7 Principles for Making Biblical Marriage Vows

It may surprise many Christians to know that while the Bible speaks a great deal on marriage it never actually gives any examples of marriage vows. But the Bible does give us principles and teachings about marriage that can help us to construct Biblically based marriage vows.

For many engaged couples writing marriage vows can be a very scary thing for a variety of reasons.  One is that it is hard for some people to express their feelings or put their feelings into words. Another might be that they are afraid they might say something that offends people at the wedding. Still another is that they may feel pressure to promise or say they something they know they can’t or won’t keep in the future.

My goal in this article is to help alleviate these concerns for you and help give you some Biblical principles to help you write your vows and also provide you with some real examples. I encourage you also to keep an open mind to what the Scriptures have to say on marriage.  There will probably be many things in this article that will challenge your preconceptions about marriage.  But as you read the Scriptures presented here I encourage you to remember what the Bible teaches 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)

My prayer is that after you finish reading this article that you will come away with a renewed passion to not be conformed to our culture’s view of marriage, but rather to conform yourselves as a Christian couple to God’s view of marriage as presented in his Word.

Is it “marriage vows” or a “marriage covenant”?

First let’s clear up some confusion.  You may read Christian articles online or you may have even heard a pastor in your church say “Marriage is not based on vows, it is based on a covenant!” But what many Christian teachers fail to recognize is that while not all vows are covenants, all covenants are vows. The Scriptures prove this when God pictures his marriage to Israel:

“Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.”

Ezekiel 16:8 (KJV)

We can see here that when God entered in his covenant marriage with Israel – he swore unto her.  That he vowed unto her this covenant.

So then the answer to the question of “Is it “marriage vows” or a “marriage covenant”?” is that it is BOTH!

Some Christians try and teach that Christ outlawed the making vows but this is not the case.  I encourage you to read my article entitled “Is it wrong for Christians to make vows or oaths?” for more on this subject.

The conclusion I came to in that article regarding vows was that Christ was taking on the corrupt system the Jewish leaders setup allowing people to get out of their oaths based on what they swore the oath upon.  Christ was saying our word is our bond – if we make an oath then we must keep it. We should swear by nothing on this earth, but only by God as the Bible commands.  We should always consider our vows carefully and not easily enter into them.  And above all – we should never ever make a vow that we know up front we cannot or will not keep.

What type of love are Biblical marriage vows based on?

There are three types of Biblical love that may occur between a couple seeking marriage and then later these types of love should occur within marriage.

Phileo – Affectionate, feelings based loved – this is the love that is based on emotional attachment to another.  It is usually very strong in the beginning phases of a relationship especially during the engagement period and the first year or two of marriage.

Eros – Sexual love.  This is the love that has to do with physical attraction and desire toward one another.  Again as with Phileo love, this love is usually very strong at the beginning of a relationship and through the first year to two years of marriage.  And contrary to those Christian teachers who say this has no part in Christian marriage this type of love has an entire book of the Bible dedicated to it in the Song of Solomon.  But this love is one that must be contained and controlled until a couple enter into the covenant of marriage.  We see this warning in Song of Solomon 2:7:

“I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.”

Agape – Unconditional love of the will based in duty and commitment toward another.  Phileo and Eros love are often reactionary types of love to the attributes or actions of another. When Phileo love and Eros love fade because of changing circumstances, Agape love remains because it based in a choice.

Biblically based wedding vows should never be made with reference to Phileo or Eros love.  This is not because these two types of love are bad. Christian marriage can and should have both these types of love in it if it is to be everything God intended it to be. But the foundation of Christian marriage is Agape love because it will weather the storms of life and will remain in those times when Phileo love and Eros love may wane.

If you are a young Christian couple reading this – you may think your affection toward each other (Phileo love) and sexual attraction (Eros love) will never fade.  You are convinced of it! But don’t just take my word for it – ask five other Christian married couples that have been together at least 10 years or more.

The reason I ask you to ask five couples is because most likely you will get one or two that simply lie to themselves and others to put on a show.  But if you ask five married couples who have been married for a longer length of time most of them will admit to you that there have been many times in their marriage where their Phileo and Eros love toward each other has waned and the only thing that kept them going was their Agape love toward one another as Christians.  It was the commitment they made to each other before God when they entered into the covenant of marriage that helped them weather the storms of life.

One last part I want to add on this subject of love in marriage vows.  I am not saying a couple cannot say words of affection toward each other and express their Phileo love toward one another at their wedding ceremony. You certainly can do this.  But these words of affection should come before or after the marriage vows and should never be mixed into your vows.  Your vows should be based purely in Agape in love.

Do marriage vows have to include all the duties of marriage?

Nothing in the Scriptures say you have to reference all the various duties of husbands and wives toward one another when you enter into a covenant of marriage.

Your vows could be very concise and they need not be verbose.  In fact your vows could be as concise as the groom saying “I take you as my wife” and the bride saying “I take you as my husband”.

Nothing needs to be said about a covenant, the duration of marriage or the duties of husbands and wives to each other in marriage.  There does not need to be a priest or pastor present, nor does it have to be done in a church.  It does not even require a state marriage license.

On caveat I would add is that while the man needs no permission to enter into marriage from his parents if the woman is not a divorced or widowed woman and “being in her father’s house in her youth” then she and the man she wishes to marry must have her father’s blessing to marry.  In fact if they marry in secret and he finds out and disapproves a father has the spiritual authority to annul any of his daughter’s vows in including a vow of marriage – see Numbers chapter 30 for more on this.

However, just because marriage can be entered into so easily does not mean that it SHOULD be entered into easily.

The Scriptures tell us this regarding vows made to God (and vows of marriage would be included in this):

“2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. 3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. 5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.”

Ecclesiastes 5:2-5 (KJV)

It is foolish and wrong to hastily enter into any vow and to hastily enter into a vow of marriage is the perhaps the most foolish of all.

Let me mention something else on the “easiness” of entering into the marriage covenant.  In Biblical times not only was the father’s permission required for marriage, but a bride price was required.  For some men this was a half a year’s wages. Men were required to prepare a home for their bride to be able to demonstrate to her father he was ready to take her as his wife.

The idea today of two young people who just randomly decided to get married without the man being able to provide for his wife in one way or another was rare and not the normal practice.

Some might say “Well we are not compelled to live by examples in Biblical times of marriage customs”. That is true if the statement regarding marriage is descriptive, rather than prescriptive.  If a command is given that would impact marriage then this still stands. A father’s ability to override his daughter’s vows while she is in his house still stands.

Also Exodus 21:10-11 and Ephesians 5:29 show that a man is required to provide for the physical needs of his wife.  If a man seeks marriage to a woman but cannot yet provide for her then he must wait to enter into the covenant of marriage with her until he can provide for her.

One last thing on the subject of “concise vows”.  Make no mistake, even if the groom simply says  “I take you as my wife” and the bride simply says “I take you as my husband” you are still entering into a covenant of marriage together whether you say the word “covenant” or not.  It is God who defines the parameters of marriage not man.  Even though you are not mentioning any of the duties or purposes of marriage they still apply as much to you as if you had mentioned them in your vows.

Ignorance of God’s laws regarding marriage it is not an excuse for breaking God’s law regarding marriage.

That is yet another reason why couples should not hastily enter into marriage and should consider their vows carefully before making them.

We need to take great care with more verbose wedding vows

If you choose to have more verbose wedding vows that “I take you as my husband” or “I take you as my wife” then great care needs to be taken as you utter these words before God.

Verbose marriage vows should be an affirmation of what the Bible says are the distinct purposes, responsibilities and rights of the husband and wife in the marriage covenant. Nothing should be added or taken away from marriage as the Bible defines it. In fact not only is it sinful to add to or take away from what God has established regarding marriage, but any vow which adds or takes away what he allows or commands regarding marriage is null and void in God’s view. For example, to say “until death do us part” without quantifying that with God’s allowance for divorce in the case of certain sins is by definition taking away from marriage as God has defined it.

Now let just put a word in here on divorce.  I know there many good Bible believing Christians who disagree on God’s allowances for divorce.  If you are truly convinced before God that there is absolutely no allowance under any circumstances for divorce and with this conviction in mind you add “until death do us part” with no caveats then in my view this is not an intentional sin, but a sin of ignorance as I believe the Bible clearly does give allowances for divorce.

But if you see certain allowances for divorce in the Scripture as I demonstrate in my articles on that subject and then you add “until death do us part” without the Biblical allowances for divorce that is a greater sin in my view.  And this brings us to our next principle regarding the construction of Biblical marriage vows.

And now I want to share another crucially important principle in when it comes to making verbose marriage vows.

If you are going to write verbose marriage vows and you want them to be Biblically based you must account for sin in marriage just as God accounts for sin in marriage in the Bible.

If you are a woman – you must come to the realization that the man you so passionately love now is the same man you will sin against in the future.  There are going to be days when you do not submit to him as the Church submits to Christ. There are going to be days that you do not reverence him as you should and there will be days when you are contentious and angry with him.

If you are a man, you may not always have the passionate feelings of love that you do now toward your wife to be.  There are going to be days when you do not love her as Christ loves his Church. There may come a day when in a moment of cowardice you do not protect her from others or even protect her from herself.  There may come a day when you dishonor her and do not dwell with her according to knowledge as the Bible commands.

Please don’t fall for the lie that your heart tries to tell you that you will never fall short of your God given duties in marriage toward your spouse.  Because in one way or another you will.  The Bible tells us “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).  Your vows need to take into account the very real possibility of sin on your part as well that of your future spouse.

This is why in the example vows I will give I mention the sin nature and the inability for us to perfectly love our spouse as God would have us to.  This why we need to avoid terms like “always” and “never” in our wedding vows but instead we can use words like “try” or “endeavor” as we submit ourselves to the Lord on the daily basis.

Another important point to make is if you are going to have verbose marriage vows you need to reference the Biblical teaching that marriage is to be a model of the relationship of Christ to his Church.  This is a foundational principle for Christian marriage.

Critical components of this model include the duties of men to be a head and the leader of their wives as Christ leads his Church. Not only should references be made to Christ loving his Church and giving himself for her, but also the reason he gave himself for her to wash her spots and wrinkles and present her to himself a glorious church.

It is a husband’s sacred duty to wash his wife with the Word of God as Christ washes his Church with it and that involved him teaching her the Word and correcting her with the Word.

But we must not forget that husbands are to show grace and mercy to their wives as Christ shows grace and mercy to his church.

The duties of a husband to love his wife as his own body and thus protect and provide for his wife as Christ does his Church should be referenced as well.

In regard to the wife – even though it is extremely politically incorrect to do so – a great emphasis needs to be placed on her submission to him as her head and her reverence for her husband. The Scriptures teach this time and time again toward women and any Christian marriage vows that omit the requirements of submission, obedience and reverence of wives toward their husbands while speaking to the duties of a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the Church are telling half truths about Biblical marriage.

If you will not speak to the duty of the wife to submit to her husband in marriage your vows, then you cannot speak to the husbands love for his wife as Christ loves the Church either.  These are two sides of the same coin.

And again as I said before regarding concise marriage vows even if you don’t mention it in your marriage vows – these things are all required by God in marriage.   And with that being said below are is summary of everything we have discussed up to this point in regard to making Biblically based marriage vows.

7 Principles for Making Biblical Marriage Vows

  1. While all vows are not covenants, all covenants are vows. Marriage is based upon a vow or set of vows which together forms the covenant of marriage.
  2. The marriage covenant, like all other vows, should not be easily entered into it. It should only be done with contemplation and consideration before God.
  3. The Bible does not command that verbose marriage vows be made, nor does it require clergy to officiate, church authority or state authority in the form of marriage licenses. The only authority that may be required for a man and woman to enter the covenant of marriage together is that of the father of the bride if she is still young and living in her father’s house.  However, even if only concise vows are made this does not free the couple from all the responsibilities, rights and purposes of marriage.
  4. If a couple chooses to make verbose vows, then these vows should only affirm the teachings of the Bible regarding the purposes and distinct duties of husbands and wives toward one another in marriage. Christian marriage vows cease to Biblical and binding when they add or take away from the rights, responsibilities and purposes of marriage as defined in the Bible.
  5. When making verbose marriage vows, the sin nature of both the groom and bride should be taken into account in the vows. That means words like “always” and “never” should be avoided.  Instead words like “endeavor” or “try” should use when referencing the couple’s commitment to perform the duties of marriage toward one another.
  6. When making verbose vows, if you are going to add a phrase like “until death do us part” then great care needs to go into this. Unless you truly deny the Biblical allowances for divorce both in the Old and New Testament you need to add this to any statement about remaining together until death.
  7. When making verbose vows you should reference marriage being a model of the relationship of Christ and his Church. It is critical to mention not only Christ loving his Church and giving himself for her but also the submission of wives to the headship of their husbands as the Church is subject to Christ.

Examples of Biblical Marriage vows

Below are three examples I put together based on the principles we have discussed.  The first example of concise vows we already mentioned but I will put it here again for reference.

Example Vows #1 – Concise Biblical Marriage Vows

Groom

I take you as my wife.

Bride

I take you as my husband.

Example Vows #2 – Moderately Verbose Biblical Marriage Vows

Below is what I would call a “moderately” verbose set of marriage vows that build on the principles we have discussed.   Each set of vows below (one for the groom and one for the bride) are just under 200 words. Not too long, but definitely more expressive than the concise vows I showed in the first example.

Groom

I, [insert groom’s name], swear before God to enter into a covenant of marriage with you, [insert bride’s name] and by this covenant I take you as my wife.

I will endeavor to love you as Christ also loves his Church by leading you, giving myself up to wash you with the Word of God as well as showing grace and mercy towards you.

I will endeavor to love you as I love my own body by providing for you and protecting you and I will give my body to you in the marriage bed.

I will endeavor to dwell with you according to knowledge and honor you as my wife.

If you do not break our covenant of marriage I will remain by your side until death takes me.

On this day, I leave my father and my mother and cleave to you as my wife and we will no longer be two, but one flesh.

