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

chastity_belt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mary’s Story

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

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

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

An update from Mary

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

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

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

Make sense?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Masturbation wrong for a Christian?

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

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

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

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

Genesis 38:9-10 (KJV)

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

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

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

Can masturbation become sinful?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Masturbation when done in moderation can have positive benefits.

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

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

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

Is the use of chastity belts by Christians wrong?

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

It is sinful for two reasons.

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

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

II Corinthians 3:17 (KJV)

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

Galatians 5:1 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leviticus 19:28 (KJV)

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

Ephesians 5:29 (KJV)

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

Colossians 2:20-23 (NASB)

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

What should Mary do?

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

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

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

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

I Corinthians 6:12 (KJV)

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

I was never attracted to my husband does God want me to fake it?

I received a letter today from a woman who married a man she was never attracted to when both he and she were not believers. She said she married him for wrong reasons.   Now she has become a believer and he is still an unbeliever.

She has embraced the Bible’s teachings on the submission of wives to their husbands and wants to serve her husband and see him come to Christ if it is God’s will. But she greatly struggles with her lack of physical attraction to him. In fact she is so un-attracted to him that it makes having sex with him very difficult.

When she was an unbeliever she did not try to meet his sexual needs but now she has changed her behavior and given herself freely to her husband – a man she has absolutely no physical attraction to. She does her best to fake it, sometimes even holding back tears.

He has no idea that she has absolutely no physical attraction to him. In fact he is excited by her renewed interest in having sex with him and is very excited about how their relationship has changed and asking if it was good for her and what he can do better.

But if there is no physical attraction what can she do? Should she continue to fake it as she has been? Should she hide her lack of physical attraction to her husband? Is she being disingenuous to him and herself by carrying on like this? Should she tell him the truth that she has never been attracted to him and she just fakes enjoyment when having sex with him?

She also made it clear she knows God wants her to stay with him for life and she has no intention of leaving him as she once did when she was an unbeliever. But what should she do? This was her question to me. We will just call her “Amanda” even though that is not her real name.

This was the email I sent back to Amanda

Amanda – let me say first and foremost that I am so happy you came to Christ and accepted him as your savior.

I am also so happy that you accepted God’s will and plan for your life that marriage is for life and that God means for you to honor, obey and unconditionally love your husband despite your lack of attraction to him.

Now I will answer your questions with a story.

There was a young man from Kentucky who heard from a missionary to Japan speaking in his church one Sunday.  The missionary spoke of the need for Christian missionaries in the country of Japan. The young country boy immediately felt the calling of God on his life to be a missionary to Japan.  He graduated high school went to Bible college and learned the skills he needed to be a missionary. He learned the language. But one thing that he was always scared of was the food!

He was a fried chicken and steak man.  Japan is seafood country and he hated seafood with a passion! The smell of it disgusted him.  The texture of it disgusted him.  The taste of it disgusted him. He told himself that God would work it out – after all they still have hamburgers in Japan right?

Well the years went by and that man married a wonderful woman and had his first child and was on his way to Japan as a missionary. Once he was there in Japan the first thing he looked for were restaurants that would sell beef and chicken!   He was so happy to find them.  But as he began his ministry to the people of Japan he found himself constantly being offered various seafood dishes by people who came to his ministries and he would politely turn him down.  A fellow missionary took him aside and told him that his constant turning down of the Japanese food was hindering his ministry and was offensive to many people.

He prayed and ask God to help him to do two things.

“Lord the first thing I am asking you for is to help me cultivate a desire for seafood even though I am disgusted by it so that I can serve your people here in Japan better.   The second thing I am asking for is for you to help me fake that I like it until I actually do.”

Amanda – this applies to you.  The most important mission God has given you is serving your husband.  You may actually be able to help bring him to Christ by continuing to submit to him as you have been doing.  You need to pray that same prayer that missionary to Japan did.  Your lack of attraction and your repulsion to your husband is hindering your ministry to him.  I would suggest you pray this prayer and pray it often:

“Lord the first thing I am asking you for is to help me cultivate a desire and attraction to my husband even though I have no attraction to him so that I can serve this man you have given me to serve and perhaps he will come to you because of my respectful behavior toward him.   The second thing I am asking for is for you to help me fake that I like it until I actually do.”

Amanda – I believe these two passages of Scripture speak to what you need to do with your husband:

“1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

4 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.

5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” – I Peter 3:1-6 (KJV)

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

For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” – I Corinthians 7:13 & 16 (KJV)

Conclusion

I believe many Christian men and women can learn from Amanda’s story and her courage to do what is right despite their feelings.  Some may have married a spouse who they were never attracted to.  Maybe they were attracted at one point and lost their physical attraction over many years.

