Do we need to cut the Pauline Epistles from the Bible?

It is no secret that Christian feminists are no fan of the Apostle Paul. But often they try and make more subtle attacks on his authority to write God’s Word. Some like Skip Moen won’t outright deny Paul’s authority in general, but they will simply try to explain away anything he writes that condemns their false doctrine of Christian feminism.

But every once in a while a Christian feminist will come right out and make a full frontal assault on the Apostle Paul. It is refreshing to hear such honesty. A Christian feminist defender named Rosie posted this on my BiblicalGenderRoles Facebook page:

“Paul had NO authority to give commands, and he said it himself. He was a self appointed apostle NOT a prophet”

This statement alone shows the utter lengths those who wish to rebel against God’s Word will go to feed their selfish ambitions. Wow what a bold statement to make.

Paul was not a “self appointed apostle” – Jesus Christ himself appointed him on the road to Damascus:

“14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.

16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;” – Acts 26:14-16 (KJV)

In Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica he wrote:

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, THE WORD OF GOD, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” – I Thessalonians 2:13 (KJV)

Paul was clear that what he wrote was the very Word of God, and only in a few instances did he give his opinion apart from the Word of God(for instance he thought celibacy was good, but he knew it was not meant most people). But in NO way did he ever say he did not have authority from God – he made it clear everywhere he went that he was an Apostle of God with the authority to speak and write the very Word of God.

In fact Peter affirms the authority of the Pauline Epistles when he writes:

“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved BROTHER PAUL also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also THE OTHER SCRIPTURES, unto their own destruction.” – II Peter 3:15-16 (KJV)

Notice he compares Paul’s epistles to “the other Scriptures” placing them on equal footing with all Scripture.

So in order for Rose and many other Christian feminists to have their heretical view of Christianity, to basically make up their own Bible – they have to tear out Paul’s 13 Epistles of the New Testament as well as Peters two epistles because he affirmed Paul’s writings as the Word of God. They have to tear out 15 of 27 books, more than half the New Testament in order to follow the selfish ambition and heresy of Christian feminism.

This is why I have said it time and time again. Can you be a Christian and believe in Christian feminism? Sure. If you believe that Jesus Christ was the perfect sinless Son of God, God in the flesh who died for the sins of mankind and specifically for your sin then you can be saved regardless of what other false doctrines you believe.

However you cannot be a Bible believing Christian, a believer in the inerrancy and perfection of Scripture, and be a Christian feminist. The two positions are mutually exclusive.

So as we can see based on her own statement Rose and other Christian feminists have made their choice to reject the Bible consisting of all 66 books as the Word of God. Instead they want their shortened version, the one where they get to take scissors and cut out whatever parts they want.

In their version of Christianity – this beautiful passage of Scripture is not in fact the Word of God, because it was written by a “self appointed Apostle” and a man that had “no authority to give commands”.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” – Ephesians 2:8 (KJV)

So which version of Christianity do you believe in? The modern Christian feminist version which is based on a shortened version of the Bible or the historic Christian faith which is based on ALL 66 books of the Bible?

The Heresy of Skip Moen and his book Guardian Angel

Skip Moen is pretty close to what I would call a “Christian feminist cult leader”. He certainly is not the only major teacher of Christian Feminism, but he definitely has his unique brand of it. Skip Moen might be a loving husband and loving father to his children. I don’t know him personally but I don’t have to know him personally to show that his teachings are not just minor differences of interpretation but they are the very definition of heresy.

So what is this heresy that Skip Moen teaches?

I am not the first Christian to take on Skip Moen’s heresy and I hope I won’t be the last. But one of the best critical reviews of Skip Moen’s work is by Daniel Botkin and he gives a great synopsis of Skip Moen’s false teachings when he writes:

“According to Moen, the wife’s God-ordained role in the marriage, both before and after the Fall, is to be the following things to her husband: his priest and spiritual guide, his spiritual director, his boundary-setter, his confronter and corrector, his chastiser, his protector and guardian, his rescuer, his owner and manager, his shield, his sustainer, his nourisher”

http://restoredcov.org/resources/articles/guardianangel/

Skip Moen in his response to Daniel Botkin’s critical review confirms that Botkin correctly captured the essence of his teaching so we can be assured this is an accurate representation of Skip Moen’s beliefs:

“According to Botkin, “All of Moen’s descriptions of the woman’s role as the husband’s priest and spiritual guide, provider, protector, etc., etc. are derived from his misunderstanding of the ‘ezer kenegdo.” What does Botkin offer in place of my analysis?”

http://skipmoen.com/2014/02/01/a-response-to-daniel-botkins-criticism-of-guardian-angel/

So the heresy of Skip Moen is that he teaches a complete role reversal for men and women than what the Scriptures teach. His entire doctrinal position rests on one passage of Scripture:

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” – Genesis 2:18 (KJV)

The English phrase “help meet” is a translation of two Hebrew Words “ezer kenegdo”.   I previously wrote an entire post on this entitled “What did God mean when he called woman a help meet for man?” where I dive into the meaning “ezer kenegdo” and I showed that this Hebrew phrase literally means “a helper who is man’s opposite”.  Check out my post for more on “ezer kenegdo” as well as Daniel Botkin’s excellent rebuttal on the meaning of this Hebrew phrase at http://restoredcov.org/resources/articles/guardianangel/

How Skip Moen wrongly interprets Scripture

The Bible tells us that we need to rightly divide, or discern the Word of God, otherwise we may run the danger of teaching heresy.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – II Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

I love word studies in the Bible. I love studying the Hebrew and Greek languages which are the languages the Bible was originally written in. I love studying the cultural backgrounds of the Scriptures. I love the Old Testament and I think it is just as important as the New.  But there is a point where we can take a word by itself and get caught up in what we think it means to the point where we ignore the context of how it used in Scripture.

So here is Skip Moen’s error. He takes what he believes “help meet” or “ezer kenegdo” means and then instead of letting the Scriptures themselves define what God meant by “help meet” he defines it himself.   He then takes his warped definition and attempts to twist the entirety of Scripture to fit what he thinks it means.

God defines what “help meet” means for us in the Scriptures

Skip Moen makes the mistake of not realizing that God interprets his own Word. You don’t need a Hebrew lexicon or a degree in Bible doctrine to see that God clearly defines what he meant by calling woman a “help meet” for man.

A help meet is one that realizes she was made to serve her husband, rather than him being made to serve her

“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” – I Corinthians 11:9 (KJV)

This first principle is where all the preceding commands regarding help meets come from. If a woman rejects this principle, then it is more than likely she will reject many other Biblical commands regarding God’s will and design of woman as a help meet to man.

A help meet is one who regards her husband as her lord and master

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands… For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” – I Peter 3: 1 & 5-6 (KJV)

Because women were made for men as their help meets, they are to regard their husbands as their lords and masters. Sarah, a godly wife, modeled this by calling her husband her lord.

A help meet is one who submits to her husband as the Church submits to Christ

“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)

A woman who wants to be the help meet God intended her to be recognizes that God wants her to model her relationship after the relationship of Christ and his Church(with her representing the Church, and her husband representing Christ).

A help meet is one who freely submits not only her will, but also her body to her husband for his pleasure

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 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)

“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)

A woman when reflecting on the first principle that God made her for her husband – will freely give her body to her husband for his pleasure and comfort.

A help meet keeps herself beautiful for her husband in the same way the Church adorns herself for Christ

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” – Revelation 21:2 (KJV)

A woman’s beauty is symbolic of the beauty of the Church. In the same way that the Church adorns herself for her husband, so too Christian wives ought to adorn themselves for their husbands.

A help meet keeps her husband’s home and bears his children

“That they may teach the young women… 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)

“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)

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

Two of her primary duties as a help meet to man is for a woman to bear children and manage the domestic affairs of the home.

