Would Society Be Better If Girls Married as Soon as They Menstruated?

A Christian mother and regular reader of my blog asked “Would society be better if we returned to the standard that girls could marry as soon as they menstruated and were capable of having kids?” To ask such a question in America in the year 2019 seems patently absurd. Of course, society would NOT be better off if girls could marry as soon as they menstruated! Before we go further to address the obvious absurdity of this woman’s question here is the full email from her below.

Here is the complete email I received from a woman calling herself Rebekah:

“Long time reader, first time writer. First, I want to thank you for your trenchant insights, observations, and monologues. It’s great to find a man with such a passion for Christ and a traditional way of life. I’m a married mother with 3 daughters (12, 13, and 16) and (15) one son and my hubby and I are raising them to be good Christians and to abide by traditional gender roles.

I recently had a discussion with my husband about the expectation for marriage and we wondered, would society be better if we returned to the standard that girls could marry as soon as they menstruated and were capable of having kids? My two eldest daughters are certainly capable, and they are very motherly already.

What is your opinion?”

Why do such statements as the ones above evoke such a sense of righteous indignation from most of us in modern America and Western culture?  We will discuss these reasons next.

Why Modern Society Disapproves of the Pubescent Marriage of Women

Ancient and medieval historical records can attest to the following statement that was made in an article entitled “Child Marriage – Rationale, Historical Views, And Consequences” :

 “Child marriages involving only one marriage partner below the age of 18, usually the female, are also quite common. Throughout history till the 20th century, child marriages were the norm in most parts of the world. With the average life expectancy during such times being only 40 to 45 years of age, child marriages were the faster way to reproduce. Girls were usually married off as soon as they reached puberty or sometimes even prior to that.”

In the same article they mention in addition to shorter life expectancies that there were often economic reasons as well:

“Over the years, a large number of reasons have been suggested as triggers behind the practice of child marriage. Economic problems have been one of the primary factors that have forced parents to marry off their young girls. The system of dowry prevailing in many countries where parents of girls have to bestow hefty sums of money or expensive goods and ornaments to the in-laws’ families of their daughters have led to the consideration of the girl child as a burden in such households. However, the high demand of young girls in the marriage market have helped parents marry off their girl child to an older man, often receiving money in return, allowing them to overcome the burdens of dowry and even economically benefiting from the process.”

But in the same article we then find the reasons for our modern Western society’s disapproval of marriage for women of pubescent age:

“Child marriage is associated with scientifically established adverse effects to the young female child’s health. Pregnant girls below the age of 15 have a 5 to 7 times higher chance of dying during childbirth as compared to pregnant women in their twenties. Child mothers are also more susceptible to develop obstetric fistula, cervical cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and other health problems. Infant mortality rates are also 60% higher in case of children born of mothers who are below the age of 18 years. Child marriage usually deprives the female child of educational rights, leading to the loss of financial independence of the child in her future. Child brides are also susceptible to domestic violence, marital rapes and sexual abuse as they are not mature enough to protest and not independent enough to escape adverse situations in their conjugal life.”

So young mothers under 15 having 5 to 7 times higher of a chance of dying from their pregnancy should be enough for all us to oppose pubescent marriage for young girls, right?

And then what about the fact these poor young girls may be deprived of education rights which will lead to a loss of financial independence from their future husbands? And their higher susceptibility to tolerate future abuse from their future husbands?

Is this not an open and shut case against the marriage of pubescent age women?

Well before we can totally wrap up our conclusion, we need to tie up a few “loose ends”.

Putting Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates in Perspective

Two of the “loose ends” we need to tie up are maternal and infant mortality rates. Previously we were told one of the reasons we should oppose the marriage of pubescent age women is because women in this age group have higher chances of dying from child birth and their infants have a higher chance of dying after birth within the first year.

The maternal mortality rate (MMR) is the number of women who die each year at any stage of pregnancy.  According to the World Health Organization(WHO) 211 million women get pregnant each year.

The sad news for us as Christians and those who value human life is that 46 million of those pregnancies are ended by the murderous act of abortion.  That means 165 million women continue with their pregnancies.  Of those 165 million pregnancies, 123 million will be “successful”, meaning that the mother gives birth and the child survives.

Of the children that survive in these 123 million births, 2.51 million, or 2 percent, will die before reaching their first birthday (this is the global infant mortality rate).

About 302,950 women die each year worldwide from pregnancy.  That means women worldwide have a 0.2 percent chance dying from pregnancy related health problems or on the other hand they have a 99.8 percent chance of dying from pregnancy.

To put these numbers further in perspective, of those 302,950 women who die from pregnancy each year 99 percent of pregnancy related deaths occur in the developing world.  And even in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest MMR in the world, only 500 women out of 100,000 died from pregnancy related complications.

The key numbers to take away from this section on maternal and infant mortality rates are that in total 0.2 percent of women who get pregnant and do not murder their unborn children later die as a result of their pregnancies.  A total of 2 percent of infants worldwide will die before they reach their first birthday.   And statistically speaking the vast majority of these deaths that occur in both these categories occur in Africa. The saddest number of all these numbers is of course the worldwide purposeful murder of 22 percent of children in their mother’s womb by the act that modern civilization calls abortion.

The Societal Impact of Economic and Social Independence for Women

Another “loose end” we need to tie up has to do with women’s social and economic independence from men.  After all that is good thing, right?

For most of the history of mankind, with few exceptions, women were economically and socially tied to their fathers or their husbands and were considered the property of their fathers or husbands.  Women could not own property and if they did inherit property it would come under their husband’s authority upon marriage.  In divorce fathers retained full custody of the children.

The fact that women could not own property, could not easily divorce their husbands and when they did divorce, they had to leave without their children and without any property or income was a strong incentive for women to stay with their husbands.

This all changed in the mid-19th century with the rise of feminism.  It began with women suing in the courts for the right to own property as men did.  Then in the late 19th century the historic custom of fathers retaining full custody of their children was reversed and full custody was given to the mother.  Fathers did not gain back at least joint custody rights until almost a century later in 1960s.

Now the incentives that brought women to marriage to men, and kept women in marriage to men had been all but destroyed.

It was also during this time that women began to throw of the authority of their fathers in courting and began the new practice of “dating”.  Men and women entering marriage based on the historic principles of faith, duty, honor and economics gradually was replaced with men and women entering marriage simply for “love” – which was really just infatuation.

And since women had come to gain alimony, child support, and property rights there was little incentive for them to stay in marriage to a man once the infatuation wore off.   This caused divorce rates to sky rocket from 3 percent before the rise of feminism in the mid-19th century to 13 percent by the time woman’s suffrage was ratified in 1920 in the United States.

Anna Howard Shaw, one of the champions of first wave feminism made the following statement in the February 25th, 1915 edition of the New York Evening Post:

“I believe in woman suffrage, whether all women vote or no women vote; whether all women vote right or all women vote wrong; whether women will love their husbands after they vote or forsake them; whether they will neglect their children or never have any children at all.”

Anna Howard Shaw summed up the goals of the political feminists’ movements of the 19th and early 20th century.  The total liberation and independence of women from men no matter what the costs to society.  Country, marriage and motherhood and children could all be destroyed to meet their goals.  The only thing that mattered was women having complete and utter control of their lives.

And what cost did we pay as a nation? Well Anna Howard Shaw’s words came true.  Women gained the right to vote and even gained the right to force men to hire them for any positions they wanted.  And in 1973 they gained the right to murder their unborn children under the guise of total bodily autonomy.

