Should a Christian Wife Worship her Husband?

 

The Bible tells us that Ruth laid at the feet of Boaz(Ruth 3:7-8) and it calls on women to follow Sarah’s example who called her husband ‘lord'(I Peter :6).  There are still parts of the world today where women bow before their husbands and even kneel before their husbands each day to put his shoes on before he goes out to work.  The Bible tells wives to submit to their husbands “as unto the Lord” in Ephesians 5:22.

All of the Biblical passages on a wife’s submission to her husband leads us to this very question that was recently asked by one of my readers:

“Is it wrong to worship my husband? I love him and want to please him in a way that worship is the only way I can describe it.”

I can’t tell you how many emails I have received from people over the years saying that I am telling women they must worship their husbands.  In this article I will give what I believe the Biblical answer to this question is.

What does “worship” mean?

Here are three definitions of “worship”:

“: the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshipping God or a god

: excessive admiration for someone”

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worship

“  1. reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.

2. formal or ceremonious rendering of such honor and homage:

They attended worship this morning.

3. adoring reverence or regard:

excessive worship of business success.

4. the object of adoring reverence or regard.

5.(initial capital letter) British. a title of honor used in addressing or mentioning certain magistrates and others of high rank or station (usually preceded by Your, His, or Her).”

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/worship

“the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.”

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=definition+of+worship

So we can see in these definitions from three dictionary sources that worship has to do with reverence, adoration, and deities.  I personally believe Google’s summary definition of “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” most accurately reflects the correct understanding or our English word “worship”.

Does the Bible command wives to reverence their husbands?

“reverence” is defined as:

“: honor or respect that is felt for or shown to (someone or something)”

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reverence

1. a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration.

2. the outward manifestation of this feeling:

to pay reverence.

3. a gesture indicative of deep respect; an obeisance, bow, or curtsy.

4. the state of being revered, or treated with respect tinged with awe.

5, (initial capital letter) a title used in addressing or mentioning a member of the clergy (usually preceded by your or his).

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/reverence

“1.deep respect for someone or something.”

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=reverence+

As we can see our English word “reverence” has to do with “deep respect”, “awe” and “veneration”.  It is pictured by someone bowing down to another.  You would show reverence when you meet the President or a governor.  People coming before a King would do so in reverence.

So the answer to the question “Does God call women to demonstrate reverence as we have just seen it defined toward their husbands?” is YES.

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

Ephesians 5:33 (KJV)

God tells wives to reverence their husbands in Ephesians 5 where he has just finished explaining that marriage symbolizes the relationship between God and his people, between Christ and his Church. In the beginning of his discussion on marriage he told wives this:

“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)

Paul tells wives they are to submit to their husbands “as unto the Lord”.  While the Greek word is “kurios’ in the original text of the Scriptures is “lord” the reference here is not to “a lord” as in an earthly master.  The reference is to “THE Lord” as in God himself. So it is would be entirely correct to say Biblically speaking wives are to submit to their husbands as they would to God himself.

There is no other human relationship, whether it be the parent/child relationship, servant/master or citizen/governor that calls for this type of submission. The submission of a wife to her husband is the most powerful and all-encompassing submission of any human relationship God designed.

The casualness of marriage today

Reverence and respect are foreign words today in marriages and in homes in general.  Children no longer respect their parents and wives no longer respect their husbands.  We have very casual way in which we now approach one another – whether it be in how children approach their parents or in how wives approach their husbands.

The result of this is that children often talk to their parents in very disrespectful manners and wives often talk to their husbands in disrespectful manners.  To put it bluntly – both women and children have forgotten their place.

People in favor of a more casual approach to God as well as to marriage will often point to passages like these from the Bible showing that God calls us his friends:

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

John 15:14 (KJV)

“And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”

James 2:23 (KJV)

What they do not realize is the concept that there are friends that are equals, and friends that are not equals.

“He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.”

Proverbs 22:11 (KJV)

If you are friends with a coworker or fellow student at school then it is a friendship of equals.  In this type of relationship you can be more casual because of your equal positions. But if you are on friendly terms with your boss at work, your teacher, or even your governor, President or King this is not an equal friendship and this must always be kept in mind by those under authority.

This is the continual balance that must be kept between those in authority over others and those under authority.

Today when people say “I want to marry my best friend” – most often what they are really saying is they do not want a patriarchy style of marriage but rather a partnership style of marriage which is a violation of God’s design for marriage.

Am I saying it is wrong for a wife to call her husband her best friend or husband to call his wife his best friend? No.

I think it is possible for a Christian couple to fully practice the Biblical Patriarchal form of marriage and also consider each other to be friends.  The Bible calls us friends of God so I see no reason why a wife could not be a friend of her husband.

But in that friendship it must never be lost on a wife that her husband is more than her friend – he is her superior and her authority. That means sometimes he will have to correct her, discipline her and do things that she will not like or agree with.

What this means in practice is that a wife should treat her husband as her king. 

Can she be friends with her king? Of course.  Can she respectfully give advice to her king? Certainly.  Can she respectfully bring her grievances before her king? Definitely.  But in her relationship with him she never forgets her position or his.

So now that we have established that the Bible does teach that wives are to reverence their husbands we will now move on to the subject of wives adoring their husbands.

Does the Bible command wives to have adoration toward their husbands?

“adoration” is defined as:

“: strong feelings of love or admiration”

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adoration

“1. the act of paying honor, as to a divine being; worship.

2. reverent homage.

3.fervent and devoted love.”

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/adoration

“deep love and respect.”

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=adoration+definition

I think Webster’s dictionary definition of “strong feelings of love or admiration” for adoration best describes it.

So does the Bible say a wife should have deep feelings of love and admiration for her husband? YES.

“3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 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 2:3-5 (KJV)

The English phrase “to love their husbands” could also be translated as “lovers of their husbands”.  This is deep and passionate love that a wife has toward her husband.