A help meet will not bring shame to her husband

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” – Proverbs 12:4 (KJV).

When a woman speaks disrespectfully to her husband or acts in ways that make her husband ashamed it is as rottenness in his bones. Instead a woman that praises her husband and respects her husband is his crown.

A help meet will not constantly contend or be angry with her husband

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” – Proverbs 21:19

When a woman is contentious and is constantly arguing with her husband and bucking his every decision or holding grudges against him and being angry with him this is the opposite of God’s intent for her as his help meet. A woman who is surrendered to the Spirit of God and his design for her as a help meet will not be a nag to her husband.

A help meet is one who has a meek and quiet spirit toward her husband

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands… Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” – I Peter 1 & 3-4 (KJV)

While a help meet should keep herself beautiful for her husband, her greatest beauty is that of her inner self, her meek and quiet spirit toward her husband.

A help meet is one who is affectionate toward her husband

“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands…” – Titus 2:4(KJV)

A woman in her role as a help meet to her husband will not only submit to and obey him, but she will also be affectionate towards him.

A help meet is one who has her husband’s trust

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” – Proverbs 31:10-12 (KJV)

A godly wife, a wife who is fulfilling her duty as a help meet to her husband will always have his back. He can trust that she will never betray him. A wife in her duty as a help meet should be her husband’s greatest cheerleader.

A help meet is one who offers her husband godly counsel

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” – Proverbs 14:1 (KJV)

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” – Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)

“As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” – Proverbs 11:22 (KJV)

A wife who is exercising her role as the help meet God intended her to be will speak wise and godly counsel to her husband, but she we also practice discretion in knowing when to speak and when to hold her tongue.

A help meet is one who listens to her husband’s Godly counsel

“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.” – I Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

While women should learn from their Pastors and other godly women as well, the first person they should look to for spiritual guidance is their husband if he is a believer. A woman who is constantly going behind her husband’s back seeking counsel that will contradict her husband’s spiritual teaching is going against God’s design for her as a help meet to her husband.

A help meet is one who submits to and receives her husband’s chastisement and correction

“But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” – Job 2:10 (KJV)

And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?” – Genesis 30:2 (KJV)

“21 And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord. 22 And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour. 23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.” – II Samuel 6:21-23 (KJV)

A women in her role as help meet will humbly accept the rebuke or correction of her husband when he sees sinful behavior in her life.

A help meet is one who looks to her husband for nourishment and protection

“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 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)

While the modern meaning of the English word “cherish” has romantic connotations, the Greek that this word is translated from has the idea of protection. A wife in her role as help meet will depend on her husband and will look to him for nourishment and protection as the Church depends on Christ for its nourishment and protection.

Conclusion

As we can see from God’s Word – Skip Moen’s teaching that “the wife’s God-ordained role in the marriage, both before and after the Fall, is to be the following things to her husband: his priest and spiritual guide, his spiritual director, his boundary-setter, his confronter and corrector, his chastiser, his protector and guardian, his rescuer, his owner and manager, his shield, his sustainer, his nourisher” is heresy plain and simple.

In fact it would be correct to say that it is the complete OPPOSITE of what God’s Word teaches about the roles of men and women as God designed them to be.

If you read all the Scripture passages I have cited above – this what the truth of God’s Word actually is:

The husband’s God-ordained role in the marriage, both before and after the Fall, is to be the following things to his wife: HER spiritual guide, HER spiritual director, HER boundary-setter, HER confronter and corrector, HER chastiser, HER protector and guardian, HER rescuer, HER owner and manager, HER shield, HER sustainer, HER nourisher

Pray that God will raise up strong men to combat this wickedness that is creeping into our homes. God speaks of men like Skip Moen who are “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

“For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. “ – II Timothy 3:6-7 (KJV)

How many “silly women” have been led astray by Skip Moen’s teachings? The answer is far too many. God gives us our battle plan against such false teachers when he tells us to:

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” – II Timothy 4:2-4 (KJV)

“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” – I Corinthians 16:13 (NASB)

Pray that God will raise up a new generation of Godly preachers and husbands who will take back our homes and Churches for God and rid this poisonous Christian feminist teaching from our midst.

Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage – Episode 3

Our next story of sexual denial comes from a man named Nathan.  He sent in this story about his sexless marriage in response to my post “8 Steps to confronting your wife’s sexual refusal”.

Nathan begins his story by quoting something I said in my post and comparing it to his situation with his wife:

““some women simply are happy not to have sex that often and would prefer that their husbands would be the same, and these see no moral dilemma in simply training their husbands to have less sex.” This is a perfect description of my wife for 40 of the 40 years we have been married.

No sex before marriage and on our wedding night she was too tired and it was too late. During the first 5 years nine months of our marriage I tallied up the time from just 4 events and came up with no sex for 2.5 years! Within a few months of our marriage she was pregnant. She claimed it was an accident but a few years later, after the second pregnancy, I found out she and her meddling, controlling mother planned the entire thing. Her mother did some bragging after the second pregnancy and it got back to me.

As soon as she verified she was pregnant the first time she cut off everything for a little over 9.5 months. She then “allowed” sex once and then nothing for over 4.5 months. The second pregnancy was more of the same but worse. This time as soon as she determined she was pregnant she cut off everything for one week short of 11 months; “allowed” sex once and then nothing for over 6 months. Even when she allowed anything it was never better than 3 times a month.”

What Nathan is describing here is the type of woman that looks at her husband simply as one part in her “master plan”. Many women, whether they are Christian or non-Christian do not see themselves as God designed them to be.  They do not see themselves as a helpmeet to their husband, but rather they see their husband’s as a helpmeet to them.

They have it all planned out – “I am going to get married, have X number of kids, have the house with the picket fence, have my career and my other activities.” The husband, and to some extent the children are simply seen as accessories to this woman’s life. I am willing to bet based on the story, that she learned this from her mother doing the exact same thing with her father.

So it makes sense in this woman’s mind that her husband’s needs and wishes are secondary to hers – since he is just a cog in the machine of a world that resolves around her.

At this point we will have all the apologists for this woman coming out of the wood work. “Maybe he was not romancing her enough, maybe he was not buying her flowers, dating her and getting her in the mood more”.

First and foremost – romance is not a prerequisite of sex in marriage.  Biblically speaking sex is restricted outside of marriage, but REQUIRED within marriage.  It is both a RIGHT and a RESPONSIBILITY with marriage.

“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” – I Corinthians 7:3-5 (KJV)

I don’t know if this man tried to romance his wife or not, but it sounds like even if he did it would not have changed her view of sex, and even more importantly her role in marriage.  She simply saw him as an accessory to her life – he was the paycheck, the person to do the heavy lifting and a sperm donor to produce offspring to add as other accessories to her perfect life.

Nathan confronts his wife’s lack of interest in sex

“Within a couple of months of our marriage I said something to her about her apparent lack of interest. She put on a great act telling me she didn’t realize sex was that infrequent and then immediately cut things to twice a month. After the first pregnancy I made the mistake of again confronting her with the facts of her lack of interest. Same act as before and this time she cut things to once a month or less.”

As you can see from this story – Nathan’s wife began training him early in their marriage to simply be grateful for whenever she decided to grace him with her body in the act of sex. Any complaint, any grievance on his part would be met with less sex to reinforce this training.

While Nathan can’t go back in time to change this, this is a teachable scenario for many young Christian husbands. What you tolerate at the beginning of your marriage – will set the tone for the rest of your marriage.  Can you change things later on? Maybe. But it will be much more difficult once a pattern of behavior have been established.

What Nathan should have done, and what any young Christian husband in this situation should do is to turn this “training” attempt around. Instead he should make if clear to her that if she continues to refuse him sexually there will be disciplinary consequences.

The Word of God needs be the foundation for every Christian household. Whether it be with his wife or children, a husband and father should always be sitting down and sharing God’s design for the family.  For instance if a child disobeys or disrespects his mother or father, I think it is good and wise for a Father to take his children to the Scriptures to show them God’s commands that exhort children to obedience and respect toward parents.

