3:1-2 principle that she is to win her husband who is being disobedient to the Word with her subjection and reverence, not her contentions.

So on the one hand Biblically speaking we do not have to suffer or allow every kind of abuse from every sphere in our life but on the other hand the Bible does not allow us to or encourage us to do what the world says and confront EVERY kind of abuse or mistreatment toward us no matter what the offense is or where it comes from.

We all need to look to Christ’s example of “taking it patiently”.

What Does The Bible Say About Abuse?

How does the Bible define abuse? Specifically within the context the context of marriage and the family does the Bible say anything about abuse? If it does not, are there general Biblical principles that we could apply to form a Biblical view of what constitutes abuse?

The Bible does speak to abuse but it does not do it all in one place in an exhaustive manner.  There is no one chapter of the Bible dedicated to abuse.   Instead we find verses and passages through the Bible that speak to abuse in parts and we then must connect all these dots together to get the full picture of the Biblical view of abuse.

But before we look at the Biblical view of abuse we need to define what we are talking about when we use the English word “abuse”.

The word abuse is defined by Meriam-Webster online dictionary as “a corrupt practice or custom… improper or excessive use or treatment… language that condemns or vilifies usually unjustly, intemperately, and angrily… physical maltreatment”.

But I think the best definition of abuse actually comes from the origin of the English word itself which literally is “ab + use” which literally means to “misuse”.

So abuse is when we misuse or mistreat someone or something.  For the purposes of this article we confine the subject of abuse to emotional and physical abuse in marriage and the family.

How does the Bible define Emotional Abuse?

Sometimes we can mistreat or abuse others without laying a finger on them.  Instead we use a tool that God gave us that can be used for great blessing or great destruction – the tongue.   The Bible says this about our tongue:

“8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”

James 3:8-10 (KJV)

Our words should be used to build others up, not to tear others down as the Scriptures command us to do:

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

Ephesians 4:29 (KJV)

Husbands can Emotionally Abuse their Wives

The Bible gives the following command toward husbands regarding their wives:

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

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

There is much debate in Christian circles as to what a man honoring his wife looks like. A few years ago I wrote an article entitled “12 Ways to Honor Your Wife” where I took my stab at the issue from what I see in the Scriptures.  In that article I referenced Proverbs 31:28 which tells of the virtuous wife that her husband “praiseth her”.  Some of us Christian husbands are really good at telling our wives when they do wrong (which is a part of our job as her spiritual head) but we are horrible at praising our wives when they do right and that should not be the case.

There will be times when we must call out our wife’s foolish behavior as Job did:

“But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”

Job 2:10 (KJV)

But Job’s words toward his wife were a spiritual rebuke toward her done in love to correct her wrong doing.  He was not running around calling his wife names with malicious intent.  He was not using his wife as his emotional punching bag when he had a bad day at work. Sometimes we may even need to correct our wives in front of our children when she does something in front of them that warrants that public correction.  But we must always be cognizant of honoring our wife’s position as our wife and as the mother of our children.

In Ephesians 5:25-27 the Scriptures give us this admonition as husbands toward our wives:

“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.”

Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)

Husbands are called to wash their wives spiritual spots and blemishes with the Word of God and hurling emotional dirt on them does exactly the opposite of what God is calling husbands to do.  A husband’s correction is to be done in love – not with vitriol and spite.

The Bible gives husbands this command about acting in love rather than in bitterness toward their wives:

“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”

Colossians 3:19 (KJV)

This is why men need to remember that as disobedient or rebellious as their wives may be and no matter how their wives may hurt them in many ways – husbands never have a license from God to act from a place of bitterness and spite toward their wives.

The discipline of a husband toward his wife should never be an act of revenge, but rather it is to be a conscious and controlled act of love.

And husbands need to realize that God is watching how they treat their wives and he says of husbands who mistreat their wives that their prayers will be hindered before him (I Peter 3:7).

Parents Can Emotionally Abuse their Children

The Bible gives the following commands to fathers regarding their children:

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

Ephesians 6:4 (KJV)

“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

Colossians 3:21 (KJV)

Why did God address these commands only to fathers? Can mothers not provoke their children to anger as well and cause them to be discouraged? The answer is that mothers can do this just as easily as fathers but God is addressing fathers because they are the spiritual head of their home. Fathers set the example and fathers can and should address this wrong behavior not only in themselves, but also in their wives as the mothers of their children.

So how can fathers and mothers provoke their children to wrath and discourage them? Perhaps by showing favoritism between their children. Maybe they constantly tear down and call their children names and hurl insults at them.  Maybe it is that they do not discipline in love, but rather in anger or in malice. Perhaps they constantly threaten instead of warn.  Maybe they use no measure or control in their discipline.  Fathers may be too over protective or possessive not realizing that their ownership over children is a temporary stewardship God has given unlike the lifelong ownership of a husband over his wife.

Sometimes Words That Will Hurt Must Be Said

From a Biblical perspective it is not always wrong to say things to others that we know may hurt other’s feelings:

“5 Open rebuke is better than secret love. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Proverbs 27:5-6 (KJV)

Sometimes a tough word must be spoken and for the moment it will bring some emotional pain but it is for our own good.  In fact the Bible tells us that a rebuke can sometimes be an act of love:

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

So in summary on this issue of emotional abuse – if we say things simply to hurt someone that is sinful. If however we speak words of rebuke that may cause hurt but it is done for the edification of the other person this may in fact be a righteous act depending on the context.

How Does The Bible Define Physical Abuse?

Physical abuse is when we mistreat others in a physical manner.  But here is the million dollar question – how do we define what is the physical mistreatment of others?

In an article entitled “Responding to Physical Abuse” Dennis Rainey writes what I would consider to be a typical Christian Pastor’s definition of physical abuse:

“Let me begin by saying that I cannot think of a circumstance in a marriage or family that could justify abuse of any kind—emotional, mental, physical, or sexual. Abusive behavior was never and can never be a part of God’s plan for a marriage or a family.

For the sake of clarity, I’m going to limit this answer to physical abuse. And by this I mean assaulting, threatening, or restraining a person through force. It would include hitting, slapping, punching, beating, grabbing, shoving, biting, kicking, pulling hair, burning, using or threatening the use of weapons, blocking you from leaving a room or the house during an argument, driving recklessly, or intimidating you with threatening gestures.

Also, I think it’s important to note that I do not, like some others in today’s culture, automatically classify spanking of children as abuse. I believe that loving, controlled physical discipline is biblical, and beneficial for a child. In some cases it can turn abusive when performed with anger or malice, and in those cases it must be stopped.”

I respect Dennis Rainey and his ministry and I agree with him in many areas of Biblical interpretation.  While I think he is definitely to the right of many Pastors and teachers today on the subject of Biblical gender roles he still does not fully embrace all the Bible’s teachings on gender roles.  On this subject we are discussing of physical abuse – I am going to partially agree and partially disagree with his definition of physical abuse and I think the best way to take it is word by word.

Before I do that I want to draw attention to the end of his definition where he states this regarding the spanking of children:

 “I believe that loving, controlled physical discipline is biblical, and beneficial for a child. In some cases it can turn abusive when performed with anger or malice, and in those cases it must be stopped.”

That last statement I believe would be absolutely Biblical except for him limiting physical discipline to children.  The Bible specifically allows for the physical discipline of adults in Exodus 21:20-21 & 26-27 and Deuteronomy 25:1-3. The Bible even encourages physical discipline for those who act in foolish manners when it states in Proverbs 26:3 “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.”

But I 100% agree with Dennis Rainey that physical discipline should always be done in a “loving” and “controlled” way as opposed to an angry or malicious way.

When speaking about a father disciplining his son God said:

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

Proverbs 13:24 (KJV)

Christ when speaking about disciplining his churches said:

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

God when speaking about disciplining the nation of Israel (pictured as his wife) said:

“For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.”

Jeremiah 30:11 (KJV)

So as we can see the Bible full supports the idea that two critical ingredients of any godly form of discipline are love and control (measure).  With said as introduction to this area of physical abuse I will now look at key words in Dennis Rainey’s statement on what he believes constitutes physical abuse.

“Assaulting”

By definition assaulting is any type of unlawful touching of another person’s body.  But the key word is “unlawful”.  If a police officer chases down a person who he has just witnessed commit a crime and wrestles him to the ground to put hand cuffs on him is that unlawful? The answer is NO. In the same way if a husband engages in physical discipline toward his wife or a father engages in physical discipline toward his child this is not automatically physical abuse.  In fact this activity could be lawful in God’s eyes if it is done in a loving and controlled manner and not done with malicious intent.

“Threatening”

The Bible tells masters not to engage in “threatening” in Ephesians 6:9. The difference between a threat and a warning is that threats demonstrate a lack of control and simply seek to intimidate people into compliance with one’s wants.  When someone exercises the Biblical authority God has given them, whether it be a governor, an employer, a master, a Pastor, a husband or a father or mother discipline measures should be just, fair and well thought out.  Warnings regarding impending discipline if one breaks certain rules should be done in a controlled manner.  So in the area of threatening – I agree with Mr. Rainey because the Bible tells Biblical authorities not to engage in threatening which is very different than giving warnings which authorities should give.