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

Proverbs 12:14 (KJV)

A wife is not only called by God to passionately love her husband, but she is also called to be his crown.  A crown brings a king glory as it adorns his head.  A wife is called to do the same for her husband.  This is why God says “the woman is the glory of the man.”(I Corinthians 11:7).

So we can see clearly from the Scriptures that God commands women to have adoration for their husbands.

So if women are to have reverence and adoration toward their husbands then should they worship their husbands?

Now we come to the answer to this question of wives worshiping husbands.  As we have seen from the definition of worship in most cases it involves three things – reverence, adoration and a deity.  Yes wives are to reverence and adore their husbands.  But the Bible is clear that we are to worship God and God alone:

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

Revelation 19:10 (KJV)

The context of Revelation 19 is that an angel of God had shown John all these wonderful things and I am sure the angel was a glorious sight so he bowed to worship him.  But he was forbidden from doing this and reminded that worship is reserved for God and God alone.

It is Biblically accurate to say that a husband’s position and authority over his wife is in fact the closest human authority to God’s authority over all mankind.  But while a husband’s position may closely resemble God’s authority – it is not identical to God’s authority.   God’s authority has no limits while every sphere of human authority does have it is limits – including the authority of a husband.

Should a wife submit unto her as unto God as the Scriptures exhort her? YES.

Should a wife show reverence toward her husband? YES.

Should a wife show adoration toward her husband? YES.

Should a wife worship her husband? NO.

God and God alone deserves our worship.

Is it wrong for a woman to bow to her husband as shown in the picture?

Now that I shown from the Scriptures that women are not to worship their husbands do I believe what the woman in the picture at top of my article was doing is wrong? NO.

Women should have that kind of respect and adoration for their husbands that they could bow before him and not feel like this is wrong.  Bowing before an authority, whether it be a king of a country, or the king of your home is not an act of worship. It is a deep sign of respect.

When women in some countries kneel before their husbands each day to put his shoes on before he goes to work this is a sign of deep respect.

But doesn’t a wife bowing before her husband dishonor her?

No it does not.  The Bible does call on husbands to honor their wives, but this honor is given relevant to her subordinate position.

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

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

There is an interesting contrast in Scripture that most Christian teachers and preachers miss today.

Wives are called to submit themselves unto their husbands in this way:

“as unto the Lord”

Husband are called to give honor unto their wives in this way:

“as unto the weaker vessel”

Now I want you to stop and think about that contrast. Literally what the Bible is saying is a woman should give her husband the same type of submission as it would be appropriate to give to God.  Where a husband is called to give his wife honor that is appropriate to her subordinate position as the weaker vessel.

So yes husbands should honor their wives as the husband of Proverbs 31 did that praised his wife for her accomplishments in his home.  But a husband ought not to give his wife honor that is above her position as some men do today.

Today the biggest problem we face is not women wanting to worship their husbands as this reader’s question might suggest. The biggest problem we face in our modern culture is very much the opposite.

Today instead of husbands giving honor unto their as wives “as unto the weaker vessel” they now give honor unto their wives “as unto the Lord”.  

Just look at a random selection of romantic cards for women in a card shop and tell me I am wrong. Look at the lyrics to most romance songs today and tell me I am wrong. Watch a typical romance movie today and tell me I am wrong.

So yes women ought not to worship their husbands. But it is equally true that husbands ought not to worship their wives and this is by far the greater problem we face in our world today.

Do Christian wives have to submit to requests for anal sex by their husbands?

In Ephesians 5:24 the Bible commands that wives are to submit to their husbands in “everything”.  Does “everything” include anal sex? Or does this fall under the exception clause to all earthly submission that “We ought to obey God rather than men.”(Acts 5:29)?

Beyond submission – what if the woman wants anal sex? Is it ok for a Christian couple to engage in anal sex?

Some Christians would give a quick response of “No way – anal sex is sodomy and sodomy is condemned in the Bible!”

However the word “sodomy” never occurs in the Bible.  That is a word made up in the English language.  Most people today when they hear the word sodomy think of one of two things – homosexual acts especially between two or more men or anal sex.  But the definition of sodomy in English is broader than this and includes oral sex or anal sex even between a man and woman.

This is the definition of “sodomy”:

“anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex;”

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sodomy

The Roots of “Sodomy”

Now while “Sodomy” is never used in the Bible the roots for this English word can be seen in the story of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis chapter 19. Previously Abraham’s nephew Lot had moved with his family to the city of Sodom and Abraham had received angels from God that told him God would destroy Sodom for its wickedness.  Abraham asked for God to spare Lot and his family so the angels went there to get them.

The men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house and demanded that he would send out the two angels so they could have sex with them.

So Biblically speaking what would “Sodomy” be? If we look at Genesis 19 it is when one man forcibly has anal sex with another man.

What about the word “sodomite”?

The word “sodomite” is used in these passages of the King James translation of the Bible:

“There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.”

Deuteronomy 23:17(KJV)

“And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.”

1 Kings 14:24 (KJV)

“And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.”

1 Kings 15:12 (KJV)

“And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.”

1 Kings 22:46 (KJV)

“And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove.”

2 Kings 23:7 (KJV)

I love the KJV and I quote from it regularly as it is often has the most literal English renderings of phrases from the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. However from time to time even the KJV translators would take liberties with certain phrases and this unfortunately is one of those cases.  The word that they are translating as “sodomite” is a translation of the Hebrew word “Qadesh” which literally means “male temple prostitute” and it has absolutely no connection to the Hebrew word for Sodom which is “Sedom”.  The original meaning of “Sedom” is unknown but eventually it came to mean “burning” in reference to God’s fiery judgment on the city of Sodom.

A “Qadesh” was man who sold himself for sex and the money used to pay him would go to the pagan temple with which he was associated. Often these were not just prostitutes but they were in fact male sex slaves. Would it be true that often times these men did engage in homosexual sex acts with other men? Absolutely. But they could also engage in sex acts with wealthy women as well so in the truest sense their activities were bisexual in nature.

The point about the word “Qadesh” (which was wrongly translated as “sodomite” in the KJV) is that it does not refer specifically to anal sex, but instead it refers to male temple prostitutes.