It is no different with a wife, when a wife acts in rebellious or sinful way her husband has a duty as the head of his wife to rebuke her sin and to show her God’s Word in the hope that she will repent. Job should be the model for every Christian husband in rebuking his wife:

“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” – Job 2:9-10 (KJV)

Now there are gentle rebukes and there are more assertive rebukes.  I believe as Christian husband’s we should for the most part start off with gentle rebukes to our wives, in the hope that they will repent. But there are times when a wife’s behavior calls for a more assertive and aggressive rebuke.  A Christian husband needs to listen to the Holy Spirit to know what each situation calls for.

Nathan in this case should have rebuked his wife’s sin in regard to her sexual denial. If his verbal rebukes and Scriptural exhortations did not work then he should have moved on to other disciplinary measures. I have had a lot of Christians ask me if I think there could be a different order to 8 Steps to confronting your wife’s sexual refusal and I think the answer is yes.

For some Christian husbands, they may be lead to move from Step 1(rebuke) down to steps 4-7(removing privileges) and then back to steps 2(counselor) and 3(church).  I see no problem with that approach.

So in this case Nathan could have moved from rebuking his wife’s behavior, and if he saw no change or just rebellion on her part and moved to stopping dates and trips. He could then move to removing any unnecessary household upgrades and also remove her funding. But as he took each of these disciplinary steps with his wife – he needed to make it clear that this was discipline – not some form of revenge. It was action taken to correct sinful behavior in her life.   See “8 Steps to confronting your wife’s sexual refusal” for more detail on this process.

Nathan’s wife’s schedule

“With her this is how things have been for our entire marriage: Sunday through Thursday nights were out because she had to get up for work the next day. Friday night she was just too tired after working all week. Saturday night was out because she had to get up early for Church on Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon was out because she had to study for whatever she volunteered to teach Sunday night or whatever she needed to have ready for work on Monday morning. Saturday morning before 9:00am it was too early: after 9:30 am it was too late.

Almost as regular as clockwork, meddling MIL would call on Saturday morning at 9:00 am and she would yap on the phone for 30 minutes to an hour. Those Saturday am phone calls were after a 30 minute to an hour call on Friday night and calls at least 4 or 5 other nights of the week. What was always nice about all the phone calls from “mommy dearest” is that they almost always came within 10 to 15 minutes after I had been given the cold shoulder because my “loving?” wife was “too tired”.”

Here I would give a gentle correction to Nathan. I don’t think his wife did all this volunteer work in addition to her career during the week only to avoid Nathan and avoid sex with him.  She did it for her own fulfillment.  I have no doubt she had little need for sex, but I think the avoidance of sex was secondary to her other interests.

This woman is a prime example of how so many modern day women see their fulfillment in life in every other place BUT where God intended them to have their primary fulfillment in life.

They look at being as wife and mom as simply one of their many life attributes – being a wife and mom gives them a photo to put on a desk.  It gives them something to talk about around the water cooler at work or at Church activities. But they don’t see those roles as the central focus of their life or as the primary reason for which God created them as women.

I think we also have to ask a question that I would really be curious as to the answer from Nathan. Did he know his wife was this busy of a person before he met her? Often times we are blinded as men by a woman’s beauty to major flaws that will make a Christian marriage very difficult.

There is nothing wrong with a woman being ambitious and intelligent. The Bible says this of the virtuous wife:

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

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” – Proverbs 31:26-27 (KJV)

So as we can see – the excellent wife is one who is a wise and a busy person (she is never idle). One could argue that the excellent wife, is in fact an ambitious wife.

The Bible commends ambition for the things that God wants us to do, but it condemns selfish ambition. The virtuous wife of Proverbs 31 is a very busy woman and the Scriptures tell us that she “eateth not the bread of idleness”. Contrary to teachings of our feminist culture, the excellent wife’s ambition is centered on her God, her husband, her children, her home and how she can best serve them.  It is not centered on her own selfish ambitions.  The Bible says this about selfish ambition:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” – Philippians 2:3(NIV)

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” – James 3:16 (NIV)

Let me remind the reader that the first sin woman ever committed was in her envy and selfish ambition in the Garden of Eden in seeking after the forbidden fruit and the knowledge of God. Eve was ambitious for something that God did intend for her.  And then we have man’s first sin “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree” (Genesis 3:17). Adam not only failed to confront his wife’s sin, he listened to her and condoned it! Far too many Christian husbands are condoning and enabling the sin of their wives today in many areas (not just sex) and this is as displeasing to God as Adam’s condoning of Eve’s sin.

But let’s go back to my question of whether he knew or not that his wife was a selfishly ambitious person before he met her.  This is a teachable experience for young men seeking wives to check and see “Is this woman ambitious in a godly way, or is she ambitious in selfish way?”

But after marriage, even if you discover that you were blinded to your wife’s selfish ambitions – God still calls you to love your wife by leading her, providing for her and protecting her.  You are also still called to teach her the ways of God and to rebuke sinful behavior in her life, especially as it relates to her respect for you and her submission in all areas (including the area of sex).

Nathan takes his wife to a Marriage Seminar

“When it came to sex, for 40 years my wife has always been “too”: too busy, too tired, too involved, it was too early or too late. We attended a “marriage enrichment” seminar one time early in our marriage. They had us write down all the time commitments we had on a sheet of paper. Two pages or so later my wife had about listed everything.

The facilitator went around the room looking at the papers form different couples and making a few rather generic comments. Every one of these papers listed their spouse. When he got to my wife’s paper the first thing out of his mouth was “mam, there is no way you can be involved in all of this”. Oh contraire, my wife proceeded to list in great detail times and dates for every last item; she had it all planned out. At this he turned to me and asked “how do you feel about all of this?” My only comment was “isn’t it obvious that it doesn’t really matter how I feel about it”!

You see, in all of the junk she listed on over 2 pages, I did not even make the list and no doubt he saw that as well. Nice thing about that seminar, she went out of her way to start a fight so she would have an excuse for no sex that night as well.”

This marriage seminar just reinforced how blind Nathan’s wife was to her own selfish ambitions. Instead of her centering her life on God and her husband – her life was centered her own selfish pursuits.

Another key truth to point out here is that sexual denial in marriage is often just the tip of the iceberg.  Sometimes women deny their husband’s out of feelings of hurt or neglect, and while this is still sinful we can understand the source of this better.  But sometimes women neglect their husband’s from a position of pure and utter selfishness, and this wife seems to be demonstrating textbook selfish ambition.

This also shows whether Nathan realizes it or not that sex is more than a physical activity to us as men. It’s more than some pleasurable thing we do with our wives. Sex with our wife makes us feel connected and loved by her in a way no other activity can compare to.

When wives neglect or minimize the sexual needs of their husbands, they are in fact rejecting their husbands, you cannot separate a man’s sexuality from his person.  

Far too many men, even Christian men have surrendered to the false notion that man’s desire for sex is selfish and base, and this must be combated in every arena that it appears.

God created sex to be an outward symbol, a tangible symbol of the union between a man and woman in marriage. In many ways sex in marriage is similar to communion at Church in that communion is a constant tangible and physical reminder of the Churches relationship with Christ.  This is why God commands sex in marriage and it is to be often and regular. God gave man a strong physical and emotional desire for sex to make sure that it happens regularly in marriage. Of course there are other reasons God created sex and you can read about them in my post “The 7 reasons God made sex”.

Nathan tells us about his wife’s sexual teasing

“Another nice thing she liked to do for the first 30 years was to grab at me throughout the day in a sexually suggestive way. If I did anything to try and make good on it she would pull away and say “down boy down, we don’t have time for that right now”! If awards could be given for sexually abusive women I think my wife would win hands down.”