“Restraining a Person Through Force”

Again I could back to my police officer example that it depends on if the restraining is lawful according to God’s law. There are plenty of times that a child or an adult may need to be restrained by force.  Adults in mental hospitals have to be restrained by force all the time.  What about when a parent has to pick up their screaming child and take them out of church or a store? Is that unlawful in God’s eyes? Of course it is not.

But what Dennis Rainey is really talking about is a husband restraining his wife by force.

Again the principles of love and control determine whether this action by a husband is right or wrong.  Let me give you a few examples that I have received via email to illustrate this.

A man’s wife is mentally ill.  She grabs a bottle of pills and pours it in her mouth to swallow them so she can die.  He grabs his wife forces his hand in her mouth and pulls the pills out throwing them on the floor.  He physically restrains her until she calms down after which he calls for help and takes her to a mental health facility. Was that wrong for him to restrain his wife by force in this case? Absolutely not.  Such restraint was an act of love.

A man’s wife is angry at him and in rage she comes at him to strike him.  He grabs her, bear hugs her and hold her by force until she calms down.  Again – was his action of restraining her by force in this case wrong? No it was not.  Rather this was an act of love on his part in restraining his wife from doing the evil she was intent on doing.

Now there are some men who get off on exercising power over their wives.  If a husband comes by and pushes his wife into a clothes closet and locks the door simply for the thrill of confining her this is an abuse of his God given power.  This is not a just use of force against his wife.  The same principle would apply to parents over their children as well.  There have been horror stories in the news of parents chaining their children to beds and locking them in rooms for years.  This is not the loving, controlled and measured discipline the Bible allows.  Such actions are sadistic and evil.

“Hitting, Slapping, Punching, Beating”

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 23:13 “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die”.  But there is such a thing as a controlled beating and an uncontrolled beating.  An uncontrolled beating is done in rage or anger but a controlled beating is done as an act of discipline.  The object of a Biblically based beating is to try to change one’s behavior, not to seriously injure or kill someone. That is why when God prescribed flogging as a method of discipline in the book of Deuteronomy he placed several controls on it.

“If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. 2 And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. 3 Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.”

Deuteronomy 25:1-3 (KJV)

First the judge himself, or someone he directly appointed was to perform the beating.  The beating was to be witnessed and controlled by the judge who had imposed the punishment.  The man was to lie down and we know from other passages that this was face down and the stripes were applied to his back.  Why? Because there is a risk of hitting one’s face or genitals.  Typically speaking the human body is much better suited to taking a beating from the back side rather than front and this is the pattern God gives us for physical discipline.

Also the discipline was to be measured in that God did not allow them to strike more than 40 times.  The Jews in order to make sure they did not accidentally go over 40 imposed a policy of only using 39 stripes.  Paul alludes to this when he was beat for preaching the Gospel when he stated in 2 Corinthians 11:24 that “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one”.

What about punching? I do not believe God allows punching as a form of discipline.  The closed fist is weapon to be used in combat and it is not a tool to be used for discipline.  Where do I get this belief from? Let’s look at the passage below from the book of Exodus:

“26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. 27 And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.”

Exodus 21:26-27 (KJV)

This passage tells us that God commanded that a male or female slave that had lost their sight or lost a tooth as a result of a beating from their Master had to be freed. But there are some greater principles we learn from this passage.  Some Christians will point to the fact that Christ endured physical abuse and so did the Apostles and so too we should endure it wherever it may occur.  But I would respectfully disagree with my brethren on this.  There is a time and place to endure physical abuse when it is directly for the cause of Christ and the Gospel.  But that does not mean Christians may not flee physical abuse in various situations.  Christ fled (Matthew 12:14-16) and Paul fled as well (II Corinthians 11:33).

But in the context of punching I think this passage from Exodus 21:26-27 prohibits us from using our fists and especially punching people in the face as a form of discipline.  Think about it – how easy is it to break a tooth if you punch someone in the face? Ask any boxer it is really easy to do.  So in most cases how would a master break his slaves tooth or damage his eye? It was most likely because he punched him in the face.

On the other hand when it comes to slapping with an open hand a palm has a much smaller chance of causing any serious injury to a person.  The only way it could is if excessive force was used but then this violates the Biblical concept of using control and measure in discipline. But there is no prohibition in the Scriptures against an authority using a controlled slap across the cheek as a form of discipline.

“grabbing, shoving”

The rightness or wrongness of grabbing someone very much depends on the context.  How many parents can say they have never grabbed their child’s arm whether to keep them from harm or even to discipline them? Where is the condemnation of grabbing someone as a form of discipline that is done in a loving and controlled way? The answer is there is no condemnation of this action when done in a right manner.

But what about shoving? This I think is more akin to punching.  It has a very large chance of causing serious injury.  In fact if you were to shove someone and they fall and hit their head they could have a various serious injury as a result or even die.  Shoving someone is another way that someone could fall and break a tooth or loose the sight in their eye.  Therefore, for the same reason I think God would condemn punching as a form of physical discipline, so too I think he would condemn shoving as a form of discipline as we in authority are not to place those under our authority in danger of serious injury.

“biting, kicking, pulling hair”

When we are talking about biting, kicking and pulling hair these actions do not describe discipline but rather a fight between two persons.  Discipline is to be administered in a loving and controlled way – not in the form of a brawl.  If discipline is administered in the form of a fight it risks causing serious harm or even death to the person being disciplined.

“using or threatening the use of weapons”

Threatening to use or using weapons as form of discipline is forbidden as a form of discipline based on the fact that Biblical discipline is to be done from a place of love and control and its object is to change behavior without causing serious harm or placing the person in danger of losing their life.

“blocking you from leaving a room or the house during an argument”

From a Biblical perspective there is no prohibition on a husband or father prohibiting his wife or child from leaving the room or house during an argument.  For instance if a father or mother sends their child to their room because an argument or a husband sends his wife to their bedroom after an argument there is nothing in the Scriptures that would forbid this action.

I have actually received emails from people and heard stories elsewhere of men blocking their wives from leaving when they were in a manic state.  To allow someone to drive a car in such a state would not be wise and such an action is actually an act of love on the part of the husband.

I am not saying it is wrong for a husband to let his wife leave to cool off, but it is also not forbidden for him to make her stay.

Conclusion

It is not the Church and it is not the government that defines what is and what is not abuse.  It is God speaking through his Word, the Bible, that defines what abuse is within the spheres of the Church, Civil Government and the Family.

We have shown from the Bible that abuse is when we mistreat someone as mistreatment is defined by the Word of God.  When we mistreat someone we have sinned against that person and against God who is our creator.

We can emotionally mistreat others by hurling insults at them and speaking unkind or untrue things about them(James 3:8-10, Ephesians 4:29).

Husbands can emotionally mistreat their wives by acting in a spirit of bitterness and spite toward them (Colossians 3:19) or dishonoring their position as their wife and the mother of their children (I Peter 3:7).

Fathers can emotionally mistreat their children by provoking them to wrath and causing them to be discouraged (Colossians 3:21, Ephesians 6:4) instead of encouraging them and teaching them in the ways of God.

But sometimes husbands and fathers must use tough words and call out sin in their wives and children(Job 2:10) and even though these words hurt  if they are done for the edification of the wife or child then they are holy and righteous before God.  In other words, it is not automatically emotional abuse for a husband or father to verbally confront or call foolish or sinful the actions of his wife or child.

Verbal rebukes on the part of husbands and fathers toward their wives and children that come from a place of love and control should never ever be conflated with emotional abuse.

Not only does the Bible allow and even encourage verbal rebukes as a form of discipline but it allows physical discipline not only for children (Proverbs 13:24) but also for adults as well (Exodus 21:20-21 & 26-27 and Deuteronomy 25:1-3).

But again as with verbal discipline, physical discipline must be performed by husbands and fathers toward their wives and children from a place of love and in a controlled and measured manner(Jeremiah 30:11).

Physical discipline on the part of husbands and fathers toward their wives and children that comes from a place of love and control and is properly exercised within the boundaries of God’s law should never ever be conflated with physical abuse.

Verbal Rebukes or Physical discipline that does not come from love or is not controlled in keeping with God’s boundaries is by Biblical definition abuse.

A husband and father who comes home after having a bad day at work hurling insults and corrupt words at his wife or children is acting in an emotionally abusive way toward his family.  Even if he is not hurling insults or cursing at them – if he rebukes them from a place of bitterness and spite as opposed to love and control this may be emotionally abusive behavior on his part.

When a husband or father physically disciplines his wife from a place or rage, revenge anger or bitterness  as opposed to love and control he is engaging in physical abuse by Biblical standards.

Actions like punching, shoving, kicking, hair pulling, biting and threatening the use of weapons violate the Biblical principles of love and control which are to govern all instances of physical discipline.