The social and economic independence of women in America has directly led to rampant sexual immorality, the decline of marriage, over 60 million divorces and over 60 million abortions.

The Arguments Against the Marriage of Pubescent Women Are Faulty

Well it seems that in our effort to tie up loose ends regarding opposition to pubescent women marrying we have instead unraveled the entire ball of yarn.

Before I show how the arguments against pubescent women marrying are faulty, I want to explain some terminology I have been using.  The way we label something or someone can very much affect how we view that something or someone.  For instance, those of us who oppose abortion as a right for women call ourselves “prolife” while those who believe abortion is a right for women call themselves “prochoice”.   Prolife advocates such as myself call the child a “baby” from the moment it is conceived while Prochoice advocates will refer to the child based on his or her biological stages of development with such words as “zigote” or “embryo”  or “fetus” in an attempt to dehumanize the human being growing inside his or her mother’s womb.

In the same way when having this argument about the age of marriage for women those who oppose marriage for women before the age of 18 will call all marriage before the age of 18 “Child Marriage”.  But is 16 or 17-year-old female or male human being for that matter, a child? The answer biologically speaking is no.

Human beings go through a transition phase from child to adult and this transition phase is called puberty.  Children are human beings in the prepubescent stage of development.  Adolescents are human beings that are at some stage of puberty. When the changes of puberty are complete the human adolescent becomes a human adult.  Girls typically start puberty around the age of 11 while some start as early as 9 or 10 and they typically complete puberty by the age of 14. Boys start a little later than girls typically around the age of 12 and they finish puberty around the age of 16 or 17.

Those who say a female human being who has experienced the major changes of puberty which are the development of breasts, pubic hair and the start of menstruation is a child are stating a biological falsehood.  Such a female human being is no longer a child (prepubescent human being), but rather she is either an adolescent (pubescent human being) or an adult (postpubescent human being).

This is why I have consistently referred to this argument as one being about the “the marriage of pubescent women” because a female human being who has experienced the changes of puberty is no longer a child.

When we acknowledge the fact that worldwide a total of 0.2 percent of women die from pregnancy related deaths, and that includes pubescent mothers, then the even if they represent a higher proportion of that 0.2 percent it does not make a strong case against pubescent women marrying.  Instead we can respond with that fact that at least 99.8 percent of pubescent women worldwide will survive their pregnancies.

When we acknowledge the fact that only 2 percent of all infants worldwide die in the first year of their life and even if children from pubescent mothers make up more of that 2 percent than children from postpubescent women, we can rightly say pubescent mothers have at least a 98 percent chance of their children surviving their first year of life.  A difference somewhere within the 2 percent range between two groups of women having their children survive is not a strong argument against pubescent women marrying.

Some may respond that these are numbers that mix the developed world and undeveloped worlds.  But let me remind you of the WHO numbers which stated even in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest MMR in the world, only 500 women out of 100,000 died from pregnancy related complications in a given year over the last decade.

Then we come to other social reasons for opposition to marriage for pubescent women.

One of those reasons is that these pubescent women will have a “the loss of financial independence” from their husbands most likely because they do not finish high school and the college and get careers before marrying.

But based on the stats I just showed which correlate the granting of economic rights to women with the destruction of marriage by disincentivizing women to seek and stay in marriage to men is “the loss of financial independence” for women a bad thing? The answer if we believe that lasting marriages form the bedrock of a stable civilization must be NO.

And finally, what about the assertion that pubescent brides are more “susceptible to domestic violence, marital rapes and sexual abuse as they are not mature enough to protest and not independent enough to escape adverse situations in their conjugal life”? Is this a strong enough argument on its own for us to oppose pubescent women marrying?

Are there some men that truly do abuse their wives, whether they enter marriage as pubescent women or as postpubescent women? Absolutely.  But again, we must put things in perspective.  Just as we cannot toss out women getting pregnant because a tiny fraction of women may die from pregnancy so to, we cannot throw out marriage for pubescent women because of the sad fact that a higher fraction of a tiny percentage of pubescent women will be truly abused.

Now that I have shown the arguments against pubescent women marrying to be faulty and weak, we will now present strong arguments for the marriage of pubescent women.

Why We Should Support the Practice of Pubescent Marriage

I have previously shown from a biological perspective it is incorrect to refer to a human being that is going through puberty or one that has finished puberty as a child.  Therefore, it is utterly wrong to label it as “Child marriage” when a pubescent woman enters marriage.

Before the last century human societies recognized three primary social classes of human beings.  Men, Women and Children. Once children entered puberty, they were basically considered either men or women.  The concept of a “teenager” is a more recent invention over the last century.

Boys were considered men around the ages of 12 to 13 and this is why it was the norm for these young men to begin their trade in their early teen years so they could save their money, buy their own land and build a home.  Once they did this, usually by their late teens or early 20s, they would seek out a wife for marriage. For girls, as soon as they developed breasts and began menstruating, they were considered women and ready for marriage and child bearing.

Many will argue that just because a young woman is biologically ready for marriage and child bearing, does not mean she is mature enough mentally for marriage and child bearing.

So how do we answer the question of when a person is ready for marriage? Is it by looking to how civilizations have done things in the past? Is it by looking to current studies?

The answer, first and foremost for us as Christians, is to look to the Word of God.

“But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.”

1 Corinthians 7:36 (KJV)

The phrase “the flower of her age” refers to when a woman has her period.  The Apostle Paul is telling us here that the minimum of age of marriage is when a woman has her first period.

However, we must take the complete witness of the Scriptures together to determine when is the acceptable “time of love” for a young woman – as in marriage and sex.

“7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.

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

Ezekiel 16:7-8 (KJV)

So, it is not until a young girl demonstrates all the signs of puberty, the growth of breasts, pubic hair and having a period that she is ready for marriage.  With most young women, their first period comes after the development of their breasts and pubic hair while in some rare cases the period may come first.  But the Scriptures show us that all three of these elements are required.

In fact, in another Scripture we read that if a woman was completely flat chested and had no breasts, she would have a difficult time marrying (even if she had her first period):

“We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?”

Song of Solomon 8:8 (KJV)

The point here is that God tells us when a woman develops breasts, grows pubic hair and has her period she is ready for marriage by God’s law.

But we must also recognize that God gives a father discretion as to when his daughter is ready for marriage:

“Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.”

Jeremiah 29:6 (KJV)

“16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.”

Exodus 22:16-17 (KJV)

The passages above show us that fathers have the responsibility to prepare their daughters for marriage and be looking for suitable husbands for their daughters while at the same time they have the right of refusal for their daughter for marriage as well.

Early Teen Women Are Very Fertile

Carolyn Butler wrote an article entitled “Ovaries have not adjusted to many women’s decision to delay having children” for the Washington Post back in 2010.  In that article she stated the following inconvenient biological facts for women:

The biological reality that female fertility peaks in the teens and early 20s can be difficult for many American women to swallow, as they delay childbirth further every year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In the District, the average age of initial childbirth was 26.5 years in 2006, up 5.5 years since 1970, the highest jump in the country…

While we may not be mature enough to conceive at a young age, nor should we, that is still when the body is most adept at conception and carrying a baby,” says Claire Whelan, program director of the American Fertility Association. “Our biological clock has not kept pace with our ability to prolong our life spans.” Stillman agrees, pointing out that research about advanced maternal age and motherhood today is clear: The older you get, the more difficult it is to get pregnant and the higher the chance of miscarriage, pregnancy problems such as gestational diabetes and hypertension, and chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, among other concerns…

“Society has changed, ” says Stillman, “but the ovaries will take another million years or two to catch up to that.””