Bride

I, [insert bride’s name], swear before God to enter into a covenant of marriage with you, [insert groom’s name] and by this covenant give myself to you as your wife.

I will endeavor to reverence you as my head as Christ is the head of his Church.

I will endeavor to submit to you and obey you and as the Church is subject to Christ so too I will endeavor to make myself subject to you in everything.

I will endeavor to look well to the needs of our house and be the help meet and homemaker you need and that God has called me to be.

I will endeavor to love you and ravish you with my body in the marriage bed.

If you do not break our covenant of marriage I will remain by your side until death takes me.

Today I leave behind my own people and my father’s house and will become one flesh with you as my husband.

Example Vows #3 – Very Verbose Biblical Marriage vows

Below is a very verbose example of vows I have written.  Again this is just an example and you could add or take away as you see fit as long as you are following the 7 principles we discussed.  Also in this example set of vows I have included Scripture references next to most of the statements so you can further study those passages to see the principles of marriage that I am referencing.

Each of these sets of vows (one for the groom and one for the bride) are about a one page if you print them out.  I have seen couples use one page vows they have written so I don’t think these are two long if you want to have more verbose vows.

Groom

I, [insert groom’s name], swear before God to enter into a covenant of marriage with you, [insert bride’s name] and by this covenant I take you as my wife. (Ezekiel 16:8)

Even though at this moment it is my heart’s desire to perfectly love you as your husband I know that because I am a sinner, like my forefathers before me, I cannot make such a pledge because God forbids me from making vows that I cannot keep. (Ecclesiastes 5:2-5)

I can only pledge to endeavor, to try as I surrender myself daily to God’s will for my life and as I lean on him for his grace and power to love you in my own imperfect way. (Romans 7:18-25)

I will endeavor to love you as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. (Ephesians 5:25)

I will endeavor to present you to Christ and myself as a glorious wife, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but to help you to be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:26)

I will endeavor to be gracious, compassionate and merciful toward you as God is gracious, compassionate and merciful toward his people. (Psalm 86:15)

I will endeavor to teach you the Word of God in our home and to be the spiritual interpreter of the Word to you that God calls me to be. (1 Corinthians 14:35)

In my endeavors to wash your spiritual spots, blemishes and wrinkles I will endeavor to rebuke and chasten you from a place of love for you. (Revelation 3:19)

I will endeavor to love you as I love my own body by providing for your physical needs and protecting you as I would my own body. (Ephesians 5:29)

I will endeavor to provide my body to you as a kindness that is due toward you.  (I Corinthians 7:3)

I will endeavor to dwell with you according to knowledge, giving honor unto you as my wife and remembering that you and I are joint heirs of the grace of life. (I Peter 3:7)

As I end my vows of marriage to you I must acknowledge the possibility that in the same way I may sin against you in the future, you too may sin against me as well.

And while it is true that love covers a multitude of sins there are some sins a wife can commit which can break her marriage covenant with her husband. (1 Peter 4:8, Isaiah 50:1, Ezekiel 16:59, Jeremiah 3:8, Revelation 2 & 3)

It is for this reason that I must give to you a solemn warning like God gave to both Israel and his Churches regarding his covenant of marriage to them.

I swear before God to remain in this covenant of marriage with you for the remainder my life as long as you remain faithful to me. If you break this covenant by committing any type of fornication including defrauding me of your body or giving yourself to another or if you abandon me or seek to bring physical harm or death to me I reserve my right before God to end this covenant. (Matthew 19:9, I Corinthians 7:15, Exodus 21:26-27)

But I am hopeful of better things for us and I believe that in you I have found a good thing and also favor with God.  I look forward to rejoicing with you and living joyfully with you for the remainder of our days together as the Lord wills. (Proverbs 5:18, Proverbs 18:22)

On this day, I leave my father and my mother and cleave to you as my wife and we will no longer be two, but one flesh. (Mark 10:7-8)

Bride

I, [insert bride’s name], swear before God to enter into a covenant of marriage with you, [insert groom’s name] and by this covenant give myself to you as your wife. (Ezekiel 16:8)

Even though at this moment it is my heart’s desire to perfectly submit to you and love you as your wife I know that because I am a sinner, like the women who came before me, I cannot make such a pledge because God forbids me from making vows that I cannot keep. (Ecclesiastes 5:2-5)

I can only pledge to endeavor, to try as I surrender myself daily to God’s will for my life and as I lean on him for his grace and power to submit to you and love you in my own imperfect way. (Romans 7:18-25)

I will endeavor to remember in my thoughts, words and actions that God made me for you and not you for me. (I Corinthians 11:9)

I will endeavor to remember that I am not my own, but that I belong to you as the Church belongs to Christ. (Acts 20:28)

I will endeavor to remember that I am not your equal any more than the Church is Christ’s equal but rather I will reverence you as my head in the same way the Church is to reverence Christ as its head. (Ephesians 5:23 & 33)

I will endeavor to submit to you as I do unto the Lord and make myself subject to you in everything as the Church is subject to Christ. (Ephesians 5:22-24)

I will endeavor to obey you as Sara obeyed Abraham calling him Lord. (I Peter 3:6)

I will endeavor to meet your desire for me to make myself beautiful as God desires the beauty of his people not only through my outward appearance but also by having a gentle and quiet spirit. (Psalm 45:11, I Peter 3:3-4)

I will endeavor to satisfy you with my body and ravish you with my love. (Proverbs 5:19, Titus 2:4)

I will endeavor to be the homemaker God has called me to be and look well to the ways of our household. (Proverbs 31:27, Titus 2:5, 1 Timothy 5:14)

I will endeavor to submit to and seek out your guidance as my spiritual head in all matters of life and living including marriage and family issues. (1 Corinthians 14:35)

I will endeavor to share my advice with you not in a contentious or angry way, but rather with discretion, kindness and reverence. (Proverbs 9:13, Proverbs 11:22, Proverbs 21:19, Proverbs 31:26, I Peter 3:1-2)

I will endeavor to not shame you either with my words or actions but rather I will endeavor to be your crown and glory. (Proverbs 12:4)

As I end my vows of marriage to you I must acknowledge the possibility that in the same way I may sin against you in the future, you too may sin against me as well.

And while it is true that love covers a multitude of sins there are some sins a husband can commit which can break his marriage covenant with his wife.

It is with these sins in mind that I swear before God to remain in this covenant of marriage with you for the remainder of my life as long as you do not break the covenant of marriage you make with me today.  As a wife I reserve the right given me by God to consider myself freed from our marriage covenant if you defraud me by willfully refusing to provide me with food, clothing and your body in the marriage bed or if you seek to bring physical harm or death to me.  Also, if you abandon me either by divorcing me or by some other means I will no longer consider myself bound to this marriage covenant I make today with you.  (Exodus 21:10-11 & 26-27, Deuteronomy 24:1-2, Romans 7:2-3, I Corinthians 7:15)

But I am hopeful of better things for us and I look forward to rejoicing with you and living joyfully with you for the remainder of our days together as the Lord wills. (Proverbs 5:18, Proverbs 18:22)

Today I leave behind my own people and my father’s house and will become one flesh with you as my husband. (Psalm 45:10, Mark 10:7-8)

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A Biblical Guide to Seducing Your Husband

For a woman, the difference between “slutty” and “sexy” is one word – Marriage. Proverbs 5:19 tells husbands to be ravished with their wife’s love. For a man to be ravished he must be seduced.

I know a lot of Christian women may be not like the use of the word “seduce”.  This word is often associated with people luring others into illicit sexual relations that violate God’s law.

But here is a key Biblical truth that every Christian wife must grasp.  Sexual seduction outside of marriage is sinful but sexual seduction inside marriage is righteous.

For more on why a wife seducing her husband in marriage is not only not sinful, but required, see my article entitled “Why God wants you to seduce your husband”.

The Scriptures tell us this regarding erotic (sexual love) in marriage:

“18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

Proverbs 5:19 (KJV)

But how can you as a Christian wife show erotic love toward your husband? In other words, how do you go about seducing your husband?

While Proverbs 5:19 gives the mandate for wives to seduce their husbands – it does not give you the example of how to do it. Instead we must look to the Song of Solomon to find the examples of how a wife can seduce her husband.

With that being said below are several principles take from the Song of Solomon that will help guide in ways to seduce your husband.

Seduction Principle #1 – Ravish him with your desire for him

“By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth…”

Song of Solomon 3:1 (KJV)

Seduction starts with desire.  You can’t seduce a man to whom you show no desire.  Think about it another way from your perspective as a woman.  If you are like 99 percent of women you want your husband to sit down and talk with you.  If your husband sits down to talk and acts like he really does not want to but he has too is that satisfying for you? Of course, it is not. In the same way as a wife you need to cultivate a sexual desire for your husband.

Seduction Principle #2 – Ravish him with your eyes

“Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.”

Song of Solomon 4:9 (KJV)

Are you one of those women that says to your husband when he gives you “the look” – “I know that look and you aren’t getting any today!” Or do you flirt back with your eyes? Would you even consider starting the flirting with your eyes? This is what is called for as part of seducing and ravishing your husband.

You could be at a friend or family members house.  You could be sitting in some boring school meeting for your kids.  You could be in line at the grocery store together. All it takes is a look to stoke the fire and ravish your husband’s heart!

Seduction Principle #3 – Ravish him with your lips and your tongue

“Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue;”

Song of Solomon 4:11 (KJV)

Do not underestimate the powerful effect that your kisses can have on your husband.  Kissing is a powerful teasing mechanism to seduce your husband and it is also an essential part of the sexual act itself.  I have heard of women who rarely if ever kiss their husbands except to give him a kiss on the cheek. And how unnatural and unloving is it that a couple could have sexual relations and never kiss in this most intimate way the entire time? Yet this happens far too often in many Christian bedrooms.  The Song of Solomon shows us that Christian women are to be letting their husbands get some tongue action! Yep right there we see French kissing in the Bible.

Seduction Principle #4 – Ravish him with your body parts

“My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice… O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance…”

Song of Solomon 2:9 & 14a(KJV)

The allusion here in Song of Solomon 2:9 is that of her husband looking through windows at her or looking threw a wood screen that had vines on it.  He was basically peeping at his wife.  And guess what? It is perfectly ok for a man to peep at his wife anytime he wishes!

I could have titled this section “Ravish him with your beauty” but that would not have driven home the point that needs to be made to women. Women tend to see a man’s physical attraction in holistic terms where men see women as a collection of parts.  It is routine for men to say “she has nice breasts, but her rear end is not as great” or “she has great legs but she is flat chested”.  Women have a harder time breaking down men in this way and this is probably one of the hardest things for women to understand about the male nature.  In fact this idea of men breaking women down by their various body parts infuriates many women.

So if I would have said “Ravish him with your beauty” and you are a typical woman you are thinking wear nice dresses, slacks, blouses, do your makeup and and wear your hair nice and to you as a woman that makes sense.  While your husband appreciates all those things you do – those are not things that will cause him to be ravished by you.

You want to ravish your husband with your beauty? When you are wearing that pretty blouse and slacks – randomly pull up your shirt and show him your breasts. Sometimes instead of wearing that dainty blouse and pants you should find a nice tight pair of jeans or shorts(if it is warm) and a tight fitting V-neck T-shirt that will accentuate your breasts and reveal a little cleavage and make sure you tease him with your cleavage.  Tease him by “accidentally” dropping something in front of him and bend over in front of him in those tight jeans or shorts.

Want to transform that long tee shirt you wear to bed and around the house? It is easy – don’t wear underwear.  Who will know but him and you? And surprise him by pulling it up to reveal what you have hidden from him.

The husband of the Song of Solomon like all men asks his wife to “let me see thy countenance”. Your husband wants to see your form! Just the sight of you brings him great pleasure.

Let him see you getting dressed and undressed in your room.  Let him see you in that towel as you get out of the shower – invite him to talk about something and then “accidentally” drop your towel in front of him.

And let’s not forget lingerie.  Men love nudity but they also love variety.  Lingerie gives the man variety.  Really lingerie is like putting a lattice over your body – it lets him catch glimpses without seeing the full view until it is time. Men love this!

I want to come back to what I talked about earlier about wearing sexy clothes.  A lot of Christian women dress like old ladies the moment they dress go outside the bedroom because they have had a false ideology concerning modesty drilled into their head. Modesty in the Bible does not mean what many think today as “non-sexual” and “non-arousing”. It means “appropriate to the occasion”. See these articles “What does modesty mean in I Timothy 2:9?” and “Does God want a wife’s beauty hidden from the World?” for more on this subject.  It will really change your perspective if you look at what the Scriptures really have to say on the subject.

And hopefully after reading that you as a wife will feel more confident in dressing sexy for your husband inside the bedroom as well as outside the bedroom so that you can be doing everything you can on a regular basis to visually ravish(romance) your husband.

Seduction Principle #5 – Ravish him by tasting of his apple tree

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

Song of Solomon 2:3 (KJV)

In ancient middle eastern poetry, the apple tree was a euphemism for a man’s genitals. The image that the woman “sitting under his shadow” portrays is that of a man standing over top of his wife with his shadow over her and her down below him performing Fellatio (oral sex on a man).  The Scriptures tell us she did this “with great delight” or in other words with enthusiasm and desire.  What is the fruit of his tree? It is his semen. The woman says of her husband’s semen that it was “sweet to my taste”.

A lot of women are reluctant about performing fellatio on their husbands but the fact is that it is very difficult to seduce and ravish your husband without doing this.  Most men do not even understand their own feelings about their desire for fellatio from their wives but they are there even if buried deeply for some. When a woman kneels before her husband and performs fellatio on him and completes the act this is a show of submission, acceptance and sacrifice toward him.

A wife shows her submission to her husband when she kneels before him and takes his “apple tree” in her mouth.

A wife shows her full acceptance of her husband when she does this act with “great delight” showing her husband that she craves the “sweet” taste of his fruit.

A wife shows her sacrificial spirit when after performing fellatio on her husband to its natural completion she asks for nothing in return.