I am all for a wife sexually teasing her husband (both by touching him, and “visually romancing” him with her body), but then she needs to make good on that foreplay. It almost seems here that she was mocking his sexuality, knowing how much he needed to sexually connect with her. This is just a truly sad story.

Nathan gives up

“A little over 10 years ago I completely gave up and quit even trying. I no longer initiate anything so it is not unusual to go 1 to three, four months or more without so much as even a kiss from her. After a lifetime of this miserable existence my advice to anyone dating or married to someone like this would be, cut your losses and run as far and as fast from them as you can possibly get. No matter how much you love them they can’t be fixed and they absolutely will not change. If you think they will change if only you are patient and continue to love them you are living in a dream world; it won’t happen.”

So it sounds as if Nathan tried for the first 30 years, and then gave up for the last 10 years of his marriage. I am guessing this puts Nathan somewhere in his 60s now.  He has given up on women and marriage and I can understand why.

But to Nathan and those other men that have experienced this type of “miserable existence” in marriage – let me offer you some hope. You don’t have to give up. You can fight for what is right, in fact it is your duty to confront sin in your marriage. If you’re taking the leadership in your home and confrontation of sin in your wife’s life leads to divorce, then so be it.

God hates divorce, but he created divorce for a reason – because he knows men and women are sinful creatures.

God knew that there would be abusive husbands. He knew there would be lazy husbands who would not provide for their wives. He knew husbands would abandon their wives, and wives would abandon their husbands. He knew there would be adultery. He knew there would be husbands and wives that deny a central part of marriage to their spouse – sex.  This is the reason God created divorce.

So in a case like this if Nathan confronts his wife after all these years – she might leave and divorce him.  Even if she does not divorce him, he may divorce her for the sin of sexual denial in marriage – which is by definition sexual immorality. Regardless of if she divorces him, or he divorces her over her sexual denial – the sin rests on her head.

Another interesting phrase from Nathan was this “If you think they will change if only you are patient and continue to love them you are living in a dream world; it won’t happen.”

I am all for a husband being patient with his wife in regard to her faults, just as wives should be patient with their husband’s in regard to their faults.  But with God some faults in marriage are more serious than others, and some faults when left unchecked can break the marriage covenant and destroy the marriage.

I never recommend divorce lightly, and I get many people who write me about these kinds of issues and I tell them they need to wait, be patient and give it more time.  But I tell them that while they are waiting, that does not mean they need to tolerate the sin in these areas from their spouses.  They need to continue to confront the sin as it occurs, while at the same time continually praying that God will change the heart of their spouse.

But Biblical teachings like “patience” and “sacrificial love” in marriage can be abused to the point where these are used to excuse and enable sinful behavior on the part of a spouse.

If a woman is being beaten by her husband, should she exercise “patience” and just wait for God to work on her husband as he beats her week after week? I believe the Biblical answer is NO.

In the same way if a man is continually being denied sex for weeks, that turn into months, and then years should he just be “patient” and show “sacrificial love” to his wife by tolerating her sinful sexual denial? Again I believe the Biblical answer is NO.

One other thing I want to close with on this sad tale.  This story is about a whole lot more than sexual denial by this wife as most of these stories are. This is about a woman, like so many women today, who does not see herself as God sees her.  This is a woman who is in open and defiant rebellion against God’s design for her life. God wanted her life to center on him, her husband and her children – not her own selfish ambition.

Does the Bible teach the concept of “Human Property”?

 

Now that we have discussed Biblical laws allowing and regulating slavery, I want to discuss the Biblical concept of “Human property”.  I realize that just the idea of thinking that a human being could be property is absolutely appalling to our modern western values. When we think of human beings as property, we imagine people being abused and hurt by their “owner”.  But what does the Bible say about the concept of human beings as property?

In the Bible a man’s wife and children were considered his property

Happy family hugging isolated on white

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” – Exodus 20:17 (NASB)

This is idea of a man’s wife and child being considered his “human property” is confirmed by these other teachings of the Bible:

A man paid a bride price to a woman’s father for her hand in marriage – the father did not have to consider his daughter’s wishes in the man he chose for her.

A man paid the bride price to a woman’s father if he had pre-marital sex with her, and the father still had the choice of whether he would give his daughter to this man in marriage. Pre-marital sex was considered a property crime against the father of virgin that had been defiled.

When a man committed adultery with another man’s wife he and she could be executed. This was considered a property crime against the woman’s husband. If a married man had sex with a prostitute this was not considered adultery, but rather the sin of Whoremongering as no property crime was committed.

The fact that a man was allowed under Biblical law to sell his son or daughter as a slave confirms that children were considered the property of their father (assuming he was a free man, and not a slave who had been given a wife by his master).

The only exception to this idea of a man’s wife and children being his property was if the man was a slave and his master gave him another slave as a wife. If the male slave were to freed, the master did not have to release his wife and children with him.

Different types of Human property

While all slaves Biblically speaking would be considered human property (unless they were a fellow Hebrew male and then only seed as a temporary hired worker), not all of those who are considered human property were slaves.

A wife while she her husband’s property, is not his slave. A child while is the human property of his father – is not his slave.

Even though Wives and children were also considered human property they had the same human rights as slaves and then even more rights.

The Bible gives an example of this difference of rights between those who were considered human property when it shows in Exodus 21:9-11 when a man gives his female slave to his son as a wife. The Bible states she must be given the full rights of a daughter and a wife – even though she remained human property.

The Treatment of Human Property

Most people in our modern society have the idea that if a person is regarded as human property, that the owner of that person can treat them any way they wish. This could not be further from the truth. I highly suggest that you read my post “Biblical Human Rights vs American Human Rights” and see the section entitled “8 Biblical Human Rights”. These are rights that every human being has, whether they are considered the human property of another person or not.

Children as Human property

Most Americans, while they might not like the use of the word “property” when referring to their children basically regard their children as their property. I would argue that they have a Biblical right to do so. That is why parents get angry when doctors or school officials do things without parental consent. “That is my child, and you did not have my permission to do this or that with them against my wishes” – this is a phrase that is heard quite often from parents, and our legal system for the most part supports this concept of parental consent.

As parents God meant for us to have complete control over things like our children’s education and medical treatment. God meant for us a parents to mold our children through discipline and training to respect and obey not only our authority as parents, but other authorities that God places in their life whether they are teachers in school, church authorities or civil authorities.

Because God places the greatest responsibility on a father and then secondarily to a mother, he gives parents the most power over a child’s life. This is why schools, churches and the government need to be careful to stay within the realm of authority God has given them when they are working with children as God has given the ultimate human authority in a child’s life to their father and mother.

Wives as Human property

Seeing a wife as the human property of her husband sounds degrading and insulting to most Americans and westerners. But there are still some devout men and women of the Christian faith that have no problem with this concept.

As believers we are told that we are not our own, that we belong to God. Christian Men, women and children – it makes no difference we all belong to God.

“…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20(NASB)

Most Christians have no problem with the concept that we all belong to God. It is only when God delegates his ownership over us to a fallible human being that we begin to have a problem.

For Christians who reject the concept of male headship as taught in the Scriptures – it is impossible for them to even conceive of a wife being the property of her husband as they see marriage as an equal partnership.

But even for some Christians who embrace the concept of male headship as taught in God’s Word – they still struggle with this concept of a wife being the property of her husband. The reason is because they fear the abuse of such power and with good reason as many men have abused this power God has given them over their wives.

But the abuse of power by those in authority, whether in government, the church or the home does not negate the truth that God teaches about authority and ownership in the family. God has delegated his ownership of the family – the wife and the children to the husband and father.

God teaches that when women and children willingly submit to the authority of the husband and father in the home – he blesses them and it is a testimony to the world of God’s power. When a husband uses the power God has given him, not for his own sinful and selfish desires but for the glory of God he blesses his entire family through his leadership, provision and protection(I Peter 3:1-6).