Notice how she has to preface her acknowledgement of the biological reality of when women are “most adept at conception and carrying a baby” with her value judgment that “While we may not be mature enough to conceive at a young age, nor should we”.

As Christians we know that the Bible says in Genesis 1:27 that “male and female created he them”.  And we know God is not going to change a woman’s ovaries to match our societal changes.

Instead our society must turn back to God so that our society matches the way he designed us as males and females both physiologically and psychologically. And the way we begin that change is in one Christian home at time.

Early Teen Women Are More Moldable

In the Scriptures we read the following passage from the Book of Jeremiah:

“1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”

Jeremiah 18:1-6 (KJV)

In the above passage God is speaking to Israel as his wife.  The phrase “O house of Israel” is used in other passages like this one below when God refers to Israel as his wife and he as her husband:

“Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.”

Jeremiah 3:20 (KJV)

Just as God sought to mold his wife Israel to be the person, he wanted her to be, so to for a marriage to be successful a woman must be very moldable just like clay in the hands of a potter.

When women are in their early teens, they typically are more moldable but as they get older into their late teens and especially early 20s, they become much harder to mold or change in their person and habits.

And make no mistake this is EXACTLY why most people today oppose women marrying very young because they know they are so impressionable or moldable at that age.  They don’t want men being able to mold young women so they want to delay marriage as a long as possible pushing it into the early and mid-20s.

Christians who follow this false philosophy that young women need “find themselves” and “be their own person” before marriage are going against God’s design.

Remember that God says marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church.  Does Christ mold his church? You bet he does.  And he tells men to love their wives as he does:

“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)

We are often told today that if a man attempts to mold or change his wife’s behavior at all that he is “controlling” and this bad.  We are told that if a man truly loves his wife, he won’t try to change anything about her.

Well I can tell you based on the authority of the Scriptures above that if a man does not attempt to mold and shape his wife to present her to himself and to God as a glorious wife in the same way Christ does his church then he is not loving his wife as Christ loves the church.

And yes, it takes a sacrifice on our part as men and courage on our part as men to “rebuke and chasten” (Revelation 3:19) our wives as Christ does his churches. But when done in the correct spirit, such rebuke and chastening by husbands is called “love”.

Conclusion

Rebekah so here is the answer to your question – “Would society be better if we returned to the standard that girls could marry as soon as they menstruated and were capable of having kids?”

The answer first from the Bible is “YES”.  But the like many other times we can see how God’s design plays out when we follow it and also when we disobey it.  No one can argue with the cold hard facts that giving women independence from men in general and their fathers and husbands in particular has been good for the institution of marriage which God designed.

By taking away women’s dependence on men we have allowed women to dominate marriage and our society.  Society is now ordered around how people feel rather than duty to God, family and country.

And the invention of the “teenager” as an extension of childhood has not been good for our society.  It has led to rampant immorality and a complete lack of responsibility among our young people today.

I don’t think you were actually asking if your husband could do this but just if society would be better if we all turned back to this custom of marriage for young women.

However, if your daughters have demonstrated the signs God says that mark “the time of love” for a woman in that they have developed breasts, pubic hair and have begun menstruating and if your husband feels they are mature enough and ready for marriage there would be no sin in allowing them to marry.

Believe it or not there are still 15 states that allow marriage below the age of 14:

 California
 Colorado
 Idaho
 Louisiana
 Maine
 Massachusetts
 Michigan
 Mississippi
 Nevada
 New Mexico
 Oklahoma
 Pennsylvania
 Washington
 West Virginia
 Wyoming

Also, several states allow 14, and 15-year old people to marry as well.

You can find the complete list of marriage by age by state here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_marriage_in_the_United_States

Answering the Scoffers

One of my favorite scoffers, Suzanne Titkemeyer, wrote a piece the other day about my review of the Handmaids Tale.   I always chuckle a little when I read her stuff.

I will cover just a few areas that I think apply to this article in regards to the age of marriage.

Suzanne wrote:

“Why is it always these creeps, like Vaughn Ohlman,imaging young burgeoning breasts and periods as a marker for readiness? Notice that none of them view young boys of that age as ready for marriage. When they talk of men marrying it’s always men over the age of 21, while saddling them with a much too young girl.”

Suzanne, it is not me imaging breasts and periods as a marker for readiness, but rather the word of God which clearly states it as I showed above from Ezekiel 16:7-8 and 1 Corinthians 7:36.  You may reject the Bible but it is my basis for truth.

And before I knew and understood these Scriptures and studied the history of the world, biology and marriage I probably would have agreed with you that early teens is too young for marriage for women.  But back then I would have been going by what you are – my feelings and my culture. Instead of looking at marriage first through the lenses of the Bible, then history and biology.  All of which support young marriage for women.

Also, on your view of boys.  I don’t think they have to be over 21, although I think in most cases it would be wiser for them to wait.  Why? Because they have to lead a woman and their family and they have to be able to provide for and protect their family.  Especially on the provision front, for most young men it takes well into their early or mid-20s until they are ready to provide for a family.   My 19-year-old son who is plumber is an exception.  He makes over 60 K a year and could support a family.  But he has to get some other things in line first.

I know you struggle with this concept, but young men and young women are different. They are designed by God for different roles.  A young woman does not have to lead a home or provide for one.  She simply has to manage it, therefore she can marry much younger than a man.  Besides it is a biological fact as I showed above the early teens to the early 20s are “when the body is most adept at conception and carrying a baby”.  I also showed that studies arguing for higher pregnancy related deaths or other health problems are using statistically insignificant differences between pubescent mothers and postpubescent  mothers.

Suzanne wrote:

“In the United States this age can come at a very young time in a girl’s life. Menstruation ages have dropped, meaning what Larry is proposing here is that girls as young as 9 could be married.”

No not really.  I have said on multiple occasions that I like the Jewish rule of minimum age of 12.  The truth is that is extremely rare for a 9-year-old to have a period but then you are leaving out several other key factors in order to build your straw-man argument.  I said the minimum age of marriage requires ALL of the following things – not just a girl having her period. She must have developed breasts, pubic hair, had a period AND her father must determine she is ready.

Suzanne wrote:

“My own cycle started at 11 years old, and I can tell you I was nowhere near ready to marry. I was still playing with my Barbies, riding my horse, going to Camp Fire Girls meetings, and giggling over how cute Donny Osmond was. My only adult actions and responsibilities revolved around caring for my horse.

Little girls should be free to ride their horses, or play with their dolls and coloring books, not forced into lifetime relationships and sex.  We’ve talked about this so much here that I’m not even going to cite the statistics again that show how early marriage harms girls in every way, physically, emotionally, financially.”

Do you know why you were no nowhere near ready to marry at age 11 including manage a home and take care of children? Because you were raised in a culture that has vastly extended childhood far beyond what cultures in the past did.  If you were raised in pre-modern times, especially medieval or ancient times you absolutely would have been preparing for marriage at 11 and most likely be married by 12 or 13.

You see that is one of the many differences between your world view and mine.  You believe the purpose of little girls and by extension women is to live for themselves.  Have fun and do whatever makes you happy (at a particular moment, because we know that changes every five minutes).

But other people who believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, such as myself, believe we were put here for more than riding horses and playing with toys.  We believe life is about duty and honor and serving God.  Sure, we can have happiness along the way, but if that is our central focus, we will not serve God.

And speaking of happiness.  We understand a truth that utterly escapes most secularists and you as well.  We understand that happiness is not simply a feeling, but it is also a choice.  We can choose to be happy in whatever circumstances life brings us.  This is special kind of joy that few people know or understand. We can choose to let God and his Word lead our hearts, instead of letting our hearts lead us.