In this way, the act of fellatio is a powerful and spiritual act that a wife performs toward her husband. There are few things in this world that will ravish a man’s heart for his wife like the sacrificial act of fellatio we have just described.

But this does not mean fellatio must always be a one-way transaction.  Fellatio can be and should be a regular part of sexual relations between a man and his wife both as foreplay or as way to climax after regular intercourse.

Seduction Principle #6 – Ravish him by inviting him to taste of your pomegranate

“I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother’s house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.

Song of Solomon 8:2 (KJV)

In the same way that the apple tree was a euphemism for a man’s genitals in ancient middle eastern erotic poems so too the pomegranate was one of the euphemisms for a woman’s genitals.

Many women think of Cunnilingus (oral sex on a woman) as something that is simply for their own pleasure.  In other words, their husband is only doing it to please them and he gets little to nothing out of the act. But this could not be further from the truth in most cases. Because men are such physical beings they are often drawn to perform cunnilingus on their wives and this gives a man great pleasure to experience his wife’s body in this way. In the following passage the husband of the Song of Solomon expresses his desire to perform cunnilingus on his wife:

“Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.”

Song of Solomon 4:6 (KJV)

The “mountain” and the “hill” represent the woman’s pubic mound and this is speaking of her genitals.  Literally he is saying he wants to perform oral sex on his wife all night long – he loves the scent of her vagina and compares it to very expensive good smelling things.

It is unfortunate that there are some women that actually have phobias about their husbands performing cunnilingus on them.  They see their vulva and vagina as “unclean” and not just at “that time of the month”. Others have been taught that God only allows vaginal intercourse and nothing else and in doing this they are denying themselves and their husbands a great tool that can be used to ravish his heart for her.

Seduction Principle #7 – Ravish him by opening yourself to him

I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.”

Song of Solomon 5:5 (KJV)

If you have not figured out by now, the Song of Solomon is a very erotic book. It speaks of sexuality between a husband and wife in very free terms as God meant it to be.  It has constant allusions to the bodily fluids that are exchanged between a man and woman.  Again, here as in other passages throughout the Song of Solomon it compares a woman’s vaginal secretions to myrrh.  Why are the woman’s hands literally dripping with her own vaginal secretions? It is because she was touching her own vagina moving the fluids in and out around her vulva.

This literally has the picture of a woman who is completely comfortable with her own body and she is opening herself to her beloved – spreading her legs and then using her fingers to open her vagina bringing its fluids out for her husband to see.

I realize what I have just said sounds disgusting to some women. If you have been raised in a prudish home where sex was never spoken of this may sound shocking. For others, it simply does not compute and the reason again is that most women approach sex primarily from the relational aspect with the physical aspect being a pleasant by-product.  They are thinking to themselves – “I would not find it attractive if I walked in my bedroom and saw my husband spread eagle playing with himself so how in the world he finds me spread eagle touching myself attractive?”

And that ladies, is one of the many ways we can prove that men and women approach sex very differently.  But the fact remains that men LOVE it when their wives “open” themselves to their husbands as their fingers drip with “sweet smelling myrrh”.

Both this principle as well as the previous principle dealing with not only allowing, but inviting your husband to  drink “the juice” of your “pomegranate” will require you to truly have not just overall body confidence but confidence in your vulva and vagina. You have to truly let go of any insecurities you have in this area and fully present yourself to your husband in this regard.

Seduction Principle #8 – Ravish him with your voice

“…let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice…”

Song of Solomon 2:14b (KJV)

Do you know how to whisper sweet nothings in your husband’s ear? While a husband might like to hear a soft whispered “I love you” that is not what will ravish him.  No – the sweet nothings that will ravish your husband is “I can’t wait to get home and do [fill in the blank] to you” or “I can’t wait to get home and you do [fill in the blank] to me”.

Look at the speech here from the woman of Song of Solomon toward her husband.  She has literally told him that she loves to sit in the shade of his “apple tree” (his penis) and she take thought his fruit(semen) was sweet to her taste.

As we previously showed the woman of Song of Solomon literally invites her husband to “to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate” (Song of Solomon 8:2). In addition to this she invites her husband to “blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.” (Song of Solomon 4:16)

Guess what ladies – God wants you to follow the example of the woman of the Song of Solomon by talking sexy to your husband! Text him sexy messages.  Call him at lunch and tell him what you want to do later that evening.  Notice I said “sexy” and not “dirty” – and that is because in marriage sexual talk between a husband and wife is just that – sexy and it in no way is dirty.

Conclusion

As I said at the beginning of this article – For a woman, the difference between “slutty” and “sexy” is one word – Marriage.

The Bible compares a man’s sexual desire for his wife to the purity of desiring water from one’s own well (Proverbs 5:15).  We see the purity of sex in marriage attested to again in the New Testament:

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

Hebrew 13:4 (KJV)

We have shown examples from the Song of Solomon of a wife using all her God given feminine charms to seduce or “ravish” her husband as Proverbs 5:19 commands.

We see a woman using her attitude, her eyes, her lips, her body and her words to seduce her husband.  We even see her speaking in very explicit sexual terms to her husband. She seduces him with glimpses of her body throughout the day and the week knowing that each glimpse brings pleasure and joy to her husband. We see her taking great pleasure in giving her husband oral sex and she cultivates a desire for his semen. We see her inviting him into his garden and for him to drink of her pomegranate.  She freely opens herself to him and is not shy to touch herself in his presence knowing how much pleasure this brings him.

So as a Christian woman reading this you have to ask yourself what is holding you back from following the example of the woman of the Song of Solomon in seducing your husband? Was it how you were raised? Were you taught that sex was dirty? Were you taught that women were not supposed to desire sex?

Maybe you see sex in more romantic and relational terms and you see this very physical, visual, sweaty and fluid filled view of sex as “base” or “nasty”.  But is that how God frames it in his Word?

The Bible compares the Christian life to a race.  Men and women have different races to run based on our God given gender roles .  For you as a Christian woman, part of your race involves you following God’s command in Proverbs 5:19 to ravish your husband.  So, you need to ask yourself – what is hindering you in this part of your race?

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”

Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)

The truth is that for most women reading this one of two things will be holding you back from following this guide based on the Song of Solomon.  Those two things are Fear and Pride.  You might be afraid to open yourself sexually to your husband in the ways I have described. You might have too much pride getting in the way and you may be telling yourself that the things I mentioned here are degrading to women.

But the Bible tells us this regarding fear and pride:

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

1 John 4:18 (KJV)

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

James 4:6 (KJV)

Perfect your love for your husband by throwing off the spiritual weight of fear in this sexual arena. If you let go of your pride God will give you the grace and ability to bless your husband in the ways we have mentioned here.

And let me mention one last word ladies. You should ravish and seduce your husband because God commands it of you and because you recognize that God made you for your husband.  But do you know that often times when we do what God commands we will sometimes reap direct benefits as a result of that obedience?

“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

Psalm 37:4 (KJV)

When you delight yourself in God by following his command to ravish your husband do you know what just might happen? You may see a passion come from your husband that you have not seen in years or maybe you never saw because you never truly acted on all these principles I have outlined here.

All over the world there are women laying in their beds at night wondering why there is no passion from their husband. “Where is his affection and his feelings toward me?” they may ask themselves night after night but most of these same women rarely asks themselves another very important question which is “What have I been doing to evoke affection and feelings in my husband toward me?”

What if the modern world has it all backwards? What if the world’s formula that “men must romance women first and earn sex from their women” is wrong? What if they are getting the cart before the horse?  What if it is the woman that must ravish her husband’s heart first to cause him to have affection and passion towards her?

Throw off the world’s way. Throw off pride and fear and go home and ravish your husband today and follow the example of the woman of the Song of Solomon.

Real men DO provide and Real women DO appreciate it

“Real men provide Real women appreciate it” was a simple message posted on a billboard in Forysth County, North Carolina.  60 years ago such a sign would have been lauded by our communities.  But now in our post-feminist culture this message is considered “a sexist comment”.

Molly Grace, a woman who organized opposition to the sign, made this statement:

“The very notion that there should be a man to provide and that no matter what a woman should just plain accept it and appreciate it, is a sexist comment,” said Grace, who is an outspoken critic against the billboard.”

http://myfox8.com/2017/02/28/crowdfunding-to-change-controversial-billboard-in-winston-salem/

She wants the anonymous person who paid for it to be posted to come to a local panel and “explain why they think the way that they do and try to shed some light on it for us”.

Some people thought the anonymous person who posted the sign was targeting men, not women.

“Donald Amos says he likes the sign and said he believes it’s directed toward men who are not fulfilling their promises.

“A lot of times, women have to go on their own and do this and take the role of a man and a women and it’s not right, but it happens and I think men ought to step their game up. Really they ought to and become men again instead of shoulda, coulda, wannabes,” Amos said.”

http://myfox8.com/2017/02/22/real-men-provide-billboard-in-forsyth-county-sparks-controversy/

Perhaps it would have been considered less “sexist” to feminists if the sign had simply read “Real men provide”.  But because the sign implied that real women appreciate men that can provide for them – that cannot be allowed to stand.

Why do some people think that real men should provide and real women should appreciate it?

If you are a person that thinks like Molly let me “shed some light” on this issue for you from the source that some Americans still hold dear and that is the Bible.

The man’s providing role is referenced in multiple passages of the Scriptures.

In Genesis after Adam and Eve sinned God said he would make both Adam and Eve’s primary roles more difficult:

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

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Genesis 3:16-19 (KJV)

Woman would experience great pain now in child birth – one of her most important duties in her help meet role to man. It would not so easy for man to provide for his family, but instead he would have to work hard to get what he needed from the earth.

In addition because of woman’s new sinful nature she would make his other very important role, that of leading the home, much more difficult as she would seek to control him and the home instead of submitting to him as God had designed her to do.

But even though God made the man’s duty of providing and the woman’s duty to give birth more difficult he also provide them both with the gift of joy from the pain they had to endure in their labor:

“A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.”

John 16:21 (KJV)

“There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”

Ecclesiastes 2:24 (KJV)

In the Law of Moses a man’s provision for his wife was deemed of such critical importance that if he failed to do so his wife could seek a divorce:

“10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. 11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.”

Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

The New Testament reaffirms and strengthens the distinct roles of man and woman

The New Testament tells us that a woman’s primary role is to be the bearer of children and the keeper of the home:

 “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 2:4-5 (KJV)

God reiterates his call for men to be providers and protectors to their wives in the Epistle to the Ephesians:

“28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:”

Ephesians 5:28-19 (KJV)

Husbands are called by God to provide for the physical needs of their wife as they would the needs of their own body.  They are also called to protect their wife as they would their own body.

Was the Proverbs 31 woman a career woman?

Many Christians have tried to point to Proverbs 31 to show a defense of women having careers outside the home.  There is no doubt that Proverbs 31 shows the woman going out to plant a field or sell in the market.  But here is what people miss.

The Proverbs 31 wife did not leave anything undone in her home so as to go outside the home and provide.  It tells us of her husband “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…” (vs 11) and that she “She looketh well to the ways of her household…”(vs 27).

Proverbs 31 in no way paints the modern career women we see today.  With the schedules that modern career women keep being gone from their home anywhere from 40 to sometimes 50 hours a week there is little to no chance they are also doing 100% of what they should be doing at home.  Their duties to their home will slide or be neglected.

But can’t a woman and her husband just split the roles of provider and the duties of the home?

Well if we want to throw out the duties God has assigned to man and woman as well as then entire picture of marriage with man symbolizing God as the leader, PROVIDER and protector of the woman and woman submitting to her husband and serving him by bearing his children, caring for them and caring for the home then sure – it does not matter and husband and wives can split these roles.

But what if the man can’t work?

Because we live in sin cursed world husbands get sick, get disabled or lose their jobs. Sometimes because we live in sin cursed world unforeseen financial events occur where a man must ask his wife to work to provide additional income for their family to survive.  These are not the kinds of situations we are talking about in this article.  God understands this type of situation.

But what we are talking about here are young couples that marry and PLAN to have the wife be a career woman. We are talking about a man and woman literally agreeing to the fact that she will purposefully not devote herself entirely to her duties to bear children, care for them and care for the home.

These couples actually PLAN to split the duties of husbands and wives between themselves in direct contradiction to God’s design and his commands. There is no excuse for such plans of men and women which go against the very commands of God.

Real men provide

If you are a young man reading this I hope that it will help to show you that our culture has sinned against God in abandoning the gender roles he designed. I hope that you will purpose in your heart that you will not seek marriage to any woman until you can provide for her so that she can dedicate herself fully to the role God has given her as the bearer and nurturer of your future children and the keeper of your future home.

I am not saying you have to be rich when you get married.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  But you should be able to provide a modest life – with food and shelter. You don’t have to provide brand new cars and a big fancy house.  If you can provide for her the basics of life so she can be the homemaker God wants her to be then you are doing what is right before God.

As a young man you should have a plan to further yourself anticipating that as your family grows so too the expenses will grow.  This means that while you may be able to marry based on a certain wage you make – you need to plan on how you will provide more in the future as your family needs it.

And in the future should you ever lose your job – asking your wife to work outside the home should be your last resort. If you have to work two jobs to provide –then you should do so.

Real women appreciate a man who will provide for them

If you are one of these young women that were raised by your parents to be independent and not have to depend on a man you need to throw that thinking out in the trash. Your parents may have felt they were doing right by you and just looking out for you in case you don’t find a husband or in case your husband were to divorce you or die.

Yes because of sin in this world we are not always able to live up to God’s design for men, women and marriage. But we should not plan for the failure of God’s plan in marriage due to sin on our part or that of our spouse or the sinful circumstances of this world.

Instead we should plan for success.

As a young lady your goal should be this very goal given to you directly by God through the Apostle Paul:

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

1 Timothy 5:14 (KJV)

Will you follow the world’s pattern or God’s pattern?

To young men and women.  You must decide before you seek out marriage.  Will you follow the world’s pattern of partnership marriage and gender neutrality when it comes to the roles in your family or will you follow the pattern God has established for men and women?