Some Christian women who embrace the concept of male headship may ask for more direct evidence than the passages I supplied so far for God seeing a husband as the owner of his wife.

There are two Hebrew words that the Old Testament translates for us in English as “husband”. The first one ‘ish’ literally means “man”, but it is translated a “husband” whenever the context is talking about a husband and wife. The second word that the Hebrew Scriptures use for “husband” is “baal” which literally means “Owner/lord”. This same Hebrew word is used to refer owner of something.

Biblical examples that illustrate the ownership of a wife by her husband

First here are some examples of the use of the Hebrew word “baal” that are not in speaking of a husband and wife:

“If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, the owner [baal – “owner”] of the pit shall make restitution; he shall give money to its owner [baal – “owner”], and the dead animal shall become his.” – Exodus 21:33-34 (NASB)

“Then the man, the owner [baal – “owner”] of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my fellows, please do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not commit this act of folly.” – Judges 19:23 (NASB)

In Exodus 21:33-34 we see that “baal” refers both the owner of a piece of land and another owner of and ox or a donkey. In Judges 19:23 – “baal” refers the owner of a house.

Now let’s move on to examples of “baal” in reference to the relationship of a husband and a wife:

“Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar. Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married [baal – “she has an owner”].” – Genesis 20:1-3 (NASB)

“If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband [baal – “owner”] of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him.” – Exodus 21:3 (NASB)

“If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband [baal – “owner”] may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide.” – Exodus 21:22 (NASB)

“An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.

 The heart of her husband [baal – “owner”] trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.

 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.” – Proverbs 31:10-12 (NASB)

There are more passages that use “baal” to refer to a husband being the lord and owner of his wife but I think the ones I have provided here are ample evidence to this Biblical teaching.

What about Hosea 2:16?

Some egalitarians actually will concede the inequality in the relationship between a husband and wife in the Old Testament. But they believe that Hosea 2:16, speaking of the coming Christ, shows that God makes the husband and wife relationship no longer a owner/owned relationship but rather and equal partnership.

“It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord, “That you will call Me Ishi[man/husband]

And will no longer call Me Baali[lord/owner].” – Hosea 2:16 (NASB)

There is a problem with this egalitarian interpretation that God was going to change marriage from an owner/owned relationship to an equal partnership with coming of Christ. Apparently the Apostles Paul and Peter did not get the memo – because those Apostles wrote these passages under the inspiration of God:

“For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” – Ephesians 5:23-24(NASB)

“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, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior… For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;  just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord” – I Peter 3:1-2 & 5-6 (NASB)

Peter was actually pointing back to the Old Testament’s use of “baal – lord/owner” in reference to a husband and he was reminding Christian women that the holy women of old treating their husband’s as their lords and owners was the example that God still wanted them to follow in marriage.

When we look at Hosea in context we understand what God was actually trying to teach us:

“It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord,
“That you will call Me Ishi
And will no longer call Me Baali.
“For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth,
So that they will be mentioned by their names no more.” – Hosea 2:16-17 (NASB)

Verse 17 helps us to understand what God was talking about. Over many centuries the word baal which started off just meaning “Lord/Owner/Husband” was perverted to refer to the false God’s the Israelites began to worship. God was saying that he no longer wanted to be referred to as baal(our master, our owner) – because that now came to refer to false gods. He now only wanted to be called “ishi” or husband because that word had not been perverted.

Conclusion

I doubt I have changed the minds of any egalitarians or Christian feminists reading this since most of them reject Biblical inerrancy. But for those Christians who accepted the Biblical teaching of male headship before you came to this post – you now may be asking “Why does it matter that a husband is not only the head of his wife, but that he actually owns her?”

To Husbands

Husband – this truth that God has given you ownership of your wife and children should not cause your pride to rise, but rather it should humble you. The ownership God has given you is to be exercised for his glory – not yours. You should always remember that your wife and children are gifts from God to you.

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the Lord.” – Proverbs 18:22(NASB)

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” – Psalm 127:3 (NASB)

As Christian men we are responsible for our children AND our wife’s spiritual and physical well-being. We are also responsible for the behavior of our children AND our wife. Unfortunately many Christian men are negligent in ownership responsibilities over their families. God wants us as men to take ownership for the women and children he has given graciously us.

He wants us to love them by knowing them, honoring them, leading them, teaching them, correcting and disciplining them, protecting them and providing for them.

Let me add one caveat to these responsibilities that we as Christian husbands have for our wife and children.  God holds each of us responsible for he has given us power over.  So if our wife or child descends into spiritual rebellion against after we as husbands and fathers have exercised the authority God has given us to try and help them – then we are no longer responsible for their behavior.  What I am talking about is husbands or fathers who watch their wives or children descend into sinful behavior and tell themselves there is nothing they can do and they bare no responsibility to intervene. According to God’s Word as the Spiritual heads of our homes we do have a responsibility to spiritually intervene in the lives of our wives and children.

To Wives

Wife – this truth that God has given your husband owner over you might at first be scary. It’s scary because we all know that human authority can be abused. But God calls you to have faith in him, and faith in his design. This does not mean your husband will never mistreat you, or sin against you because he is a sinner just like you. Also know that just because God has made you the property of your husband this does not mean as “human property” that you have no rights.  You have certain human rights and additional rights as a wife that your husband must respect – otherwise God will hold him accountable.

God did not give your husband ownership over you to crush or dehumanize you, but to provide for you what he knows you need. Once you understand how God view’s a husband’s ownership over his wife – it should give you comfort that if he owns you the way that God owns us all, you have nothing to fear.

This will then free you to embrace your husband’s ownership over you. It will humble you and help you put aside that sinful pride that can often rise up in your heart. You will be able realize you are not your own – you were bought with a price, and God gave you to your husband.

“For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20 (NASB)

“For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” – I Corinthians 11:7(NASB)

Does the Bible teach “happy wife happy life”?

HappyWifeHappyLife

Husbands or engaged men – you may have heard the phrase “happy wife –happy life”. There are signs and plaques sold all over America, often bought for men to follow this advice as they enter marriage. Many churches have incorporated this idea into their marriage courses and counseling programs.

But the first question that any Christian man should ask is “what would God have me do?”

What does it mean to make your wife happy?

The first truth must understand is that you can’t “make your wife happy”. You can’t “make” anyone happy. People (including you), choose whether they will be happy or not. Some people choose to be happy in what most of us would consider the worst of conditions, while others are never able to be happy, no matter how much money or power or pleasures that may come their way.

Many who believe in the “happy wife-happy life” idea, would acknowledge the truth of what I just said. But they would clarify that what they mean is, “A husband should listen to his wife, and do what she asks. He should study what his wife likes and do those things for her to attempt to please her.”

So what’s wrong with trying to please your wife?

Nothing in and of itself. In fact most men have a natural desire to please their wives, especially in the dating period, engagement period and newlywed period. But for you as the Christian man, you have someone who you need to please more than your wife, and that person is God.

The Apostle Paul alludes to the choice every Christian husband must make in his first letter to Corinthian Church:

“I want you to be without concerns. An unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord.  But a married man is concerned about the things of the world—how he may please his wife— and his interests are divided…

Now I am saying this for your own benefit, not to put a restraint on you, but because of what is proper and so that you may be devoted to the Lord without distraction.” I Corinthians 7:32-33 & 35(HCSB)

Paul recognized that while marriage has it benefits, it also places a burden on men. Sometimes your wife may be your greatest ally in doing what you believe is right for your family before God. But even the best of wives, can at times cause a man to have to choose between what he believes would please God, and what he knows will please his wife.

A husband who chose to please God rather than his wife

“His wife said to him, “Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!”

“You speak as a foolish woman speaks,” he told her. “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Throughout all this Job did not sin in what he said.”