I pray one day you will come to know these truths and accept Christ and his Word as they are and not as you would have them be.

 

16 Ways to Instill Biblical Masculinity in your Sons

Teach your son that God is his ultimate example of masculinity

“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)

Teach your son to be strong in mind and body

“I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man.” – I Kings 2:2 (NASB)

“A wise man is strong, and a man of knowledge increases power.” – Proverbs 24:5 (NASB)

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

Teach your son to be brave

“Therefore, keep up your courage, men” – Acts 27:25 (NASB)

“But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” – Hebrews 10:39 (NASB)

Teach your son to be a leader

“The righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” – Proverbs 12:26 (NASB)

Teach your son to listen to wise counsel

“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel” – Proverbs 1:5 (NASB)

“Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” – Proverbs 11:14 (NASB)

Teach your son to be a man of integrity

“A righteous man who walks in his integrity— How blessed are his sons after him.” – Proverbs 20:7 (NASB)

“A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1 (NASB)

“The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.” – Proverbs 11:3 (NASB)

Teach your son to channel his competitive and aggressive nature but do not suppress it

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle” – Psalm 144:1 (NASB)

“Fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.” – Nehemiah 4:14 (NASB)

Teach your son to channel his anger but do not suppress it

“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” – Ephesians 4:26 (NASB)

“Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.” – Proverbs 25:28 (NASB)

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” – Proverbs 16:32 (NASB)

Teach your son to channel his sexuality but do not suppress it

“Your head crowns you like Carmel, and the flowing locks of your head are like purple threads;

The king is captivated by your tresses.

“How beautiful and how delightful you are, my love, with all your charms!

“Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters.”

”I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree,
I will take hold of its fruit stalks.’
Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
And the fragrance of your breath like apples,
And your mouth like the best wine!” – Song of Solomon 7:5-9 (NASB)

Teach your son to defend the weak

“Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.” – Isaiah 1:17 (NASB)

“Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.” – Proverbs 31:9 (NASB)

“Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds…  And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian.” – Acts 7:22 & 24 (NASB)

Teach your son to not be manipulated by women’s sexual charms

“For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life to keep you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids. For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for the precious life.” – Proverbs 6:23-26 (NASB)

Teach your son the value of hard work

“Man goes forth to his work and to his labor until evening.” Psalm 104:23 (NASB)

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.” – Proverbs 22:29 (NASB)

“He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.” – Proverbs 10:5 (NASB)

“Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.” – Ecclesiastes 5:18 (NASB)

“Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3 (NASB)

“He also who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys.” – Proverbs 18:9 (NASB)

“Prepare your work outside and make it ready for yourself in the field; Afterwards, then, build your house.” – Proverbs 24:27 (NASB)

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5 (NASB)

“In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23 (NASB)

Teach your son to value and seek out a wife and have a family

“Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 9:9 (NASB)

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

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30 (NASB)

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” – Psalm 127:3-5 (NASB)

Teach your son that men provide for and protect their women and children

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.” – Luke 11:21 (NASB)

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,  so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.  So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;  for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,  because we are members of His body.” – Ephesians 5:25-28 (NASB)

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” – Proverbs 13:22 (NASB)

Teach your son to show proper respect for authority

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” – Exodus 20:10 (NASB)

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.” – I Peter 2:13-14 (NASB)

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” – Hebrews 13:17 (NASB)

Teach your son to show proper honor to women

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” – I Peter 3:7 (NASB)

Can a Christian wife withhold sex as a way to change her husband’s bad behavior?

Can sexual refusal be used by a wife to change her husband’s bad behavior? Does God allow sexual refusal as method for addressing wrong behavior on the part of a husband? Can bad behavior on the part of a husband justify a sexless marriage?

I recently received this very heartfelt comment from a Christian wife named Jenn and you can see how much she is hurting as you read this. I would be willing to bet there are many Christian wives that face a very similar scenario. The emotion runs deep in this story, and I think for some valid reasons.

Jenn’s story

“I agree that a sexless marriage is not God’s plan and that both parties should do everything in their power to maintain their physical union and covenant. However, I do not believe it is appropriate to give a blanket statement that denying sex in a marriage is sin. Sometimes, refusing sex becomes necessary as an effort to PRESERVE THE MARRIAGE when the husband repeatedly shrugs off spiritual leadership in the home, ignores the wife’s emotional needs, treats the wife as a roommate, does NOT consistently do the steps you outlined above (going on dates, upgrading around the house, show any type of affection, etc.) leaves ALL THE PARENTING TO THE WIFE, and then just expects to get laid!

Continuing to engage in intercourse under those circumstances is submitting to sexual abuse, even though there is no force or violence involved. Continuing to engage in intercourse for the wife leaves the door open for bitterness and resentment to fester. NO! The wife does NOT want to live in a sexless marriage, but neither does she want to be devalued and violated, either.
Yes, private communication was sought out to correct these issues… as was counseling that went on for 18 months… communication among godly, loving friends. To make matters worse, this person is an elder and a counselor in the church! Is all this grounds for divorce? Most say no. Does one uproot the children because one spouse is spiritually lazy and hypocritical? Difficult call.

Should the pleading spouse continue to allow the husband to treat her this way? Or should she stand her ground that she needs to be valued and cherished? The sexless part is actually the decision of the husband for refusing to correct his behavior out of pride.
So before you heap on condemnation, perhaps you should spend more time encouraging the husbands (or the wives, for that matter) to deeply investigate WHY there is no interest in sex in the first place.”

My response to Jenn and any other Christian wife who finds herself in this situation

I believe it is possible based on Jenn’s statements that her husband is sinning against her by not “knowing her” as the Bible commands him to do:

“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)

I wrote a post a while back entitled “10 ways to know your wife” – and these things are a challenge and admonition to all of us as Christian husbands (including myself). Yes we will fail as husbands and we may not do all these things as we should, but we need to get up each and every day and ask ourselves as men – “Am I communicating with my wife as I should? Do I know her concerns? Am I addressing areas where she needs my help?”

God knows that a wife needs her husband to know her on a spiritual, emotional and physical level. This is why he commanded husbands to dwell with their wives “according to knowledge”. A man cannot know his wife as God would have him to without talking to her, and listening to her on a daily basis.

Sometimes we as Christian husbands can become so wrapped up in our careers, hobbies or even our ministries (as this woman’s husband is a church elder and counselor) that we can become neglectful of the needs of our wives and children. This woman’s story should serve as reminder for each of us as believing husbands to make sure we are knowing our wives as God would have us to.

The second thing that Jenn’s husband might be doing is neglecting to honor his wife. This is a duty that God calls Christian husbands to. He does not appear to be honoring her in her role as his helpmeet. I also wrote a post on this subject entitled “12 Ways to Honor you wife” where I go into detail on how a man can honor his wife.

A big part of honoring one’s wife – is to show her that she is valued and to praise her for her work in the home. It is also about making sure that her children are respectful of her. From what I saw in this woman’s sad account – it appears her husband may not be doing any of this. This story should serve as admonishment to all of us as Christian husbands how it makes our wives feel when we don’t know them(talk to them and listen to them) and when we don’t honor them(value them and praise them).

It appears that if this woman’s account is accurate – her Christian husband has been neglecting many of his duties to her (and perhaps his children as well).

Is withholding sex a tool that God allows a wife to use to change her husband’s behavior?