But I think that we need to do our best to cultivate an attraction toward our spouse – the person we have made a life long commitment to before God. We need to ask God for help in this area.  Maybe we will never be fully attracted to them but God can help us fake it when we need to.

As I have said many times on this site “faking it” whether it be in things our spouses likes to do, attraction to our spouse or even in the bedroom is all part of being an adult. It is part of what it means to be a Christian.  We need to put a smile on and do what God has called us to do even when we don’t feel like it.

Now does this let spouses off the hook who totally let themselves go and don’t have good hygiene? No.  We have an obligation to keep ourselves as clean an attractive as we reasonably can for our spouses.  There are times where we may need to delicately speak about things like excessive weight gain and lack of basic hygiene. But I don’t think God wants us to just tell our spouse there is no physical attraction and there never will be.  There is no way that this would build a relationship and make it better.

If a Kentucky man who loves chicken and hamburgers can learn to enjoy eating octopus in Japan a woman can over time learn to enjoy sex with her husband to whom she currently has no physical attraction.

 

 

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

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

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

John’s Story

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

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

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

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

Egalitarian or “partnership” marriages are based on a lie

Your statement:

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

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

Your statement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes your Christian faith may cost you your marriage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:23-24 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

Your children will be hurt in either case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Statement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Corinthians 6:13 (NASB)

Other related posts:

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

How to help women learn their place

Women do not know or accept their place in God’s creation anymore. “A woman’s place is in the home” is just one of many truths that our society derides and mocks. “to ‘love, honor and obey’” has been stripped from most marriage vows as women no longer believe they must obey their husbands or be in subjection to their husbands as Sarah who called her husband “lord”(I Peter 3:5-6).

Feminism has been largely successful in eradicating the femininity that women once had. Churches have for the most part abandoned the practice of teaching Biblical gender roles that God has commanded for men and women.

We have women saying things in the wrong place or in the wrong way. Women showing no deference or respect toward men. Daughters showing little to no respect for their fathers and wives showing little to no respect for their husbands. Wives routinely shame their husbands in public not to mention in private. Daughters disobey their fathers and wives routinely disobey their husbands with impunity. Many women pursue selfish career ambitions instead of being ambitious for marriage, child bearing and homemaking.

We as Christians can turn this around by having the courage to speak the truth of God’s Word even if our world does not want to hear it. We need to show our young ladies from the Word of God what it truly means to be a woman of God.

The most important people in this endeavor are first fathers, then mothers and finally Pastors and teachers in our local churches. Fathers need to teach their daughters what it means to be Godly women and this needs to be enforced by their mothers and further enforced by church leaders.

My teenage daughter has been asking me for some time to put together a guide with Scripture passages that she can commit to memory as she shares these truths with other young girls she attends school with.  She looks forward to one day being the wife and mother that God designed her to be. This is dedicated to you my daughter! I love you.

Below are several Bible passages that teach women how God wants them to conduct their lives.

Her speech

She is not loud or boisterous but instead she is quiet and meek

“A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.” – Proverbs 9:13 (KJV)

“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 3:3-4 (KJV)

She is not a gossip but rather she is a trustworthy confident

“And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” – I Timothy 5:13 (KJV)

“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.” – Proverbs 31:11 (KJV)

She knows when and where to speak and when to hold her tongue

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

When she does speak she does so in a wise and kind manner

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

Her ambitions

She is ambitious to be a wife, mother and homemaker

“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)

When she has a home she is ambitious toward the care of it and is never lazy or idle

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens…

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” – Proverbs 31:15 & 27 (KJV)

When she has children she is ambitious to be joyful in her care of them

“He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.” – Psalm 113:9 (KJV)

Her love

She shows compassion and empathy towards those in need around her

“She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” – Proverbs 31:20 (KJV)

Second only to God, a woman’s greatest love and affection is reserved for her husband and her children

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

Her sexuality

She protects her virginity for marriage and does not manipulate men with her sexuality

“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.” – Proverbs 6:26 (KJV)

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

In marriage she ravishes her husband with her body and she never defrauds him

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

19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” – Proverbs 5:18-19 (KJV)

“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 7:4-5 (KJV)

Her appearance

She dresses in a way that never places her femininity in doubt

“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)

She dresses appropriate to the occasion (modestly)

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” – I Timothy 2:9 (KJV)

She cares for her beauty knowing that her husband desires it as God desires the beauty of his church

“So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” – Psalm 45:11 (KJV)

“How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!” – Song of Solomon 7:6 (KJV)

Her submission

She has a submissive spirit as opposed to a contentious spirit

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

She embraces patriarchy (male authority over women) in the home, the Church and in society

“5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.” – Numbers 30:5 (KJV)

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

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

“11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” – I Timothy 2:11-12 (KJV)

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” – I Corinthians 11:3 (KJV)