Job 2:9-10(HCSB)

Job is an example of man whose devotion to God was truly undivided. Job proved that it was possible to please God, and yet be married. He simply had to choose the courage to displease his wife (whose advice was sinful) and to please God.

A foolish wife destroys her home, and so does the husband that seeks to please her

“Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands.” – Proverbs 14:1 (HCSB)

It is your responsibility as a husband to please God, and in the best interests of your family, to discern whether your wife’s advice, or her wants and desires are foolish or wise. The fate of your home and your family depends on your discernment.

How can a man know if pleasing his wife will displease God?

Every decision a Christian husband makes must always start with God’s purpose of marriage as defined in the Scriptures:

“Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of His body.”

Ephesians 5:22-30(HCSB)

Marriage is meant to be a model of the relationship of Christ and the Church. A wife is to submit to her husband, as the Church submits to Christ. A husband is to sacrificially love his wife, as Christ loves the church.

An important point to remember though is, sacrificially loving your wife does not translate to “doing whatever she wants”. After you have been married many years, you will actually find that sacrificially loving your wife sometimes means sacrificing her happiness, to make her holy. It sometimes means confronting your wife as Job confronted his wife.

When Job called out his wife’s foolishness, he was attempting to “make her holy” as Ephesians 5 calls a husband to do. When a man’s confronts his wife’s sinful behavior, instead of overlooking it, or going along with her, he is sacrificing his own happiness, because let’s face it, no man likes to see his wife unhappy.

Holiness, not happiness, should be a husband’s first concern

The first way that you can know as a husband if pleasing your wife would displease God is by asking yourself this question – “If I do as she asks, or do this thing that would please her – would it break the model of marriage? Would it be unholy?”

But let’s face it, not every situation is spelled out specifically in God’s Word. We must look at the principles and commands of God’s Word, and if we are still not sure, pray and seek his wisdom.

“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.” – James 1:5(HCSB)

Sometimes God may reveal that you should in fact listen to your wife, or that your wife’s desire in a particular situation would not displease the Lord. But if God reveals that pleasing your wife in a certain situation would displease him, you must have the courage to displease your wife, and do what God has called you to do.

Conclusion

“Happy wife-Happy life” is neither wise, nor Biblical. In many ways “Happy wife-Happy life” is a form of idolatry, it makes a man’s wife’s desires the central focus of his life, taking his focus off God. Adam, the first man, listened to his wife when she asked him to eat from tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and we know that decision did not lead to a happy life for Adam. Samson listened to Delilah and it cost him his life. Solomon was led astray by his wives into idolatry.

Even if you do something for your wife, buy something for her, or make a decision that you believe will please your wife, it will only result in a temporary period of happiness. When the next time arrives that she needs something, or some life decision needs to be made (big or small), again her happiness will hinge on whether what you have done pleases her or not.

But if you instead base your decisions upon what you believe God would have your family do, then sometimes it might please your wife, and other times it won’t. But in the end, true joy comes from pleasing God, not from pleasing ourselves, or even from pleasing our wives.

Christian man, whether you are engaged to be married, or if you are already married, there is nothing wrong with trying to please your wife. Putting her needs before yours, is part of what is means to love her. But remember, pleasing your wife cannot be the central focus of your marriage if you want your marriage to honor God. If you want the true joy that only God can bring, then you must put his will first and foremost.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” – Matthew 6:33(HCSB)

 

Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage – Episode 2

Our next story of sexual denial is from a man named Mike.   He sent me this comment in response to a follow up post I did called “The Frustrated Feminist wife”. As you will see from his post, he disagreed with what I wrote.

Before Mike begins his story he makes a comment about my posts about sexual refusal:

“There is no need to tell your wife “it is written in the Bible, you owe me”. If you are reduced to referring to Holy texts, your couple is in great communication trouble. I am married under God’s law and I will never consider that my wife owes me sex whenever I feel like it. Like many couples, we faced some challenges on the matter. Let me share two of them…”

A Christian husband should routinely be teaching his wife the Word of God. Why did Christ give himself up for his Church? To make her holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27). He did this to conform her to his will and his Word.

Mike admits he was “married under God’s law” yet he says he would “never consider that my wife owes me sex whenever I feel like it”. But the same “God’s law” that calls marriage good and honorable, states this:

“The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” – I Corinthians 7:3-5 (NASB)

The Bible says you owe your wife sex, and your wife owes you sex. God calls sex “a duty” in marriage, as opposed to a “privilege” which is how many modern marriage counselors falsely refer to it. I realize that Mike’s motives may have been pure, in thinking that it would be selfish for him to consider that his wife actually owed sex to him as a marital duty. But God defines what selfishness is, we don’t. It is not selfish for us to desire something that God designed us to desire, or to ask our spouse (husband or wife) to fulfill their marital duty.

I agree that couples need to communicate, and I have written on how the Scriptures say a husband has a Biblical duty to “know his wife”, and part of knowing his wife is him having regular and open dialog with her. But open dialog does not solve all issues. If a husband or wife has in their heart, an attitude or belief that directly contradicts God’s design and will for the roles of a husband and wife in marriage, all the dialog in the world will not solve such a problem.

Mike now begins the story of him and his wife:

“Three years ago, she had experienced lot of stress (deaths of relatives, job difficulties, etc.) which made her so tired and so sad that I could not even touch her. I was getting very frustrated. So I told her. I did NOT demand. I just explained that this situation was not ok for me, that I loved her and consequently I desired her. And that she could not expect me to say nothing after a whole month of frustration. So we talked about it. No bargain, no manipulation, no coercion. We just talked and we were equals in this discussion, both our needs were equals. She told me that she understood my feelings, that she wished she could do something about it, but that her body and her mind were dealing with pain and sorrow, so she could not give me what I wanted. So we discussed about what WE could do to make her feel better. What worked was not to offer her things and please her. What worked was to accept she was not me, to listen and to assist her in this difficult period of time. Eventually, she recovered from this. It took 3 months during which we had sex 2 or 3 times. Very very frustrating for me. But we came out of this stronger: I proved that I was far stronger than my flesh and that I valued her more than my personal needs. And she valued my efforts very deeply, she told me that she was thankful for what I did for her and that she felt even more in love with me (all this with big hearts in her eyes… I just melt!)”

First and foremost let me say that I understand when a wife loses loved ones, or perhaps has job difficulties that these things could cause her great emotional pain to the point that she may have ZERO desire for sex. As I have stated on many occasions in this series, if a man sees that his wife is experiencing psychological issues due to temporary things (like the loss of loved ones, or job issues) he ought to be graceful towards her. Her emotional hurt and needs may temporarily outweigh his need to sexually connect with his wife.

This might last for a month, or several months, and I think Mike was right in bringing his frustrations to his wife but I would not have suggested in this situation that he use the disciplinary steps that I outlined in my previous post, at least not at this early juncture.

But what about if his story had been different. What if his wife continued to use the emotional stresses in her life to deny sex to him not for months? But for years? For decades? What if after the death of some relatives his wife decided he and she were only going to have a sex 5 times a year? I have received several emails from men who have experienced such things.

If his wife had continued having emotional problems to the point that it continued to be a detriment to his sex life, then it would have been right for him to seek counseling for her. If his wife refused counseling, or said she felt he did not need to have sex as much anymore then it would not just be his right, but his Biblical duty to confront her sinful attitude.

Now I want to zoom in on a particular statement he said that really caught my eye and I think it will be very helpful for the many Christian men and women who visit this site to see why this statement is wrong:

“But we came out of this stronger: I proved that I was far stronger than my flesh and that I valued her more than my personal needs.”

Even though he said that he and his wife regarded their needs as “equal”, in the end he came to believe their needs were unequal. His wife caused him to believe that his need to sexually connect with her was a fleshly desire, and her inhibitions towards sex were more noble and worthy of respect.

