Should A Father Give Up His Career for His Children?

“How does a father provide for his children when his [ex] wife abandoned him? She returned to live with her mother. She took the kids without the father’s consent. Both the children and husband were deceived. She did not leave her parents and cleave to her husband, who moved the family, so he could best provide for his family. She didn’t like moving from her mother, and returned to her, thus abandoning and taking the children. My question is, does he pick-up from his stable career and leave his job, which provides for his children, to find employment near his children? He is struggling because he can better provide in an area where affluent jobs are abundant. Whereas if he returns to the area where his children, he is forced to find employment well below his earning potential (very rural America). What does God want the father to do? Is it more important for the father to be present in the children’s lives or more critical for him to be the provider for his children? Her abandonment turned the family upside down. Now the husband is being forced to make decisions, as the leader, to return to an area where gainful employment is scarce. There was no abuse, gambling, etc. from the husband. Please advise with relevant scripture, so that I do God’s will, not mine.”

This comment was recently sent to me by a man calling himself Darrin.

The sad reality of a post-feminist world is that the scales are massively tilted toward women.  Our modern society no longer recognizes a man’s God given ownership over his wife and his children.  So, in this sin-cursed and upside-down world what is a Christian man to do? Below is my answer to Darrin and other good men who face this type of wicked situation.

Should You Give Up Your Career for Your Children?

The first thing you need to do is focus on is why God created you.  The purpose for your creation as a male human being is shown in the Scripture below:

“7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

1 Corinthians 11:7-9 (KJV)

You were created by God to image him and thereby bring him glory. Your masculine human nature is meant to picture God’s nature.  And one of the ways you image God is in your career.

A Man’s Career Is A Defining Aspect of His Masculinity

 Your competitiveness and your desire to make your mark on the world in your career is part of the masculine image of God within you.  The Bible says the following things about a man and his work:

“Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.”

Psalm 104:23 (KJV)

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”

Psalm 22:29 (KJV)

“Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.”

Ecclesiastes 5:18 (KJV)

“Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”

Proverbs 24:27 (KJV)

A man’s career is a defining aspect of who is he is as a man.  That is why the first thing men ask each other is “What do you do for a living?”  Our careers as men define us.  They give us something to strive for, something to be diligent in and compete in.  But they also give us the ability to do something else that is crucial for us as men.  Our careers give us the ability to provide for our families.

I know the couple times I have been laid off from my job were some of the most miserable times in my life.  As men it hurts us to our core when we cannot properly provide for our families.  And that is by God’s design that we are so driven in this area.

Our provision as men for our wives and our children pictures God’s provision as a husband to his wife and as a father to his children as seen in the following Scriptures:

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

Ephesians 5:29 (KJV)

“9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

Mark 7:9-11 (KJV)

It is not the man who is called to be a keeper at home, but rather the woman

It is not your place as a man to spend the vast majority of your time in your home or with your children.  God has given that role to women.

“4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Titus 2:4-5 (KJV)

A man is called to rule over and teach his children, not spend all his time with children:

“One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity”

1 Timothy 3:4 (KJV)

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

Ephesians 6:4 (KJV)

Conclusion

Darrin, you can still be a presence and have a relationship with your children without physically being there all the time with them.  I have known some men in your same situation, the wife took the kids back to the home state and the father could not leave the state he was in or they would all be impoverished.     So, these men see their kids for 4 weeks in the summer and fly to see them a few times in between like around Christmas and other holidays.  But here is the very important part.  While they are not physically with their children, they are regularly, multiple times a week calling them on their phone and doing video calls with them. 

And in this way, they are able to talk with their children about their daily lives and pour spiritual advice into their lives.  They also regularly send their children gifts and make sure they are properly provided for.

For mothers the quantity of time in their children’s life is crucial especially at a young age.  But for fathers it is not the quantity, but rather the quality of the time spent with their children that is so crucial. 

A woman’s mission from God is her husband, her children and her home.  But for a man, his wife, his children and his home are only a part of his larger mission.