Now the argument I have just made is one that many advocates of homosexuality make to discount Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality.  But just because the Hebrew words behind Sodom and Sodomite do not specifically refer to homosexual acts this does not mean the Bible does not clearly condemn homosexual acts.  Make no mistake that it does.

God condemns homosexual acts between men in the book of Leviticus:

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

Leviticus 18:22 (KJV)

God condemns homosexual acts between men and women in Paul’s letter to the Romans:

“26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

Romans 1:26-27 (KJV)

But here is my point about the words Sodomy, Sodom and Sodomite.

Sodomy is never found in the Bible and even if the roots of this English word refers to the wickedness of Sodom it does not refer simply to anal sex. Instead it would refer to men forcibly having anal sex with other men – in other words one man raping another man. In a broader sense Sodomy might refer to all types of wickedness that were practice in Sodom including homosexuality, whoremongering, prostitution and rape.

The word Sodom refers to the name of a Biblical city and has nothing specifically to do with sexual sins.

The word Sodomite is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for male temple prostitute and while these prostitutes may have engaged in anal sex they also engaged in many other sex acts including normal sexual intercourse.

So if someone wants to say anal sex is condemned because the Bible condemns sodomites they would be incorrect in that connection. The Bible in these cases is condemning the rape of men and men being prostitutes.

So is anal sex ok for Christian married couples to engage in?

Up to this point you might think I am arguing that anal sex is ok because I have just shown that the Bible’s condemnation of sodomites is not a specific prohibition against anal sex but rather a prohibition against raping men and men being prostitutes.

But this is not the case.  I believe there is a Biblical case to be made against Christian couples engaging in anal sex whether it is because the woman wants to, the man wants to or they both want to. But we cannot build that case on the Bible’s condemnation of the acts of Sodom or the use of the word “sodomites” in the KJV.

Also I just want to say that anyone who knows me and has read my writings knows that I try to be very careful not to add to the law of God. We should not add rules for things as many Christians do just because we find these things to be “icky”.

For instance I am one of the few Bible believing Christian bloggers online that takes the position that the use of porn is not always sinful and can in fact be helpful to Christian men and women in many ways if used correctly. Even though there is no specific passage of Scripture that condemns the production of nude images or the use of porn (contrary to those who try and use Matthew 5:28 to condemn it) many Christians see “Thou shalt not use porn” as the 11th commandment.

So I am sensitive to the fact that when I say I believe anal sex is wrong I could be accused of doing exactly the same thing that I say Christian opponents of porn are doing.

So with all that being said as an introduction to the topic of anal sex let me now show you why I believe the Scripture condemn anal sex as a practice even between a husband and wife within the bounds of marriage.

Where does the Bible condemn anal sex?

If you want to find a passage that says “thou shalt not have anal sex” there is no such passage.

But you won’t find Scripture passages for some of these things either:

You won’t find a Bible verse that says “thou shalt not punch thy wife and beat her to a bloody pulp whenever you get angry with her”.

You won’t find a Bible verse that says “thou shalt not punch thy children and beat them to a bloody pulp whenever you get angry with them.”

You won’t find a Bible verse that says “thou shalt not break the speed limit while driving.”

I could go on but you get my point.  There are many things where we do not have a passage of Scripture that speaks to that specific activity yet we know that God did not just “forget” about it.  Some of these wicked activities are condemned by broader condemnations and by broader Biblical principles.

We know we should not break the speed limit not because of some specific Bible command against it but because of the broader teaching of passages like this one from I Peter 2:

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

I Peter 2:13-14 (KJV)

So we need to follow the speed limit as it is an ordinance of man and speed limits do not step outside the authority that God has given local government nor does a speed limit require us to go against the laws of God.

The Bible does give the right and responsibility for parents to use corporal punishment on their children:

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.”

Proverbs 13:24 (KJV)

But it does not allow the abuse of children – our discipline is to be not supposed to be some sort of revenge but it is for our child’s good.  We discipline our children out of love for them and looking out for their wellbeing:

“6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”

Hebrews 12:6-8 (KJV)

When it comes to wives and discipline God shows that he disciplined his wife Israel and later disobedient churches in Revelation:

“And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.”

Amos 4:6 (KJV)

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

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

But while husbands are called to discipline their wives – they are also called to love their wives as their own bodies by protecting them and caring for their needs:

“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 5:28-29 (KJV)

When a man beats his wife as abusive husbands do this is by definition an act of hatred against his wife and it is clearly condemn by the principles set forth in Ephesians 5:28-29 (KJV)

In other posts I have argued that if a man physically abuses his wife she is allowed to be freed from him just as a slave was to be freed from their master if they were physically abused by their master as seen here in Exodus:

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

Exodus 21:26-27 (KJV)

The right not to be physically abused by those in authority over us is a basic human right that God gives to all human beings from the lowest social casts to highest social casts. No child, no wife, no human being is called by God to endure physical abuse simply because the person is in authority.

Some say a wife should just take physical abuse based on passages like this:

“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

Matthew 5:39 (KJV)

But this is talking about persecution for the sake of the Gospel. This is not talking about a wife enduring bloody beatings from her husband because he comes home angry and wants a punching bag. It also does not forbid Christians from fleeing persecution even for the Gospel when they can:

“Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”

John 8:59 (KJV)

“32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.”

II Corinthians 11:32-33 (KJV)

My point in all this is that just because the Bible does not specifically talk about things like physically abusing your wife or children or breaking the speed limit does not mean it does not condemn these activities. In the same way I believe that while the Bible does not specifically mention anal sex there are Biblical principles that would in fact condemn anal sex.

What Biblical principles condemn anal sex?

Some Christians make an argument against anal sex based on the health risks it presents.  Some of these health risks are laid out in this article from WebMD:

“The anus lacks the natural lubrication the vagina has. Penetration can tear the tissue inside the anus, allowing bacteria and viruses to enter the bloodstream. This can result in the spread of sexually transmitted infections including HIV. Studies have suggested that anal exposure to HIV poses 30 times more risk for the receptive partner than vaginal exposure. Exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV) may also lead to the development of anal warts and anal cancer. Using lubricants can help some, but doesn’t completely prevent tearing.