Her dependence

She looks to her father and later her husband for her provision

“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” – Ephesians 5:29 (KJV)

She embraces that fact that God has placed her in “the weaker vessel” and that she needs the protection of men

“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

She looks to her father and later her husband for her spiritual guidance

“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)

Her place

She embraces the fact that God made her to be the helper to her husband, not him to be her helper

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

She sees her husband as her master and not her equal partner

“5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” – I Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)

Her methods of persuasion

She does not nag her husband into doing what is right

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” – Proverbs 27:15 (KJV)

She wins her husband by her righteous behavior toward him in spite of his failings

“1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” – I Peter 3:1-2 (KJV)

Her reverence for her husband

She never makes her husband ashamed, but rather she brings him honor

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

She reverences her husband’s position despite the flaws of his person

“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)

Her Influence

She influences and teaches other women to be good wives and mothers

“3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

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

5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” – Titus 2:3-5(KJV)

Her legacy

She realizes that her greatest legacy is built by what she does in her home and not what she does outside her home

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

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” – Proverbs 31:28 (KJV)

Is marriage too big a risk for men?

With the modern possibility that a woman can take a man’s children, half his assets and saddle him with years of potential debt in the form of child support and alimony is marriage now too great a risk for men? Many men think so.  A lot of young Christian men who are engaged get cold feet about marriage because of these very real possibilities.

“She is so sweet and submissive now, but what will she change into after we are married.” This is the thought of many young men today.

Two reasons men don’t want to marry

There are really two reasons today that men don’t want to marry.  One is for selfish reasons.  “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” is the philosophy of a lot of men today.  The practice of women “giving the milk for free” (having sex before marriage) has served only to help increase this irresponsible behavior in men.

In fact there are many in the so-called “manosphere” that actually recommend men forgo marriage all together and instead simply pursue a life of casual sex with various women.

Some in the manosphere argue that marriage is far more advantageous to women in our current culture than it is for men and if we were looking at this simply from the perspective of men getting the kind of respect and sex they want from women they would be right.  

But while respect and sex are things that are critically important to most men – these are not the only things that are important to  many men.  This leads us to our second reason some men do not want to marry.

The second reason that men do not want to marry is not for selfish reasons.  This second group of men truly want to share their lives with a woman in marriage and have a family. But they fear the very real possibility that a woman will deceive them and rip their heart out through divorce. Even if the woman does not divorce them she may turn out to be a contentious and angry woman that is cold to them both inside and outside the bedroom.

Some Christian men even find what they think is Biblical support for their belief that marriage is just too risky a proposition.

The Bible tells us it is hard to find an excellent wife

“An excellent wife, who can find? for her price is far above rubies.” – Proverbs 31:10 (NASB)

Some men read passages like this and think to themselves “if it was hard to find a good wife back in Biblical times – how much harder is it today?” And they are right. It is very difficult for a man to find a good wife today.

The Bible tells us it is better to be alone than with a contentious woman

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

Again these are not encouraging words for young Christian men to read about the prospects of marriage.  If women were contentious in Biblical times, how much more contentious are they today in age of feminism?

The Apostles say “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry

Christ had this discussion about marriage and divorce:

“9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” – Matthew 19:9-12 (KJV)

I have written exhaustively in previously posts about what Christ said here on divorce when we understand it light of the entire witness of the Scriptures.  But really this conversation boiled down to the fact that men thought they could put their wives away (divorce them) for any reason and Christ was putting a stop to easy divorce.

This meant you could potentially marry a very contentious woman and nasty woman but if she did not sin against you sexually (by either committing adultery or through sexual defraudment against you) you had to stay married to her.  This is what Christ was saying.

So the Apostles were basically saying – “if a man has to stay with a contentious and nasty wife it is better not even to get married.”  Christ responds to their conclusion that it is only for those “to whom it is given” – in other words those who have the gift of celibacy.

Paul talks even more about celibacy. Some think the Apostle Paul would agree with them that is better not to get married.  The Apostle Paul wrote these statements about celibacy:

“It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” – I Corinthians 7:1 KJV

“So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.” – I Corinthians 7:38 KJV

If we stopped at these passages many young men would go away feeling validated from the Scriptures that their feelings that marriage is too risky a proposition is right.

But when coming to God’s Word we must examine all of the Scriptures and not just the ones that seem to validate our feelings and desires.

The two reasons Paul thought Celibacy was better than marriage

The Apostle Paul did not say it is better for a man not to get married under ALL circumstances.  Rather it was only under certain circumstances that it was in fact better that men do not get married.

The first reason Paul gives for celibacy is “I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is.” (I Corinthians 7:26 NASB)  This was because of great persecution that Christians were under.  Christians being rounded up and put in prison or even worse being put to death.  It is understandable why Paul would recommend celibacy if possible under such grave conditions.