The Bible tells us not to follow our culture when it conflicts with God’s design:

 “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)

Will you ask God to renew your mind today? To make you the man or woman he has called you to be? To play the role he has called you to? I hope that you will.

And let me tell you something – it will bring peace to your marriage if you follow God’s pattern especially in this area of the man being the provider for the home.

You see God has placed a desire in every man to provide for his woman and his family.  For some men it is buried far beneath years of conditioning by our culture, but make no mistake it is there.  That is why many men cannot marry a woman who makes more than them.  It is not a pride issue, it is a God given man issue.

Its time to blunt about this

Sinful pride and ambition blinds us. When we are ambitious for what God has called us to do as men and women that is a great thing and blessed of God.  So when a young man has career ambitions and ambitions of not only having a family and providing for them but also making his mark on the world that is from God himself and it is good.  When a young woman has ambitions of marrying a godly man that can fully provide for her and her future children and she has ambitions for caring for those children and her home this again is from God and it pleases him.

But what about men that have ambitions to marry a woman who can provide for them as a man so they can care for the home and children? This ambition is a sinful one because it violates God’s design. What about a young man who has ambitions to marry a career woman knowing he will not be able to fully provide and knowing she will not be able to fully dedicate herself to their home as God wills? Again such an ambition is a sinful and selfish ambition.

Let me conclude with this warning to young couples who want to follow the path God has set forth in the Bible.

You have two choices in this life.  You are either called by God to a life of celibacy in his service or you are called to seek out marriage.  There are is no choice in between.  Now notice I said “seek out marriage” because not everyone will find someone to marry. But if we are not given the gift of celibacy, we are called to seek marriage.

To young men:

If you have not been given the call of God to celibacy in his service and you have a desire to seek out marriage then you cannot seek out a career path that will never be able to fully provide for your future family. If your future plans for marriage involve your future wife having to work to help provide then your future plans are WRONG. Perhaps the career path you are thinking about will eventually be able to provide for a family but at first it will not be able to.  Many men pursue apprenticeship jobs in fields that do not make enough to provide for a family but eventually they will. That is ok.  But then you must wait for marriage until your career plans come to fruition and you are able to provide for your wife and future children.

And finally to young men – not only should you be able to provide but you should seek out a Christian woman that wants a man that believes he should be able to provide for her. You want a woman that appreciates this conviction and your desire for yourself and your future wife to follow God’s design for men and women.

In other words – don’t marry a career woman. And you know how to NOT fall in love with and marry a career woman? Don’t date one.

To young women:

If you have not been given the call of God to celibacy in his service and you have a desire to seek out marriage then you must not seek out a career.  It is one thing to work and save money while you are seeking your future husband. In fact this could be a blessing to your future husband. But you must be able to drop whatever work it is you are doing the moment you find the man God has for you so that you can fully dedicate yourself to serving him in the role God has given you as his helper.

There is no sin in you as a young woman going to college while seeking that man that God has for you. But make sure that this will not saddle your husband with great debt.  So that might mean going to a community college where it is more affordable and you can work a part time job and pay off the schooling as you take it. If your parents can pay for a better school while you look than that is fine as well as long as you will not be passing this debt to your future husband.

Your goal whether you go to college or just work a job while looking for him is to come into the marriage with little or no debt or perhaps a small savings from your work that you can bless your husband with as you enter the marriage together.

Seek out a godly man that can also provide for you as God wants every man to do for his wife and children. This is not a matter of “either or” as if you must choose between finding a godly man or a man that can provide for you.  If the man you seek to marry truly understands God’s word and wants to live that out he will not want to marry you until he can provide.

I thank God for whomever anonymously paid for that message board. We will need more of those around our country to stir up this conversation and to help bring people back to the design that God has for men and women.

 

Why God cares who does the dishes

“God does not care who does the dishes, the laundry, the cooking, or the changing of diapers and husbands and wives should share equally in these tasks of the home “– this is what is commonly taught in Christian circles.  Another thing we hear today is that “gender roles” are simply a cultural phenomenon and that the gender roles in the Bible were “temporary” and “for those cultures and times only”.   But a closer examination of the Scriptures reveals a very different answer to the question of whether or not gender roles are “cultural” or “Biblical”.

“This has been an issue since we have been married. I believe he works hard while at his job, but his work at home is inconsistent… I don’t resent the hard work, I just struggle with resenting him being OK with me racing around while he just sits there. I feel angry, and I feel hurt. I want to feel like we’re on the same team, working together.”

The previous statement is part of a story I received as a comment from a Christian wife who calls herself ‘M’.

M’s feelings are extremely common among many women today.  Whether they work full time outside the home or are stay at home mom’s many women bear the majority of the load in carrying for the affairs of the home (cooking, cleaning, laundry) and the care of the children.

In her full story below you will read that M has determined that her husband is lazy from the very beginning. This is not in question for her.  You will also read that she feels the domestic affairs of the home (cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry) and caring for the children should be a “team” effort between a husband and wife.

So how should M deal with her husband’s laziness and his lack of a team effort in tackling the affairs of their home? Before we answer M’s dilemma let’s look at her full story in it’s entirety.

M’s Story

“Do you have any advice for a wife with a lazy husband? Obviously since I am not the spiritual head of my household my response should be different. My husband works full time (36 hrs/wk as a nurse). I worked full time also for years but now stay at home with our 1 yr old son. This has been an issue since we have been married. I believe he works hard while at his job, but his work at home is inconsistent. He has been taking classes on and off while working, and he has done some renovations over the years as well, and he does do most of our financial management.

There are times where he has worked hard. But there are also large stretches of time where there is nothing other than his 36 hr/wk job, as well as a period of time between nursing school graduation and his first nursing job, and he contributes very little to the home. This includes the time before I was a stay-at-home-mom. When I was working full time, I was also doing all of the laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning, including basic picking up after him (dishes and trash and clothing left lying around).

Now, as a stay at home mom, I expect to do a majority of the housework, but I often feel alone and abandoned and like we’re not a team. I love a clean house, I love making meals from scratch, and I love to be organized, I love to be frugal, and I love to work hard.

But I do feel hurt when I wake up early in the morning on his days off to try to exercise and spend time with the Lord, and then try to wrangle the kid while I cook breakfast and clean up my husband’s messes from the night before and try to get laundry going, etc, while he just sleeps in. Sometimes I’ll have breakfast on the table and he won’t even get up out of bed to eat it with me (this isn’t unreasonably early, this is between 8 and 9 am), wasting the food that I just went through the effort to make.

Sometimes we’ll make plans to go to the park before the baby’s naptime on his day off, and I’ll be ready to go, and he won’t get out of bed to actually go with me. I feel like he is content to sit and watch movies or surf the internet while I am out of breath racing up and down the stairs juggling many different plates at once.

He does help some with the kid (he will change diapers and bath him sometimes, kind of resists if I ask him to read to the baby before bed). This afternoon, he came home from class and fell asleep on the couch and didn’t want to get up, I took the baby to small group by myself, he’s still on the couch now and has been sleeping for almost 6 hours.

We recently went on vacation, and I did the meal planning, all of the cooking, most of the dishes (he actually did help once or twice when I asked but this is very atypical), all of the cleaning and organizing, packing stuff for us and the baby when we’d go out on hikes and such, as well as being the one to wake up early with the child and during the night with the child.

He just sat on the couch watching TV the majority of the time we were in the cabin. After we got back from vacation, we invited some friends over last minute for dinner who were moving out of the country so that we could see them one last time. An hour before they were supposed to arrive, he laid down to take a nap while I cooked, cleaned, and took care of the kid. I said something so he ended up helping.

I don’t resent the hard work, I just struggle with resenting him being OK with me racing around while he just sits there. I feel angry, and I feel hurt. I want to feel like we’re on the same team, working together. My heart is to be a good helper to him, to be a hard worker for the Lord, and I am happy to serve him and take a load off of him, especially during times where he is taking a class or doing some project in addition to working, however, I feel like even when his load is light (such as between graduation and getting a job, or while on vacation, or when we were both working full-time), he’s content to just let me do it all while he relaxes. He loves to relax.

I wonder if I’m enabling him, but I want to be submissive and respectful, too. I’ve considered getting pastoral counsel on this, but, again, I don’t want to make him look bad, although I genuinely want the counsel as to how I should best respond. I don’t think I’ve ignored his headship and wandered out on some crazy limb away from his authority either and taken on some kind of heavy work load that he didn’t want me to take in the first place. For example, it’s not like I’m running some ministry he didn’t want me to take on in the first place and then complaining about how tired I am. I believe I’m operating in the vision that he has for our home. And my heart is not to nag him.

I’ve talked to him multiple, multiple times, but I feel like it doesn’t end well. He doesn’t get angry, but seems indifferent. He doesn’t seem very repentant, and if he apologizes, it’s the sort of forced-sounding, awkward apology that a young child would give. He tells me he’ll try to do better, and a few small things have changed over the years but largely things are the same. I feel nervous about having more children although we both want more. I don’t want to live in bitterness, but I fight bitterness almost every day over this issue.

What do I do? Should I just silently press on and fight to keep my heart in check and be a servant like Jesus? Set boundaries? Be vocal and ask for help? Talk to my pastor? We’ve gone to marriage counseling once with one of our pastors, and I’ve brought it up multiple times, but he seems indifferent and I finally gave up asking because I felt like I’d be taking the reins in our marriage if I pressed the issue. Should I just go alone to seek help on how I should personally deal with this (that feels weird to me)? I would really love some help. Thank you.”

My Response to M and other wives who feel their husbands should chip in more at home

M, I think it is wonderful that you love to work hard and take care of your home.  I think it is great that you love to make food from scratch which is a forgotten art in many homes today. I am sure you love caring for your child as well.

I know first-hand as a husband who has worked from home for almost a decade how difficult caring for all the affairs of the home can be including having to care for a child while you do other things.  I have watched my first wife and then my second wife have to deal with the affairs of the home sometimes under difficult circumstances.

I can also see in what you wrote a genuine desire to serve your husband and submit to his authority but I also see you struggling with frustration and bitterness toward him in this area of helping out at home and working more together as a “team” in tackling on the affairs of the home.

Before I continue I want to be clear on your husband’s schedule as a nurse. My wife was a nurse for about 15 years before she became disabled after a car accident.  During that time, she sometimes did the 36-hour schedule.  That meant she had to work 12 hours a day for three days in a row and then she was off work for 4 days. The hospital then pays nurses what they would normally make for a 40-hour work week because they worked three twelve hour shifts in a row.  Working that many hours a day for 3 days is very stressful and is much harder than working 8 hours or over 5 days.  Being a nurse is a very mentally and physically challenging job.  I just wanted to clarify that for my audience.

The heart of the matter

I think this statement from you below illustrates the core issue for you:

“I don’t resent the hard work, I just struggle with resenting him being OK with me racing around while he just sits there. I feel angry, and I feel hurt. I want to feel like we’re on the same team, working together. My heart is to be a good helper to him, to be a hard worker for the Lord, and I am happy to serve him and take a load off of him, especially during times where he is taking a class or doing some project in addition to working, however, I feel like even when his load is light (such as between graduation and getting a job, or while on vacation, or when we were both working full-time), he’s content to just let me do it all while he relaxes. He loves to relax.”

You are a hard worker.  You don’t mind doing it all when you see that your husband is busy with classes or projects around the house.  As long as you and he are both working everything is fine for you.  But it bothers you when he has a lighter load going on and he is just sitting there doing other things like surfing the web, watching TV or napping. That is what bugs you.

Before I directly address your feelings on this let me share a couple of stories to try and help put things in perspective.

The hard-working woman

A woman straps her child to her back and goes to the market to buy wool and cloth to make clothing for her family. She gets up early in the morning to prepare made from scratch meals for her family for the day. She goes and buys a field and plants it all while carrying for this child while she works. She then comes home and prepares dinner with the food she had prepared early that morning. Sometimes she stays up half the night working on her spindle making blankets or clothing. The extra blankets and clothing she makes she takes to the markets and sells. She takes the extra food she makes and gives to the poor around her.

You know what her husband is doing during all this? He is sitting as he leads their town and leads her home. When he comes home he has nothing to worry about because she has dinner hot and ready and their home in order.  It is her pride and joy to make sure he never has to worry about anything at home.

The story I have just described is based on the virtuous wife of Proverbs 31.

Does God care who does the dishes?

I remember several years ago, the Pastor of our church was talking to us as men about helping our wives around the house.  He made a comment about a mission trip he had been on to a foreign country.  He said something like this:

“Guys – I went to this foreign country [I can’t remember the country] on a mission trip.  I got up from the table to take my dishes into the kitchen and scrape my plate as I would at home with my wife.  The wife in this home literally stopped me and took my plate from me.  Now that might not seem strange except for the fact that her husband explained this was not just because I was guest in their home.  It was because in their culture men did not do house work – women would find it insulting for men to do anything in the house.

In his culture, men work outside the house and women work inside the house.  He said when he comes home he just puts his feet up and relaxes.  Gentlemen – you might wish your wife was like those women but you need to wake up! We live in a different culture here in America and our wives expect us to help them around the house. God does not care who does the dishes!

You know what that means?  It means when you get home from your job outside the home your job inside the home is just starting! In the same way, it is insulting to that woman in that foreign country for her husband to clean or help around the house – it is insulting to American women if a man comes home from work and just puts his feet up and does not help her around the house.  You are not done working until your wife is.

Christ was a servant leader who washed the feet of his disciples and admonished them to do likewise to their brethren.  If Christ washed his disciple’s feet, the least you can do as a husband is to wash the dishes and serve your wife in helping her to care for the affairs of your home.”

There are three things that are Biblically wrong with this Pastor’s philosophy.

Rebuttal #1 – The Bible trumps culture

There are many different types of cultures in the world.  Each nation, each state, each city or town and each family have their own cultures.  There are also religious and ethnic cultures that transcend all these boundaries.

As Christians, it is not wrong for us blend in with our culture where our cultural values do not conflict with the Bible. The Apostle Paul told us this regarding Christians working within their cultures:

“20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.”