A Word Of Caution On The Issue Physical Discipline

It is one thing to know what God’s Word says about the differences between physical abuse and discipline – that is knowledge.  But wisdom is knowing what to do with that knowledge.  As parents we have the God given right to use physical discipline with our children in a loving and controlled manner.  But we must also be cognizant of the evil world we live in where any type of physical discipline – even toward children is frowned upon.  Not only that – we have social service organizations that are just waiting to come in and take children if there is any hint of what they regard as child abuse even if that definition does not match the Scriptural definition.

So in the case of using physical discipline with children I believe we as parents need to follow Christ’s admonition to be “wise as serpents” (Matthew 10:16) and exercise this right with some caution.  That means it is probably not best to be spanking our children in the middle of a store in front of 30 people. It may mean if a child is acting unruly that we pick them up, leave our grocery cart, and take them to our car and take them home and then give them the physical discipline that is due.

I am a firm believer that small children need to be spanked.  At very young ages they really don’t understand other forms of non-physical discipline.  Obviously as parents we need to do this in love and with measure.  That would mean you don’t spank a one year old on the bottom with the same force that you do a four year old.  But as children get older there are other non-physical forms discipline we can use in taking away things like video games, TV time, computer time, tablets and phones and grounding them from friends.

On the matter of husbands spanking their wives – that is a much larger topic by itself.  Please see my article “Does the Bible Allow A Husband to Spank His Wife?”.  I originally wrote this article in September of 2016.  I have completely rewritten that article over the last couple weeks to be a companion piece with this article.

Does the Bible allow a husband to spank his wife?

What a crazy question right? Of course, we all know the answer is NO the Bible does not allow a man to spank his wife. Case closed. This is the typical way that many moral questions are answered today by Christians without them even cracking open their Bible. Wife spanking might be wrong – but if it is wrong we must prove that by looking to the Word of God and not to our feelings or our culture.

The Bible tells us:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Romans 12:2 (KJV)

So, we are told that we are not to be conformed to what our world or our culture thinks is right but rather we are to renew our minds according to what God thinks is right.  But then how do we know what the will of God is? How do we know what is moral by God’s standards?

“10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 17:10-12 (KJV)

“4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:4 (KJV)

The answer to the question of knowing what is the will of God is to look to his Word found in the Bible.  We need to be as the Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily for the truth of God’s Word and once we find that truth we need to apply it to our lives no matter if it conflicts with our cultural upbringing or not.

What does the Bible say about Wife Spanking?

The Bible does not specifically speak to the situation of wife spanking and some believe because this is the case then wife spanking is forbidden.

But we must be careful when we come to the Bible and it does not address a specific case of behavior with either a positive example or a command.  In these cases where we do not have a situation specifically addressed we must be careful of two extremes.  One is the extreme that we can do anything we want if it is not specifically addressed and the other is if it is not specifically addressed than we cannot do it. Both extremes are wrong.

Instead we must look for general principles the Bible does teach that we can then apply to specific situations the Bible may not speak to.

For instance, the Bible does not say anything about phone sex and web cam sex.  So, would we say it is ok for a man’s wife to have virtual sex through a web cam or phone with another man because the Bible does not address this specific situation? Of course not.

Instead we would look to this general truth taught in the book of Hebrews:

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

Hebrews 13:4(KJV)

God only honors and allows sexual relations between a man and woman within the covenant of marriage.  We don’t have to physically touch one another to sexually relate to one another.  We can sexually relate to one through things like web cams, phones, texting and emailing as well.  Any type of sexual relation that is not that of a man and woman within the covenant of marriage is not honored by God, but rather it is condemned.

Another area the Bible does not specifically speak to is physical abuse in the family.  We don’t see the Bible specifically condemning men punching their wives or children in the face but we have this condemnation of masters toward their male and female slaves:

“26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. 27 And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.”

Exodus 21:26-27 (KJV)

How would a person get their tooth knocked out or their eye permanently damaged? In most cases it would be their master either punching them in the face or shoving them to the ground where they knocked their head on something causing the injuring.  This tells us God does not approve of punching and shoving as acts of discipline.

So, while this passage in Exodus 21:26-27 does not specifically speak to marriage we can apply this as a general truth to marriage and the family.  If God condemns masters doing these things to their slaves then he certainly condemns husbands and fathers doing these things to their wives and children who have more rights under God’s law than slaves.

Now we need to apply this same method of searching the Scriptures to this area of wife spanking.

Two Biblical Principles That Allow for Wife Spanking

While the Bible does not specifically speak to wife spanking (either specifically allowing it or specifically condemning it) we must ask the question “Are there general principles of the Scriptures that would speak to this issue?” The answer is YES.

Principle #1 – Husbands Have a Right and Responsibility to Discipline their Wives

The Bible tells us that husbands are the head of their wives “as Christ is the head of the Church”:

“23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:23-24 (KJV)

Not only are husbands the head of their wives as Christ is the head of the Church but God created marriage to model the relationship of Christ to his Church.  Husbands are to model Christ’s headship over his Church by loving their wives as Christ loves the Church.  One of the primary ways in which Christ loves his Church is in his spiritual washing of her:

“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.”

Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)

This spiritual washing by Christ of the spots and wrinkles of his Church is discipline.  Christ alludes to this same concept in the book of Revelation after rebuking his seven Churches:

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

So, it is clear from the Scriptures that if a husband is modeling the relationship of Christ to his Church with his wife he has not only the right, but also the responsibility of spiritual disciplining his wife.

Principle #2 – God Allows Physical Punishment As A Form Of Discipline

The Bible tells us that God approves physical punishment as a form of discipline in the following passages:

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

Proverbs 13:24 (KJV)

“13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”

Proverbs 23:13-14 (KJV)

“If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. 2 And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. 3 Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.”

Deuteronomy 25:1-3 (KJV)

“Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.”

Proverbs 19:29 (KJV)

“A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.”

Proverbs 26:3 (KJV)

As we can see from these passages of the Scripture – not only is physical discipline approved by God for children but it is also approved by God for adults.

When we take these two Biblical principles together we see that God has given men both the right and responsibility to discipline their wives and God approves of physical discipline for adults.  Therefore, we can rightly conclude from these two Biblical truths that God allows men to spank their wives.

Objections to Wife Spanking

The primary objection to wife spanking is that such an action infantilizes women, or in other words it treats women as children.  I receive comments like this one I did today all the time:

“Women are no more sinful than men, no less intelligent and shouldn’t be treated like naughty children. If a husband has authority to discipline his wife than a wife should have authority to discipline her husband. They should treat each other with love and fairness. Both are adults; none is a lesser being. A marriage should be a loving partnership.”

There are several false presuppositions in the statement above.

Spanking no more infantilizes a woman than a speeding ticket from a police officer infantilizes a man. Adults can and do discipline other adults all the time.

But some will answer my police officer giving a ticket analogy with “a speeding ticket is a piece of paper and the officer is not bending you over his knee and spanking you”.  The reason for this kind of answer is because in our modern culture we look on any type of physical punishment with disdain.  We think physical punishment, especially toward adults is “uncivilized”.  But such thinking is at odds with the Bible.

Another problem we have is that we think wives are immune from discipline in the home because our culture teaches the false ideology of partnership marriage. Discipline in the home we are told is strictly reserved for children.  So it is easy to understand with these false beliefs about physical punishment and discipline how many people might think wife spanking infantilizes women.

However, the Bible makes it clear in passages like Ephesians 5:22-33 and I Peter 3:1-7 that marriage is not a “partnership” but rather a patriarchy.  It does not get any clearer than “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23).

The fact that “both are adults; none is a lesser being” or in other words that both husbands and wives are fully mature human beings is irrelevant.

Does it matter that at my job my boss is an adult and I am adult? The fact is the owner of my company who is an adult has put my boss whose is an adult in charge of me an adult.  It does not even mean that my boss is necessarily smarter than me.  It does not mean I am less of a human being than my boss but rather it means I have a lesser POSITION than my boss.

And the fact is that the Bible is clear that as Christ is the head of the Church so too God the owner of humanity has put male human beings in charge of female human beings in marriage.  It really is that simple.

I also agree that “Women are no more sinful than men” but that is not why God has placed men in charge of women.  Read I Corinthians 11:1-16 and Ephesians 5:22-33.  Really read it.  These passages show it was no accident and it was not because of sin or God just rolling some cosmic dice that he placed men over women in marriage.  These passages show that God created women and the institution of marriage to help men fully image God as husbands and fathers.

Conclusion

God made man to image him and by doing so bring him glory (I Corinthians 11:7).  In order to help man fully image God’s attributes as a husband and father he created woman and by extension marriage for man (I Corinthians 7:9).  God created marriage to create a model of the relationship of God to his people and in the New Testament era of Christ to his Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Just as Christ loved his Church by giving himself up for her to wash her spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God so too husbands are called to wash their wife’s spiritual spots and wrinkles, in others words they are called to discipline their wives (Ephesians 5:25-27 & Revelation 3:19).