“but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided…This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” – I Corinthians 7:33 -35 (NASB)

Paul then gives a second reason to consider celibacy. According to Paul marriage creates a new temptation.  The temptation to put your spouse before God.  The temptation to turn your spouse into idol.

Celibacy is NOT always good

While it is true that Paul wrote “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (I Corinthians 7:1 -KJV) he also wrote:

“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” – I Corinthians 7:2 (KJV)

“for it is better to marry than to burn.” – I Corinthians 7:9 (KJV)

Christian men do not have the option to do as unbelieving men and just go around having casual sex with women.

Also for the Christian man celibacy is not an option unless God grants him that “gift” (I Corinthians 7:7). If a Christian man has a strong sex drive the answer to that strong sex drive and also to avoiding temptation to fornicate is marriage.

So if God has given you a strong sex drive and not the gift of celibacy – you have a Biblical obligation to seek out a wife.

Previously we saw that the Bible warns us as Christian men about the potential pitfalls of marriage.  There are a lot of sinful women out there.  There are a lot of Christian women out there that are contentious and do not have the submissive spirit God calls on women to have toward their men. But regardless of these facts the Bible tells us marriage is a good thing.

The Bible calls marriage an honorable endeavor

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” – Proverbs 18:22 (KJV)

“House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.” – Proverbs 19:14 (KJV)

The Bible calls children a blessing from God

“3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.” – Psalm 127:3-4 (KJV)

“Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.” – Proverbs 17:6 (KJV)

God commands us to marry and have children

One of the oldest commands in Scripture is found in the creation of man and woman in the Garden of Eden:

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” – Genesis 1:28 (KJV)

God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” (to get married and have children) has not expired. It was not a temporary command.

God designed men and women to bring him glory through living out their design.  A big part of our design is that we were designed for marriage.   How can we fully live out the roles that he has given to us if we do not marry? How can we model the relationship of Christ and his Church (Ephesians 5:22-33) if we do not marry? The answer is we cannot.

Yes God makes exceptions for his command to marry in the form of Biblical celibacy.  But this is only if we have the gift of celibacy.

Conclusion

Marriage has always been a risk for men and a good woman has always been hard to find as we can see from Scriptures.  I will fully admit that marriage today is probably the greatest risk it has ever been for men in the history of world.

Our society has completely rejected the roles that God designed for men and women in society, in the church and most importantly in marriage. In fact our society has actually encouraged and enabled rebellion in women and this makes the probabilities of marriage difficulties and divorce very high.

But as young Christian men come to realize these risks they would do well to heed the words of Joab to the men of Israel:

Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the Lord do that which seemeth him good.” – II Samuel 10:12 (KJV)

Having courage in the face of overwhelming odds is what it means to be a man.

Yes marriage for a man is huge risk today.  But anything in life that is worthwhile is a risk. Did you know that 90 percent of small business startups fail? But would we recommend that people stop trying to start businesses? Of course not.   In the same way just because we know 50 percent of marriages end in divorce does not mean we should can give up on God’s institution of marriage.

Instead of giving up on marriage, we need to do everything we can to mitigate the risk of failure in marriage by following Biblical principles in dating and seeking out a wife. If you start out with a woman who has a good foundation your chances of success are far better.

See my post on Biblical dating for good principles to follow in finding the wife that God would have for you.

Are some wives tempting their husbands to lust?

Kristen Clark, a writer for the website CovenantEyes.com, asserts that a wife showing her husband a magazine with a half-naked woman’s body on it was an example of a wife causing her husband to lust. Most likely by “half naked” she probably means the woman was wearing a bikini or a bra and panties.

In her article entitled ““When Wives Unknowingly Tempt Their Husbands Toward Lust“ Kristen Clark writes:

“I was standing in line at my local grocery store when an obnoxious magazine caught my eye. I’m used to seeing half-naked women on the cover of tabloids, but this image seemed even too edgy for a tabloid.

A small wave of anger rushed over me as I thought of the innocent children and husbands who were being exposed to this, as I call it, “tabloid porn.” As I tried to refocus my thinking on something more positive, a middle aged couple got in line behind me.

I watched in curiosity as the wife reached over and selected that magazine off the rack. I watched even more curiously to see what she would do with it. To my shock, the wife held that magazine cover up to her husband’s face and said, “Wow, wish I had a body like that!”

Her husband chuckled as he happily perused the cover until she removed it.

I quickly glanced forward, realizing I had been staring. I tried to wrap my head around what I just saw. “Why would a wife want to intentionally show her husband a partially naked woman?” “Why would a wife want to help her husband peruse another woman?