1 Corinthians 9:20-21 (KJV)

However, the same Apostle Paul gave Christians this admonition:

“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)

Culture does not always determine what is right.  In fact, sometimes we may have to live as Christians in ways that are counter to our culture.

Rebuttal #2 – Women keeping the home is not just cultural – it is Biblical

So, that brings us to this question – Was this Pastor and the myriads of Christians who agree with him right that “God does not care who does the dishes”?

The Bible answers this question for us several passages of the Scriptures.

“10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil…27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

Proverbs 31:10-11 & 27(KJV)

“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 2:5 (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)

Who has God given the responsibility for caring for the domestic affairs of the home? The answer as we can see from these passages is the wife.  Now I understand to our modern world this seems petty – and we think roles mean nothing.

But there are certain things God calls us to do as men and women that mean so much more than what we see on the surface.

When a man leads his family in following God’s Word, sets boundaries and limits and corrects them when they don’t live up to God’s Word he is symbolizing the leadership role that God has with his people. When a man provides for his family by working each day and providing the resources for his wife to buy food, clothing and shelter he is symbolizing God’s provision for his people. When he stands up for and protects his wife and children again is he symbolizing God’s protection of his people.

When a woman submits to her husband’s leadership – even when she does not agree or does not understand his positions she is symbolizing the way God’s people are to follow him. When a woman serves her husband by caring for the needs of his children, his home and his body she is symbolizing the service that God’s people are to give to him.

So, the Biblical answer to the question “Does God care who does the dishes?” is a resounding “YES”!

He wants the wife to do this as part of her service to her husband and this service to her husband is symbolic of the Church’s service to God. These women in “old fashioned” cultures around the world that insist on caring for the affairs of the home are not just following tradition – but they are following Biblical command and example toward women even if they don’t realize it.

Rebuttal #3 – Jesus washed his disciple’s feet but his disciples did not EXPECT him to do it

Many Pastors, teachers and other Christians attempt to use the “servant leadership” of Christ to cancel out a large portion of the Scriptures in regard to the duties God has given to wives. In fact, most Christian teaching today makes marriage into a “wife-centric” institution.

If we look at the life of Christ – did he spend the majority of his time cleaning people’s homes, serving people food and washing people’s feet? The answer is no.  It is interesting that even in the story of the feeding of the 5000 – Christ simply provided the food (as men do for their families) but he passed the serving of that food to others. Christ spent the vast majority of his time pursing his mission.

God has given each man a mission.  Some men are called to full time Christian service as Pastors, missionaries, Christian school teachers or other Christian ministries. But many other men are called by God into secular fields such as science, military, engineer, construction or other labors.  While a man’s home (the loving, leading, providing and teaching of his family) is a PART of his mission from God – it does not make up the entirety of his mission.

A man’s career is to do two things. It is to provide for his family and it is to make an impact on his world for God.  The Scriptures exhort us that “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10a) and “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”(1 Corinthians 10:31).

So if a man is a carpenter – then God has called him to be the absolute best carpenter he can be. If he is an engineer – then God has called him to be the best engineer he can be. In his pursuit to do his job to the best of his ability this will sometimes require a man to work more hours or get more education in his off work time. If a man talks with his wife and children and spends time with them yet he fails to provide for his home or make an impact on the world outside his home then he has failed the primary mission that God has given to men in this life.

But for a Christian woman her primary mission from God is very different.  Unless God calls a woman to a celibate life in his service – her primary focus is to be on serving the needs of her husband, her children and her home.  If she becomes distracted by activities outside her home to the neglect of the needs of her husband, her children and her home then she has failed the primary mission God has given to wives.

This is not to say that Christian wives cannot have an impact outside their home for God.  But it can never come at the expense of their first duty to their home.  For instance if a woman has a great ministry at church teaching a woman’s Sunday school class but this causes her to neglect her husband or her children or her home she should step down from such a ministry.

Let’s now return to the topic of Christ washing his Apostle’s feet. You know what another very interesting part of Christ’s washing of his Apostles feet was? Did his Apostles expect him to do this? No.  In fact, they were shocked at him doing this and initially refused until they understood that he was trying to teach them a lesson.

So, what was the real lesson from Christ washing his Apostle’s feet? The lesson was twofold.  The first lesson is that those who are in authority should be willing to help those under their authority. The second lesson is that those under authority should ALLOW, but not EXPECT those in authority to help them with tasks that rightly belong to them.

The Bible tells us this regarding helping one another:

“2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden.”

Galatians 6:2-5 (KJV)

While the word “burden” appears in both verse 2 and verse 5 the Greek words behind these English translations are different. The First “burden” in verse 2 is a translation of the Greek word “Baros” which is a “heaviness” or “trouble” and the context indicates a burden that is beyond what someone could reasonably be expected to bear on their own. The second burden in verse 5 is a translation of the Greek word “Phortion” which in this context means a “load” as in the load that might be put on a ship or a cart.

So, when we combine Christ’s washing of his Apostle’s feet (John 13:14) with Paul’s admonition to bear each other’s burdens but also to carry our own load (Galatians 6:2-5) the truth of the Scriptures becomes clearer.

In the context of marriage, husbands should be willing to help their wives when they believe their wife is truly overburdened and in need of assistance. Every good leader should be willing to step in and help those under him when he sees a true need for help.  But those under authority should never EXPECT for their authority to step in and help them – especially when it is something that falls within their sphere of responsibility.  But if their authority wants to help – they should graciously accept this help.

Expectations verses Allowances

My father has said to me many times over the years that “expectations are marriage killers” and he is absolutely right. But let me clarify something.  It is not wrong for us to expect our spouse to do tasks which are part of the primary roles God has given to husbands and wives.

A wife is not having some unreasonable expectation when she is upset that her husband has been sitting on the couch and out of work for 6 months playing video games.  It is reasonable and Biblically backed for a woman to expect that her husband will do his best to provide for their family.

Can a wife have a reasonable expectation that her husband will give her leadership and guidance as to how to handle things in the home? For instance can she expect him to help set policies for their budget or how to discipline their children? Of course she can. Because that is a primary responsibility that God has given to husbands.

But on the flip side – can a wife expect that her husband will just come home from work and that he will just jump in and help with the dishes and making dinner? No she should not because that is not part of the primary responsibilities that God has given to a husband.  Now if he volunteers to help than by all means she should allow him to help.

Wives need to change their perspective and their expectations

M really it is all about perspective.  By your own admission when you feel your husband has worked hard and is busy with classes and other projects around the house besides his job you don’t feel bad about working hard because you know he has worked hard.  But where you feel resentful is when you feel that you are working harder than him and he should be helping you out.

You need to let go of this expectation.

M, earlier I described for my readers what a typical 36 hour week for a nurse looks like working three 12 hour shifts in a row.  I was not saying that your husband is not capable of helping you around the house and with the kids those other four days he does not work.  In fact, I know of many of my wife’s nurse friends who do the 36 hour work week and then during their other four days off they are taking care of all the needs of their home and caring for their children.

So the question is not whether or not your husband would be capable of jumping in and helping you on his days off. The question is do you have a right as his wife to expect this?

When you feel more like a maid than a wife

Let try and frame this another way. There is a popular Christian female blogger named Sheila Wray who runs a blog called “To Love Honor And Vacuum”.  The theme of Sheila Wray’s blog is “when you feel more like a maid than a wife and mother”.

How often do we hear women say things like “I feel more like a maid than wife and mom” or “I feel more like a nanny than a wife” or “I feel more like a sex slave than a wife”?

To her credit Sheila Wray does encourage women to care for the needs of their husbands, their children and their home. She often offers good advice to women in helping them to organize their days better. But there is also some feminist tendencies that poison her teachings. I disagree with her on the basis of Christian marriage, submission and her take on male sexuality (but that is for a whole other series of articles).  But now let’s examine these three common complaints from wives.

What is a maid?

It is a woman who cares for the domestic affairs of the home.  Sometimes maids cook, clean and do laundry. We have previously shown from the Scriptures (Proverbs 31:10-31, Titus 2:5, I Timothy 5:14) that God in fact does expect wives to do the very same things that maids typically do.

What is nanny?

A nanny is a person who cares for the needs of children.  She feeds them, bathes them and weens them.  Again the Scriptures show us that this is part of the primary responsibility that God has given to wives.

What is sex slave?

A sex slave is a woman who is purchased by a man for the sole purpose of having sex.  They is no intimate relationship between the two beyond the act of sex. There is no commitment by this man be a husband to this woman or to be a father to the children this woman might have as a result of their sexual relations.

Contrary to popular belief – the Bible never allowed men to have sex slaves. I wrote an entire article on this subject entitled “Did the Bible allow men to have sex slaves?” where I debunk the common belief today that concubines in the Bible were sex slaves.  If a man wants to have an intimate sexual relationship with a woman then he must take on the full responsibilities of the marriage covenant with that woman.  There are no half measures allowed by God when it comes to sexual relations between men and women.

Concubines were “slave wives”, not “sex slaves”.  In the Bible there were two kinds of wives. “free” wives and “slave” wives.

A “free” wife was a woman who was the daughter of a free man and another man would give her father the Bride price to purchase her as his wife.  Any children they had together would be legally entitled to certain inheritance rights and would bear his family name.  Sometimes a “free” wife was a widow or divorced woman. If a man had to marry his brother’s widow then their first child would carry his brother’s name and not his so that his brother’s line would not die out.

A “slave” wife was acquired in one of two ways.  Either she was purchased as a slave(simply to do domestic work) and the man then decided to take her as a wife or she was captured as a prisoner of war and brought back to be a man’s wife.  Husbands could elevate their “slave” wives to the status of a “free wife” in granting her children his family name and giving them full inheritance rights but they were not required to do so unless the woman was an Israelite servant girl whom they chose to make a wife.  They had to treat Israelite female slaves differently that foreign slaves in this regard.

But you know what both “slave” wives and “free” wives had in common? They were both required to have sex with their husbands whenever their husbands asked for it. He did not have to earn it by doing romantic things for them. It was his right. One of the primary responsibilities of a wife is to submit her body fully to her husband for his sexual pleasure.

So while husbands should never treat their wives as sex slaves – wives should realize that part of the primary duty as a wife is to fully submit themselves sexually to their husbands.

My point in covering these three categories of “maid”, “nanny” and “sex slave” is this:

A wife is called by God to perform the very same services that a maid, a nanny and a sex slave would be expected to do toward a man.

This does not mean she is a maid, a nanny or a sex slave – because a wife is so much more than these things.

Are maids and nannies called by God to submit to her master as unto God himself (Ephesians 5:22)?

No, but wives are.

Are maids and nannies called by God to give their bodies sexually to their masters and do they have the right to sexual access to their master’s bodies (I Corinthians 7:3-5)?

No, but wives have these responsibilities and rights.

Does God call on masters to know their maids and nannies and honor them as they would their wives (I Peter 3:7)?

No, but husbands have these responsibilities toward their wives.

What it really means when a woman says “I feel more like a ____ than a wife?”

When you as a wife allow this thought to go through your head – “I feel more like a [fill in the blank] than a wife” you really need to examine your thoughts closely. If you feel more like a maid than a wife this shows resentment toward the domestic affairs of the home to which God has called you. If you feel more like a nanny than a wife this shows resentment toward your duties to care for the needs of your children.  If you feel more like a sex slave than a wife this shows resentment toward your sexual duties to your husband.

Why do women often feel resentment in these areas? There are two answers to this question:

  1. Lack of praise and gratitude (in whatever form they like praise and gratitude) from their husband for their performance in these areas.
  2. The feeling that he is not doing what they expect is his part in these areas.

Should a husband praise his wife in her various roles as the keeper of his home, the mother of his children and his lover in the bedroom? Absolutely. The Bible gives us this example in Proverbs 31:28 where the husband praises his wife and I Peter 3:7 where the husband honors his wife.

But lack of praise from a husband does not grant a wife the right to harbor resentment in these areas.  Two wrongs never make a right. A woman should always remember that ultimately her service to her husband is her service to God.  While praise makes it easier and gives her energy to do even more – a woman should never use lack of praise from her husband as an excuse to allow bitterness and resentment to grow toward him.

In the same way perhaps a woman feels her husband could do more around the house or more to help the children.  Maybe she feels he could do more in the bedroom to sexually please her.  Again his real or perceived failures in these areas does not grant a wife the right to become bitter and resentful toward her husband.

Conclusion

Yes God does care who does the dishes, the laundry, the cooking and other cleaning around the house.  He cares about which gender is the primary caretaker of the children. He cares about who leads the home.  He cares about who provides for the home.

All of these gender specific responsibilities are symbolic of the relationship of God and his people.  They represent so much more than what we see on the surface.

Are there reasonable expectations that husbands and wives can have toward one another based on the roles God has given husbands and wives? Yes.

A woman can reasonably expect that when she goes to the grocery store to buy food that money will be in the account because her husband has provided it for her.  In the same way a man can reasonably expect that when he comes home from providing for his family that his wife will have dinner on the table and his house and children in order.

But in the context of this discussion of husbands helping with the domestic affairs of the home – wives should NEVER EVER expect this from their husbands. If their husbands want to help (without being nagged to do so) then they should allow them to help. But never should this be expected.

This expectation toward men in regard to the domestic affairs of the home has sown the seeds of resentment and bitterness in the hearts of many wives in culture today.

M – As exhausting as being a stay at home mom can be sometimes you will find that when you let go of these unbiblical expectations toward your husband and leave him to God you will have more energy to do these things.  When you realize these things are your task – and your task alone and any help you get from your husband in these areas is a BONUS and not a right you will feel like a weight has been lifted.

Image sources:

Hand washing fork – free image from pixabay.com

Woman with child on back in market -By Peter van der Sluijs – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Woman washing dishes in sink – Villalobos, Horacio, Photographer

Why unity in marriage has more to do with the wife than the husband

Contrary to popular teachings about unity in marriage, the Bible teaches that unity in marriage is primarily dependent on the actions, reactions and attitudes of a wife toward her husband and only secondarily on the behavior of the husband.