In fact I believe based on the rest of his story as we will see below, that his marriage actually became weaker after this crisis his wife faced. Why? Because he setup the pattern that it is was OK for her to deny him. Mike fell hook line and sinker for what our world teaches today – that sex is NOT about duty (contrary to God’s law) and that sex is all about feelings. “If you feel like doing it, then do it, if you don’t feel like it then you don’t have to”.   This is not God’s will or design for marriage or for sex.

Mike dives deeper into his wife’s thought process

“From a general perspective, my wife is not very fond of intercourse. She is completely fine with 3 or 4 times a month, I am completely NOT fine with this. 3 or 4 times a week, yes. A month, no. Don’t misunderstand me (or her): she likes it. But, as she explained to me, if she were the only one to start the game, she would come to me only 3 or 4 times a month. At the beginning of our marriage, I would get angry, even sometimes yell at her. She would get mad, and reply: “Am I supposed to force myself? Am I supposed to pretend? Because I can, but then, each time we will make love, you will never know if it was a true shared love or a fake love to contempt your own selfishness”

So here Mike reveals some deeper issues in his wife’s thinking. I don’t know what Mike’s “getting angry” looked like and perhaps he sinned and needed to confess his behavior to his wife. But as believers, we can get angry at sin, even the sinful behavior of our spouse, and it is not wrong for us to do so. Ephesians 4:26 says “Be ye angry, and sin not”.

The answer to his wife’s questions about “Am I supposed to force myself?” is YES Biblically speaking, she should have forced herself. God tells women to submit to their husbands in EVERYTHING. He tells both men and women they do not have the power or right to sexually deny their spouse.

There are many times we don’t “feel” like doing things.

As parents we may not feel like getting up in the middle of the night to take care of a sick child, but we must “force ourselves” to do so.

As employees, we may not want to go to work some days, but each day we must “force ourselves” to go to work.

While we are at work, our boss may ask us to do jobs that we do not like, but unless that job is morally wrong, we must “force ourselves” to do whatever our boss asks us to do.

In school, we may have classes we like, and classes we hate. But we must “force ourselves” to do the work for even the classes we hate.

Here Mike’s wife was mentally training her husband to see his sexual needs as “selfishness”, while her refusal to submit herself sexually to him was out of a noble desire for them to only have sex when it was a “true shared love”.  According to God’s Word “The wife does not have authority over her own body” and therefore it was his wife actions of sexual denial toward her husband that were truly selfish, not his being upset when she turned him down.

Mike’s wife convinces him that she is not the one in sin

“As we both consider that sex is a way to be one flesh [“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh”. (Genesis 2:21-24)], I hated the idea that we could not be together in this. Even worst: I hated the idea that she could pretend to have great time with me when she was not. So I refused this option. But I was very very angry and frustrated: I wanted her to be like me, to want sex as much as I did. I realized she was right about being selfish. She was only telling me the truth, I was resenting her for this.”

Yes sex is a beautiful way to become “one flesh”, and in its most literal sense when the Bible says “they become one flesh” it means “they shall have sex”. This is why God commands that sex is to be a regular part of marriage, and never denied – because it the symbol of the union of a man and woman, very much in the same way that communion is symbol of our union with Christ and the Church.

This raises another important issue. What Mike points out here is what every man wants from his wife. He wanted her to desire him and to want sex as much as he did. But the truth is that women are very different than men. Some women may want sex as much or more than their husbands, but most women want sex less often like Mike’s wife.

As men we must accept that our wife may not always want sex as much as us, and that needs to be OK.

But here is a truth that every Christian wife needs to hear and take to heart:

You as a wife are capable of taking the right action, with the right attitude, even if you don’t have the same desire. You are capable of having sex with your husband, and not showing him “contempt” while meeting his sexual needs – you have only to choose to do what is right.

Mikes wife goes in for the kill

“She realized that she could not shut me out like this, that I was right to be frustrated. So we talked. A lot. We discussed about what was really important for each one of us, what would be fine, what would be great, what would be not acceptable, etc. I asked her to never force herself, so that it would always be true love between us. Though, I asked her what she would be willing to do to lower my frustration. She asked me to accept she did not want as much as me and not get mad about this. Though, she asked me if I would be willing to keep asking her, even if “no” was a probable answer (getting a “no” is hard! So keep asking? Harsh! ) We tried several “recipe” and finally found out a suitable compromise for both of us. The key? Always let room for a “no”. Always let our beloved one feel secure. And never blame her (him) for being honest. This is, from my humble point of view, what a genuine marriage relation should be.”

This conversion Mike had with wife shows her final transformation of his thinking. He states his wife knew it was wrong for her to shut him out and he was right to be frustrated. But by the end of their conversation she had convinced him that he was wrong for being frustrated by her “no’s”.

Mike’s wife might be unselfish in many ways. Perhaps she gives her time to her church to help feed the poor, or maybe she does other charitable work. She might be the most giving and caring mom. Maybe she does a great job of caring for the needs of Mike’s home and his children. But it is possible for a person to giving in many of areas of their life, and still utterly selfish in their marriage. Mike’s wife seems to be very selfish when it comes to her marriage and her husband’s needs.

Remember, Biblically speaking a person is not selfish for wanting sex when their spouse does not. A person is selfish for denying their spouse sex when they don’t feel like having sex.

So here is what Mike’s wife was really saying:

“I actually do want sex a few times a month. But during those few times when I want sex, I don’t want to have to come to you and ask for it. I want to be pursued. So what I want you to do is ask me for sex every time you want it and eventually you will ask for it on a day when I want it and I will say yes. But all those other times you ask and I don’t want it – I will say no. I want you to be ok with that, and not be frustrated or upset.”

THIS IS UTTER SEXUAL SELFISHNESS!

I wish I could say this is the first time I have heard of this scenario of sexual denial but it is not the first time. I have received many emails from men in a very similar scenario, and I even faced this with my own wife until I was willing to confront her sinful behavior in this area of sexual selfishness on her part. I use to experience this in my second marriage not long after we were married. I then confronted my wife’s sinful attitude about sexual denial and it got better. But it is a continual process as my wife’s thinking is highly steeped in feminist thinking (since her mother and grandmother are feminists).

Mike’s confusion over “The Frustrated feminist wife”

“I don’t understand the title of your article “the frustrated feminist wife”. You are dealing with wives refusing to have sex with their husband. When these wives tell you that there is no way they will force themselves into sex interaction, you call them “frustrated feminist”. I really don’t get it but this is a common place I often read from males (sorry, I really cannot say “husbands” here) that are the ones frustrated. I do agree though with the term “feminist” : feminist are people (and not only women…) that consider that men and women are equal in rights (i insist: “in rights”, not physically, strength, etc.). I am a man, I believe in God and I believe men and women are equal in rights. If you are teaching men that their wives owed them sex and their body because they are married, then I don’t think we understand God’s message the same way.”

Mike did not understand why I entitled my article “The frustrated feminist wife”.   He is thinking of men being frustrated sexually as he was (until his wife trained him that his frustration was selfishness on his part).   What I was showing in “The frustrated feminist wife” was how a feminist who sexually denies her husband (as Mike’s wife does him) can experience her own frustration when her husband stands against her sinful behavior. Her frustration is in the fact that when a man leads his home, and confronts his wife’s sin she may lose the things she cares about. She can’t have her sin without consequences from her husband. This is her frustration.

Mike also demonstrates the typical beliefs of a Christian egalitarian, that marriage is a partnership rather than a patriarchy and that sex is not a duty in marriage. But unfortunately for Mike, the Bible does not support his feelings in this matter. “God’s message” could not be clearer – “The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.”(I Corinthians 7:3)

Conclusion

I believe Christian husbands can learn from Mike’s mistake. Mike allowed his wife to convince him that her sexual denial was not sin – in spite of what God’s Word says. She even convinced him that his sexual frustration was actually based in selfishness on his part and she trained him to pursue her on a regular basis in which she would say no often – so on the few times she wants sex in a month she can say yes.