As I thought about that puzzling scene over the next few days, I began to wonder…maybe that wife didn’t understand the value of sexual purity in her marriage. Or maybe that wife was clueless about lust and temptation. Or maybe she wanted to prove her “security” by appearing non-jealous. I don’t know.”

Read the full article here.

Answering Kristen’s questions

Kristen’s first question:

“Why would a wife want to intentionally show her husband a partially naked woman?”

The answer to Kristen’s first question:

Because the wife accepts and embraces the fact that God designed her husband to appreciate the female form and not just HER form and her from alone.

The wife in that grocery line most likely understood the difference between lust and sexual arousal far better than Kristen Clark and many Christians today understand it.

Many Christians point to Matthew 5 in defining lust:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV)

Then they go on to say “Lust is sexual arousal or sexual fantasy about someone you are not married to”.

Did you see that definition of lust in that passage? No you did not.

So how about we let the Bible define what lust is instead of letting our culture and churches define what lust is:

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” – Romans 7:7 (KJV)

This wife in that checkout line understood there is no sin in her husband appreciating or even being aroused sexually by the form of another’s woman’s body. She understood that lust is covetousness and that her husband was not going to covet this woman by thinking of how he could find her and sexually possess her outside of marriage.

So rather than condemning this woman as Kristen Clark as has done, we as believers should be applauding this woman for her actions. Instead of scolding her husband for his visual nature and appreciation of the female form – she shows him that God’s creation of his visual nature and attraction to the female form is GOOD.

Kristen’s Second Question:

“Why would a wife want to help her husband peruse another woman?”

The answer to Kristen’s second question:

I will answer her question with another question of my own and then answer it for her.

Why would a woman not just let her husband peruse another woman, but also give her to him as another wife?

“Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.” – Genesis 30:18 (KJV)

In Genesis chapters 29 & 30 we that Leah is very jealous of her husband’s affections as he prefers Rachel to her. But eventually Leah overcomes her jealousy of her husband to the point that she gives him her servant Zilpah so that she can bare him more sons.

So the answer to my expanded version of Kristen’s second question is – This wife was putting her husband’s needs ahead of her own.

It is interesting how in many churches we will hear about how Sarah gave her servant Hagar to Abraham and how that ended so badly – yet we hear nothing of how God blessed Leah for giving Zilpah to Jacob.

The fact is these were two very different situations. In the one God told Sarah she would give Abraham a son and an heir.  She did not believe God and instead sought to get him an heir through another means.  Now there would have been nothing wrong with Abraham marrying another woman and he in fact married several more women later in life.

The problem was in Sarah trying to get him his heir through this method when God had said the heir would come through her.

With all due respect to Kristen Clark – it is she and so many Christians like her today that are in fact “clueless about lust and temptation”.  The Bible is clear what lust is as I have previously pointed out and what Kristen describes in that checkout line was NOT a wife tempting her husband to lust.  It was a wife loving and fully embracing her husband’s God given visual nature and appreciation for a variety of beautiful women.

Here is a list of things Kristen does to keep her husband from enjoying the form of any other woman but her:

“I sort the mail and throw away the immodest/sensual ads so he doesn’t have to see them.

I don’t ask my husband to watch movies with me that have immodest women in them (i.e. most chick flicks).

I intentionally leave all magazines, books, etc. out of my home that have immodest/sensual images or ads in them.

If I know a certain restaurant has immodest waitresses, I don’t suggest eating there.

I don’t ever take my husband into a lingerie store. I’ve seen many wives do this, and from what I hear, it’s not helpful for the men.”

I know where Kristen is coming from and I understand that her actions might not be coming from a place of trying to deny her husband any pleasure that God has given him to enjoy.  She simply has been wrongly taught that the Bible forbids her husband from enjoying the view of any other woman’s body other than her own.  So she must take every step possible to make sure he is never sexually aroused by the form of any other woman real or imagined.

She has been taught that when a man has sexual imaginations about a woman he is not married to (whether that his girlfriend, fiancé or some other woman after he is married) that these are by definition “impure thoughts” and thus her constant references to purity in marriage.

But the fact is that a man enjoying the sight of a woman’s form whether he is married to her or not IS PURE. It is pure and holy because that is how God designed him to be.

It is only when he allows those pure thoughts about the female form or even sex itself to turn into covetous thoughts of ways to possess a woman outside of marriage that his thoughts become impure and sinful.

But while Kristen and many other Christian may sincerely practice these things with good intentions toward God and their husbands – they are in fact sincerely WRONG.

How some wives DO tempt their husbands to lust

Up to this point we have shown why Kristen’s story does not show a wife tempting her husband to lust, but rather shows a wife honoring and show acceptance of her husband’s appreciation and desire to view the female form.

One of the biggest problems with all this focus on men not looking at images of women or real women is that it takes our eyes off the REAL dangers of men being tempted by their wives to lust.