There are a lot of concepts that are given in marriage books today to try and help couples achieve unity.  Some of these concepts, like unconditional love and forgiveness would even be supported by the Bible.  But unfortunately, as with many other things – most teachings today on how to have unity in marriage mix truth with error.

God wants couples to unify by becoming one flesh in marriage

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The Bible tells us about the unity God expects there to be in marriage:

“10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;”

Psalm 45:10 (KJV)

“7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Mark 10:7-9 (KJV)

When a husband and wife come together in marriage – this new relationship takes precedent over all other earthly relationships.  Before they were married their greatest earthly relationship was with their parents and now it is with each other.

There are three important concepts about this unity in marriage that Christ talks about:

“And they twain SHALL be one flesh”

 “so then they ARE no more twain, but one flesh”

“What therefore God hath joined together, let NOT man put asunder.”

Biblically speaking in marriage, a husband and wife are one flesh from the moment of their marriage covenant, yet they are to be becoming one flesh more and more the longer they are married and they are not to stop being one flesh as long as they both live.

In a way, this concept of being one flesh in marriage mirrors our salvation.  From the moment, we are saved we receive Christ’s righteousness and are declared justified by God.  But the Bible tells us “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) exhorting us to progressive sanctification.  In essence the Bible is telling us “You are holy, so be holy”.  In the same way, the Bible tells couples in marriage “You are one flesh, so be one flesh”.

In the next section I will talk about how we can practically make our marriage a true “one flesh” relationship as God desires it to be.

5 Steps to becoming one flesh in marriage

Below I have outlined Biblical concepts that I believe will bring the true unity that God desires for all Christian marriages.  As I outline these steps you may see some things you have never seen in a marriage book or article and you will also see some things missing that you often see in books and articles on unity in marriage.  At the end of these steps I will compare and contrast the Biblical model of unity in marriage with the modern-day model of unity in marriage.

Step 1 – A husband and wife are to have sexual relations on a regular basis

“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”

I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

The act of marriage or the consummation of marriage is sexual union.  This is the most literal meaning of the Biblical phrase “one flesh”.  Sex is to occur regularly in marriage.  An interesting biological fact of sex is that it releases two bonding hormones (oxytocin and vasopressin) which God designed to draw a couple closer together.

On this subject of sexual relations in marriage Christian and non-Christian counselors are usually in fully agreement.  The regularity of sexual relations is the first indicator of how healthy a relationship is. While it is possible to have regular sexual relations but still have disunity in a marriage – it is impossible to have full unity in a marriage without regular relations.

Step 2 – A husband is to know his wife

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

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

For husbands this is the first step in cultivating oneness with their wife. A husband cannot love his wife as God intended without knowing her and this involves him talking with her and spending time with her.  God thought it was so important for a man to get to know his wife that in the law he gave to Moses for Israel he gave this rule for newlywed couples:

“When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.”

Deuteronomy 24:5 (KJV)

God literally forbade men from going off to war or going away on business trips for the first year of their marriage.  Couples literally had a one year honey moon in Israel!

So, this leads us to another question – why does a husband need to know his wife? The answer is found for us in the last part of I Peter 3:7 “that your prayers be not hindered.” What God is basically saying is “Husbands if you do not hear the concerns, needs and requests of your wife God will not hear your concerns, needs and requests”.

God wants all authorities whether they be Kings, governors, parents, masters, or employers to hear the concerns, needs and requests of those under them. This does not mean that a husband must give his wife whatever she wants or makes the decisions the way she wants him to.  Sometimes God answers our prayers with a “yes”, sometimes he answers them with a “no” and sometimes he answers them with a “wait”. It is the same with a man and his wife.

When a man hears the concerns and requests of his wife and truly knows how she thinks, even if he does not act as she would like after hearing her this helps to build unity in the marriage.

Also, when a husband knows his wife he knows her passions and her interests.  As long as those her interests do not conflict with her primary duties as a wife, mother and keeper of the home he should encourage her in these things.  For example, maybe his wife likes to paint or to sing in church. Maybe she has desire to write for a woman’s blog, maybe she likes to write poetry.  Perhaps she has a desire to run in home daycare.  None of these things would automatically contradict with her primary duties as a wife, mother and keeper of the home.

However if a woman has a passion to be a mega news giant superstar and wants her husband to stay at home and take care of the home and kids(like Fox News star Meghan Kelly for example) her passions and ambitions are at direct odds with the role for which God designed her.  This is by definition an example of selfish ambition on the part of a woman.

See “I wanted a wife and so did she – Ex-husband of Megyn Kelly speaks out about his marriage to the FOX News star” for more on this feminist superstar.

Step 3 – A wife is to learn how her husband thinks

“And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

Not only in spiritual matters, but in all matters of life a wife is to learn how her husband thinks and what makes him tick. A wife knowing how her husband thinks is critical to building the unity God desires for marriage between a man and his wife.

Step 4 – A wife is to submit to her husband

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

Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

The inevitable result of a woman getting to know how her husband thinks is that she will discover ways that he thinks that she disagrees with.  Now a woman has two choices when she realizes these differences.  One is to try and correct or change her husband’s thinking and the other is to submit.  God calls women to do the latter and submit even when they disagree with their husbands.  As long as a husband does not directly ask his wife to sin she must submit to him everything.

Step 4 – A wife should offer her advice in kind way, not in a contentious way

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

Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)

In the previous step, we discussed that in order to maintain the unity in marriage that God desires for couples to have a wife must submit to her husband especially when she disagrees with him. But this does not mean that wives are forbidden from sharing any wisdom they have with their husbands.

But the attitude and method in which a woman shares her wisdom with her husband is very important. The Bible warns against wives being contentious with their husbands:

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

Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

Even if the words of a wife to her husband are wise, if they are delivered in a contentious or angry manner to her husband they will lose their intended effect and will cause the unity in the marriage to decline rapidly.

Also, a woman should always understand the position from which she offers advice.  She is not her husband’s mother, his teacher or his authority. He is her authority and Biblically speaking his authority over her is even greater than that of her father’s.

A woman should view herself as a subject which gives counsel to her King and remember the Scriptures exhortation to wives to be “in subjection unto their own husbands”(I Peter 3:5).

Step 5 – A wife is to be her husband’s crown

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

Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)

The Bible tells us that a wife should be a crown to her husband.  What is a crown? A crown brings glory and honor to its recipient. So, what the Bible is saying is that a wife by being her husband’s crown is one who should bring him glory and honor.  She is to be his greatest cheerleader and supporter. The unfortunate truth is that many wives today are more of a dunce cap than a crown to their husband.  Just as a wife being contentious with her husband breaks the unity of the marriage so too a wife failing to honor her husband for the man that he is will quickly break the unity of the marriage.

But there is another interesting aspect of a crown – especially that of a king. It was very common in ancient times that when a King conquered another land he would take the crown of the conquered King and put it on his head to show his ownership and authority over his newly conquered lands.

But what if a King liked the crown of another ruler and wanted to wear it more often but it did not fit his head well? Perhaps it was two small and would almost fall off his head or maybe it was too large for the diameter of his head and it would slide down in front of his face.  So, what would the King do? He would give the crown to his craftsman and have them resize the crown to fit his head perfectly.  Perhaps he would have them add some additional gems and take some gems away that he did not like.  The point is that the crown would be molded to the King’s liking and made to fit his head perfectly.

In the same way wives need to move beyond mere submission to their husbands in their quest to truly be one flesh with their husbands.

Wives need to mold themselves over time more and more to their husbands likes and dislikes and to his various positions on the issues of life.  They need to support and understand his passions whether it is his passion for his job, his ministries at church or his hobbies. This even more just mere submission – will bring the true unity that God desires to the marriage.

This does not mean that a wife may ever come to love everything her husband loves or hate everything her husband hates.  There are some passions he may have that she will never be able to bring herself to share.

But a wife should pray hard each and every day that God would help her to mold herself and fit herself so that in the same way a crown needs to fit the head of the King who wears it – so to a wife needs to fit herself to her husband.

Putting it all together

So, when we look at Biblical principles for unity in marriage we see that unity comes from a husband and wife having regular sexual relations, talking to one another and knowing how the other person thinks, the wife submitting to her husband and the wife molding herself to her husband.

Why does Biblical unity put so much more responsibility on the wife than the husband?

When we take an honest view of the concept of Biblical unity in marriage, truly becoming one flesh with one another, we see that God places a much greater responsibility for unity on the wife than the husband.

In six different places in the Scriptures (Ephesians 5:22, Ephesians 5:24, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:5, I Peter 3:1, I Peter 3:6) God tells wives to submit to their husbands.  Contrary to Christian feminists and egalitarians reading in “husbands and wives” to Ephesians 5:21,  the Bible NEVER EVER calls on husbands to submit to their wives.

Instead in Ephesians chapter five we are told that marriage is to be a picture of the relationship of Christ and his Church.  Christ does not submit to his church; his church submits to him. Christ and his Church are not equals – one is subordinate to the other.  Does the Church mold itself to Christ’s image or does Christ mold himself to image of his Church?

The point in all this is while a husband bears some responsibility for unity in his marriage as God requires him to know his wife – the bulk of the responsibility for unity in marriage comes from a wife submitting to her husband and then trying over time to mold herself more to her husband.

What are some practical ways a wife can mold herself to her husband?

When we discussed a wife being her husband’s crown I brought up the idea that a wife should mold herself to her husband.  Does a King change the shape of his head to fit his crown or is the crown shaped to fit the head of the King? We know the answer is that the crown should be made to fit the head that wears it.  In the same way, God has made a woman’s husband her head and she is to fit herself to him.

Here are some practical ways that a wife can mold herself to her husband:

Take an interest in what he likes to watch on TV

If he likes watching certain types of TV shows – try and find some that you cultivate an interest in.  You may not be able to cultivate an interest in everything he likes to watch and that is ok. But you should try and find some common ground with him in this area. Even if you just don’t like certain shows he likes – never shame him about things he is passionate about.

Take an interest in his extracurricular activities

If you husband likes to play on the church baseball league or he involved in a bowling league – try and cultivate an interest in these things.  Support him and be his greatest cheerleader.

Take an interest in his passions

Maybe your husband is passionate about history or politics. Maybe he is passionate about science or science fiction.  Maybe he is passionate about art, literature or music. Whatever your husband is passionate about – do your best to cultivate a passion for what he is passionate about.  Now there may be some times where differences in intellect or preferences just make it impossible for you to cultivate a genuine desire for your husband’s passion for certain things.  But even in these cases you should still support him in his passions and never shame him or nag him for being passionate about these things.

Cultivate a desire for his sexual preferences

In most cases men and women have very different sexual preferences because we approach sex from very different angles.  A wife should cultivate a desire to dress inside and outside the bedroom in a way that pleases her husband.  As long as what he is asking to her do inside or outside the bedroom is not sinful she should do it. But again, she should not just submit, but over time attempt to truly understand and embrace her husband’s sexual preferences.  Ladies this is probably the single greatest way to instill passion in your husband toward you when you truly cultivate and embrace his sexual desires and this will help to truly unite you and your husband.

Accept and understand his spiritual positions

It is one thing to know and even submit to what your husband thinks on various doctrinal and philosophical positions.  It is quite another to cultivate a desire to truly understand, accept and fully embrace your husband’s positions on various issues.

So, what this means practically speaking is that when a couple is first married a wife may have to submit first and understand later. But as a couple goes on in the years in the marriage and they grow in their unity – a wife should not be having to submit as much because she truly understands and embraces her husband’s positions.

For instance, if your husband is stricter on discipline with the children that you would be if you were leading the family, you need to find a way to not just submit to his methods but truly understand and embrace them. If your husband has different doctrinal beliefs or applications of Scripture than what you were raised with you need to find a way over time to cultivate and appreciation for and fully embrace his positions.

Should a wife lose herself in her husband?

In our culture, today it seems that the greatest sin a person can commit is to not be true to themselves or lose their identity in another.  Our identity as a person comes from the combination of our likes, dislikes, passions and beliefs. So, if a person changes their likes, dislikes, passions and beliefs for another person they are said to be giving up who they are or losing their identity and this is wrong in the view of most people in our culture.

I don’t think a wife has to give up everything she likes to do, her passions or her preferences as long as those things don’t cause disunity in the marriage.  If a wife loves to sing in church but her husband cannot sing at all that does not mean she should have to give up singing unless somehow it was causing a conflict in the marriage.

However, over time while she may not have to completely give up her identity – it will change if she truly strives for the unity in marriage that God desires.  This is similar to how when we become Christians our identity changes, yet we all as Christians are still individuals.  We can see in the Gospels 4 very different individuals who wrote those books so we know the Apostles did not lose their identity by becoming Christians.   But they all changed! They started conforming themselves to Christ and there were changes in their identity so they could become more like him.

In this same way while a wife may not completely lose her identity in marriage, she certainly should go through big changes in her person over the years as she is married to her husband.  If a woman has been married to a man for 10 years and nothing has changed about her likes, dislikes, beliefs, or behaviors I can guarantee you that she is not united with her husband in their marriage as God desires her to be.

I remember years ago, I had a female relative come to me while she was going through a mid-life crisis.  She told me “After decades of marriage to my husband I feel like I lost who I was with him.  What he likes I like, what he dislikes I dislike.  I lost myself and I don’t even recognize the person I am any more with him from who I used to be”.

My response to her was “good – that is exactly what God wanted you to do.  Your husband is a good Christian man.  Even though he is imperfect like we all are – there is nothing wrong with the way you have molded yourself to him over the decades.  What you are listening to is the world telling you that you need to be your own person.  But you need to listen to God who tells you that you need to mold yourself to your husband – keep doing what you have been doing and God will bless you. Stop listening to world.”

What is missing from Biblical unity that the world says marriage needs?

There is a word that you may have noticed that is missing from all the Biblical advice on unity I have just given.  That word is compromise.

The world teaches that unity in marriage is all about a man and woman compromising with each other.  “I will give in to you on this and you will give into me on that.” Now don’t get me wrong – when it comes to things that have nothing to do with morality compromise in marriage is a good thing.  Like when we choose where we go to dinner that is not necessarily a moral decision.  How much is spent on dinner is a moral decision, but whether we have a hamburger or pizza is not.