Jenn as well as many other women (Christian and non-Christian alike) believes that withholding sex is valid and justified tool when a husband is neglecting his duties to her and his children. But as sad as these types of stories are – two wrongs never make a right. God does not allow for sex to be withheld as a tool to modify bad behavior, or to encourage right behavior on the part of a spouse (either the husband or the wife).

“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.

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 7:3-4

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

The Scriptures are clear in the area of sex that a wife is to willingly give her body to her husband, she does not have the power to deny him or withhold sex from him. The Bible says she is to submit to her husband in “every thing”, and this includes in the area of sexuality.

The only way sex can be halted or denied in marriage is by mutual agreement to do so for a short time. People talk about consent in regards to sex all the time. Biblically speaking sex is only to occur in marriage. But in the context of marriage, consent is about ceasing from having sex for short period (mutually agreeing to not have sex). Consent is not about ALLOWING sex as sex is a duty and responsibility in marriage – it is a central part of the marriage covenant that you freely give your body to your spouse for the purposes of sex.

I have talked in previous posts about a husband having the right to discipline his wife, to motivate her to repent and change her bad behavior. But a husband is never allowed to use sexual denial to his wife as method of discipline. So for instance, if a man’s wife keeps denying him and then eventually she comes to him for sex – he is not allowed to deny her because she previously denied him.

The Bible tells us we should not repay evil for evil:

“Recompense to no man evil for evil..” – Romans 12:17 (KJV)

A wife in the same way is not allowed to deny or withhold sex from her husband in an effort to reform his bad behavior. When a wife withholds sex from her husband because of his bad behavior in other areas – this is a textbook example repaying evil for evil and God will not bless such actions by a wife.

In fact when we look at sex from the wife’s role, this is just one part of her overall submission to her husband. God does not allow a woman to stop submitting to her husband in any area of her life (including sex) in order to reform his bad behavior – except if he asks her to engage in an immoral or sinful activity.

But doesn’t giving a husband sex when he behaves wrongly encourage bad behavior?

Many women ask this question, and I think Jenn is inferring it by her comments above. The answer is that it is never wrong to do what God has commanded, in fact it is ALWAYS right to do what God has commanded. Short of a husband asking his wife to engage in a sinful activity – she is always to submit to him (including submitting her body to him for sex).

The Bible tells us this:

“Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” – I Peter 3:9 (KJV)

In God’s view if a woman’s husband is treating her sinfully by neglecting his duties to her, she is to repay this evil behavior by blessing him with her continued submission, even in willingly giving her body to him for sex.

I know what I just said sounds CRAZY from a human perspective. But this is God’s way, not man’s way.

I completely realize that Jenn’s head is probably spinning right now and I truly feel for her situation with her husband. If she does not withhold sex, but blesses her husband with her body – freely and willingly won’t this tell him that everything is ok and she is fine with his neglectful behavior?

No – and here is the reason why. Jenn and any other woman can continue to bring her grievances about his neglect of her and her children. Nothing stops her from doing that. I think it would really make a man’s head spin, that his wife brings her grievance before him in a respectful manner in one hour, and later that evening willingly gives herself to him when he initiates sex with no attitude or hesitation. This can be a powerful tool for change in a husband, when he sees that his wife continues to submit to him, even though she has legitimate grievances with him.

Isn’t this abusive behavior?

Jen said this about submitting her husband sexually under these conditions:

“Continuing to engage in intercourse under those circumstances is submitting to sexual abuse, even though there is no force or violence involved.”

This is not sexual abuse for her husband to have sex with her while neglecting her legitimate needs in other areas.

Her husband’s behavior in other areas may definitely be inconsiderate, neglectful and sinful by Biblical standards. But him asking for sex and her yielding to him for sex(regardless of his failings outside the bedroom) is NOT sexual abuse. I have said this in previous articles and I will say it again here. Christian wives need to be very careful of using terms like “abuser”, “rapist” and “molester” when it comes to their sexual relations with their husbands. Unless a husband actually rapes a woman(has forcible sex with a woman he is not married to), touches a person other than his wife in a sexual manner, or actually physically abuses his wife, his children or others these terms have no place in these kinds of discussions.

Let be clear as I always have to be in these posts. If a husband forces himself sexually upon his wife, Biblically speaking this is not rape but it could be abuse. So in that case it might be legitimate to call the husband an abuser, but it would still not be right from a Biblical perspective to call him a rapist.

But based on this story, there does not seem to be any forcible sex going on.

But won’t allowing sex to continue cause bitterness in the wife?

Jenn said this about bitterness:

“Continuing to engage in intercourse for the wife leaves the door open for bitterness and resentment to fester.”

I think we could safely say, and Jenn would probably concede that bitterness toward her husband has definitely “festered” in her heart. God says this about bitterness:

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” – Ephesians 4:31

Someone once said of bitterness, “Bitterness is like talking poison when you are mad at someone for wronging you, and then hoping they will die from it”. I have many men write me with bitterness in their hearts towards their wives over their wife’s sexual denial – some say some very hateful things toward them and I have to remind them that they need to let go of that bitterness, that it is a sin against God, their spouse and really their own bodies (because it hurts you when you are bitter).

This same truth would apply to Jenn and other Christian women that are dealing with husbands who are sinning against them by neglecting their duties.

A wife needs to understand the source of her bitterness towards her husband about sex

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; “ – Hebrews 12:14-15(KJV)

If you don’t understand the root of your bitterness as a Christian wife, then you will never be able to remove it. The reason you grow bitter and resentful toward your husband when he initiates sex is this – you believe he did not earn it.

Let me put this another way. It is very easy for us as men to shut our wives out, to stop talking to our wives when they deny us sexually. It is easy for us to grow bitter and think – “She wants me to sit down and talk with her when every time I go to touch her she tells me “not tonight honey”. But our wives do not have to earn the right to talk to us by having sex with us. Talking to our wives, whether we feel like it or not is a duty of every husband.

In the same way as a Christian wife you must realize the truth that your husband does not have to earn sex with you by talking to you(as he should), honoring you(as he should) and doing other nice things for you. He has a right to sex with you because of the vows you made to him and before God.

When you as a Christian wife let this truth really settle in your heart, then you will find that you are no longer bitter at your husband when he goes to have sex with you – even when he is not doing right in other areas.

Does the husband’s behavior warrant divorce?

A husband being “spiritually lazy and hypocritical” is not grounds for Biblical divorce. Now if a man fails to provide for his wife and children and just sits on a couch all day while they lose their home and starve that may be another issue. But nothing I have seen in this story would allow for Biblical divorce.

A wife is not responsible to discipline her husband

A wife is not Biblically responsible (or allowed) to discipline her husband. The husband is spiritually responsible for his wife and his children and as the head of his wife and his home he has the right to attempt to discipline. As I stated in previous posts when it comes to the wife I don’t believe physical discipline is warranted or prescribed by the Scriptures. But other types of non-physical discipline like taking credit cards away, or stopping household upgrades may be used as discipline.

God does not hold a wife responsible for her husband’s wrong behavior, he only holds her responsible for her own behavior.

A situation like this can be extremely frustrating for a Christian wife, and we can see that all throughout Jenn’s post. But she and any other wives facing this type of situation needs to make sure they take a step back and realize they are not their husband’s mother, they are his wife.

What recourse can a wife take in this situation?

I think we can see that scripturally speaking a wife has no right to discipline her husband for sinful behavior and she does not have the right to stop submitting to him in any area, including in the area of sex because of his sinful behavior. To do so amounts to repaying evil for evil – something that is very plainly condemned in the Scriptures.