The tissue inside the anus is not as well protected as the skin outside the anus. Our external tissue has layers of dead cells that serve as a protective barrier against infection. The tissue inside the anus does not have this natural protection, which leaves it vulnerable to tearing and the spread of infection.

The anus was designed to hold in feces. The anus is surrounded with a ring-like muscle, called the anal sphincter, which tightens after we defecate. When the muscle is tight, anal penetration can be painful and difficult. Repetitive anal sex may lead to weakening of the anal sphincter, making it difficult to hold in feces until you can get to the toilet. However, Kegel exercises to strengthen the sphincter may help prevent this problem or correct it.

The anus is full of bacteria. Even if both partners do not have a sexually-transmitted infection or disease, bacteria normally in the anus can potentially infect the giving partner. Practicing vaginal sex after anal sex can also lead to vaginal and urinary tract infections.”

http://www.webmd.com/sex/anal-sex-health-concerns

So the argument of some Christians is that because of these health risks Christians should not engage in this activity as our bodies are called the temple of God and we are to care for them and not abuse them.

The Bible speaks of our bodies belonging to God:

“19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

I Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV)

Some might respond to the health risks of anal sex like a recent commenter on my blog who goes by the name of Jonadab-the-Rechabite:

“Your argument that anal sex is dangerous I think is also overstated. It is an activity less dangerous than motorcycle riding, and like motorcycle riding there are prudent measures that can mitigate the risks and make the activity safer and enjoyable. Is it a sin for a husband to want his wife to ride on the back of his motorcycle? The other ditch is to ignore those risks altogether, refusing prudent measures, this is loveless concern on the part of the husband. The same risks could be said about consuming pork. Pork could be dangerous if not properly cooked, it makes many people uncomfortable to eat an unclean animal and has been associated with health risks like heart disease.”

So should we not do things only because they are risky? Of course not.  If a husband asks his wife to do something and she does not want to do it simply because it has any kind of risk is she ok refusing? No – I don’t think risk alone gives a wife the right to refuse.

In fact I don’t think risk alone should stop a couple from doing something together like anal sex simply because of the risk.  What if a couple wants to go skydiving? That certainly is risky? So I agree with Jonadab that simply because something is risky that does not make that activity wrong.

The argument I make against anal sex goes beyond the risk factor – it goes to the heart of the issue which is design.

Anal sex violates God’s design of the body

I talk about design on this blog all the time. I marvel at the beautiful and distinctive ways in which God made men and women for their distinctive roles in his creation.

Design is why most women could never be a fire fighter and why few women could ever pass the vigorous tests of being a Navy seal. It is why men typically excel over women at heavy labor jobs and why men are less prone to physical injury than women.

Design is why most women can so naturally care for the needs of an infant and intuitively know what that child needs where most men would struggle in this area.

Design is why most women need to feel beautiful and why most men could care less about their outward appearance.

Design is why most men love vigorous competitions of all kinds while most women simplify love to talk and share their feelings with their friends.

So this then begs the question – “Is anal sex a natural use of the anus?”

“26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

Romans 1:26-27 (KJV)

God is very much concerned that we use our bodies in the way he designed them to be used.  He did not design the male body for sex with another male body and he did not design the female body for sex with another female body.  When men have sex with men they are going against the natural design of their bodies and when women have sex with women they are going against the natural design of their bodies. But when a man has sex with a woman – he and this woman are now using their bodies in ways that God designed them to be used.

But even when a man has sexual relations with a woman I do not believe that anyone can make an argument from a medical and biological perspective that God designed the anus for penetration during sexual relations.  Everything about the anus shows us that it is designed as an “exit only” orifice of the body. Unlike the much tougher linings of the mouth and the vagina the anus has a very thin lining that is easily torn and can bleed and become infected.

Over long lengths of time regular anal sex can stretch the anal sphincter and lead to an inability to hold one’s feces.

The pain of anal sex

Anal sex is naturally painful – even with lubrication because the anus was NOT meant for penetration.

Now just because something is painful does not mean it is necessarily a bad thing to do that thing.

When a person lifts weights or does any type of strenuous exercise (or hard labor) often their muscles ache because the muscles are torn and stretched by that exercise. When the muscles heal from this tearing they become stronger.

When a mother gives birth it is certainly painful.

“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.”

Genesis 3:16 (KJV)

Notice the key word in Genesis 3:16 which is “multiply”. Even before sin God did not design child birth to a painless process any more than he designed people exercising (and thus tearing and stretching their muscles) to be a painless exercise.

No one would argue that the pain from exercise, hard labor or child birth means these activities are wrong to do.

But then there is another type of pain.  This type of pain is a pain that acts as warning to us.

Many of us when we were children experienced one type of this “warning pain” when our parents spanked us:

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

Hebrews 12:11 (KJV)

The pain of our parents spanking us warned us that what we were doing was wrong and that we needed to not do that thing we were doing anymore.

Besides our parents spanking us though – we have another natural type of “warning pain” that God gives us.  As small children we may have touched something that was hot only to have it burn our fingers.  This served to warn us that our skin is not made for touching things with high temperatures.

In same way people often experience internal pains which tells them something is wrong. Often times a person’s life can be saved when they are sensitive to pain and report it to a doctor so they can help them.

It is this warning type of pain that a person experiences when they allow their anus to be penetrated. The pain we experience as human beings when our anus is penetrated cannot be compared to the pain a person experiences when they exercise, do hard labor, when a woman loses her virginity or when a woman has a baby.  These types of pains are not meant as warnings but they serve as part of God’s natural design.

But when we touch a hot stove with our hand or when a woman feels pain when her anus is penetrated these are warning pains that God gave us to tell us that our skin was not designed for extreme heat and that our anus was not designed for penetration.