The Scriptures tell us in 1 Corinthians 11:9 “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” and in Psalm 127:3 we read “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward”.    

You as a male human being were NOT made for your wife or your children.  You were made for God to bring him glory by imaging him with your life (1 Corinthians 11:7).

So, the answer to your dilemma is you continue in your career where you are while at the same time using all your available resources to have as much of a presence as possible, even if virtual, in the lives of your children.

Career Women Are Failures in the Sight of God

When I make the bold claim, which I will support with the Bible, that career women are a failures in the sight of God I am not talking about women who are forced to work to feed their families. I am not talking about the women who tried for years without success to find a husband and simply needed to support themselves. I am not talking about women whose husband’s became disabled, died or abandoned them. In other words, I am not talking about women who did not choose to have to have a career outside the home.

I am talking about women who planned on it from the time they were teenagers.

For these women their dream was their career. And they may or may not have wanted a husband and some kids to go on the side with that career. These are the women that are utter and colossal failures in the sight of their creator whether they realize it now or not. And one day they will stand before God ashamed of the fact that they did not fulfill the purpose for which he created them.

In Galatians 1:10 the Bible says “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ”. This Biblical principle should be at the forefront of our minds as Christians each and every day in the decisions we make.

Recently a young woman calling herself Shary wrote me about her concerns about being seen as a failure in the eyes of her family:

“Can’t God use certain women through their careers for His will. For example I’m going to be a freshman college student starting this fall (with the intention of becoming a doctor) after taking a gap year to work. I feel conflicted because over the past several months I have been reading your blog and you write a lot that women should strive to be keepers at home. I would like to get married and have children, but at the same time I feel like I need to go to school or else I’ll just be a huge disappointment to my family. I don’t know if this is because I’ve been conditioned to think this way all my life or for some other reason, I just feel that if I don’t go to school and become a doctor I’d be a failure.”

My Response to Shary And Other Women Facing this Conflict

Shary, you asked if God can use women through their careers for “his will”? The last part of that question is the key to finding the answer to your question. So how do we know God’s will for women? For that we need to look to the Bible.

The Bible tells us for what purpose he created women in Genesis 2:18 when it states “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him”. So, we learn from Genesis 2 that God created woman as companion and helper suitable for man. The only way she could be suitable to be man’s life companion and helper was for her to have a human nature as he had. That is why God took the woman from the man.

But what kind of companion and helper did God intend for woman to be for man? Was she intended to be his equal partner and for both of them to do the same things and go and pursue their own missions?

The answer is found in Titus 2:4-5 where the Bible states “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed”.

God created woman not as an equal partner with man to have equal rights and to pursue a career outside the home as he does. But rather, the Scriptures are explicit on this that God intended for a woman’s life focus to be on serving the needs of her husband, her children and her home.

What About the Proverbs 31 Wife?

Some Christians who want to try and get around God’s explicit command for women to be keepers at home will attempt to skirt it by pointing to passages like Proverbs 31:16 which states “She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard”. They say “See – there is a career woman in the Bible! She is a land developer”.

As Bible believing Christians, we know that the Scriptures never contradict. So, we know that there is no conflict between the Bible saying in Titus 2:5 that women are to be keepers at home and Proverbs 31:16 showing a woman buying a piece of land and farming it for food. Those who say Proverbs 31 shows a career woman are reading something into the text that is not there and also ignoring the overall theme in the passage that the focus of her life is serving her husband and his home. Does it say she spends 50 or 60 hours a week buying and farming fields? No, it does not. It says she buys “a field”. Does it say she does not bring her children to help farm the field with her? No, it does not. Does it say she leaves her children with her maidens to watch them while she pursues her career in farming? Again, no it does not.

Those who read a career woman into Proverbs 31, a woman who spends upwards of 50 hours a week pouring her energy into things outside her home, are in error. They are ignoring not only the clear command of Titus 2:5 for women to be keepers at home, but also other parts of the same passage in Proverbs 31, like verse 27 which states “She looketh well to the ways of her household…”.