But a wife can continue to bring her grievances to her husband in a respectful way. She can ask her husband to attend counseling as this woman did.

But what if the husband never changes his ways?

Jenn would most likely respond to my last comment that “I tried counseling with him for 18 months and nothing changed! He says he will change with the counselor but he comes home and nothing changes!”

Is it possible that even if Jenn repents of her bitterness, and submits herself in all ways(including sexually) to her husband that he will still not change his ways and do what God would have him do as a husband? Unfortunately the answer is yes – he may never change his ways.

Also it can help to realize that you are not the only woman or man that faces these issue of being mistreated by their spouse. I often get emails from Christian husbands asking if they can divorce their wives for less than Biblical reasons.

These are some of the things they ask about:

They ask if they can divorce their wives for belittling them and disrespecting them – the Bible says no.

They ask if they can divorce their wives for going against their wishes and disobeying – the Bible says no.

They ask if their wife is giving them sex, but with a bad attitude and she just lies there like a dead fish can they divorce their wives – the Bible says no.

They ask if their wife is too involved in her career and other activities outside the home can they divorce their wife? Unless their wife is sexually denying them or cheating on them they cannot divorce her for being too involved in her career.

The truth is that we live in a sin cursed world and sometimes people do not submit themselves to God and repent. Sometimes our spouses have horrible attitudes, or they are neglectful of our feelings. Sometimes spouses are extremely selfish.

I believe though in these cases where husbands are not doing what God says they should do for their wives – Christian wives can get through this difficulty by depending on the Lord, and recognizing that their submission to their husband, is really them submitting to God.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” – Ephesians 5:22

So perhaps from a human perspective, your husband has done nothing to earn your submission. But would say you don’t owe God your submission? It is God who is commanding you to submit to your husband.

What Jenn and other Christian wives need to do in this situation

Acknowledge your hurt and your feelings of disappointment with your husband, don’t bury it, don’t repress it. Give it to God, Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.(I Peter 5:7)

Pray and ask God to forgive you for any bitterness you are harboring in your heart toward your husband. Pray that God will strengthen you to be able to submit to and please your husband with a right heart and a right attitude. Pray that God will change your husband’s heart and reveal his sin to him so perhaps he will be the husband that God meant him to be.

Pray that God will continually remind you that your submission to your husband is really submission to God himself.  When you submit to your husband it pleases God, especially when he knows it is hard for you to do it because of your husband’s behavior.

All of us need God each day, we can’t live this Christian life in our own strength.

Fairfax County Public Schools to teach children they can be any gender they want

Apparently we can are no longer born male or female, but we actually choose over our lifetime what gender we want to be.  At least that is what one of the largest school systems in the country will start teaching its students.

These are some things the students will now be taught:

“Students will be provided definitions for sexual orientation terms heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality; and the gender identity term transgender,” the district’s recommendations state. “Emphasis will be placed on recognizing that everyone is experiencing changes and the role of respectful, inclusive language in promoting an environment free of bias and discrimination”

“Individual identity will also be described as having four parts – biological gender, gender identity (includes transgender), gender role, and sexual orientation (includes heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual).”

I agree with what Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council said:

“The larger picture is this is really an attack on nature itself – the created order…

Human beings are created male and female. But the current transgender ideology goes way beyond that. They’re telling us you can be both genders, you can be no gender, you can be a gender that you make up for yourself. And we’re supposed to affirm all of it.”

The full article from Fox News can be found here

 

7 Biblical Principles for how to dress as a Christian woman

Beautiful summery girl

Does God care about how you as a Christian women dress? Does the Bible provide guidelines for how a Christian woman should dress?

If you are looking for an exact dress code, down to lengths of clothing and what parts of your body must be covered when and where you will find no such thing in the Bible. However, if you are looking for Biblical principles that can guide you as Christian a woman in how to dress the Bible does give these principles.

Here are some Biblical principles for women’s dress that should guide you as you select your clothing, whether it is when you purchase it, or when you are choosing when to wear it.

Principle #1 – Your physical beauty is symbolic of the spiritual beauty of the Church

Your beauty is symbolic of the beauty of the church.

Psalm 45 which is a messianic prophecy of Christ and the Church says this:

“So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him…The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework…” -Psalm 45:13-14(KJV)

In Ephesians 5, where Paul talks about marriage being symbolic of the relationship of Christ to his Church he writes:

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 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)

Just as God wants his Church to be glorious, without spot or wrinkle, and without blemish, so too a woman should keep up her appearance, not only for her husband if she is married, but also out of respect for the symbolism for which God designed her.

So when you as a woman dress, you should accentuate your beauty knowing that your physical beauty, is symbolic of the spiritual beauty of Christ’s Bride, the Church. You dress first and foremost to please God and to show the beauty of his creation – which is you!

Principle #2 – You should dress appropriately for the occasion

Contrary to the modern meaning of modesty, the Biblical meaning of a woman dressing modestly means that women are to dress “appropriately”. Modesty is such a huge subject, and especially the interpretation of passages such as I Timothy 2:9 that I needed to write an entire separate post on the topic. You can find it here at What does Modesty mean in I Timothy 2:9.

In summary though, dressing modestly Biblically speaking does not specifically mean “not dressing in a sexual way”. It means to dress appropriately for the occasion. So while it may be perfectly acceptable for you to wear a bikini to the beach, it would not be appropriate for you to wear a bikini to a job (unless you are a life guard or a model) or to a church service.

Principle #3 – You should dress in feminine clothing

Someone should be able to look at your clothes wherever you go, and just by your clothing they should be able to tell you are a woman. Yes clothing styles change, but a woman should always look like a woman in her culture (whatever women wear) and a man should look like a man (whatever men wear).

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” -Deuteronomy 22:5 (KJV)

This passage from Deuteronomy does not forbid a woman from wearing pants (yes there are some Christians who still teach this). There was a time in our culture and history where pants were strictly the purview of men, and at those times it may have been wrong for a woman to wear pants, especially when there were no pants designed especially for women. But fashions and styles do change, and women have pants now that are made and cut especially for them, and these pants are pants a man would not be caught dead in.

In Roman society, before 200 BC, men and women both wore togas. After 200 BC women began to wear stolas and only prostitutes still wore togas like men. Before 200 BC, when men and women both wore togas, the only difference may have been a colorful belt or the color of the material that would have separated a man from a woman. Even after 200 BC, peasant men and women still both wore tunics for their daily work. Only color variations or belts may have separated them.

This would be exactly the same as men and women both wearing pants today – there is no issue with this as long as the woman’s pants communicate a feminine style as we understand it in our culture.

Nice woman in a pink dress

Principle #4 – You should dress to please your husband

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

God wants women to submit to their husbands in everything.  Everything includes how you dress and how you manage your appearance as well as many other things.

When you are married, you should dress to please your husband. Find out what colors he likes on you, find out what styles he likes and try to wear those types of clothes.

This also means you should dress sexy for your husband in the appropriate circumstances. If you know your husband will be taking you out for a night on the town, why not go pick up some sexy dress to wear for him? If you doubt whether this is right or wrong, I invite you read my post I referred to earlier What does Modesty mean in I Timothy 2:9.

There is nothing wrong with you looking sexy for your husband in the appropriate circumstances, whether that is wearing lingerie for him at home, or wearing a sexy dress for a night on the town, or wearing a sexy bathing suit for a trip to beach. Your body is work of art that God has graciously gifted to your husband, and you should not be hiding your beauty.