The argument for anal sex from existence of dual purpose body parts

Now that we have addressed the issue of the design of the anus not be fitting for penetration for intercourse both from a functional perspective as well as from a pain perspective we will lastly address the argument that anal sex is ok because it may serve a dual purpose as other body parts do.

Jonadab-the-Rechabite said this about God’s design of our bodies:

“God has designed many parts of the body with a primary function and many secondary as well. For instance, the mouth is used for many functions such as eating speaking, breathing etc. If I said that the mouth was designed for eating so you should not kiss with it, you would probably disagree. It is fallacious to say the anus was designed to eliminate waste so it can serve no other function. The very same argument of teleology or design was used by fundamentalists against oral sex just a couple of decades ago. We are not free to add to the law or assume the exhaustive purposes of God when He has not revealed such.”

Yes some body parts have duel purposes – agreed. We can use our mouth to eat, to breathe, to kiss and to give sexual pleasure to our spouses. We can use our hands to hold things, to work, to paint, to play sports and to give our partners sexual pleasure.

A man’s penis used both to urinate and to give himself and his wife sexual pleasure.  A woman’s vagina is used both to give her husband and herself sexual pleasure as well as bear children.

I might agree with Jonadab that the anus could have been designed with a dual purpose as a secondary way of giving a husband sexual pleasure from his wife as her mouth does IF these things were true of anal sex:

  1. The lining of the anus was as thick and tough as the skin in the mouth or the vagina.
  2. The anus had a natural expansion mechanism for things to enter it as the vagina and mouth do.
  3. The anus did not give off warning pains when it is penetrated each time.
  4. The practice of regular anal sex over many months or years did not have a strong possibility of causing issues with feces not be able to be held and other health injuries.

But the fact is none the things I just mentioned are true of anal sex and therefore there is no way that we can conclude that the anus is a dual purpose body part on a woman that is meant for sexual pleasure in the same way her mouth and hands can be.

Some have tried to argue(and still do today) as Jonadab has pointed out that oral sex or hand jobs or any sex outside of vaginal intercourse is sinful and wrong.  They argue that God designed sex between a man and woman to only consist of vaginal intercourse.

But there is a huge difference between these other types of sex and anal sex. A woman’s hand does not burn and hurt simply because she rubs her husband’s penis with it.  A woman’s mouth does not hurt just from the fact that her husband places his penis in it. Now could a woman’s hand or mouth begin to get sore from prolonged sexual relations? Sure.  But so could her vagina.

But my point is that the intial contact with these areas of the body and moderate use of them during sex does not normally or naturally cause pain in the way that anal sex will cause pain whether from prolonged use or moderate use.

There is no warning pain from any of these other types of sex besides anal sex. In fact we can find allusions to these other types of sexual activity in the Song of Solomon. So trying to compare anal sex to oral sex or other types of manual sex is a comparison of apples to oranges.

A woman may experience pain during vaginal sex for reasons other than prolonged sexual intercourse.  But God did not design vaginal sex to be painful. If a woman were to go to the doctor and explain that she is having painful vaginal intercourse the doctor will tell her that is not normal and they need to look into reasons why that is happening. But if that same woman were to tell the doctor she has painful anal intercourse the doctor is going to say – “well that is because the anus is not designed for sex”.  Now yes you can find ways to reduce that pain but the fact is it is completely normal for anal sex to be painful because it is warning from your body that you are not supposed to be doing that!

Conclusion

The fact is that regular and prolonged penetration of the vagina, oral sex or other manual types of sex when practiced in a committed marriage relationship present absolutely no health problems and do not cause warning pains because these practices are using our bodies in ways in which God designed them to be used.

However regular penetration of the anus will over time cause stretching and damage to the anus and the ability for one to hold in their feces. It also causes warning pains to the woman telling her that God did not design her anus to be used for sexual penetration by her husband.

It is for these reasons that Christian couples should reject anal sex as part of their sex life – God did not design the anus as a dual purpose body part for sexual pleasure. Instead this body part was designed for one purpose and one purpose alone – the release of gas from the body and the release of waste from the body.  That is it.

And as to the question that is the title of this article “Do Christian wives have to submit to requests for anal sex by their husbands?”

While it is true that a woman’s body belongs to her husband it is equally true that he does not have a right to sinfully abuse her body that God has given him. So it is for this reason I believe the answer is NO a wife does not have to submit to this type of sinful request based on the Biblical principle that “We ought to obey God rather than men.”(Acts 5:29).

Does a Christian wife have to submit to a sinful request from her husband?

Should a Christian wife have to participate in a threesome or abort her child because her husband tells her to? Some Christians teach that women should submit to any and all requests their husbands make even if they believe that in doing so they would be directly sinning against God. Other Christians believe that if a husband is not living a righteous and holy life he has no authority over his wife at all regardless of whatever requests he asks of her.

How should a Christian wife handle such situations?

The Two Extremes on Submission

When it comes to the submission of wives to unrighteous husbands there are extremes on both the left and the right side of this issue.

On the left we have Christians who believe women only have to submit to husbands that are righteous and treat them right (as they see right).

This comment I recently received from a Christian woman illustrates the left position on wives submission to their husbands:

“In your blog you speak a lot about women submitting to the authority of her husband. Even when her husband is sinning (i.e.denying her sex, which you admit is her right to have) she must still submit to him. She cannot do as men and deny him dates, gifts, etc. Here you say a husband should show love toward his wife and can please his wife, but he must please God above her. I agree with that. However, isn’t a woman’s duty to please God before her husband also? If he isn’t treating her as a Christian husband should, should she follow an unrighteous man?

Authority is given from God, if we do not follow God we lose the power that comes with that authority. Therefore, his authority becomes useless. Would a sinful man have her well-being in mind? I would think not. I agree a man is the leader of the home, but I also believe a woman is only obligated to submit to her husband’s righteous desires the same as a man should only please a woman when her desires are righteous.”

There are so many things wrong with this statement it is hard to know where to begin.