But I think in most cases what we call compromise on these no moral things is just us being selfless and putting the other person first and that is a good thing.

But when it comes to moral decisions, including financial decisions, career decisions, what church is attended, religious beliefs, discipline and teaching of the children, decisions about sex and other things like this there can be no compromise. A husband is always called by God to do what is he believes is right before God.

A husband should hear his wife and know how his wife feels. But knowing how his wife feels and compromising on moral issues with her are two very different things.

But what about him?

If your first instinct when you started reading through this article was to think “what about him?” then you have revealed that you have an unbiblical view of yourself and your marriage.

Before I continue – yes I did write an entire article last year on this subject entitled “10 ways to know your wife” which you can check out later.

But if you are the “what about him” woman I want to give you the following passages of scripture to mediate on.

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Romans 12:3 (KJV)

“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

1 Corinthians 11:9 (KJV)

After letting the truth of these two passages penetrate your heart I suggest you re-read everything I have written and do not worry about your husband’s part in the unity of your marriage.  Worry only about your responsibility for unity as the wife knowing that you bear the greatest burden in making your marriage truly unified by submitting to your husband and molding yourself to him.

How to train your wife not to be jealous

Do you have a Christian wife whose jealous behaviors drive you nuts as a Christian husband? Does she want to know your every move? Does she need to know about every phone call you make? Does she need to know the password for your computer or the electronic devices? Is she jealous of any time you spend with your guy friends or perhaps she is even jealous of time you spend with your children?

If this is the case with your wife, then you may have the first type of jealous wife which is a possessive jealous wife.

But then there is a second type of jealous wife. This the wife who constantly compares how you treat her with how her friends are treated by their husbands.  Perhaps she even compares you to couples on TV and how the husband’s treat their wives. Her comparisons may be about words of affection, or gifts or going places together.

If this is the case with your wife, then you have the second type of jealous wife which is an envious jealous wife.

But aren’t some kinds of jealousy from a wife a good thing?

Jealousy is a bit like anger.  It is often what we do with these feelings that makes them sin or not sin.  However, there are some things we have no right to be angry over and there are some things we have no right to be jealous over.  The Bible tells us that we must compare every thought and feeling we have against the knowledge of God and make it obedient unto Christ.

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

There is actually only one type of jealousy felt by wives toward their husbands that we see is accepted by God and actually can be a force to motivate a wife to be a better wife and that is the envious type of jealousy.  But before you get confused and think I am saying the behavior of the envious jealous wife in my example above is acceptable before God please know I am not saying that at all.

“But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.”

Romans 10:19 (KJV)

God actually took a new bride, the church, in order to make his first wife Israel jealous. God had warned his first wife, he rebuked her and called her to come back to him, he disciplined her and finally had to divorce her (Jeremiah 3:8).  But he still loved her.

The type of jealousy that God was trying to provoke in Israel was not a possessive jealousy because in God’s design of marriage a wife never possesses her husband, but rather he possesses her.  Rather God was trying to prove an envious jealousy in his former wife Israel when she witnessed the affection that God lavished on his new bride – the Church. The Bible tell us that in the future this final act of God to provoke his first wife to jealousy will work and the nation of Israel will return to him (Romans 11:26).

If a wife uses her envious jealousy to make herself a better wife so that she may earn more affection from her husband, then there is no sin in that.  But if she allows her envious jealousy to make her bitter toward her husband for him not showing her certain types of affection or giving her certain things she desires then she has allowed her jealousy to cause sin in her life rather than good.

Wives are forbidden from having possessive jealousy toward their husbands

In the last couple sections, I talked about the fact that the only type of jealousy God allows from wives and even sometimes encourages from wives toward their husbands is the envious type of jealousy.  If only envious jealousy is allowed for wives and even then it must be channeled for self-improvement, not bitterness this then leaves out possessive jealousy.

God actually prescribed a test for husbands when they felt jealous toward their wives in Numbers 5:12-31.  There are many non-believers and even some Christians today who mock this passage as some sort of “Biblical voodoo” but make no mistake those who do so attack the very integrity of the Word of God. While it is impossible for Christian husbands to practice this today as the Old Testament priesthood has been done away with and Christ is now our new high priest and the law has been changed (Hebrews 7:12), it does prove the point that God allows for men to be possessively jealous of their wives.  Can men sometimes be too possessive of their wives? Yes but that is a topic for another post.

But while God prescribed a test for husbands who felt jealous toward their wives if they felt they were being unfaithful to them – God prescribed no such test for wives who felt jealous toward their husbands.  Why? Because in God’s design a wife does not possess or own her husband but rather the husband exclusively owns and possesses his wife.

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”

Exodus 20:17 (KJV)

The English translation of Proverbs 31 masks the ownership of the husband over the wife.  The word that is translated as “husband” in Proverbs 31 is not the normal Hebrew word for husband but rather it is the same word used for owners of slaves and livestock:

“10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband (lit. Owner) doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.”

Proverbs 31:10-11 (KJV)

For more on the topic of husband’s owning their wives and children and the treatment of human property in the Bible see my article “Does the Bible teach the concept of human property?

The reason that a husband owns his wife as well as the reason for the Bible calling for the subjection of women to their husbands is because the husband/wife relationship was designed by God as a symbol of the relationship between himself and his people.

“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)

Does the Church own Christ or does Christ own the Church? The answer to that question is the same answer as to if a husband owns his wife. This is why we see a bride price being paid for women to their father’s throughout the Bible.  The transfer of a daughter from her father to her husband was a property exchange.   Is this entire concept of men owning their wives and children offensive to our modern egalitarian views? Of course it is. But it is the God’s design according the Word of God.

But it is for the reasons I have just shown that a wife is absolutely forbidden from having or acting on a possessive jealousy toward her husband.  Her husband does not belong to her but rather she belongs to him and he belongs to God.  When a wife allows herself or is allowed by her husband to act in a possessively jealous way toward her husband this breaks the symbolism and roles in marriage which God designed.

Ways to train your wife in regard to her jealousy

Step #1 – Correct her possessive jealousy toward your thoughts

Women are usually far worse about this than men although there are some overly possessive men that are bad in this area.  But many wives want to know or possess every thought in their husband’s head.  They do not have a right to possess these thoughts of their husband.

If you want to share your thoughts with your wife, then you can.  If you don’t wish to then tell her you do not wish to.  She has no right to your thoughts.  Even with husbands I have mentioned that while the husband role has the most power of any human authority God did not give husbands the ability to read their wives’ minds or the power to compel their thoughts.

As Christians we are required to be “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”, rather than making our every thought captive to our spouse, parent or other human authority. Husbands have authority over their wives’ words and actions, not their thoughts. God is the only one who knows our thoughts and can command our thoughts.

Step #2 – Correct her possessive jealousy toward your time

The Bible requires husbands in regard to their wives to “dwell with them according to knowledge” (I Peter 3:7) and this certainly would require a husband spending some time with his wife and talking to his wife. You can’t know your wife’s heart, her needs, her concerns without spending some time with her.

However, you as her husband and the head of your home are the determiner of when you spend time with your wife.  You might have to travel for work or even if you don’t travel you may have to work a lot of hours locally. You need to spend time with your children and you should set aside some alone time for yourself as this is a healthy thing to do.

But what you need to emphasize to your wife is that yes you recognize that you need to set aside some time to spend with her, but she does not possess your time and it is your discretion as to when you will spend your time with her.

Step #3 – Correct her possessive jealousy regarding other women

The position I take based on my understanding of the Scriptures on this particular type of jealousy is going to be the most controversial and it where I will spend the most time on this topic.  Most Christian preachers and teachers today will teach that wives have a God given right to be possessively jealous toward their husbands regarding other women.  They teach this based on these beliefs:

  1. Polygamy was a corruption of God’s design for marriage. So if a woman’s husband has any sexual thoughts about other women, or enjoys visually taking in the view of other women or if he desires to marry a woman as an additional wife this is not based on a God given desire but it comes from his sin nature.
  2. Because they believe man’s polygamous nature is a corruption and not by design they believe all his sexual thoughts and energy must be solely directed at one woman – his one and only wife.
  3. While many Christian teachers believe the first two points I have just given on this third point they will disagree. If a man’s desire toward a variety of women (polygamous desire) is a corruption of God’s design of his sexual nature, then does his wife have the right to confront him and force him to focus all this sexual thoughts and energy on her? Those who believe a wife has the power to confront and rebuke her husband’s sin will say yes.  Those who believe a wife has no such power will say she must pray for her husband and leave him to the Lord.

But regardless of whether they embrace all three beliefs most Christian teachers will maintain that a wife’s possessive jealousy toward her husband is justified because she is simply reacting to her husband’s violation of God’s design of marriage.  They just disagree on what she can do based on that jealousy.

But these beliefs in the justification for wife’s possessive jealousy toward their husbands in regard to other women do so in defiance of the Scriptures.

To reject the polygamous design of man is to reject the weight of the Scriptures

The three most common arguments that anti-polygamy advocates attempt to use to support their belief that polygamy is a corruption of God’s design of marriage and sexuality are:

“God only gave Adam one wife in the garden of Eden, not many” (Genesis 2:21-24)

“God says a pastor must be the husband of one wife” (I Timothy 3:2)

“Look at all the jealousy that was caused between wives because of polygamy” (Genesis 29 & 30)

The first argument is faulty based on rules of Scriptural interpretation.

Whenever we are trying under God’s will on any subject we need to follow certain rules.  The New Testament interprets the Old Testament, commands outweigh examples and the weight of Scripture interprets Scripture. The anti-polygamy stance of the modern Christian church is a violation of the last two rules.

Anti-polygamists give us the example of God only making one wife for Adam as proof that polygamy is against his design yet they ignore examples of God saying he gave David his Saul’s wives (2 Samuel 12:8) and the example of God picturing himself as a polygamist husband to two wives two passages of Scripture (Ezekiel 23:2-4 & Romans 10:19).

So right there we have examples that God does in fact allow polygamy.  But the evidence does not stop there. Rather than just example we actually have a direct command from God allowing men to take other wives as long as they care for their first wives (Exodus 21:10-11).

The second argument regarding the qualifications for bishops is faulty as well. God’s restriction on pastor’s having one wife is not worded as a condemnation of polygamy or a change in God’s position on polygamy. If it is referring to a restriction against polygamy, then it is a restriction for pastor’s only just as priests in the Old testament had stricter marriage rules than other men (Leviticus 21:14).  It could just as easily be referring to the fact that a Pastor must not have divorced any of his wives as there is similar wording for widows serving in the church that they had to have “been the wife of one man” and this was referring to divorce.

The third argument regarding jealousy is perhaps the weakest of the three arguments against polygamy. It assumes that the jealousy of these wives toward each other and their husband lay at the feet of the practice of polygamy. Often the story of Rachel and Leah from Genesis 29 & 30 is one example of jealous wives that anti-polygamists use.

The funny thing is this story if you examine it closely actually works against anti-polygamists.  In this story we have Jacob who is madly in love with Rachel yet he tricked into marrying her older sister Leah who is less attractive first. God sees after he marries Rachel that Jacob is not showing the love for Leah that he should so makes her fertile and he makes Rachel barren. Leah has an envious jealousy toward Rachel and she tries to have as many children as she can for Jacob so that maybe he will show her the affection she so desires.

Eventually Leah does something that would make modern women today cringe.  She actually gives her husband her servant girl as a wife and God actually rewards her for it by giving her another son.

“And Leah said, God hath given me my hire[or reward], because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.”

Genesis 30:18 (KJV)

But anti-polygamists would have us to dismiss all these Biblical examples of God condoning polygamy and his express command allowing it based on their arguments from the creation example, the qualifications for a pastor and the fact of jealous wives.

The fact is God designed men with the capacity and desire to have multiple wives in the same way he designed women with the capacity and desire to have multiple children.  Until the Roman empire outlawed polygamy after the time of Christ society did not condemn men desiring multiple wives. And until the dawn of the feminist movement over a century ago society did not condemn women for desiring multiple children.   Now society condemns both.  But God’s design has not changed.

For more on the discussion of polygamy see my series “Why polygamy is not unbiblical” as well as my article “Was polygamy a sin God overlooked in the Old Testament?”.

So how do you as husband confront this type of possessive jealousy in your wife?

First you need to teach your wife the Word of God.  Take her through the Scriptures I have mentioned here regarding the polygamous nature of man. Let’s face it – most men in our culture will never be able to actually marry multiple wives both because of economic reasons and the societal taboos against it.  And yes, polygamy has been made illegal but the governments of man have no business in an institution that God created.  Laws against having multiple wives are about as valid as laws against having multiple children(China). Yes, we are to obey man’s laws as long as his law does go into areas God did not give the government power over (examples would be marriage, family and the church).

But regardless of whether or not your wife accepts the evidence from Scripture that God created you as a man with a polygamous capacity and nature she must accept that she is not your head and you are not accountable to her but to God.  If she disagrees she must accept the disagreement and agree not to hound, you about enjoying the beauty of other women.  Now as anyone who has read my posts on polygamy and sexuality knows I am not talking about men gawking at women everywhere they go.  That is rude. I am talking about me taking tasteful glances of beautiful women.

Step #4– Help your wife channel her jealousy into a positive force for change

Previously I had mentioned that a woman’s jealousy can actually be a positive force.  In this last step I want to elaborate on that with examples. Now I purposefully had to hold this step for last because I needed to discuss the polygamous nature of men in step 3 first.

This last step I am going to write in a way that you could present it directly to your wife.  Even if your wife rejects the Scriptures I have shown proving the polygamous nature of man I believe she still could channel her jealous energy into these steps and she may find that you look at other women less if she is constantly getting your attention in other positive ways. So with that being said here is a list you can give your wife with ways for her to channel her jealous energy into positive actions.