No Scriptural principle or command forbids a man from using physical discipline as method of discipline with his wife. In fact, the Scriptures show God allows physical punishment of adults as a form of discipline in Deuteronomy 25:1-3, Proverbs 19:29 and Proverbs 26:3.

I have received many emails over the years from Christian women who willingly allow their husbands to use spanking as a form of discipline. What they have in common is that they have told me this is a humbling experience for them and reminds them of two things.  It reminds them of their position before their husband that God has placed them in.  It also reminds them that their husband truly loves them as Christ said of his Churches in Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

I know a lot of other women who truly believe in Biblical gender roles and try very much to submit to their husband’s leadership and even non-physical discipline.  But they struggle with this concept of wife spanking because in our modern culture spanking is only associated with children so they believe it is a husband treating his wife as his child instead of his wife.

I would encourage such women to reconsider these thoughts and not conform their thinking to the culture they have been raised in.  I would encourage these Christian women to renew their minds according to the Word of God.

A Word of Caution to Christian Men Regarding Wife Spanking

But I want to close this with some words of caution on this subject of wife spanking.

Am I saying a man can do anything he wants to his wife and call it physical discipline? Absolutely not! See my article on “What Does The Bible Say About Abuse?” for more on that subject.

But even if wife spanking is not practiced in an abusive way we as Christian husbands need to exercise caution in this area. I have stated multiple times in this article that the Scriptures show that husbands have that right and responsibility to discipline their wives.  But as in many other areas in life there is more than one way to skin a cat.  The Bible does not command men that the only way they may discipline their wives is through spanking.

We as Christian husbands who are trying to being faithful to God by fully exercising Biblical gender roles need to realize there is a great persecution going on against God’s design of gender roles and those who would exercise them.  I believe that because of the “present distress” (1 Corinthians 7:26), in other words the persecution of those who would fully exercise all their rights under the doctrines of Biblical gender roles, that we should do as Paul did and forgo exercising some of those rights (1 Corinthians 9:1-15).

I am not in any way saying we as Christian husbands should forego exercising our spiritual headship over our wives including disciplining them. In fact, if we don’t discipline our wives in one way or the other we are failing to image Christ in his relationship with his Church.  Christ does not leave his church uncorrected or undisciplined and neither should we as husbands leave our wives uncorrected or undisciplined.  But there are non-physical ways that we can discipline our wives.  See my article “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife” for non-physical ways that you can still exercise this right and responsibility as a Christian husband.

I think in this area of wife spanking that we as Christian husbands need to heed Christ’s admonition in Matthew 10:16 to be wise as serpents.  While we do not need our wife’s consent to spank her anymore than we need her consent to discipline in her in any other way we need to realize that the wicked culture we live in is completely hostile to the teachings and exercise of Biblical gender roles. If you were to try and physically force your wife to receive a spanking you may accidentally cause serious harm to her in the process of forcing her to receive a spanking. Even if you can physically force her to receive a spanking without bringing any harm to her the fact remains under our legal system you could be arrested and brought up on charges if she were to report you.

So, my final word on this subject is this.  Wife spanking is within the rights that God has granted to a husband as his wife’s spiritual head.  I would never condemn any man for engaging in wife spanking as long as he did not engage in truly abusive physical behavior toward her.  If wife spanking is done in a loving and controlled manner as all discipline should be done then this is holy and righteous before God.

Note: This article has been completely rewritten as of February 18, 2018 from it original posting on September 20, 2016.  Because of this I have removed the previous comments and invite new comments on this updated version of the article.

Why the movie “Fireproof” offers unbiblical and BAD marriage advice

One of the biggest of problems with the Fireproof movie is that it turns marriage into an idol. People are exhorted to do just about anything to save their marriage. Fireproof was released in September of 2008 and it became an instant hit in churches around the country. The “love dare” and many other books and marriage teaching materials spawned from this movie and some churches to this day still use this movie to teach advice about marriage.

Movie Synopsis

Fireproof features Kirk Cameron in the lead role as a firefighter named Caleb Holt. The movies shows right from the beginning a strained relationship between Caleb and his wife Catherine. He is short with her and she is disrespectful with him.  Eventually Catherine says she wants a divorce and they go through the divorce process during the movie. Caleb talks to his father who had become a Christian in recent years and his father tells him of marriage troubles his mother and he had.  He offers to send his son something that he wants him to try before he gives up on his marriage.

It must be pointed out that neither Caleb nor his wife Catherine are Christians at the beginning of this film.

Caleb receives a handwritten journal that is later referred to as “The Love Dare” and it gives Caleb 40 days where each day he must working on his marriage with most days asking him to do something kind for his wife.  In the middle of the movie when Caleb feels his efforts with the love dare are not working his father uses his failed efforts to bring him to Christ.  Then after becoming a Christian he redoubles his efforts despite his wife basically spitting in his face the entire movie only for her to accept him back at the end of the movie.  She becomes a Christian because of the change she saw in him and they renew their wedding vows as Christians.

So now we will dive into the problems that make “Fireproof” a movie that Bible believing Christians should reject.

The chain of events that lead to the breakdown of Caleb and Catherine’s marriage

Most Christian reviewers of the movie as well as the people who produced the movie itself want your primary focus to be on Caleb’s wrong behavior and not Catherine’s. There is only one small scene in the movie where a Christian nurse confronts Catherine’s sinful emotional affair with a doctor at the hospital. Catherine’s behavior is seen simply as a wife’s natural reaction to a mean and self-centered husband and we are supposed to believe Caleb’s behavior came out of thin air.

Caleb says the problems started about a year earlier. So now I will present what I think were several problems that lead up to breakdown of their marriage based on several key statements made in the first two arguments of the movie.

Here is the chain of events that eventually lead Catherine to seek divorce from Caleb:

  1. A year earlier Catherine comes to Caleb asking for him to use part of his savings for his boat to pay for a new hospital bed and wheel chair for her disabled mother who is living in a nursing home and Caleb refuses to part with any money from his savings feeling that he works hard as a firefighter and after saving for years deserves to get his boat.
  2. Catherine reacts to his refusal by going to work full time as an administrator in a local hospital. Caleb tells her that if she is going to work full time then she will need to help pay the bills in the house while he will continue to pay the house payment and their two car payments.
  3. Catherine begins spending much more time with her mother on the weekends in addition to working full time and Caleb becomes frustrated by his wife’s neglect of him and her home.
  4. Caleb begins looking at porn at some point and Catherine starts sexually denying him and tells him that she won’t give him sex while he looks at that “smut” and she would not compete with it. She later tells him that he has lost all honor in her eyes because he looks at porn.
  5. Catherine’s bitterness toward Caleb over her feelings about him being selfish with his savings, his looking at porn and his not doing enough in helping with the affairs of the home leads to a very disrespectful attitude toward Caleb.
  6. As could be expected in any marriage that has experienced these types of issues there is also a complete breakdown of even the most basic communications between the couple.
  7. Caleb gets frustrated with Catherine’s disrespectful attitude and he finally let’s her have it. He yells at her in frustration and gets in her face telling her how ungrateful and disrespectful she has been after she has spent several minutes smarting off to him.   She goes from being a defiant and disrespectful wife all of sudden to a fearful victim who begins to cry in fear.  She tells him “I want out” and thus begins Caleb’s and Catherine’s journey into divorce.

It must be noted that beside Catherine’s neglect of her home, her sexual denial of her husband and her highly disrespectful attitude toward him she compounds her sinful behavior by beginning an emotional affair with a doctor at the hospital where she works.

The sins that Caleb and Catherine each committed

Caleb acted selfishly in not wanting to part with any of his savings for his boat to care for the legitimate needs of Catherine’s mother for a hospital bed and wheel chair.

Catherine began to grow bitter at Caleb for his selfishness with his savings and at the same time decides to put her mother’s care ahead of her duties to her home and her husband.

Catherine’s comment acknowledging she has been sexually denying her husband and that she would not “compete with that smut” (the porn he had been looking at) also reveals a sinful heart of pride on her part.  While much our current culture (including Christian Churches) teach that a man must have eyes only for his wife this concept is not supported by the Scriptures (see my post “10 Hard Truths Christian Wives must accept about their husbands and porn”).  Even if it were sinful for him to be looking at porn and it was required by God for him to focus all his sexual thoughts and energy on her it still would not be right for her to sexually deny him.

Could Caleb have helped more around the house with his wife working full time and helping to care for her mother on the weekends? Probably.  But there is an argument to be made that unless a husband asks his wife to work to help support the family and if she decides on her own that she needs/wants to work then he has no obligation to help her with the duties of the home.  In essence she as decided to pull “double duty” – to work outside the home while fully keeping up with her duties to the affairs of her home.

In either case it appears that Catherine has also been woefully neglectful of her home.   There is also another question regarding whether or not she should have been spending all those weekends with her mother at the nursing home.  Did they not have nurses to care for her mother?