I have never stated that a wife has to stay with her husband if he sexually denies her.  I have shown from the Bible that a Christian wife may divorce her husband for these 4 reasons:

If he fails to provide her with food and clothing (shelter is implied with clothing).

If he refuses to have regular sexual relations with her (sexual defraudment).

If he physically abuses her or makes attempts on her life.

If he abandons her.

For a detailed discussion on each of these four items please see my article “For what reasons does God allow divorce?

However this woman is not looking for serious reasons she may divorce her husband.  She is looking for reasons that she does not have to submit to him. These grave sins I have described are not reasons for a wife to stop submitting to her husband’s authority – they are reasons to end the marriage so he is no longer her husband. If the woman chooses to stay even if he is chronically sexually denying her, physically abusing her or refusing to work then she must continue to submit to him.  As long as he is her husband she must submit to him.

So if a woman were to come to me and tell me “I am not divorcing my husband for refusing to work and playing Xbox 7 days a week while he sends me out to work.  But I won’t submit to him either.” –  I would tell that woman she is wrong.  She has two choices – submit to her husband or end the marriage so he is no longer her husband.  Those are her only two choices.

A wife does not submit to her husband because he is “treating her as a Christian husband should” or because he has “her well-being in mind”. She submits to her husband because God has commanded it.  A husband, Christian or non-Christian, does not lose his authority over his wife if he does not follow God’s Word.

This woman and a whole host of Christians today ignore this passage from Peter on the subject of submission of wives to unrighteous husbands:

“3 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”

I Peter 3:1-2 (NASB)

This passage makes it crystal clear – wives are to submit to sinful and disobedient husbands.  Whether your husband is a Christian, a non-Christian or a professed Christian who is living in disobedience if you are his Christian wife you are to submit to him despite his sinful behavior.

This attitude toward submission is by far the biggest problem today with Christian’s attitudes toward marriage.

But there is another extreme – the far right extreme.   And while this far right extreme may be a small minority and some think it is not worthy of our time even to address their false teaching – as Christians we must also stand for the truth and stand against false teaching.

It does not matter if many people are teaching a false doctrine or just small groups are teaching it – false teaching is false teaching and it must be exposed.

Should we not talk about exceptions to submission?

Some of the people on the far right of on this topic of Biblical submission believe we should not talk about exceptions to submission.  This is demonstrated in recent comments by the blogger Deep Strength:

“You’re falling prey to the same trap that women do. It’s an obvious diversion! You don’t answer the question to an obvious diversion or if you do then you have to tie it back to righteous attitude and actions.

Good answers to a question like “But what if my husband commands me to sin?” are:

  1. “lf that ever happens, feel free to call me at any time and we’ll look through the Scriptures to discuss it. Now, as I was saying about submission…”
  2. “When’s the last time you heard a husband command his wife, much less to sin? Now, as I was saying about submission…”
  3. “You should find where it says it is a sin in the Scripture. Then you come to him with a respectful and submissive attitude and say: ‘Hey, I think this may be against what God says in the Scripture here and my conscience. Is there anything else I can do instead to make it up to you? Now, as I was saying about submission…”

The point is to stay on topic because the desire to divert a topic away from uncomfortable Truths is one of the strongest temptations that women have which is the desire to be rebellious. Submission is righteous and holy. Discussing it is good, and diversions away from it are to play right into temptation.”

Deep Strength argues that it is a “diversion” and a “temptation” to even discuss exceptions to a wife’s submission to her husband.  He acts like it is so rare and unfathomable that a husband would ask his wife to sin.   Does he forget how many Christian women are married to unbelieving husbands? Husbands that might ask their wives to do drugs? Husbands that might as their wives to have sex with their friends or participate in a threesome? Yes these things happen.

And yes even professing Christian husbands may ask their wives to do sinful things.  Just because it is rare does not mean it does not happen.

I really don’t see the fear these men have of discussing exceptions to submission.  Since when is the truth a “distraction” or “temptation”?

It is actually very easy to address these exemptions and then continue on in the topic of submission. We don’t ever have to be afraid of the truth as Christians.

Now are there Christian bloggers who add to the exemptions to submission like the way the female commenter did above? Yes and they do it all the time.  But just because people add to God’s Word does not mean we can take away from it.

We are to teach the whole counsel of God.  We are not to go to the left or the right:

“Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”

Proverbs 4:27 (KJV)

People on the left and right extremes of submission both have something in common.  They both dismiss those passages they don’t like and they both add things to the text that are not there.  But we are not to take away from God’s Word or to add to it – but instead we are to follow the entire Word of God:

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

Deuteronomy 4:2 (KJV)

So truth about the submission of wives to their husbands is very simple. A wife is to submit to her husband in all areas of her life and everything he wishes her to do or not do as long as he does not ask her to sin against God. Even if he asks her to sin against God she should respectfully refuse his request but this does not mean she stops submitting in every other way. Even if her husband is living a sinful life either as a Christian or non-Christian she must submit to him.  She is not responsible for his sin, she is only responsible for hers.

But this then brings us to the final part of submission to sinful requests by husbands to their wives.

Is a wife responsible for doing something sinful if her husband commands her to do it?

This statement was made by the blogger Moose Norseman in his post “For clarity’s sake

But perhaps the last one tells the most. Do these blogs and ministries teach young women to be obedient to their husbands, or do they teach things like this:

“Submission does not mean that the men in authority, whether in the church or in the home, are always right. They aren’t. They’re sometimes and often wrong. They sin, as do we. Submission does not mean blind obedience. It does not mean that we sin in order to submit. It doesn’t mean that you overlook sin in the authority. “(emphasis in original)

And this:

Now, what if he asks her to participate in a threesome, abort her baby, or help him commit robbery by stealing from a bank? Should she submit in these instances? NO!

A reminder about headship and covering: The one that is covered bears no iniquity. It is the authority that bears the iniquity.

Moose first presents a false dichotomy – If a Christian teacher teaches that there are any exceptions to God’s command that wives are to submit to their husbands then the person is said to be negating the entire Biblical teaching of the submission of wives to their husbands.