Christian husband, if you see yourself in this scenario – you have to accept the fact that you have been enabling you wife’s sinful behavior of sexual denial.

An important truth to understand is that this is about a lot more than sex, this is about rebellion on your wife’s part toward God and toward you.

God wants you confront sin in your home, whether it be with your children or with your wife. You cannot be afraid of her threats, or even of divorce. You must do what is right.

If you as a Christian husband see yourself in this post, I suggest that you read my post “8 Steps to confronting your wife’s sexual refusal”. I also suggest that you read my post “10 ways to know if you are sacrificing your faith for your wife”.

If you have a story of sexual denial that you would like to share – feel free to comment on this post or send me an email at biblicalgenderroles@gmail.com and just let me know if I can share part of or all of your story. Your name does not need to be mentioned or we can just make a fake name for you.

Many people in this situation feel alone as they have the Church on one side that seems to ignore this issue entirely, and on the other side they have non-Christians telling them there is no right to sex in marriage and they are being selfish for wanting sex more than their spouse.  When you share your story, you show others that they are not alone.

Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage – Episode 1

After almost a half a million views of my post, “8 Steps on how to handle your wife’s sexual refusal”, I have received thousands of emails, Facebook messages or comments to my blog. Many of these are not just comments, but stories of sexual difficulties between Christian married couples.

As I have time, I will sift through the mountain of emails and comments and try to apply the Biblical principles I have espoused to these situations. Let me be clear that I will only use a story in one of two situations. If you post a comment publically to my site, then I believe it is fair game to address it publically. I will also reveal stories that come via email – if the person gives me permission (which is rare).

This first story comes to me from an anonymous commenter and he begins with this:

“I’m a married man of 11 years struggling with the same issues. While my wife pretends to be a Christian, she has become an immoral woman and lives two lives. While I am not perfect, I’m a 100% faithful man who has given my all to the love and care of my wife and daughter. I love my wife with all my heart and find myself pleading for her affection, love, and compassion towards me. Nothing is given freely, or lately – given at all. While the mother of our 2-year old daughter, she’s placed her job and friendship with a lesbian over time with my daughter and I, and continually leaves me to do all the bidding (chores, “honey do,” etc). Given a good marriage working in partnership with one another, I would abide with gladness and do even more than she asks (which up until this minute, I have been – at least…doing all she asks). I am at the point now where I will give no further. We share few words, as we have for the past two, sexless years. I don’t know many men in their early 30’s who would tolerate such a thing. I find myself in a persistent state of acute jealously of all my friends whose wives love and respect them. I stay because I love my daughter immeasurably and I cannot bare the thought of her calling another man “daddy.” I have become the heel of the family – and while I’ve vocalized my disdain for the current situation – I’ve chosen sacrifice for the sake of my child and for what I now realize as the only reason.”

I wish I could say this is the first story I have heard of a Christian husband who has given his all to save his marriage, but it is not.

The first thing to realize is, these issues do not usually arrive overnight. They usually take time to reveal themselves and it appears that over his 11 year marriage he began to tolerate sinful behavior from his wife.

He tolerated her putting her job outside the home before her duties to him and their home. He even claims that if he was receiving the love he needed from his wife he would have continued to cover for her in the home. But I believe that would have been a mistake as well.

The Bible is clear what the duties of his wife are toward her husband:

To respect him

“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)

To submit to him and obey him

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

To be his lover

“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children” – Titus 2:4 (KJV)

The phrase above “to love their husbands” – literally means to be “lovers of their husbands”

“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)

To give her body to him for sex whenever he needs it

“The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband” – I Corinthians 7:4 (KJV)

To care for her home and her children

“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)

As you can see when you compare what the Word of God says a wife’s duties are in marriage, and compare this to the behavior of this man’s wife – godly discipline by this husband toward his wife is woefully overdue and needed in this situation. His wife has come to condone the sinful behavior of her lesbian friend and he as her husband would be well within his rights to tell his wife that she must break off this unhealthy relationship.

He continues with how he feels about this situation with his wife…

“I view my wife as an immoral woman, who has sold her being to her work and acceptance of others sins over her family and particularly the love of her husband. As a Soldier of 14 years, I know a bad deal when I see one but my marriage by no means compares to sleeping under the stars or the stresses of combat. My own resilience has become my greatest enemy in evaluating my current circumstances.”

This Christian husband uses the terms “sacrifice” and “resilience” to describe his toleration of his wife’s sinful behavior. Many good Christian men like this man have mistakenly thought that what they are doing in this situation is “sacrificing themselves for the greater good”. But the truth is they have actually been sacrificing their faith for their wife. You can read more about this in my post “10 ways to know if you are sacrificing your faith for your wife”.

He shows the decision he has come to…

“After two years, I’ve reached the point where I have to leave – where I have to get away – from the abuse inflicted on me by having my face rubbed in such wicked confidence and endless self righteousness, based on a worldly view and by no means God’s Holy Word. My wife challenges my views on homosexuality as it relates to her best friend, my service to my country as a Soldier, and as someone who believes in doing the right thing even when nobody is looking (my integrity). I may lose every worldly thing, but I cannot go on, hurting the best thing going on in my life and that is Christ alone.”

This Christian husband has finally realized he can no longer tolerate his wife’s sin. Even if confronting her means risking divorce and losing “every worldly thing” – he ready to do what is right. This man needs to surround himself with other Christian men that will encourage him and strengthen him for the spiritual battle to come. He needs to come to the Lord daily in prayer. God will work this out as he wills it.

He talks about false hope…

“Every so often, I get a glimpse of hope. A kind smile, my wife doing something completely out of the ordinary to gain my approval and maybe push the ball (the oven timer on our marriage) just a little further down the field. If all of my effort and love only gets me “D” effort from the woman who is supposed to protect my heart, I’m not leading the team and I certainly question my leadership in my family, outside of the military.”

I can’t tell you how many letters I received accusing me of advocating that men manipulate their wives into doing what is right in marriage. What I am advocating for is not manipulation, but the confronting of sin with discipline. Again as I have said repeatedly, I am not referring to a man physically abusing his wife. There are many non-physical forms of discipline. Christian men need to lead their homes and discipline their children AND wives when needed. Sometimes a man confronting his wife’s sin with godly discipline will result in divorce – and he must be ready for that very real possibility.

But in this case there is true manipulation going on by his wife. This is very common in these situations as well. Occasionally the sinful and rebellious wife realizes that she needs her husband so she will give him some false hope, some kindness in order to make him think that perhaps he is overreacting to her sin.

Maybe things will get better or so she wants him to think, so he will doubt his intentions to confront her sinful behavior.

He reveals his plan…

“Your proposed solution is my last ditch resort, and I’m going to take it. No matter how it ends, I won’t look back on my marriage and say I didn’t give it my very best. Thanks for sharing and allowing me to share.”

The proposed solution he refers to is my post “8 steps to confronting your wife’s sexual refusal”. I believe after reading this, as well as some more detailed information he sent to me privately, that this man’s wife is well overdue for some Biblical discipline from her husband.

I pray that God blesses this Christian husband’s efforts to confront the sin that has infested his home in the form of his wife’s behavior.

I also pray that if you as Christian husband see your marriage in this story, that you will have the courage to confront your wife’s sin and that you will no longer sacrifice your faith in order to appease your wife.

If you have a story of sexual denial that you would like to share – feel free to comment on this post or send me an email at biblicalgenderroles@gmail.com and just let me know if I can share part of or all of your story. Your name does not need to be mentioned or we can just make a fake name for you.

Many people in this situation feel alone as they have the Church on one side that seems to ignore this issue entirely, and on the other side they have non-Christians telling them there is no right to sex in marriage and they are being selfish for wanting sex more than their spouse.  When you share your story, you show others that they are not alone.