Even though Caleb was not a Christian man he worked many hours as a firefighter and expected and had grown accustomed to his wife being the keeper of the affairs of the home. This is a natural instinctive expectation for any man in regard to his wife even without knowing anything about the Biblical commands for wives to occupy this role. Our society has tried to reprogram men to be “joint keepers of the home” with their wives but this reprogramming has still not taken affect with a lot of men. The refrigerator and cupboards being stocked, meals being made and his laundry being done were all things Caleb had come to expect from Catherine.  Then when she went to work that began to change.

I believe this change in Catherine’s neglect of her home was due to several factors.  She believed that since she had to work due to her husband’s selfishness with his money that she was no longer going to take care of all the affairs of the home.  He was going to have fend for himself – he deserved that for how he had been treating her.  She also decided that her mother’s needs were more important than her husband’s wishes. Even if she was right about all the wrong things he had done – her wrong behavior in reaction to her husband’s behavior caused a destructive spiral of sinful behavior in their marriage that eventually lead to their divorce proceedings.

Right behaviors that could have prevented the collapse of Caleb and Catherine’s marriage

First Caleb could have realized the true need of Catherine’s mother for a hospital bed and wheel chair and sacrificed his dream of a boat to help her mother’s real need. This would have strengthen her love for him. But rather than do what was right Caleb acted selfishly and refused to help her mother.

However, Catherine could have chosen to act to both preserve her marriage and at the same time help her mother at the same time.  She could have taken the difficult road of fully taking care of the needs of her home and working full time at the same time.  Would this be tiring for her? Absolutely.  But then she would have been fulfilling her duty to her home while at the same time helping her mother. Another thing to remember is Catherine and Caleb had no children so really Catherine’s duties to her home would not have been as burdensome as if they had children.

Caleb could have chosen to be more discreet about his porn use and least given his wife the perception that he was not looking at it anymore after she caught him the first time knowing how much it hurt her feelings.  He seems to be have had little regard for being discreet about his porn habit.

Catherine felt great emotional pain regarding her husband’s porn use as she felt she was to be center of all his sexual thoughts and that she should not have to compete with images or thoughts of any other women on the part of her husband. But even with her hurt she could have decided to act in a right way and not drive him to look at porn further and also increase his frustration toward her by sexually denying him.

Caleb tries to save his marriage

At first both Caleb and Catherine just want to pull the eject level because of hurts they each feel they have suffered at the hands of the other.  But then Caleb’s Dad convinces him to fight for 40 days to save his marriage using the love dare journal.

Caleb while not being a Christian yet out of respect for his father decides to give it a try. In the beginning he is doing these things expecting his wife to notice and then apologize for her behavior and they could make up and cancel the planned divorce.  But as he does each kind thing toward her she becomes more and more hostile instead believing his actions are not based on genuine changes she would like to see.

This is where we get into some unbiblical concepts and misapplied biblical concepts that are introduced by the love dare and Caleb’s father.

Fireproof confuses God’s unconditional love with God’s conditional affection

Many Christian men and women do not know that God has two kinds of love for us. There are certain actions God performs toward us that are completely based on God’s unconditional love for us. His salvation for us is chief among these actions and this passage is used in the movie to refer to God’s unconditional love:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 (NIV)

This passage is used as central theme in teaching Caleb to unconditionally love his wife.  Now should a man unconditionally love his wife? Absolutely.  That is what all men vow to do when they take a woman as their wife.

However when a man vows to unconditionally love his wife he is vowing to unconditionally provide for her, protect her, care for her when she sick, lead her, forgive her when she sins against him, show her kindness, teach her, discipline her and sacrifice himself for her.

When Caleb refused to take money out of his savings he was not sacrificing himself for his wife’s true needs as he should have.  When he became a Christian he realized what that meant to sacrifice himself for his wife and took the money out of his account and paid for her mother’s hospital bed and wheel chair.

But the Bible shows that God’s affection for us is in fact based upon our affection toward him:

“No, the Father himself loves you BECAUSE you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” – John 16:27 (NIV)

The word here in the original language for “love” is different than the word used in Romans 5:8 in regard to love.  This word could be translated as “affection” so it could read as this:

“No, the Father himself shows affection for you BECAUSE you have shown affection me and have believed that I came from God.”

See my post “Why doesn’t my husband love me anymore?” for more on this subject of unconditional love and conditional affection in regard to both God’s love for us as individuals, his love for Israel and a husband’s love for his wife.

Getting back to Fireproof – they teach that God only has one kind love and it is always unconditional. In the view of fireproof a husband is not only to unconditionally love his wife by providing her, protecting her and sacrificing himself for her but is also called to perform unconditional acts of affection toward her.

The message we get from Fireproof is that a man should do things like buy his wife flowers, make her romantic dinners, clean the house and a host of other acts of affection despite his wife’s continued sinful behavior including complete and utter disrespect, a generally critical and hostile spirit, neglect of her duties to the home, sexual denial and even an emotional affair.

The Biblical truth is that while God calls husbands to unconditionally love their wives he does not call them to unconditionally perform acts of affection toward them in spite of their rebellious and sinful behavior or to cause them to turn from their sinful behavior.

What did God do in the Old Testament when his wife acted in rebellion against him, disrespected him and she became unfaithful like Catherine did here in this story?

“41 They will burn your houses with fire and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women. Then I will stop you from playing the harlot, and you will also no longer pay your lovers. 42 So I will calm My fury against you and My jealousy will depart from you, and I will be pacified and angry no more. 43 Because you have not remembered the days of your youth but have enraged Me by all these things, behold, I in turn will bring your conduct down on your own head,” declares the Lord God, “so that you will not commit this lewdness on top of all your other abominations.” – Ezekial 16:41-43 (NASB)

From Ezekiel and many other Old Testament passages we can see just how God handles a rebellious wife.  He brings her conduct on her head. He disciplines his wife.

Notice in this next passage from the book of Isaiah how God removes his blessing from Israel because of her rebellion:

““What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it?

Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones?

5 “So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard:

I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed;

I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground.

6 “I will lay it waste;

It will not be pruned or hoed,

But briars and thorns will come up.

I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.” – Isaiah 5:4-8 (NASB)

God did not continue to bless Israel and do even more for her and perform unconditional acts of affection toward her while she was in her rebellion. God’s example as a husband to his wife Israel is in DIRECT contradiction to what Fireproof advices husband’s to do with a rebellious and unfaithful wife.

But didn’t God show that he would “allure” Israel back to him?

Often times Hosea and the prostitute God called him to marry are brought up to bolster Fireproof’s approach to the rebellious and unfaithful wife. But if you closely examine the story of Hosea you will see that God had Hosea take a prostitute as his wife who was later unfaithful to him and he took her back to show that AFTER Israel repents and turns from her wickedness God would remove his discipline and restore her blessings and her rightful place as his wife.

For more on the subject of a husband disciplining his wife see my post “7 Ways to Discipline your wife”.

Fireproof does get it right about a husband confessing his sin to his wife

God calls husbands to confront sin both in themselves, their wives and their children. But before a husband can confront his wife’s sin he must confess his own and make it right.

“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Luke 6:42 (NIV)

Caleb did do this with his wife in the movie after he became a Christian. This is something the movie actually gets right.

I do though think it was silly in the movie that he paid for her mother’s hospital bed and wheel chair and he did not tell her about it. He could have used that as a powerful moment to let her know how sorry he was for being selfish with his money and that he had paid for her mother’s hospital bed and wheel chair to demonstrate his repentance.  It could have avoided prolonging their problems and if she would have never thought to ask who actually paid for it they may have continued with the divorce.

Fireproof teaches the false doctrine of “Happy Wife Happy Life”

During an exchange early in the movie before Caleb’s conversion he is talking about how is respected everywhere he goes except in his own home.  His fellow firefighter tells him that he has been there before his wife not feeling respected and it was a rough place to be. His friend tells Caleb that ultimately his marriage problems were not about his wife’s disrespectful attitude toward him but rather it was because of his mistreatment of her.

He offers this advice that he learned in marriage counseling “Your wife is like rose, if you treat her right she will bloom but if you don’t she wither and die”. This is the essence of “Happy Wife Happy Life” that is taught in both secular marriage counseling and sadly in most Christian marriage counseling in our society.

Today marriage counselors often say that most marriage problems come down to the husband’s treatment of his wife. If the husband would just love his wife as she desires to be loved and do whatever she wants their marriage will be great and in return she will love him and be the best wife to him.

But this is blatantly false.

God calls Christian husband’s to make their first concern to honor God with their lives and to model the relationship of God to his people in their marriages. In keeping with that primary goal of marriage husbands are called to sacrifice themselves not for their wife’s happiness – but rather for her holiness:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” – Ephesians 5:25-27 (NIV)

In most Christian churches when they teach on the sacrificial love that God calls Christian husband’s to emulate with their wives they stop abruptly at “gave himself up” but they never explain for what purpose a husband is to give himself up for his wife. The primary purpose of a husband’s sacrificial love for his wife is to make her holy not to make her happy.  In fact often times a husband will be called to make leadership decisions that his wife disagrees with but he believes are in the will of God.  This might make her unhappy. He might have to confront his wife for some sinful behavior she is doing and this will definitely make her unhappy.  But the goal is his wife’s holiness, not her happiness.