So according to Moose – a Christian wife should participate in a threesome, abort her baby, help her husband commit a robbery and do anything else her husband requests of her even if she believes that action would be a sin against God.  If she does God will not hold her accountable – in fact he honors her for participating in acts she believes are sinful if her husband asks her to do it.

This teaching by Moose Norseman is not just simply absurd – it is the very definition of heresy.  Any teaching that tells someone it is ok to sin against God is heresy.

As believers we will often disagree on Bible interpretations and what is and what is not sin.  But to acknowledge that something is a sinful activity and then say God is ok with us doing that sinful activity under certain circumstances is the height of heresy.

The Apostle Peter made this point abundantly clear:

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:29 (KJV)

Moose bases his heresy on a passage from the book of Numbers which is linked from the phrase “the authority that bears the iniquity.”

“13 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.

14 But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them.

15 But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity.

16 These are the statutes, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father’s house.”

–  Numbers 30:13-16 (KJV)

The key verse Moose is pointing to is verse 15 of Numbers chapter 30:

“But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity.

This is a great passage of Scripture that I have spoken about several times on my blog. I do not disagree that this passage demonstrates the headship of man over the women in his family whether it be his wife or his daughters.

But what it does NOT show is that a husband can ask his wife to directly participate in an activity that she believes is a violation of God’s law and that God would honor her for obeying his sinful command and participating in these kinds of sin.

In this case with her broken vow the husband by not overriding the vow his wife has made when she made it has taken on the penalty for her not fulfilling that vow if he stops her from doing it.  If he tells her he has changed his mind and does not want her to fulfill the vow she made then he bears what would have been her sin.  It is his sin now since he approved her vow.

A simpler way to say this is – when a woman makes a vow to do something in her husband’s presence and he either remains silent or actively agrees with her vow then as her husband he takes on the responsibility and the penalty if he stops her from fulfilling that vow.

Conclusion

God’s Word teaches us two important principles as it relates to the submission of wives to their husbands. God tells wives to submit to their husbands in “everything” (Ephesians 5:24) but the Apostles when told to disobey God said that “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).  So when we take the whole counsel of God on the matter of submission we see that wives are to obey their husbands in all things unless their husband directly tells them to do something that would violate God’s law.

It really is that simple.

Christians on the left of Biblical submission want to find every way they can out of submission so they abuse the principle that “We ought to obey God rather than men” by saying things like if your husband chooses a church you disagree with you don’t have to follow him there which is utterly false. But then on the far right of Biblical submission we have those like Moose who claim that there are no exceptions for wives submitting to their husbands and even if their husband asks them to participate in a threesome or kill their child they must do these things.

The people of God must avoid all extremes.  We must instead walk the straight path – following the whole counsel of God and not veer either to the left or the right.

Should a man risk divorce to confront his wife’s rebellion?

Should a Christian man risk his wife divorcing him to confront her feminist and rebellious tendencies? Or is it an act of sacrificial love for a husband to submit to his wife in order to save his marriage? Should a husband attempt to discipline his wife until she accepts her place in God’s design knowing that she might leave him and take his children?

These are the kinds of questions that are raised by a story I received from a man who identifies himself as “John” in response to my post “Fathers can save our families from feminism”.

John’s Story

“My wife and I married as equals. We were not Christians in a true sense, but had cultural ties to Christianity. I believed in feminism when I married. After we had our first child something changed. Looking into my new daughters eyes awakened something in me. I knew at that point that there absolutely was a Creator God and there was NO WAY this child was a random event. I began searching in earnest for God and He found me and saved me on May 1st 2005.

Any Christian reading this will understand when I say that my journey with Christ has been wonderful, challenging, exciting, and unexpected! Unfortunately my wife, who I adore, had not joined me yet😔. Also I have come to understand the perils of feminism and the benefits of a biblical family structure. When I have tried to lead I’ve been shut down entirely. She has threatened divorce thrice and hired a lawyer once. I believe she is serious about not only not being submissive but about calling the shots as she has also rejected her own ideals of equality.

My lawyer told me she would get the kids and everything. So I’ve submitted to protect my family. I can accept the insinuations on this website that I am weak or pathetic or groveling or whatever. These are just unkind words. But I’m convicted by the thought that I’m disobedient to God in my stance. I’m truly confused now. I accept that feminism is a lie, that the bible is truth, and I’m ready and willing to act in that way and lead my wife. I wish to do so sacrificially and gently by putting her first. Her adamant refusal and willingness to blow up the family gives me pause. Our children will be hurt and taken from me, their father, if this happens. From the frying pan into the fire! Help!…”

John let me say first and foremost that my heart goes out to you and the millions of men who have to deal with this kind of situation you are dealing with in regard to your wife’s rebellion toward you as the authority God has placed over her.

Egalitarian or “partnership” marriages are based on a lie

Your statement:

 “My wife and I married as equals. We were not Christians in a true sense, but had cultural ties to Christianity. I believed in feminism when I married.”

What I think you mean by the phrase that you “married as equals” is that you embraced the modern belief that marriage is an equal partnership. You were feminists and egalitarians.

Your statement:

“I believe she is serious about not only not being submissive but about calling the shots as she has also rejected her own ideals of equality”

Your wife’s behavior proves a truth that I have said many times on this site.  In most so called “equal partnership” marriages the woman is actually the head of her husband and her home.  In a few “equal partnership” marriages the man is actually the head but he is much more subtle about his leadership than men are in traditional or Biblical marriages. Your wife does as you say and “calls the shots”. This makes her the dominant and you the submissive.

Egalitarianism is a lie that many people believe and your wife is one of them. One person will always be more dominate than the other.  This is the nature of human relationships.  She has lied to herself as so many women do and convinced herself that she truly believes in and acts as an equal partner in your marriage when she clearly does not.

A marriage will either be a “subtle” patriarchy (male lead) or a “subtle” matriarchy (female lead) – there is no such thing as true partnership marriage.