It is Impossible to be a Keeper at Home and a Keeper at a Career

It is impossible, utterly impossible, for a woman to be a keeper at home and at the same time spend 50 hours a week or more giving her energy to things outside her home.

Feminism sells women this lie. And sadly, even most of our modern churches today have bought this lie. They tell women they can spend 50 hours a week outside their home “following their dreams” while having a husband and kids on the side at home. What they don’t tell them is what really happens.

They don’t tell them about the anguish many of these women feel when they have to leave their young infants with others when they know an infant needs its mother. They don’t tell them about the anguish they will feel when their home is in utter disarray because they have such little energy to keep up with it. They don’t tell them about the fights they will have with their husband over who does what. They don’t tell them about when her career moves conflict with his career. And then after handling the job, the house and the kids many career women have little energy left for their husbands. And then marriages die.

Of course, there are the women who are “without natural affection” as 2 Timothy 3:3 alludes to. These women actually care more about themselves than their children or husbands. These are the women that murder their children by aborting them for the sake of their career ambitions. If these women do have children, they have absolutely no problem dropping off their crying infants with others to pursue their selfish ambitions. They have no problem donating the vast majority of their waking hours to endeavors outside their home and giving only the scraps left of their time to their children and their husbands.

And these women are a “success” in the view of our modern humanist and feminist culture.

Conclusion

So, we just described two types of women. The first group are women who after believing the lies of feminism later come to feel remorse for the decisions that they made. But now they are trapped because they have made their economic situation dependent on their income. Then we have the second group of more sinister women who lack natural affection and have absolutely no remorse for the impact that there career takes on their husbands, their children or their homes.

Are you one of these women that lacks natural affection? Could you drop your two-month-old infant off without it bothering you a bit? Could you see the stress your career places on your home, your children and your husband and be happy with giving them only the scraps left of your time and energy each day?

But there is something even more important to consider than just the impacts of a career on your future husband, children and home.

The Scriptures tell us in 1 Corinthians 11:9 “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man”.

The following statement I make to women who are not keepers at home by their own choice and design, and not because of circumstances outside of their control.

If you as a woman are not a keeper at home (and you have no desire to be so), if the majority of your time and energy are not spent supporting your husband in his career, meeting his needs sexual and otherwise, bearing his children, caring for his children and caring for the needs of his home then your life will be a failure in the sight of the one who created you.

So, are you as a woman more concerned with being seen as a failure in the eyes of our humanist culture, your parents and friends or are you more concerned with being a failure in the eyes of God?

The last subject I want to briefly touch on is celibacy.

God’s rule for men and women is marriage and having children. His exception his celibacy. And God only calls us to celibacy “that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction” (I Corinthians 7:35). Celibacy is to be used for service to the kingdom of God, not for selfish ambitions or to avoid the risks or responsibilities of marriage and having children.

So, could a woman decide to dedicate her life to God by helping on mission fields or by being a doctor, a nurse, a school teacher or other such profession? Yes. But she needs to make sure that she is doing this for the right reasons.

See these two articles I previously wrote for more these subjects:

For what reasons does God allow celibacy?

Why does God make some women with a genius level IQ if he wants all women to be homemakers?

Are You a “What about him?” Woman?

In the Gospel of John there is an incident where John is leaning on Christ’s chest as Jesus tells his disciples about the future.  In John 21:21-22, we read “Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

What was Jesus saying to Peter? He was saying “Don’t be concerned about what I have for him to do in his life, only be concerned about what I have for you to do in your life”.

Is your knee jerk reaction as a Christian woman, when you hear tough Biblical teaching toward women, “What about him?” Or more specifically “What about the men?” This mindset comes not from God, but rather the feminist and humanist culture you have been brought up in.  And more often than not, this response is a cover for your own conviction of sin as a woman. You feel that conviction and want to deflect as quickly as possible to the men.

If this is your reaction as a woman, you have a major spiritual defect in your thinking.    The Bible commands us as Christians And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God in Romans 12:2.