Now is it wrong for a husband to try and make his wife happy where he can? Of course not.  If what his wife is asking for would not conflict with what he believes God would have him do then by all means he should do it.  If a husband were presented with the same scenario with saving for some boat or other unnecessary thing and a true need arose for a close family member he should sacrifice his wants in these kinds of cases.

Now there is also the case of a selfish wife where is she is very demanding of her husband’s time and money on a regular basis and not for legitimate needs like a hospital bed and wheel chair for her mother.  Men need to be careful in these cases to not spoil their wives.

See my previous post entitled “Does the Bible teach “happy wife happy life”?” for more on this subject.

I have personally seen the damage that the Fireproof movie has caused in marriages

When Fireproof was released in September of 2008 I was in the midst of my divorce from my first wife. My story in many ways mirrored the story of Caleb but in some ways it was different.

First let me state the biggest difference is that my wife and I were both professing Christians and we both had attended church for most of our lives. When I say “professing” I don’t mean that I did not truly believe because I have truly believed in God since I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior at the age of seven years old.  But by “professing” I mean in my opinion I am not sure that my ex-wife was ever truly a genuine believer.  I cannot say for sure that she is not a Christian as only God knows that.  But the fact that she has rarely graced the door step of a church in years and the way she has lived her life since our divorce has not given me any cause to think her faith is genuine.

But the reasons for the breakdown in our marriage were similar in some ways to Caleb and Catherine and different in many other ways.

My first wife thought I worked two much – I worked a full time job and a part time job to support our big family with five children. Unlike Caleb though I was not tight with the money and pretty much anything my wife wanted she got if we had the funds. In fact in many ways I was too soft on her as she was an extremely lazy woman with a princess mentality.

Like Caleb I also had a habit of viewing pornography although it did not affect my desire for my wife in the least bit and for all of our marriage until the last year of it we had sex several times a week. At the time though and for most of my life I condemned myself on a regular basis for viewing porn and I ask God’s forgiveness and her forgiveness on a regular basis. After my divorce from my first wife God finally revealed to me that my self-condemnation for viewing porn was misplaced and that I could view some type’s porn guilt free as long as it did not lead to obsessive behavior or affect my desire for my future wife.

Now the reason that our sex life decreased rapidly in the last year of our marriage was not due to my porn habit or any decrease in desire on my part for my wife.  The decrease came because for the first time in our marriage she began to sexually deny me.  At first it was only a decrease in our relations and then eventually she started to flat out deny me.

What I eventually came to learn is that she had been having an affair with another man for the past year (which completely explained the change in our sex life). She cited my working too much and my history of viewing porn as her primary reasons for the affair. She felt that she should have been the only woman that I desired to see naked and she should have been the center of all my sexual focus and really my life’s focus.  She wanted to be number one in all areas of my life and she felt she did not occupy that position based on me putting so much into my job and my viewing porn.

I started attending a support group at a church for people facing the possibility of divorce or actually going through divorce. The director of that group was a huge fan of what was at the time new “Fireproof” approach to handling the wayward wife.

He actually told me that I needed to do what Caleb did in the movie and compete for my unfaithful wife. He convinced me for a time that my porn use was just as unfaithful to my wife as he being unfaithful to me with this man she had been sleeping with for the past year.  Many good Christian men have fallen for this false comparison as I once did.

I did what Caleb did and I apologized to my ex-wife in tears on my hands and knees.  I begged her to return to me and that I would treat her like the “jewel” she was if she would just give me another chance while I knew she was still seeing this other man.

For a time following this horrible Fireproof advice I was given I convinced myself that my ex-wife was not truly the lazy and the self-centered princess that she truly was.

But then I realized very quickly what this man from this church support group was saying was wrong and that I was trying to convince myself of a lie. Was I the perfect husband? Certainly not. Did I work too much at times and was I neglectful of her at times? Yes. But what I did certainly did not justify what she did.

Did God win back his unfaithful wife by performing acts of affection? No way! He brought down the house on Israel because of her sin. My ex-wife and other Christian men who had unfaithful wives saw their wives emboldened in their unfaithfulness by the example of the Fireproof movie.

It was their husband’s fault not theirs and their husband’s needed to win them back.  What heresy! What an utter and complete false teaching this is!

Yes the story of my first marriage did tragically end in divorce and with her quickly marrying the man whom she had the affair with.  It was interesting that not long after our divorce before I married my first wife she realized the mistake she made and this guy was not all he acted like he was and she wanted me to consider taking her back but of course there was no real repentance for what she had done. I told her NO WAY and even if I remained a single Dad for the rest of my life that would have been better than being with a wife like her that I could not trust.  About two months after that I met the women who would later become my future wife.

As I have written on this site in other places my second wife is a good Christian woman and she certainly has more character and is a far more trust worthy person than my first wife ever was. She truly loves my children and has been a great step mother to them.

But I came to realize that she was indeed a “rebound relationship” not long after we were married and I realized all the differences between us we had overlooked even while both being Christians with her feminist upbringing being a big red flag I overlooked.  But I have learned a lot from my first marriage and this second marriage has taught me a great deal as well.  We have our rough days and she and I both struggle with certain sins.  I still struggle with working too much at times as my wife will attest to. I have tried to carve out some time together and we try and schedule date nights (something I did not do in my first marriage).

But we do love one another and care for one another and we try to do our best to make it work despite there still being many conflicts of marriage philosophy in our marriage. And to answer the question everyone will ask in the comments – is my wife still a feminist? Yes but not as much as she was when were first married.  Over the years through our many discussions (some more gentle and others more heated) God has worked through me trying to teach her God’s Word on this subject and she is not the same person she was when we were first married.  But we still have a ways to go and sometimes my wife will have relapses and revert back to her old feminist attitudes and it gets tough during those days.

In my first marriage I never disciplined my wife and I did not confront her sinful behavior until the end of the marriage when it was too late. I provided for my family but I did not lead in all areas the way I should have. But in this marriage I have learned to stand up and lead and sometimes do the difficult task of confronting my wife’s sinful attitudes and behaviors while admitting I have some sinful habits and behaviors myself too.   It’s not that I don’t still struggle with disciplining my wife and my kids – because I certainly do – but at least now it’s happening.

Conclusion

We have demonstrated that one of the biggest of problems with the Fireproof movie is that it turns marriage into an idol. People are exhorted to do just about anything to save their marriage.  God does NOT call us to enable sin to save our marriage.  Our faithfulness to God and his will and design for our life is the most important thing.  Some marriages cannot be saved due to unrepentant behavior on the part of one or both spouses.

Do I think Kirk Cameron and those who produced this movie had good intentions toward helping couples to save their marriages and stem the tied of divorce? Yes I do. I think Kirk Cameron is truly a man of faith and so are the people who produced this movie and they were sincere in the beliefs about what they thought love in Biblical marriage looks like. But sometimes Christians can be sincerely wrong.  Egalitarianism is evident even in the movies theme phrase “Never leave your partner behind”.  Despite modern misconceptions about what Christian marriage looks like the Bible never ever refers to marriage as a partnership.  It calls a wife a husband’s companion but never his partner.  Instead the Bible refers to marriage as a patriarchy.

Contrary to Fireproof’s motto “Never leave your partner behind” – God did in fact leave his wife Israel behind after he disciplined her and  she failed to repent of her rebellion and unfaithfulness toward him and then he divorced her.  He tells us in the New Testament that he has taken on a new wife in the form of the Church to make his first wife Israel jealous and one day Israel will repent and be restored as his wife in addition to the church.

I am surprised it took me so many years to write my feelings about this movie but now I am glad that I have.  I hope that Christians will realize that while there is some good in Fireproof the good DOES NOT outweigh the bad.  It completely distorts how God’s unconditional love works and neglects the discipline of God and his conditional affection.

7 Steps to Dealing with a Lazy Wife

You come home from work to find piled up dishes from dinner the night before. Clothes are everywhere and nothing in the house has seemed to move while you were gone – including your wife. Your wife says “Honey I don’t feel like cooking – how about you run and get us some takeout?” How does God want a Christian husband to deal with this situation? Is laziness something that God wants men to confront in their wives or do they need to leave this between their wife and God? Even if they think they should confront this how can a Christian man go about this?

Before we answer these questions from a Biblical perspective I want to share a real life story that I received in an email.  The man who sent me this story goes by the name of Tom.

Tom’s Story

“First off, Thank you so much for seeking to dispel so many paradigms through your thorough study of Scripture.  I’ve spent too many years halfheartedly trying to be a “spiritual leader” in my home, and finally I’m just stepping up to be THE head of my home (as Christ is my head in everything).

I’ve had my share of struggling times, and a couple of the most recent ones I’ve started writing you drafts on!  However, after I get fed up, things seem to turn around before I have the chance to finish.