The only difference between the subtle matriarchy in most self-proclaimed egalitarian marriages and the overt patriarchy practiced in traditional and Biblical Christian marriages is that the wife tries to convince herself and her husband that she is not really leading the relationship and the family.  But make no mistake she is the matriarch.

Even if true partnership marriages existed – they would exist in direct violation to God’s design of marriage and the family.

Sometimes your Christian faith may cost you your marriage

Your story of the birth of your daughter bringing you to Christ is one I have heard before.  For many it is not until they see the beauty of new human life that they realize there truly is a God and he really does have a plan for our lives.  I am so glad you came to place your faith and trust in Christ.

The Bible tells us that sometimes our faith, especially when we start to live it and put it into practice will make enemies even in our own home!

“34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” – Matthew 10:34-38 (KJV)

We can see in the words of Jesus Christ that sometimes our Christian faith will bring us into direct conflict with those closest to us – even those whom we love.  Your wife, the woman you love, has become your spiritual “foe”. Some may object to me saying this about your wife but the words of Christ could not be clearer here.

Now God also wants you to love your enemies and pray for them:

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” – Matthew 5:44 (KJV)

But remember what Christ said in verses 37-38 of Matthew 10? Yes you are to love your enemies and pray for them but you are not to love them more than God.  What Christ means here is if you allow your family (and this includes your wife) to cause you to sin against God or not to follow God’s commands for your life then you are not worthy of Christ.  The phrase “worthy of me” does not mean you will lose your salvation as some Christian teachers falsely teach.  It means you are not living your Christian life in a way that is worthy of what Christ has done for you.  Christ is admonishing you to run the Christian race (live the Christian life) in a way that is worthy or befitting of what he has done for you.

Paul speaks of a person’s faith and the impact it has on their unbelieving spouse causing divorce in I Corinthians:

“13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” – I Corinthians 7:13-15 (KJV)

Here is the truth – God commands that you lead your wife:

“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)

He also calls on you to sacrifice yourself in effort to make your wife holy as Christ gave himself to make his church holy:

“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” – Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)

God does not call on you to keep your wife in the marriage at the cost of you disobeying his commands to lead your home. If she wants to depart you must let her depart.  Will it cause a lot of emotional pain to you and your children in doing this? Absolutely it will.  But this is a sacrifice that God has called you to make in obedience to him. If you fail to do this then you are in essence loving your marriage and family more than you love God.

Your children will be hurt in either case

I just spoke about the hurt that divorce will cause your children.  But realize that your children will be hurt in either case.

If you stay your children will be hurt by the bad example they see of their father submitting to their mother. This completely breaks the model of marriage and it goes against the natural relationship that God created there to be between a man and woman.

And no Ephesians 5:21 is NOT talking about husbands submitting to their wives in marriage.  This heresy is wide spread in the Church today but it flies in the face of the Scriptures.

I encourage you and my other readers to read my post “Should a Christian husband make his wife submit?” Where I extensively deal with Ephesians 5:21 in its proper context.

The short answer is this. The Greek word hupotasso which is translated as submit, obedient, submission and subjection in the KJV is a military term meaning to “to arrange under, to subordinate, to subject, put in subjection, obey” and in most cases it is referring to obeying one’s authority. But there are some cases where it used in the sense of “voluntary cooperation” and this is the sense it is used in Ephesians 5:21 when speaking of the relationship between church members in the assembled church.

But it is impossible to see hupotasso having this same meaning of “voluntary cooperation” in the relationship of a husband and wife because God pictures the husband and wife relationship as that of Christ and the Church.  Are Christ and his Church equal partners? Does Christ submit to his Church? The answer from Scripture are clearly NO.

This is why it is the height of absurdity to say that husbands are to submit to their wives in the sense of laying down their authority that God commands them to take in marriage.

Children need to see a strong father who leads his family and a mother who demonstrates what submission to authority looks like. In this way they learn both what proper leadership looks like and what proper submission looks like.

If you stay in your marriage your children will have a very warped view of what masculinity and femininity mean and what leadership and submission are to look like in God’s design.

In essence you are standing your ground with your wife not only because of your higher allegiance to God and his commands for your life but also for the betterment of your children.  Right now and for the next year or so it will be very tough on them.  But eventually they may come to faith in Christ (if they have not already) and come to respect that stand you took for God.

You won’t lose your kids and you won’t lose everything

Your Statement:

“My lawyer told me she would get the kids and everything.”

John if your lawyer told you that then you need to get a new lawyer. There was a time when women used to get full custody of the kids in most divorce cases and Dads only got two weekends a month at best. Thankfully that has changed as men have fought back and law associations dedicated to fighting for men’s rights have come to the rescue. Courts are less likely to award alimony and if they do it is only temporary. Yes you will have to part with half your physical assets but you will be able to start over.

Yes you will have to pay child support but I would fight alimony.  In divorce whoever is the most patient usually wins.  In most cases court appointed arbitrators will try and scare you into a settlement but it is your right to take your case all the way to the judge. Unless they can prove that you would be an unfit parent you can file for joint custody.

I have joint physical and legal custody of my kids and I know several of my friends that also share joint legal and physical custody with their ex-wives.

There are two keys to getting what you want from divorce – patience and steadfastness.  Make sure what you want is realistic and then stand your ground and do not be pressured by your lawyer, her lawyer or a court arbitrator to agree to anything less.

I would suggest you turn your wife’s divorce threat around on her.  Tell her if she divorces you that will mount a “scorched earth” campaign against her if you feel you are being unfairly treated in the divorce.  Tell her a “scorched earth” campaign means if she does not agree to a fair division of the assets and joint legal and physical custody up front you will hire the most expensive lawyers you can find to drain every asset you have.  You are willing to lose your home and everything to your name in this effort.  You will drag this out in court for years if you have to. Turn the tables on your rebellious wife. Be the man that God meant for you to be.

I pray that God will give you the courage to take the tough actions ahead you need to take and to stand firm and like a man.

“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 

I Corinthians 6:13 (NASB)

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10 ways to know if you are sacrificing your faith for your wife