Principle #5 – Don’t be lazy with your appearance

Yes big tee shirts and sweats are more comfortable than wearing attractive clothing. But as a Christian woman your appearance is important to God (see principle #1). If you are married, God has given you to your husband and your appearance should be (and most likely will be) important to him (see principle #4).

As believers, and specifically as a Christian woman, God wants you to do everything you can to the best of your ability. It is one thing if you are sick, or if you are doing some work around the house then your clothing might not be as attractive. But besides those limited times, a woman has duty to keep up her appearance, not only for God but also for her husband.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord”

Colossians 3:23(NIV)

Modern Christian women today mock the women of the 1950’s who prided themselves in making themselves pretty before their husbands came home from work – what was wrong with that? This is what God wants from Godly Christian women.

Does this mean you have to have a dress and nylons on each day and go to the beauty salon before your husband gets home? Of course not. But what it means is making sure you have showered, that you have done your hair and maybe you have an attractive pair of jeans on with a nice shirt when you husband gets home.

You should not view this as some dreary task, but it should be looked at as a privilege and honor that is given you by God, your ability to make yourself beautiful!

Principle #6 – What others think does and does not matter

This is a very important principle for you as a Christian woman to understand.

In some cases it does matter what others think of how you are dressed. If you as a Christian woman wear the wrong clothing for the wrong occasion, it might offend others and also bring shame on Christ if they know you are a Christian.

You can wear a bikini to the beach, but if you wore it to Church others would be offended, and they would be right in being offended, because that is inappropriate attire for Church (see I Timothy 2:9).

But let’s turn the bikini situation around when you go to the beach. If you and your husband are going to the beach and you happen to be wearing a bikini, and there happens to be a family there from church they need to leave that between you and the Lord. The only exception I would say to this is if you were specifically going to the beach with a family whom you knew were opposed to bikinis, then temporarily out of respect you might not wear one in that instance.

You should not be picking dresses out for a night on the town with your husband, with the thought in your mind of “what would this person think or that person from church think if they saw me wearing this with him” – your thoughts should only be of two people, God and your husband.

God is not ashamed of your beauty, your husband is not ashamed of your beauty, and neither should you be ashamed of your beauty.

Principle #7 – Do not hide your beauty from other men for fear of causing lust

Many Christian women have since the early days of the church dressed with this idea in mind – that they cannot wear nice things for their husband or show their figure as they may cause other men to lust in doing so.  If you believe that Church tradition trumps Biblical theology, then I can’t help you. But if you understand that well-meaning men and women (even some Church fathers who came after the Apostles) added a lot of tradition to God’s Word then I can help you.

I invite you to read my post on What does the Bible say about Lust to fully understand the issue of lust from a Biblical perspective. A summary of what I said in that post is that Lust is not the same as sexual arousal.

There is no shame in a woman displaying her beauty, and there is no shame in men appreciating that beauty or even being sexually aroused by that beauty. Before you reject that premise, please read the post I just mentioned. Sin comes with how men handle their sexual arousal, or appreciation of the female form.

If he begins to think of how he can actually get you to go to bed with him (and you are not married) then those have become lustful thoughts, sexually covetous thoughts. But as a Christian woman you don’t have to go around at all time with a sheet over your entire body from head to toe as to not cause men to lust after you.

No scripture ever teaches this concept, it is completely added by the traditions of men.

Conclusion

I hope as a Christian woman you will search the Scriptures. Then discuss this respectfully with your husband. If you need to make changes, then make them. Know that God wants your best in all areas of your life, and dressing in beautiful ways appropriate to the occasion is what God has called you to. Do not hide the beautiful work of art that God has made, but display it in ways that please both God and your husband.

Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical Part 5

Polygamy 10

Do I practice polygamy?

No I do not.  The reason is not because I believe it is wrong, nor is it because State governments have declared it illegal. The reason is because right now the conditions for me are not right. But do I condemn those Christians who do practice polygamy within the guidelines of Scripture? No I do not.

But if I were living in a culture that allowed polygamy would I practice it? Absolutely! And no the reason is not all about sex as polygamists are often accused of.  It goes far beyond that. See below many of the positive benefits of polygynous marriages.

These are some of the positive benefits of polygynous marriages:

  1. Polygyny emphasizes the Biblical teaching that woman was made for man and not that man and woman are equal in marriage.  It is practically impossible to mistake who was made for whom in a polygynous marriage.  The wives don’t sit around and wonder if they are equal to their husband, all the wives know they are there for their husband.  This is why many women, Christian and non-Christian alike, hate polygyny, because it demonstrates to the world that woman was created for man, and that marriage is NOT an equal partnership as is taught in many Christian circles today.
  2. Polygyny has practical benefits like that when one woman is sick, the other women can care for her and her children when the man is out working.
  3. While I do believe that a man should be able to support his family, this arrangement would come in handy for if the wives had part time jobs that the other wives could watch their children.  In Biblical times it would not be uncommon for some wives to be working in the fields while other wives cared for their children.
  4. The wives would act like sisters to one another and be able to provide emotional support to one another (an area many men lack in simply because it is not how they are wired).
  5. In Biblical times, with a high infant mortality rate, having multiple wives would give you a much better chance of having children, especially sons to carry on your estate.
  6. Polygyny makes being a selfish wife much more difficult.  You don’t get to make yourself the center of your husband’s universe, you have to share. In a monogamous marriage this can happen all too easily (wife as center of universe mentality). It also requires the man to also share of himself with each of his wives.  Contrary to modern belief, it is possible for a man to love more than one woman.  Men are very good at compartmentalizing, this is a trait women often lack.
  7. Often in Biblical times polygynous men were well off and women would gladly become a new wife to one of these men for the economic security it would offer her and her future children.  The old saying “a good man is hard to find” goes all the way back to almost the beginning of creation.
  8. I mentioned earlier the idea that polygyny would offer a better chance of having more children.  But even in a marriage that may have started off monogamous for many years, if the wife went past her child bearing years without giving the man a son to carry on his name and his estate, he could then marry a younger second wife to try and conceive a son.
  9. In the area of sex, there are often times because of periods, medical conditions, problem pregnancies, or after delivery issues that a woman might not be able to have sex with her husband for an extended length of time.  Polygyny solves this problem.
  10. What about if a man marries a woman and not long after the marriage he finds her to be most disagreeable? Some might call this today a “battle ax”.  Even if she was not disagreeable in general, what if she were frigid in the bedroom? Biblically as long she did not refuse to have sex with him he could not and should not divorce her because of these things and he is bound to take care of her and provide her marriage rights for life.  Polygyny solves this issue.  Now I realize that some might argue that he is doing something wrong to make his wife disagreeable, and in truth he should try to make each marriage to each of his wives as good as it can be.  But let’s face it some women are just disagreeable, it’s who they are.

Women talking over coffee

The emotional support of fellow wives

I covered this briefly in the list of benefits of polygyny above but I wanted to park on this for a minute. One of the biggest killers of marriages today is the emotional connection aspect. The move to monogamy only was a big blow to women’s emotional support systems. Unless they had other women close by, women had little emotional support once polygamy became unfavorable form of marriage.

But women of the past did not divorce their husbands for lack of emotional connectedness, this is a new phenomenon occurring only in the last century. Women understood that men were different, and that men lead, provide and protect. Men were not expected to be like women or to try and change their mindsets to be more emotional and relational.

The reality is that a man can only meet so many needs of his wife, and a wife can only meet so many needs of her husband. If we look to our spouse to meet all our needs in every aspect of our life they will always come up short. There are some needs that will only be met outside the husband/wife relationship with same sex friendships.