Here are ways a wife can actually cause her husband to lust:

  1. When she sexually denies him – the more a man is denied by his wife sexually the more tempted he will be to actually lust (have covetous thoughts about getting women to meet his sexual needs outside of marriage).
  2. Even if she does not directly sexually deny him – if she does not sexually fulfill him he may be tempted to lust. Things like not letting him see her naked, refusing to wear lingerie or refusing to perform certain acts that the Bible allows (like oral sex or having sex in different positions) may tempt him to lust.

These are the real dangers where wives can have a direct impact in tempting their husbands to lust. These are where we should be focusing the battle against lust.

“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 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 7:2-5 (KJV)

Christian wives – you want to help your husband to not be tempted to lust? Then stop worrying about the woman on the magazine cover in the supermarket aisle and focus on the woman who should be giving her body fully and freely to her husband (that’s you!).

 

How doing LESS for your wife can make your marriage better

Christian men are told in counseling offices and churches across America that if they would just do more for their wives that their marriages would get better. But the truth is that sometimes doing LESS for your wife can actually improve your marriage.

But before we can address the men who need to do LESS for their wives, we need to address the men who actually need to do MORE for their wives.

Some men might need to do MORE not less for their wives

The Bible does tell men that they need to spend time with their wives and know them:

“When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken.” – Deuteronomy 24:5 (NASB)

“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)

“If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” – Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

Gentlemen – we as husbands are required to provide food, clothing and shelter to our wives. We are required to give them regular sexual relations. We are required to spend time with them, talk to them, know their needs and concerns and give them proper honor as our wife. This is the Biblical definition of what it means for a man to unconditionally love his wife.

This is a tall order and each of us as men fail in this duty from time to time. I think as men often times we can be great at providing our wives with food, clothing, shelter and sex but we fail in the areas of honoring her and knowing her. We can become too wrapped up in our jobs and hobbies to the point where we never talk to our wives.

If you are failing to spend time with or talk to your wife then you are not a husband that needs to do less, but instead you need to do MORE.

A little clarification on the phrases “spend time”, “talk” and “honor”

By “spend time” and “talk” I do not mean you have to spend every waking hour, or every amount of free time you have from your job with your wife. There is no sin in a man having hobbies and interests that do not involve his wife. In fact this is actually a healthy thing for a man to do. But what it means is that you on a regular basis – even if it just a half hour or hour a day you check in with your wife to find out how her day went.

Perhaps find a sitcom or some game show you watch together and just talk. I don’t have my kids during the week (because they are with my ex-wife during the week), so my wife and I watch Family Feud each night and that is our talk time before I go do more work, run errands or blog. If you have kids this will probably be something you do at the end of the night when the kids go to bed. You discuss her concerns or maybe just talk about current events or whatever she needs to talk about. Some nights neither one of you will have anything to say and you can just enjoy the silence, other nights things will need to be discussed. This is how you come to “dwell with your wife according to knowledge”, this is how you know her.

By “honor” when it comes to your wife I mean not constantly criticizing her and not running her down in front of others. If you are a highly critical husband that needs to be put in check. Yes as husbands sometimes we are called to confront our wife’s sin, but that does not mean crushing her spirit by constantly making her feel like a failure.

Don’t get me wrong – I do NOT believe that a man needs to give his wife unwarranted compliments. If your wife rarely cooks you don’t have to brag and pretend how she cooks all the time. But when she does cook – then praise her. You don’t have to praise your wife sitting in her sweats with her un-kept hair and tell her how beautiful she is. But when she does clean herself up and make herself beautiful for you – recognize it!

Some men need to do LESS not more for their wives

Now if you can answer to the previous section that you are in fact providing for your wife’s physical needs(food, clothing, shelter and sex) as well as spending time with her, talking to her and honoring her then you may be need to do LESS for your wife in order to have a marriage that honors God.

But this works for our marriage so why do I need to change this with my wife?

Maybe as a Christian husband you feel that you have a great marriage with your wife. You enjoy eachother’s company, you go out on dates, you have regular sex and you just love doing things for your wife like buying her flowers, giving her jewelry doing housework, taking care of the kids so she can get out and a whole host of other things. These are all good things a husband can do for his wife – so why would he want to do them less?

The reason you may need to do less is because you may be spoiling your wife and enabling her sinful behavior.

The title of this post was “How doing LESS for your wife can make your marriage better” and what makes a marriage “better” will be defined differently if you don’t have a Biblical worldview.

The world which rejects all the Bible’s teachings on gender roles will say there are many ways to have a better marriage. Whether the man leads, the woman leads or even if those is no leader (which is never really true) then that is all fine. Whether a woman gives her husband sex because he basically has become her servant that waits on her hand and foot and worships the ground she walks on or a man stays home and is Mr. Mom to their kids – any arrangement is fine as long as the couple agrees on the parameters.