I’d like to ask of your wisdom when it comes to achieving a well-managed home.  My wife has stayed at home for our marriage, aside from a couple of brief casual jobs, and a part time one that lasted a few months.  We got married as egalitarians I believe, and though both of our parents were fairly traditional (both our moms at home, dads working), they never taught us about egalitarianism or complementarianism.  I think we absorbed a lot MORE than our parents taught simply through church and the culture around us.

Our house is usually messy.  We’ve had periods of incredible organization and tidiness, but it doesn’t seem to last.  I’ve gotten grief from believing / hoping that one day it could be habit for dishes to be cleaned up after a meal, rather than later in the day, or the next day.

My wife has made me some amazing meals, and gone to great lengths a few times to do so.  But more often, some frozen piece of food will be taken out and warmed up (starting at “supper time”) when there is fresh food in the fridge.  I’ve had to learn to shut up and get out of the kitchen more – I enjoy food, and when I have the time I’m willing to cook it.

Today was my “day off”, and my wife was booked away for lunch (a small job we agreed on).  As I’m ordering my kids around to unload/load the dishwasher, set the table, and help out a bit I started to get angry.  Cleaning a day or two of dishes so that I have space simply to make some noodle soup (my wife neither asked me to cook nor provided an idea/plan).   The last 2 days I’ve worked (while with kids for a couple hours) in my home office, and at a regular job.  I bought us a takeout meal on Friday, and cooked part of the meal yesterday.

My whole marriage I’ve resisted complaining, so though we’ve had arguments I’ve never gone to someone else to ask “is this normal”, or “can I not expect more in my marriage”, etc.  When we talk she gets grumpy, or complains that I’m micromanaging her, or if she sees that I really am getting fed up by something specific, she’ll say “Fine.” and go do it with an emotional cloud that I’m positive even the kids can feel in the room.  I come home, or come up from my home office and have to remind her about things that still haven’t been done – it makes me feel like a housewife; except I’m also working pretty full time.  When business is slow I will take a little time off, relax a bit, but also help tidy or put things away, cook, etc.

So many stupid little details that I’m sorry to bother you with, but the backlash I get from talking to her about any expectations is almost as wearying as living in this mess, and wishing I just had time to relax, to play with my kids (rather than stepping in when I can tell they’ve had no attention, few boundaries, or TV/tablets for much of the day). “

We’ve had bigger issues before, and got through them.  We have some great sex, some incredible days together.  But when it’s time to get back to work, I feel we should both work (me in my career, her in our home).  Then we can play together, rather than working in the house together to catch up by the time my work begins again.

After reading the manosphere, I’ve come to realize that idealism and self-awareness is something I’ve naturally pursued, and the fact that she doesn’t seem to pursue it (at least in her role as I do in my role) seems naturally “female”.

For the sake of my sanity, of my love for my children, and desire to have space & peace at home, what can I do?

We do have so much positive, but I’m tired of getting angry at home.

We’ve only ever had one full time income, so she’s noted (many times) that she doesn’t have a “budget” for much furniture (we may buy a few small pieces, or one large piece per year), or other home things.

I had to prioritize my business, and she wanted to start a family, which we began in our first year.  We love our kids, but definitely live simply.

I know you’ve mentioned discipline, but as we don’t have much discretionary income, it’s hard for me to see how I can withhold anything from her.  Family allowance etc. goes straight to her (which is good, she has become better at managing it).  It’s like my personal authority has its limits, and positional authority is better known than mentioned!”

My response to Tom and other men who face the issue of laziness in their wives

While both genders struggle with all types of sins including laziness there are some sins that are more prominent in one gender over the other.  For instance men often struggle with having a lack of empathy, grace and mercy in their personal relationships including their relationships with their wives and children. But on the other hand, one of the greatest struggles for many women is the struggle against the sin of laziness.

The reason for this is because women can often times allow themselves to be completely controlled by their emotions.  For many women if they feel like doing something then they do it and if they don’t feel like doing something then they don’t do it whereas most men are creatures of duty so whether they feel like doing something or not men will do their duty.

So if it could be said that men could learn or thing or two about empathy from women it could equally be said that women could learn a thing or two about duty from men.

Does a Christian husband have the authority to confront his wife’s laziness?

Imagine that your son or daughter left their bed a mess and left toys and clothes all over their room. Would you go in and make their bed and clean up their clothes and toys? If you did this would this be showing your child kindness, empathy, grace and mercy? I think we could answer this question with a resounding “no”.

Why? Because if we go and clean up their room we are not teaching them that it is THEIR responsibility to clean their room. We are in essence enabling the sin of laziness in our children when we allow them to keep their rooms messy.

But somehow our modern culture has a different standard when it comes to a woman keeping her home which is something the Bible clearly commands:

“4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” – Titus 2:4-6 (KJV)

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” – I Timothy 5:14 (KJV)

Today we make excuses for women that we would never allow with our children to make when it comes to their chores. If a man complains about his wife being lazy a list of excuses and possible reasons for her not doing her duty are given.

We are told today that all of sudden in the age of dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, conventional ovens,  microwaves, refrigerators, electric irons and all of the other household tools women have at their disposal that they simply can no longer do the things women have been doing for thousands of years even now that they have these tools.

I wonder how many women would complain that they just “can’t do it all” if they were taken to some third world country with no electricity and they had do everything by hand. The fact is women today are spoiled and you know whose fault it is? It is the same person’s fault if a family has spoiled children – it is our fault men!

The Bible says “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23) and Christ tells us regarding his churches that “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:19).

It is true that some leaders only have the power to influence those who follow their leadership but they have no authority to discipline those who follow them. Some falsely claim this how a husband leads his wife – by influence only.  But this is contrary to Biblical teaching. A husband is not only his wife’s leader but he is also her authority and she is subject to him in all things.

Consider these Scriptural teachings on the subjection of wives to their husbands:

“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:24 (KJV)

“1 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…

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.” – I Peter 1:1 & 5-6 (KJV)

God’s Word is clear that he has established men not only as leaders of their wives but also as authorities over their wives and with all authority comes the power to discipline those who are under that authority. A husband has the authority to discipline his wife and his wife’s submission is NOT voluntarily but rather a husband can and should compel his wife’s submission.  For more on the subject of the Christian duty of husbands to discipline their wives see these posts “Should a Christian husband make his wife submit?” and “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife“.

So when it comes to laziness or other sinful behaviors by your wife, you as a Christian husband have not only the power but the responsibility to discipline your wife. In fact the act of a man disciplining his wife is a sacrifice on his part in much the same it is a sacrifice for a parent to discipline their child. No loving parent enjoys disciplining their child and no loving husband enjoys disciplining his wife.

The sacrifice of disciplining your wife

“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” – Ephesians 5:25 (KJV)

Many Pastors, teachers and Christian women point to Ephesians 5:25’s phrase “and gave himself for it” as a way to dismantle everything the Bible tells wives about submission.  We are often told in churches across America “Sure women are told to submit to their husbands but men are told to sacrifice themselves for their wives”.  But this is only telling half the story.

What all these Pastors, teachers and women neglect is what it means for a husband to give himself for his wife.  This is explained in the next two verses:

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.” – Ephesians 5:26-27 (KJV)

A man is to sacrifice himself for his wife’s holiness and not to enable her sinful behavior. If a wife is acting lazy or selfish in some way a husband is not to enable this sin by doing what she should be doing or giving her aid where no aid is truly needed.

Men let’s be honest. Sometimes we just pick up after our kids because we want to avoid a confrontation and we don’t want to disturb the peace of the house at that moment. In the same way and really to a greater extent we “pick up” after our wives for the same reasons.

We come home from work and see the house in disrepair and when our wife asks that question about getting takeout we take the easy way out – we say yes and we go get it.  But what have we taught our wife in this situation? We have enabled her laziness and taught her it is ok to neglect her duties to her home when she does not feel like it.

Your wife’s laziness sets a bad example for your children

If your children see their mother leaving her house in disrepair what example does it set for them? There is a saying about how children learn things from their parents. With children things are often more “caught than taught”. What that means is if you say one thing and do another most likely your children will do what you do and not what you tell them they should do.

So in the case of allowing your wife’s laziness to go unchecked there are two things that you are teaching your children no matter what you say to them otherwise.  In the short term you are teaching them to leave their room a mess and not pick up after themselves.  Why? Because mom does keep up the house why should they keep up their room?

Think about how hilarious the following scenario is and it occurs in homes all across America each and every day. A mother yells at her children “your rooms are a mess – go and pick up your clothes and put your toys away” while right behind her as she says this there is a sink full of dishes that has sat there for two days and a laundry room with a pile of clothes that stands as tall as her children.

But there are even worse long term influences from allowing unchecked laziness in your wife to continue. We must remember as Christian parents that we are raising other people’s spouses.

If you don’t confront your wife’s laziness then you are teaching your sons that they should not confront their future wife’s laziness if that were to occur.  If you come home and constantly bail your wife out of her responsibilities by getting takeout or cooking yourself or doing the laundry you are teaching your son that it ok for them to enable sin in their future wives instead of confronting it.