We all know this to be true. As men we know there are some things only another man will understand, and for women there are some things only another women will understand.

This is truth is sorely missed in our modern society. Instead we are trying to make men more like women and women more like men in an attempt to try and make marriage meet all the needs of both sexes when that is something God never intended.

Can polygyny be abused?

Absolutely! Whether in the past or today polygyny can be abused, just like monogamy can be abused.  Something that can be good and wholesome, can be turned into something perverse. A man can abuse or neglect his wife in a monogamous relationship as easily as a man can abuse or neglect his wives in a polygynous relationship.

I believe that fact that Solomon was married to 700 wives and 300 concubines (slave wives) was an abuse of polygyny. How could a man possibly fulfill his marital duty to 1000 women?

It is one thing for a man to have 4 wives like Jacob did.  It would be very possible to cultivate a relationship with four women, but with 1000? I think not.  I think it would be fair to say that being a wife of Solomon meant you got see him a few times a year at best.  In fact if he slept with a different wife each night, it would take him three years to get back to his first wife!

So I am not arguing that every polygynous relationship is right – and for that matter neither does the Bible.  The Bible actually condemns certain polygynous relationships, while allowing others.

Polygyny is also abused today by those who have some of their wives put their children on state aid.  If you are going to practice polygyny, then you must practice it Biblically.  That means you must be able to support your new wives, and if you can’t you should not do it.

Sad woman

It’s not fair!

The last complaint against Polygyny that I will tackle is “it’s not fair!” Why does a man get to have more than one wife but a woman can have only one husband. The simple answer is this – LIFE IS NOT FAIR.

God did not make an equal creation, in all of creation there is inequality.

Can a fish say to a bird “Why can’t I fly? That’s unfair”

Can a deer say to a bear “Why can’t I be as big and strong as you? That’s unfair”

If cars could talk, could a minivan say to Dodge Ram with a huge Hemi engine – “Why can’t I tow what you can, why can’t I go as fast as you, why am I not as durable as you? That’s unfair”

You get my point.

Some might say my analogies are flawed because they compare apples and oranges.  Men and women are both human beings.

This is true that we as men and women are equal in our humanity, and we are equal in our worth to God.  However, we are not equal in how we are created and we are not equal in the roles that we were designed for – this is not only a Biblical fact, it’s a biological FACT.

We are all designed by our creator for a purpose.  Can a monogamous marriage also show God’s purpose for man and woman in marriage? Of course it can.  But God’s purpose in marriage is not as obliviously seen in a monogamous marriage as it is in a polygynous marriage.

Conclusion of Part 5

Polygamy can be abused like any other acceptable thing and it has been abused some at different points in history and even today, but that does not make polygamy itself wrong, only the abuse of it. While I myself do not practice polygamy, I support the right of every man to engage in this practice as a Biblically acceptable model of marriage.

As I have demonstrated in the 10 benefits above, polygyny is not all about men being able to have sex with lots of women. There are many mutual benefits for both men and women from the Biblical practice of polygyny.

All articles in this series:

Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical Part 1

Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical Part 2

Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical Part 3

Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical Part 4

Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical Part 5

Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical Part 4

Christian arguments FOR the practice of Polygamy

polygamy 9 Moses law

The Bible regulates polygyny

One of the greatest arguments against MO advocates comes from the fact that the Bible regulates polygyny. Before I even show the passages that regulate polygyny MO advocates will argue that the Bible also regulates slavery and we all know that is wrong and immoral right? Well that’s for another post, but here is the short and concise answer about slavery.

“Man stealing” as the Bible calls it, is wrong. This is when you take someone that is not yours to take and sell them as a slave.  However it was not wrong or immoral in Biblical times for a man to sell his son or daughter as a slave.  Often time’s families that were in poverty did this, and it was a mercy for the child so they could be fed and taken care of instead of dying of hunger.

Another example of slavery that would not be wrong would be when the Israelites conquered nations they took some of the people as slaves – this was a right granted by God and it was a punishment of God upon the ungodly heathen nations around them.

But just like polygyny, God regulated how slaves could be taken and how they were to be treated.  This may offend our 21st century western ideals, but I choose to accept God’s ways over our modern ways when the two conflict instead of trying to warp the Bible into fitting our modern mold.

But getting back to polygyny, here are several Bible passages that regulate the practice of polygyny:

God commands that wives are to be taken care of equally even when their husband takes another wife, and each wife has a right to sexual activity with her husband.

The rights of wives to be treated well even after their husbands married other women

7 “If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. 8 If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her. 9 If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. 10 If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. 11 If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.

Exodus 21:7-11

A man could not marry his wife’s sister while she lived

God commanded that a man could not marry a close relative including the sister of his wife while his wife lives.

“You shall not marry a woman in addition to her sister as a rival while she is alive, to uncover her nakedness.”

Leviticus 18:18(NASB)

 

This verse very clearly is talking about polygyny.  Moses says a man cannot take a woman’s sister as a rival wife while the woman lives, which implies after his wife has died then he can marry his sister-in-law – no honest reading of this passage would imply that he is forbidding polygyny, only polygyny amongst close relatives. The “in addition” phrase implies that a man could take another wife, just not one that is a close relative (like an aunt, sister, half-sister or sister of his current wife).

God commanded a man (regardless of marital status) to marry the wife of his dead brother and raise up and heir for his brother’s estate. If he did not fulfill this duty he would be shamed before the people. There was definite possibility of polygamy occurring here.

“5 “When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6 It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.”

Deuteronomy 25:5-6(NASB)

God said he gave David the wives of Saul

“I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!

II Samuel 12:8(NASB)

In addition to these regulations we have the examples of many Godly men in the Old Testament who had many wives.  Abraham had concubines (slave wives) in addition to his second wife after Sarah died. Jacob had 4 wives, Gideon had “many wives” and David had 8 wives and 10 concubines. As I said earlier I think Solomon’s 700 wives and 300 concubines is an abuse of polygyny and is a violation of God’s warning against Kings multiplying wives.

That being said, I think the weight of Scripture, both in example and in actual regulations is against MO advocates.

History shows us that the Jews even 300 years after Christ still heavily practiced polygamy, because the Romans would not have had to keep passing laws against something that was not a problem.

God symbolizes himself as a polygamist with his two wives – Judah and Israel

“The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, “Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother; and they played the harlot in Egypt. They played the harlot in their youth; there their breasts were pressed and there their virgin bosom was handled. Their names were Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister. And they became Mine, and they bore sons and daughters. And as for their names, Samaria is Oholah and Jerusalem is Oholibah… 36 Moreover, the Lord said to me, “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominations. 37 For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands.”

Ezekiel 23:1-4 & 36-37(NASB)

Most Christians know that God pictured himself as a husband to Israel. What many Christians do not know is that God actually pictures himself as polygamist in the Book of Ezekiel, married to two women (Judah and the rest of Israel). Opponents may argue that God was speaking of Israel as one nation, but then why would he clearly say there were two daughters who bore him children and he said “they” committed adultery against him? If Polygamy was an evil thing, God would never picture himself as a polygamist.

Conclusion of Part 4

Not only did God not have Moses condemn the practice of polygamy, he had him do the opposite – he had him regulate it! God said through his prophet that he had given David the many wives of Saul. God commanded that men had to marry their dead brother’s wife to raise up heirs for him and no exemption is made for them if they are already married. Why would God picture himself as polygamist married to two women (Judah and the rest of Israel) if polygamy was a perversion or wrong?

All articles in this series:

Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical Part 1

Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical Part 2

Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical Part 3

Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical Part 4

Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical Part 5