Don’t worry about the men.  Leave the men to other men and to God.  Only be concerned about what God has for you to do in this life as a woman.

God has given men and women different roles to play in this life and thus different races to run.  And one of the critical differences between the roles of men and women is that God has given men spiritual oversight and responsibility for the women in their lives.  So, men must be concerned not only with how they fulfill the role God has given them as men, but they must also be concerned with the instruction and discipline of women under their spiritual authority as well.

This same thing cannot be said for women.  Women should only be concerned with the role God has given them as women and leave the men to other men and ultimately to God.   Heed Christ’s words to Peter “what is that to thee? follow thou me.

Why Compromise in Marriage is Sacred in Humanism and Sinful in the Bible

If you study the Bible and look at Biblical principles of marriage there is one word that is noticeably absent regarding how to have unity in marriage.   And that word is compromise.

In humanism, compromise is a sacred tenet of any relationship, especially in marriage.   The reason it is sacred is because of humanism’s beliefs in individualism and equality.  For individualism and equality to flourish, compromises must constantly be made.  A marriage where one person calls all the shots on moral issues and big decisions of the family is considered “toxic” in the humanist view. This is because they believe marriage is an equal partnership.

But the Bible presents a very different view of marriage.

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”

1 Peter 3:1 (KJV)

The Bible shows in the passage above from 1 Peter 3:1 that God did not design marriage as a partnership, but rather as a patriarchy.  And in the passage below from Ephesians 5:23 we can see that not only is marriage a patriarchy, but it was intended by God to be a direct reflection of the relationship between Christ and his church.

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.

Ephesians 5:23 (KJV)

So the question is does Christ compromise with his church on his will, his plans and his moral decisions? The answer is absolutely not.  And neither should husband’s compromise with their wives in these areas.

The first recorded sin of a male human being, Adam, was when he compromised his moral beliefs and listen to wife.

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

Genesis 3:17 (KJV)

Adam’s compromise of his morality to please his wife brought sin into the world.  Job shows us what Adam should have done when his wife asked him to compromise his morality:

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

Job 2:9-10 (KJV)

When a man compromises his moral beliefs to please his wife he breaks the picture of Christ and his church and he exposes his family to possible consequences of that decision.

Now don’t get me wrong – when it comes to things that have nothing to do with morality compromise in marriage is a good thing.  Like when we choose where we go to dinner that is not necessarily a moral decision.  How much is spent on dinner is a moral decision, but whether we have a hamburger or pizza is not.

But I think in most cases what we call compromise on these non moral things is just us being selfless and putting the other person first and that is a good thing.

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

My Husband Has Left the Faith, What Should I do?

How should a Christian wife handle it when her husband abandons his Christian faith? How should she deal with her children in regard to their father? Recently one of my regular commenters, a woman who goes by the handle livinginblurredlines, wrote the following about her husband who once professed faith in Christ:

“hubby has decided to become a philosophical Odinist….meaning he doesn’t believe Odin and all the other Norse gods actually exist, but that there is an All-Father that encompasses all faiths that believe in a high deity, and he follows modern Odinism philosophies that embrace strength of self, traditional families, helping your fellow, and nationalism. So, he has no desire to find or attend a church, anymore. So, what shall I do concerning this and our children? When I married him 20 years ago I never thought I’d be faced with this issue!”

What follows are answers to several important questions that Christian wives who find themselves in this situation may be asking.

Can I leave My Unbelieving Husband?

The answer to this question is found in 1 Corinthians 7:13-16:
“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 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. 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. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?”

So, as you can see from the Scripture above, if your unbelieving husband wants to stay in the marriage with you, God wants you to stay with him. And the Bible tells us that in staying with him, you may actually win him to Christ.

Regarding the case of a woman whose husband has left the faith he once professed. We must realize that a true believer can never leave the faith as they are kept by the power of God. In 1 John 2:19 we read the following of those who made professions of faith and then abandoned them:
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

So, in this way as a Christian wife, you must forget your husband’s past participation in church or other Christian activities. Do not dwell on it. Wipe the slate clean in your mind and deal with him as you would someone who has never dawned the doorstep of a church.