In other words – a good marriage, a better marriage in the world’s view is one where a couple simply gets along and comes up with their own arrangement that works for them.

But this is not considered a “better marriage” in God’s view.

Only a marriage that models the relationship between Christ and his Church and adheres to the Biblical commands regarding the roles the husband and wife play in this symbolism can be considered a “better marriage”.

The spoiled wife scenario

Sometimes as husbands we can make the same mistake with our wives that parents make with their children.

Not many people would argue with the concept that you can do too much for your child. A child needs to learn to clean up after themselves as well as do their chores around the house. A child needs to do their homework and do their very best in school and their other extracurricular activities. A child must show proper respect for their parents and their teachers and other authorities.

Some parents actually run around pickup after their children, they clean their rooms for them they even help them with their homework to the point where they are practically doing it for the child. Some parents simply ignore their children’s disrespect and disobedience.

Then after all these things they do for their child they heap unearned praise and rewards on the child telling the child how wonderful they are when nothing in their behavior warrants this praise and reward. They go and buy their children whatever toys and video games they want.

Most people would agree that such a child is being spoiled and the parents are in fact not doing right by the child.

However if we were to apply this same scenario to the husband/wife relationship all of a sudden we have a very different reaction as if it is impossible for a man to spoil his wife in the same way a parent can spoil a child. But it is actually is very possible for a man to spoil his wife. Many men both Christian and non-Christian alike spoil their wives.

Imagine a husband who buys his wife flowers every week, takes her on dates every week, spends absorbent amounts of money on jewelry and weekend getaways.

He tells his wife every day she is so beautiful despite the fact that she has gained 100 lbs., rarely showers or combs her hair and sits on the couch in her big tee shirt and sweat pants with a bag of Cheetos in her lap.

He tells her how great a cook she is and brags to others how great a cook she is when she cooks 20% of the time and he cooks 80%. He cleans the house while she sits around on a couch talking to her girlfriends on the phone, Facebooking or watching TV. He does most of the laundry. He lives for his wife’s immediate happiness above all other concerns.

Some men in this situation may not do all the house work, but instead they hire a maid so their wife can continue to sit on her throne.

Why is it wrong to spoil your wife?

Maybe this describes you wife exactly, maybe it is close but not the same. Maybe she takes great care of her appearance but neglects her duties to care for the home.   Maybe she is a career woman who works but is still neglectful of her duties to you and your home.

You might say – “wait – this works for me and my wife. I do all this and she gives me all the sex I want. That is all I want.” I have received several emails from men who have this kind of relationship with their wives. I have also seen it first hand with some relatives and coworkers.

I am going to repeat a statement I have said often on this blog:

There is more to marriage than sex, but a marriage without sex is not a marriage.

Many times when we are talking about sexual denial we emphasize the second part of that statement. But in this scenario we need to look at the first part of that statement.

Marriage is not just about doing whatever it takes as a man to get your sexual needs met. It is about modeling the relationship between God and his people, between Christ and his Church.

The example I have just described above is an example of a husband spoiling his wife in the same way parents can spoil a child. It is NOT modeling the example of the relationship between Christ and his Church.

If you as a husband see yourself anywhere in this description I have just mentioned – you need to be doing LESS for your wife, not more.

You spoil your wife when you do things for her that she ought to be doing. When you step into her role as a wife and do for her what she ought to be doing for you – that is spoiling her. When you reward her with unwarranted compliments, unlimited access to your free time, dates, trips, gifts and house hold upgrades when she has not earned them by her behavior you are spoiling your wife.

Is there a place for graciousness with your wife where you give her things she did not earn? Yes. But to do this all the time is to move from being gracious to enabling sinful behavior on the part of your wife.

But when you give up your leadership and authority position to your wife in order to get sex you have reversed the God given roles of husband and wife and you are now acting as the wife and your wife is now acting as the husband.

But aren’t husbands and wives to supposed to serve one another?

Yes – but husbands and wives are to serve each other in different ways. A man primarily serves his wife by leading her, providing for her, protecting her and meeting her sexual needs. A wife primarily serves her husband by following his leadership, caring for the domestic needs of his home, bearing his children, caring for his children and meeting his sexual needs.

Stop enabling your wife and start sacrificing for her holiness

Men are called to sacrifice themselves for their wife’s holiness, not to enable their sin.

“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)

No parent who loves their child wants to see them unhappy, any more than a man who loves his wife wants to see her unhappy. But God places our call to holiness, over our happiness. When you as a husband take a stand and start doing less for this wife you have spoiled she is going to be angry. She may start to sexually deny you in order to get you to start doing these things again. This is the sacrifice you will have to make. You must be willing to sacrifice your own sexual needs in order to try and get your wife to conform to God’s design for her as a wife. You cannot sacrifice your faith, God’s word or the headship position God has given you just so you can get sex from your wife.