  1. If you see that your husband seems to be looking at red heads the perhaps dye your hair red.
  2. If you see that your husband seems to like a certain type of blouse or skirt on a woman, then go and buy a blouse and skirt similar to that.
  3. If you see your husband looking at women that are thinner than you then you have to ask this question – “Am I way overweight compared to when he met me?” Now obviously with having children and age women gain weight and some of it is almost impossible to lose and you have to recognize your limitations. Maybe you will never be the weight you once were but have you given up? Have you lost as much weight as you can for your age and body type? So instead of being angry at your husband for looking at women that are less overweight perhaps you can channel that jealous energy into losing weight.
  4. If you are walking through the mall and you see your husband glance at a couple of women in their early 20’s and you are mom of 4 in your mid 30’s how do you compete with that? The answer is you don’t. You will never be that young again. But you have something those women do not have. You have experience. You have a history with your husband and that counts for something. I believe Christian wives should have sexy selfies standing by.  Maybe your husband glances at a few young women and instead of getting mad you send him a selfie from your personal library with a sexy note about what he has to look forward to when he gets home.
  5. And here is the toughest and most controversial one of all. According to a survey taken in 2014 as reported on in the Washington Times “79 percent between the ages of 18 and 30 said they watch pornography at least monthly, while 29 percent of them said they view it daily.” So if you are married to man 30 or under there is almost an 80 percent chance that he is looking at some kind of porn (whether softcore or hardcore) on a monthly basis. So the question is whether you agree or disagree with this practice will you grow bitter and angry toward him and allow your pride to make you feel justified as so many women do today? Or will you channel your jealousy into more positive actions? If you catch your husband looking at porn why don’t you show him the real thing right there and then if possible? Or perhaps you might look at some porn yourself just to get an idea of different things you could do to spice things up in the bedroom.

Every one of these steps requires a woman to humble herself and realize that she does not possess her husband but instead he possesses her. God did not make him for her, but rather he made her for him (1 Corinthians 11:9).  It calls on her to put all of her pride and insecurities to death and for her to instead channel her jealous energy into positive things that will strengthen her husband’s affection for her rather than diminishing his affection for her.

Your wife can look at this list and even listen to all the other principles I have put here and choose one of two paths.

The path of pride

Your wife can choose the path of pride and allow her jealousy to grow into bitterness toward you as her husband.  She can comfort herself with this thought:

“I don’t have to change; I don’t have to compete for my husband’s affection.  He owes it to me no matter what I do! The way I look is the way I look – I am not changing a thing whether it is how I dress, how much I weigh or what I do for him sexually. He is supposed to be completely satisfied in whatever I do or don’t do.  He is supposed to be a one-woman man and that one woman is me!”

The path of humility

Your wife can choose the path of humility with this simple thought:

“My husband was not made for me, but I was made for him (1 Corinthians 11:9). God made his nature different than mine and I will accept it even if I don’t completely understand it. Whether I agree or disagree with all his actions my duty is to be the best wife to my husband that I can be according to I Peter 3:1-6. That means if I see my husband looking at other women whether it be as we go shopping in a store or him looking at images of women on his computer I am going to strive to channel my jealous energy into a positive force to bless my husband and I will do everything I can do to draw him closer to me and not push him away.”

Conclusion

There is good jealousy in wives and bad jealousy in wives.  Often times it comes down to how they channel their jealousy.   Will she channel her jealousy into being a better wife or will she allow it to cause bitterness in her heart? The choice is hers.

But this leaves us with the question of “What if my wife refuses to see that her actions based on her jealousy are not a positive force for change but a negative force that will tear the marriage apart?” This is a very real possibility. I am going to leave that question for my next article that this article is a prelude too.

I have mentioned porn in this article as well as some previous articles over the last year or so.  I have had many Christian men and women email me over the last year asking for a detailed answer to the question of porn use by believers.  I have been working on this article on and off for the past year writing it and rewriting it many times. I am hoping to publish it within the next week or so.

Is it wrong for my Christian husband to make me wear a chastity belt?

chastity_belt

“What are your feelings about a husband placing a chastity belt on a wife to prevent masturbation or fondling?” This a question I received in an email from a woman named Mary.

As I told her in my emails to her this is the first time anyone has ever written me about this.  I knew what a chastity belt is but usually we think of this as some medieval device long since gone out of use.

There is a great debate amongst historians as to if chastity belts were ever actually used in ancient times or if they were simply urban myths meant to scare women into guarding their sexual purity.

But there was an actual incident this year where an Italian woman had to call the fire fighters to cut her out of her own chastity belt because she lost the keys:

“Chastity belts might sounds as though they belong in the Middle Ages, but this week an Italian woman was forced to enlist the help of local firefighters after she became stuck in her own iron number.

The middle-aged woman, who can’t be named for privacy reasons, had lost the keys to her belt and asked firefighters to help cut her out. They investigated whether she’d been forced into wearing it – but it turned out she’d had chosen to wear the belt to prevent herself from embarking on a sexual relationship.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/chastity-belts-the-odd-truth-about-locking-up-womens-genitalia/

So with all that being said as a background here is Mary’s full story and then I will respond.

Mary’s Story

“What are your feelings about a husband placing a chastity belt on a wife to prevent masturbation or fondling?  Does he have that authority?  He believes that if I self-gratify myself, that I am taking away from our mutual pleasure.  The device is a belt, from which a shield covers my private parts and is locked on…allowing for urination, but not for fingers.  So, it works, but I always worry someone will find out, which would be highly embarrassing.

And I am grateful he cares so much for our intimacy.  But, it does have that medieval bondage aspect to it.  As I already stand out in my manner of dress, I feel like it is just another distinction I have from my friends and fellow Christians.  Then, I wonder if there are other Christian wives out there who have to follow rules like me, and I will never know because of their secrecy.  Make sense?

I am sure the issue of consent will be raised by commenters.  I do consent (even though I cannot remove it, if I wanted) but the question is do I have to consent to such a request by husband as a Christian wife?”

An update from Mary

A couple weeks after Mary sent me the original email you see above she then sent me this update:

“I wanted to give you an update.  I have not been a fan of wearing the belt and shield, but I see the wisdom in it.  Since early July, Jim has had me wear it each day.  It is amazing to me how much I had been sinning by consciously or unconsciously gratifying myself.  Obviously, the belt prevents me from using my fingers or an object.

But, I found out that I had been sitting and leaning against things to evoke that same stimulus without realizing it—but the shield prevents that.  For example, when in the kitchen waiting on something to bake, I would stand on one leg and draping my other leg over a bar stool in the kitchen.  With the belt/shield on, I suddenly realized that I was, passively, doing this to give some light pleasure to myself.   Because, the belt/shield prevents this, I realized that I had formerly been doing this as a way of comfort, and that this posture made no other sense.

Make sense?

Our intimacy has been greatly increased when he unlocks the belt.  I still have mixed emotions about why I was so weak to necessitate him doing this.  However, I love that he jealously wants to protect our intimacy and relationship.”

I respond to Mary’s seeming acceptance of this practice of wearing a chastity belt asking her why she thought she had “been sinning by consciously or unconsciously gratifying myself.” This was her response:

“My thoughts were that gratifying myself can be wrong under the following circumstances:

  1. Hurts our spouse: Like you said, if I gratify myself often enough, then I do have much less sexual desire for my husband.  This did get to be a problem for us (not proud to admit it)

  2. Gratifying myself retrained my brain away from my husband: When I gratify myself, I have a couple or routine fantasies I dwell upon.  Well, those fantasies do not involve my husband, but other scenarios or people.  So, when I have sex with my husband, my body was not reacting to him like my body was reacting in my fantasies.  I guess I was training it to respond to a certain stimulus in my fantasy, and my husband is just not able to provide that same stimulus in real life.

  3. By dwelling on circumstances or people outside my marriage bed to feed my fantasies, would that not be considered mental adultery, and thus make it a sin?”

My Response to Mary and other Women who are forced to wear chastity belts

I think we really have two issues here.  The first is the issue of whether masturbation is Biblically right or wrong and the second is if chastity belts are an appropriate response to masturbation if in fact it is Biblically wrong.

Now what percentage of chastity belts are worn by women trying to guard themselves from sexual temptation and what percentage are from husbands who make their wives wear them? Who knows?  But in either case it is apparent there is some subculture no matter how small that is employing the use of these devices.

The first question we need to answer is about the morality of masturbation.

Is Masturbation wrong for a Christian?

This is a huge subject that could take a whole article by itself which is why I wrote an entire article dedicated to answering this question from a Biblical perspective entitled “Is Masturbation a sin” a while back.

The short answer is that masturbation is not a sin in and of itself and the Bible never condemns it.

Rather than repeat everything in the article I wrote on masturbation here I will just address the most popular argument that has been used to say God does not approve of masturbation.

“9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.  10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also.”

Genesis 38:9-10 (KJV)

This story in Genesis 38 is about a man named Onan who was called upon to fulfill his duty to enter into levirate marriage with his sister-in-law after his brother had died and not left her a son to be an heir for his estate.  Instead of fulfilling his duty to give his dead brother’s wife an heir, he had sex with her and then pulled out at the end.

God did not kill Onan for masturbating.  God did not even kill Onan for pulling out.

Neither are sinful activities. Onan could have refused to take his brother’s wife as his wife. Yes it would have been a shame on him but this would not have been worthy of death.  What was worthy of death was the fact that he enjoyed his brother’s wife sexually “he went in unto his brother’s wife” but his intent was fraudulent and that is why he pulled out (“spilled it on the ground”).  This is the wickedness for which God killed Onan.

Can masturbation become sinful?

I have shown from the Bible that masturbation in and of itself is never condemned in the Scriptures.  However there are many things that are not sinful in and of themselves but they can become sinful if they become the central focus of our lives or if they cause us to sin by neglecting our duties.

For instance I play video games with my kids on Friday nights – that is family night for us.  There is no sin in playing video games during our fun time together on the weekend.  However if I were to play video games during the week to the neglect of my job or spending time with my wife and children in other ways it could become an obsession and sinful.

We need to eat.  There is no sin in us desiring food and eating on a daily basis.  However, if we live for food and constantly over-eat simply for the pleasure of eating we commit the sin of gluttony.

Masturbation is actually much closer to us eating food than to us playing video games.  There is no biological imperative to play a video game.  There is however a biological imperative to seek sexual release.

Some say masturbation, sexual thoughts and sexual intercourse are not needs but simply wants.  After all – no one ever died from not masturbating or not having sex right?

What these same people miss is that while not having sex will not kill an individual – it will however kill a marriage and lack of sex if done on a consistent level worldwide would kill off the human race.

So in the same way that we are compelled as individuals to eat so we will not die, we are also compelled as spouses and as a human race to have sex so as to build intimacy in our marriages an ultimately to preserve the human race.

But can masturbation become sinful? Absolutely.  If we do it too often to the neglect of our other responsibilities then it becomes a sin to the extent that we overdue it. If we come to the point where as a married people we would rather masturbate than have sex with our spouse then we need to look at how often we are masturbating.

But as I have often argued on this site in other places I believe that as Christians our sexual fantasies, the use of SOME types of porn (not all porn) and masturbation can in fact be used in positive ways to increase our desire for our spouse or help us to understand our bodies better.  Masturbation can also help teens, college students and other singles to stay sexually pure and not seek sexual relations outside of marriage. Masturbation can also make up for differences in sexual desire between spouses.

So up to this point we have established three very important truths.

Masturbation in and of itself is never condemned in the Bible.

Masturbation when done in moderation can have positive benefits.

Masturbation can become sinful if it is overdone causing the neglect of our other responsibilities and especially if it causes us to neglect our spouse sexually.

Mary’s case is a prime example of masturbation impeding a person’s sexual desire toward their spouse.  She admits here that her masturbation was interfering with her desire for her husband.  Mental fantasies, the use of porn and masturbation can all become wrong if those things decrease our desire for our spouse.

But how should Mary and her husband handle her masturbating too much? Is a chastity belt the right answer to this problem?

Is the use of chastity belts by Christians wrong?

I believe the use of chastity belts by Christian women whether the use is voluntary by the woman or compulsory by the husband is in fact wrong and sinful.

It is sinful for two reasons.

Chasity belts are wrong because they remove free will and place people in bondage

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

II Corinthians 3:17 (KJV)

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Galatians 5:1 (KJV)

Bondage is the complete opposite of freedom and a chastity belt is a form of bondage. God wants us to freely choose to do what is right. Bondage takes away that choice.

Now are there consequences for wrong choices with God? Yes!

God gave Adam a choice regarding the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:16-17.

God gave the Israelites a choice in Deuteronomy 30:15-18 to serve him or disobey him and he told them what would happen based on their choice.

Christ presents us with a choice to believe in him or not we are told the consequences of that decision in John 3:18 as well as many other New Testament passages.

There are few and rare times where the Bible allows for bondage or slavery.  In the case of prisoners who have committed crimes or in war captives may be taken.  If a person was born a slave, or sold themselves as a slave in order to pay their debts this would be allowed. Parents could sell their children as slaves and often times this was to bring their families out of poverty.

But nowhere does the Bible say that husbands can treat their wives as prisoners which is in essence what this practice of a man forcing his wife to wear a chastity devise does.

The practice of using chastity belts is a harsh and cruel treatment of the body

Here are several passages of Scripture which forbid us from being cruel to or harshly treating our bodies:

“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”

Leviticus 19:28 (KJV)

“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”

Ephesians 5:29 (KJV)

“20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”

Colossians 2:20-23 (NASB)

What Mary and her husband are doing with her wearing a chastity is direct violation of Colossians 2:20-23.  It is textbook “self-abasement and severe treatment of the body”.

What should Mary do?

I have shown here why I believe Mary’s practice of wearing a chastity belt is wrong whether she does it by choice or is compelled by her husband to do so. Mary is not to submit herself this type of bondage and cruel treatment toward her body.

But Mary does have a problem with masturbating too much and allow her fantasies to get out of hand to the point that she cannot have good normal relations with her husband.

Instead of placing herself in bondage – Mary needs to exercise self-control and discipline.  She needs to choose do the right thing without having a chastity device to compel her choice.

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

I Corinthians 6:12 (KJV)

Photo Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fomfr_chastity_belt.jpg