Does God Still Want to Me to Submit to My Unbelieving Husband?

The answer to this question is found in 1 Peter 3:1-2:
“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; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

So, the answer to this question is yes, God absolutely wants you as a Christian wife to submit to your husband who is disobedient to the Word. You win a husband, whether he be an unbelieving husband or a Christian husband who has some areas where he is disobedient to God in some way. You win him without a word, without preaching at him, nagging at him or complaining at him. You win him with your actions and your life before him. You win him with your submission, your pure life and your reverent attitude toward him.

My mother is a living example of 1 Peter 3:1-2. My mother became a Christian while married to my father. She completely changed her ways toward him. She submitted to him, lived a different life in front of him and reverenced him. And these actions by my mother brought him to Christ and this enabled me to be raised by both a Christian father and a Christian mother. My father would go on to study the Word of God and become my mother’s teacher. This can work ladies!

Can I still teach my Children the Gospel?

In Acts 5:26-29 we read the following story about the Apostles:
“Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

We can see from the story above that even if your husband forbids you from teaching your children the Gospel you can and should still do that. I would suggest you do this in private settings with your children. But you can show them you love and respect their father, but that this is something that goes beyond your relationship with their father and that having a relationship with God is the most important relationship we can have in this life.

What If My Husband Forbids Me from Taking the Kids to Church?

If your husband forbids you from going to church, you can privately seek the teaching of God. While he is at work, watch sermons from Bible teachers online. And you should privately read your Bible and pray. Let your children watch Bible teaching when Dad is not around. Have them watch Christian movies and shows that teach them about God.

But Isn’t It Wrong to Keep Secrets From My Husband?

A tenant of humanism is “complete transparency in any relationship”. No secrets. None at all. But this is not how God sees things. God keeps secrets from us, and sometimes it is necessary for us to keep secrets from each other.

In Proverbs 28:13 the Bible says He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy”. But then in Proverbs 27:12 we read “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished”.

And then in Matthew 6:1-6 Jesus made the follow statements:
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Jesus reveals that it is not wrong to do good things in secret. Whether it is doing good for others or even good in obedience to God. It is only wrong to do evil things in secret or to try and cover something that is a sin against God.

Conclusion

The humanist atheist and the humanist Christian would both find the advice given here to be absurd because they hold individualism as the highest ideal. Nothing is more important than each individual being able to live their lives out in the open, exactly as they want to live it (as long as that life style does not violate humanist principles in any way of course).

Humanists love the word “transparency” and regularly apply it to relationships. They don’t like secrets. Whether it is the government keeping secrets from its citizens, husbands keeping secrets from wives or wives keeping secrets from husbands.

Of course, humanists always have some exceptions to their rules. For instance, humanists have no problem with women not being transparent with their husbands about murdering their unborn children. But I digress.

So, the humanist would say “If the husband and wife cannot find a way to openly live out their beliefs with one another and tolerate their differences then they should just divorce. But by no means should the wife have to live a secret life as a Christian or keep these kinds of secrets from her husband”.

But for us a Biblicist Christians, we know that there are more important things than our individual wishes and desires. We know that the institution of marriage is more important than the individual happiness of either the husband or wife. We know that marriage is based on a covenant, not total transparency. And we know that we can also find joy in the midst of less than ideal circumstances.

In Matthew 6:1-6, Jesus tells us that being totally transparent in regard to our thoughts or actions is not always the best thing. In fact, he tells us that doing good things toward God, for God or for others in secret can be virtuous. And in Proverbs 27:12 we read that it is “prudent” to sometimes hide ourselves or our actions.

It is utterly disappointing for any Christian wife to hear from her husband that he has left the faith and he is not the believer she thought he was. But God can still greatly use such a Christian wife in the life of her unbelieving husband. And she can still have a vibrant personal faith and have an impact for Christ on her children and on others.

God tells Christian wives in 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 that they must remain with their unbelieving husbands if the husband is willing to stay.