Maybe you are doing all these things but still being denied sexually

Now many men do all the things I described above in a vain effort to get their wives to stop denying them sexually. They tell themselves “maybe if I do this more, or that more then she will give me sex”.

If you find yourself in this position – know that this will NOT work.

Some wives routinely dangle the possibility in front of their husbands that if you just do “this or that more, then I might do that more”.

Don’t buy it, don’t fall it.

The same thing applies to the husband who is actually getting sex by doing all the things you are doing in vain. I know if you are living in a sexless marriage you want so desperately to believe if you just do a little more or something different it will change.  But this is a false hope.  You must realize that.

STOP DOING THEM.

Do less, not more for your wife if you are going to have any hope of repairing your marriage and bringing your bringing into conformity with God’s design .

10 Ways to “un-spoil” your wife

Now that we have established why you cannot spoil your wife even if you are getting regular sex or you are spoiling her in a vain attempt to get more sex here are 10 ways you can “un-spoil” your wife.

Start leading spiritually

Spend time in prayer with the Lord and ask for guidance as you take over the leadership of your home in accordance with his will. Are you going to a church because your wife picked it but you don’t agree that this is the best church for your family? Then lead your family to the church you believe God would have you attend. Has your wife been teaching your children doctrines and beliefs that you believe are unbiblical? Then you need to let her know this and correct these errors with your children.

Start leading financially

Have you gotten into debt in order to appease her? Take the credit cards away and put a budget together. Perhaps you have not been giving to your Church as you should, go to the Lord in prayer and seek his guidance in how to reorder your finances.

Start leading in sex

Make it clear to your wife that regular sexual relations are a duty and responsibility in marriage that you expect of her and she can expect from you. The only precondition to your sexual relations was met on the day you were married and made your vows before God. No preconditions remain.

Start leading by disciplining your wife

If your wife has been speaking to you in disrespectful ways especially in front the children or in other public venues then you need to rebuke her for that. If your wife has been sexually denying you, or starts to sexually deny you as a result of “un-spoiling” her you may have to take additional disciplinary steps.

See my article “7 ways to discipline your wife” for more on the subject of discipline.

Start leading in disciplining the children

Has your wife been being too lenient with the kids in your view? Has she been too hard on the kids in your view? As the father you are to set the tone of the discipline in your home. Go to the Lord in prayer and ask for his guidance in how to discipline your children.

Stop giving her unwarranted compliments

Even if she fixes herself up do not compliment her every time, instead give your comments in measured amounts.

Stop doing the household chores

It is one thing to do these kinds of things when your wife is sick or medically unable to do them. But simply to do them all the time is you doing what she should be doing in her role as your wife.

Stop taking her out wherever and whenever she wants to go

It’s ok to say no. This is not a right, this is not a requirement of a husband. Do this only in measured amounts and this should correlate to her doing her duties as a wife.

Stop buying her things that she does not need

Whether it be flowers, jewelry or any other “want” type items. Do this only in measured amounts and this should correlate to her doing her duties as a wife.

Stop giving her unlimited access to your free time

Find some hobbies you can do on your own or with your guy friends. If you have children and have been neglecting them in order to spoil her – then give them some of your free time. Give her some of your free time in measured amounts and this should also correlate to her doing her duties as a wife.

But if I do this my wife will divorce me!

After you have sought the Lord’s will in prayer in all these areas and have formulated a plan you need to have a discussion with your wife.

The first thing that you should do is apologizing for not leading your home as you should have. Now that you are taking on the leadership responsibility of your home there are going to be some changes. Go through those changes with her and be clear what you believe your Biblical duties are as a husband and father and what her Biblical duties are as a wife and mother.

Your wife will have one of four reactions to this meeting:

She will eventually repent and change and become the wife that God wants her to be.

She will cry and make you feel as though you are being mean and unloving in attempt to emotionally manipulate you into backing down.

She will give you the silent treatment and cut you off from sex hoping you will eventually back down.

She will threaten to leave or divorce you if you do not back down.

Obviously you as her husband are hoping for the first reaction. But don’t be surprised if at first she has one of the other negative reactions but eventually repents and changes her ways.

But if your wife does have one of the negative reactions (which is highly likely) – you cannot give in to any of these forms of manipulation. Your wife may actually leave and threaten divorce. She may stay and give you the cold shoulder for weeks, months or even years in an attempt to get you to break – in this case you may actually have to divorce her for sexual denial.

But in the end, sometimes it is Biblically right to do LESS, not more for your wife.