If you don’t confront your wife’s laziness then you are teaching your daughters that it is ok for them to be lazy wives too. A lot of women follow the pattern of their mother.  So it is up to you to confront this laziness in your wife so that your daughter can see that the way her mother has been neglectful of her duties is NOT an example that God wants her to emulate.

Disability is not the same as laziness

Now I need to stop here and give the obvious exceptions. If your wife is sick or somehow physically unable to keep up with the affairs of the home then this is not a matter of laziness on her part but rather the inability to do these things.  In this case God has called us as husbands to lovingly step in and aid our wives.

For instance in the weeks before a woman gives birth she may be bedridden or she may be bedridden for weeks after giving birth or after other surgeries.  Of course in these instances we as loving husbands need to step in and render aid wherever it is needed.

My wife was in a very bad car accident 3 years ago that left her permanently disabled. She suffers from PTSD, depression and anxiety in addition to chronic pain as a result of that accident. She cannot physically do everything she used to do. So I have no problem as her husband stepping in and helping wherever that help is needed.

I have been asked to write on being a “caretaker spouse” by many Christians who deal with this situation and I plan on doing that very soon. But I will just say that even if we as husbands have a disabled wife – it is our duty as husbands to both help them and also push them to do what they can be reasonably expected to do.

For example – my wife for some time did not do much in the months that followed her car accident and that was completely understandable.  In the beginning I did not want her lifting a thing.  But as the months progressed and we got into a year from the car accident after physical therapy her doctors said that her lying around all the time was not good for her.  She needed to get up and move around and even force herself to engage in some light housework where she could even while enduring some pain.

I had to push her and sometimes we got into fights about it. But it needed to be done for the benefit of her spiritual and physical condition and the benefit of our home. Overtime as I saw she was able to do more I pushed her more. This is a tricky area when dealing with a disabled wife – but even in this case God wants us as husbands to exhort our wives to do whatever their best is in their current condition.

Grace and mercy should always accompany discipline

Guys – remember what I said about what we struggle with verses what our wives struggle with? Sure your wife might struggle with laziness but perhaps you may be struggling with grace and mercy. You truly need to look at the pattern of your wife’s behavior to know for sure how you should handle the situation.

Ask yourself this question – is it the norm for your house to be in disrepair or do you eat out every other day of the week because your wife does not want to cook?  Or are these things the exception? If they are the exception then you probably should consider showing your wife some grace and mercy during these rare times and give the woman a break.

Now that we have discussed the fact that husbands not only have the right but also the duty to discipline their wives for laziness now let’s discuss some practical steps men can take to accomplish this.

7 Steps to dealing with a lazy wife

Step 1 – Know beforehand that this will hurt her

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” – Proverbs 27:6 (KJV)

Very few women if any will take it well when their husband tells them he believes they have been lazy and neglectful in their duties to their home. But it must be said.  This is the sacrifice of discipline that you must make as a husband.

Step 2 – Speak the truth in love

“14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” – Ephesians 4:14-15 (KJV)

The “L” word is not a swear word. In some Christian circles a man saying his wife is acting “lazy” is akin to him calling her a cuss word.  The KJV uses two words for laziness – one is “slothfulness” and the other is “idleness”:

“By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.” – Ecclesiastes 10:18 (KJV)

So yes speak the truth in love – but speak the truth.  If it walks like a duck and acts likes duck – it’s a duck. In fact the Bible says that a godly wife is NOT a lazy wife:

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” – Proverbs 31:27 (KJV)

There is no sugar coating this gentlemen – if a wife is not keeping up with duties of her household she is being lazy and she must be called out on this.

I think that initially you should try and handle this in private with your wife away from your children and with most other issues.  But at a future point if she continues in this sin of laziness it will become evident to the children that mom is doing something wrong.  I will talk about this more later.

Step 3 – Make the consequences for her laziness clear

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” – Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

At first give her a warning. But let her know that if you come home and see the house is a mess, laundry is not done, the home is not clean or dinners are not being prepared there will be consequences for her laziness.

I have talked in more detail about how men can discipline their wives in my post “7 Ways to Discipline your wife”.

Step 4 – Follow through on disciplinary consequences if she fails to change her ways

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” – Hebrews 12:11 (KJV)

If you thought confronting your wife about her laziness was the hardest part you would be wrong.  Following through on the consequences you promised will be the most difficult part.  But remember why Christ sacrificed himself? It was to make his bride holy and so to you must do this to try and yield the fruit of righteousness in your wife’s life.

Step 5 – Attempt private discipline first

Once you have examined “7 Ways to Discipline your wife” you will notice that most of these methods could be instituted in a way that does not draw attention to your wife from your children.  I would suggest you try these kinds of private discipline first.

One method of private discipline that I added as an update to “7 Ways to Discipline your wife” is using your time as a husband as a method of discipline.  This is especially important to men in Tom’s situation where finances are tight. Many women value their husband’s time more than almost anything else.  A man can use discretion with how much of his free time that he allocates to his wife as one method of discipline.

Step 6- Move to more public discipline if private discipline does not work

An example of public discipline would be turning off the internet or cable in your home. Perhaps you might lock these things out with a code only you know. If you need the internet for work or children need it for school you could put the new code only in your computer and theirs and not your wives so she will have no access while others can still use it.  If you have to do this to shake your wife from her laziness this will get the attention of your children as it affects them.

Contrary to what some Christian teachers may teach – you do not have shield your children from your correction and discipline of your wife especially if she puts you in the position to have to do things that are more publicly visible to the rest of the family.

Some might say that this type of discipline undermines a mother’s authority in the eyes of her children and dishonors her before them in direct contradiction to I Peter 3:7’s admonition for men to honor their wives. But this could not be further from the truth.

The mother has dishonored herself by placing her husband in the position to have to elevate his discipline of her from private to public. Matthew 18:15-17 teaches us this principle that first correction is to be attempted privately but if the person remains in unrepentance their sin is to be made public.  Wives and mothers are not an exception to principle.

Step 7 – If she spurns your discipline then bring her before the Church

“…How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;” Proverbs 5:12 (KJV)

An now we come to the most public form of discipline a man might have to bring against his wife.

As husbands we have a duty to discipline our wives for sinful behavior. But whether it comes to our wives or our children there is only so much that we can do to discipline them and try and get them on the right path. If they despise our discipline and rebel then we must leave them in the Lord’s hands.

It is only when we have exhausted what we can do and if they continue in steadfast rebellion against our attempts to discipline them that we then should bring them before the church (Matthew 18:15-17).

But again they may not even listen to the church.

We must face the fact that discipline does not always yield the results that we want for those we love that are under our authority and spiritual care. But discipline requires two active parties for it to be successful. It requires the authority to perform the discipline and it requires the one under authority to learn from the discipline and change their way.

However, even if the wife does not learn from the discipline and change her ways this does not mean removing the disciplinary measures.  Once all measures have been taken those measures should stay in place until repentance is made.

How will things get done around the house while her laziness continues?

This is a very practical question and one we must carefully consider.  The laundry is not going to do itself, the dishes are not going to clean themselves and the meals are not going to make themselves.

The way you would handle this if you have no children and have plenty of money and the way you would handle this if you have children and little money are going to be very different.

If you have money then as a form of discipline you should have confiscated your wife’s credit cards and not given her weekly money. Hire someone to come in and help with the laundry and house work.  As far as meals go out to dinner by yourself and do not take your wife.  Make sure there are is some food for her in the house as that is something you are required to supply her with as her husband.  But it does not have to be fancy food.  Make her eat sandwiches.

If you don’t have money and especially if you have children then you won’t be able to hire a house keeper and you won’t be able to eat out.

Wash your clothes and wash your children’s clothes but purposefully leave your wife’s clothes for her to wash.  When you make dinner for you and your children do not make your wife a plate and be sure to discard any extra food at the end so she will be forced to make her own meal.

What if my wife works outside the home?

If you both work outside the home then the dynamics of who does what around the house may be slightly different. But it is still possible for a wife to be lazy in regard to her duties to her home even if she works outside the home.

The first question you need to answer is – did you approve of and agree to your wife working outside the home? If you did then you may need to pitch in and help out with things around the house.  But even in helping out your wife still needs to care for her home.

If you did not approve of this and she did this on her own against your wishes then she is responsible for all of the domestic duties of the home. You do not have to aid her going against your wishes by doing half the house work while she works outside the home against your wishes.

I find it interesting how many women point to Proverbs 31’s virtuous wife planting a field and selling clothing she has made in the market as proof that God is OK with women choosing to have careers outside the home. I have discussed why this does NOT in fact show a career woman in my post “Can a woman work outside the home?” What they miss is this woman did those things outside the home and then came home and did EVERYTHING inside the home.  Her husband came home to find a house where everything was in order.

Conclusion

These methods may seem harsh but really they are not – they are necessary.  Remember that your wife has brought this on herself and if you love her it will grieve you to have to do these things.

The sin of laziness is a serious sin before God – we as husbands must treat it as such even with our wives whom we love.

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” – II Thessalonians 3:10 (KJV)