And yes, it will be more challenging in the area of submission. But God makes it clear in 1 Peter 3:1-2 that wives still have to obey unbelieving husbands and he says that wives may win their husbands by their submission, pure lives and reverent behavior.

Christian wives who find themselves married to unbelieving husbands may have to practice their faith in secret. But Jesus shows us in Matthew 6:1-6 that not only is it not a sin to do good toward God and others in secret, but that such actions can be virtuous.

Some Christian wives abuse the Acts 5:29 principle that “We ought to obey God rather man” in order to openly defy their husbands at every turn. But as a Christian wife married to an unbelieving husband, you should make every effort to not have to openly defy your husband.

Wives Forget Your Father’s House

While the Bible tells men to “leave” their father and mother when they enter marriage it uses a different word for women when they enter marriage.  In Psalm 45:10-11 we read “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him”.

Psalm 45:10-11 is widely recognized as a prophecy concerning Christ and his church.  But it is also very practical and applicable to marriage between men and women.  Ephesians 5:23 tells us “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.

I can’t tell you how many times I have had haters of the Bible’s teachings on gender roles say “You think men are gods and that is wrong!”.   Each time I hear a variation of that statement I chuckle a bit to myself and remember 1 Corinthians 2:14 which states “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”.

The Bible does not teach that men are gods.  There is only one God.  Men are not God, but God did create men to represent him in this world.  This is the clear teaching of the Bible found in passages like Ephesians 5:22-33 and 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. So, when we understand this concept as Christians, we understand that women are not to worship their husbands or regard their husbands as their savior.  We have one God and one savior whose name is Jesus Christ.

But after we set aside the last part from Psalm 45:10-11 concerning worship, what comes before that is very applicable to women in marriage.

The call to the young woman to regard her new husband as her lord is mirrored in 1 Peter 3:5-6 where the Bible states “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement”.

Now we can zero on what is different in the call to women when they enter marriage.  While men, in multiple Bible passages like Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7 and Ephesians 5:31, are commanded to “leave” their father and mother when they enter marriage women are told in Psalm 45:10-11 to “forget” their people and their father’s house.

A woman’s forgetting of her father’s house is a critical part of the process of her becoming one with her husband.  Her father may have taught her differently and conducted his home differently than the way her husband will conduct his home.  And if she clings to the way her father conducted his home and constantly compares that to her how her husband leads his home there will be problems in the marriage.

How many women today refuse to follow this Scriptural admonition to forget their father’s house? How many women today even refuse to give up their father’s last name or hyphenate their last name? How many women respect their fathers more than their husbands?  A woman who refuses to forget her father’s house, to clear the slate and let her husband redefine for her how their home will be conducted will never have the kind of unity in marriage that God calls for.

A final note to fathers.  As Christian fathers, we should want our daughters to marry godly men and it is our God given right according to Exodus 22:17, to “utterly refuse to give” our daughters in marriage to men whom we do not approve of.   But our culture no longer respects the rights of fathers and has given young women freedom to ignore the spiritual authority of their fathers in this regard.   This is why it is so important for us as Christian fathers in this post-feminist culture to cultivate close spiritual relationships with our daughters to the point that they would never want to disappoint us.

My daughter is within 2 years of the time we have agreed she will begin courting, not long after she graduates high school.  I am excited to see what God will do in her life.  She is not perfect and has her flaws like we all do, but I am happy that God has blessed her with a meek and submissive spirit when it comes to the men in her life whether it be me or her grandfathers.  But when it comes to other women, she is a warrior for God and stands on the front lines fighting against abortion and feminism.

I would never bless her marriage to a man who was not a Christian, a Biblicist and a firm believer in Biblical gender roles. However, I realize the man she marries may have many differences with me outside of these areas.  And I have told her as much throughout the years.  I have told her when she marries, she needs to forget my interpretations and applications of the Bible and how I conducted our house and instead fully embrace her husband’s leading in these areas.

You Are One Flesh, So Be One Flesh

In Mark 10:7-9 we find a familiar passage that is often read at weddings.  In that passage Christ states “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

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

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

“And they twain SHALL be one flesh”

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

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

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

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

5 Steps to Becoming One Flesh in Marriage

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

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

I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

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

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

Step 2 – A husband is to know his wife

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

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

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

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

Deuteronomy 24:5 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

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

Step 4 – A wife is to submit to her husband

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

Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

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

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

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

Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)

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

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

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

Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Husbands Wash Your Dirty Wives

When we think of a woman being “dirty” outside the literal meaning we will usually think of a woman acting in a sexually inappropriate manner.    And while there certainly are whorish women who do act in whorish ways there is another type of dirtiness in women that has nothing to do with a woman acting whorish.

When a woman speaks disrespectfully to her husband or does not show proper deference to her husband, that is her acting in a dirty way toward her husband.   When a wife refuses to submit any part of her life to her husband’s spiritual leadership that is her acting in a dirty way.   Sometimes it may not be her actions, but it may in fact be her attitudes and beliefs that are dirty.

Christian husbands, to love your wife as Christ loves his church requires that you wash her spiritual spots, wrinkles and blemishes with the Word of God.  You are to wash her dirty attitudes, beliefs and actions with the Word of God.

You could liken this to how you might wash your car.  You look over that car and make sure every dirt spot and blemish are gone and that it shines so good you can see your reflection in it.  It is the same idea with your wife spiritually.  After you wash her, her views and behaviors should be a reflection of the things you have taught her from God’s Word.

The washing of your wife requires a combination of knowing her, listening to her, teaching her, correcting her and yes disciplining her.   The washing of your wife will sometimes require great sacrifice on your part as the washing of his wife required great sacrifice on the part of Christ.  Sometimes it means temporarily sacrificing the peace in your home to rebuke your wife.  It might mean sacrificing time you might have spent doing things that were more enjoyable.  But it is a sacrifice that is necessary on the part of every Christian husband.

If You Love Your Wife, You Will Discipline Her

We are told in Ephesians 5:25 that husbands are to love their wives “even as Christ also loved the church” and in Revelation 3:19 Christ after rebuking his churches says “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”.  This shows us as Christian husbands that an indispensable part of us loving our wives as Christ loves his church is that we rebuke and discipline our wives.

A husband who will not rebuke or discipline his wife for sinful behavior is no better than a parent who will not rebuke and discipline their child for sinful behavior. 

And no, a husband disciplining his wife is not him treating his wife as a child, it is him treating his wife as a woman and women are under the authority of men in God’s order.   And no, God does not recognize the modern invention of the “adult” social class.  So, the notion we hear so often in churches that “he is an “adult” and responsible for himself before God and she is an “adult” and responsible for herself before God” is completely unbiblical.  The humanist invention of the “adult” social class is a perversion and attempt to give women the same rights, responsibilities and privileges as men, something God never did.

For more details on the how a husband can go about disciplining his wife in a way which follows Biblical principles for discipline see my article “7 Ways To Discipline Your Wife“.

Husbands If You Don’t Hear Your Wife, God Won’t Hear You

Christian husbands, God says you must know your wife, and not just in the sexual sense of the word.  You are also called to know her on a spiritual and emotional level.  This does not mean you have to become an emotional being like a woman, or “get more in touch with your feelings”.  It simply means talking to your wife and listening to her fears, her concerns and her requests in the same way you want God to listen to your fears, concerns and requests when you bring them to him.

Does listening to your wife mean you will always do what she wants? Of course not.   God listens to our prayers but he does not always grant our requests or do things in the way we would like him to do them.  Sometimes God corrects us and shows us later that what we were asking for was not right.  And sometimes after a husband listens to his wife, he may need to correct her thinking, just as God corrects our thinking through the Holy Spirit and through his Word.

And finally, husbands, remember that if you will not hear your wife’s fears, concerns and requests God will not hear yours.  So, if you sense that you are being shut out by God, perhaps you are doing the same thing to your wife.